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Tommy Orellano [Interview]

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Hailing from Argentina, Tommy Orellano first came to our attention in 2021 with releases via AMITABHA and Another Life Music. Tommy’s organic sound was quickly recognized moving forward as he went on to land future releases via Canopy Sounds, Cigarette Music, RYNTH and The Purr. With 2022 being rounded out with a contribution to Songuara’s ‘Tales 01’ collection, Tommy begins the new year with his Nature Rec debut ‘Heal The Soul’, alongside remixes from Mauro Masi and Alley SA.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Tommy to learn more about the release of ‘Heal the Soul’, his studio process, musical background, future plans and more. Enjoy.

Hi Tommy, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hi thanks for opportunity, I'm good, I'm happy because we are in summer in Argentina, the last thing I listened it was LOST MIRACLE Radio 053.

What are your plans for the coming week? And for the impending summer season in Argentina? Are you looking forward to this?

My plans are to return to production after a while. This summer I will be a Resident in a really fancy Bar in my city, where I will be able to play the music that characterizes me. Summer is beautiful here, people go out a lot more, I'm not a fan of the heat weather, but it's the season where there are more shows.

How did growing up in the Argentina influence your music taste and direction? Or did it at all?

The influence for my music taste and direction is coming from my father, after that, I continued listening music and I found my style.

When we ask most artists what is responsible for the popularity of progressive music in Argentina the overwhelming answer is Hernan Cattaneo, would that be your feeling also? And if so please speak on that, also to add to that, who else from Argentina inspired you when you first discovered the music?

Hernan Cattaneo is the greatest influence for all of us who play music in Argentine, regardless of musical genre. In my beginnings I didn't listen to many artists from here, I remember being a fan of Fedde Le grand, Ferry Corsten, Carl Cox and I also listened to Hernan, Fernando Ferreyra but I liked every new artist, today I prefer the style of Valdovinos, Facundo Mohrr, Nico Rada, Maxi De Grassi, among others. Fernando seems to me an excellent DJ, in Argentina I think that from I heard him, he is the one that comes closest to my search.

What are your favourite venues to play or attend events at in Argentina and why?

An ideal place would be to play music or go to the mountains, Argentine polo field, Mute, Mandarine Park more than anything in open-air places. I think my style would connect more with those kinds of places.

When you were first getting started in production did you have someone help you or are you completely self-taught? And what would you recommend new producers do to help with the learning curve of production?

I started in this musical world before I finishing school, once I finished, I traveled every Wednesday to Mar Del Plata from my city Tandil to take a course in Music Production and DJ with Lucas Perazzi, the following year I was able to move to Buenos Aires and study in EMBA, I had very good teachers, I remember Hernan Cerbello, Leo and Maxi Donatto as the most outstanding.

What I recommend and what I did those last years it was to be in contact with artists who made the music that I wonted to do in the future, I took classes with them and I learned a lot from them. Always with perseverance and hard work, sometimes we don’t have inspiration or the feeling that we are not getting the sound we are looking for, this is frustrating, but I learned to don’t push myself because creativity comes if you keep calm.

You have a new EP ‘Heal The Soul’, out this week on Nature Rec, tell us about the release, how do these tracks showcase your current sound?

Yes, I'm happy to release this ep, I thank Leo Perez, the guys who made some excellent remixes, this EP has a lot of work and an important emotional charge. In my own way I try to express myself with my songs, it would be like my own language.

What does your set-up look like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of these tracks?

My studio is basic, my Tannoy monitors, a Presonus board, now a friend lent me his Krome and the SSL2+ board in which I'm recording things for future releases, the sound has much more presence than a Vst.

For this track I used many Kontakt libraries and later in an attempt to get to know the tools of Ableton live I used the Operator and the Wavetable.

Let’s talk about production for a moment, where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play? And was there anything that inspired the tracks which make up your ‘Heal The Soul’ EP?

It is a good question, the impulse is generated by some emotion, both good and bad.

This ep is loaded with emotions, I was going through an excellent moment of personal growth accompanied by beautiful people and that is what this release is based on.

Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?

My studio is full of plants, my apartment too. I connect a lot with them, I take care of them, they are part of what makes organic house, Tandil is a very green city, it has spaces where you can connect and relax a lot with nature. On the other hand, I am a fan of incense, they always help to relax and purify the environment. When I exercise, I try to disconnect with all the technology since my work is related to that.

How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you are satisfied with a piece?

Once I finish my songs I leave the project without listening for a while to forget and when I listen to it again I will find things to improve, add or remove. The time it takes me to finish a song is not certain, it all depends on the inspiration and how it looks while I'm making  it, I can't give a clear answer, I would like it to take less time to get more clues but it's not the case. I share my songs with close producer friends, Agustin Pietrocola, Nathan Katz, Gudy, Zocca and Matias Ocaño with whom I have the most contact. In Argentina there is a very close community to which I always ask them to tell me how my project is doing, to give me feedback, it is called pro-community.

 What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

The task that amuses me the most is when I have to put together the groove, it generates the famous question and answer between elements. It is something that I recommend to all artists, it generates that question and answer between elements, contributing a lot of movement to the groove of the song.

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy?

I would like to have many things in my studio, but I think I would like to have good compressors, to improve the mix, to give that "Glu" touch to my tracks.

Now lets talk about DJing for a moment, its a unique discipline at the border between presenting great music and creating something new with it, between composition and improvisation to an describe your approach to it?

What I'm looking for is to generate a stable dance climate, to generate joy, melancholy from time to time, everything that is related to good emotions, going to a deeper level, connecting is the most important thing and that people connect with your musical selection and make them feel comfortable. It is difficult for me to explain what I want to convey, I hope people can listen to me one day and feel what I cannot explain with my words.

 Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks and perhaps also, you’re as a producer?

I am a very relaxed person, I like loneliness, I think I try to describe that from time to time, loneliness is melancholic in my point of view and from time to time I feel it as a moment of freedom. The music that I choose is because of what I feel that it wants to tell me, the deep melodies capture me and that the Groove that accompanies is marked.

If you could set up an event with a lineup of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

It's very difficult but these would be: beige, mass digital, makebo, volen sentir, to close with a little party the great sebastien leger with his characteristic sound (I would say more tim green, krasa rosa, izhevski).

Current fave tracks?

Krasa Rosa — Solnce

Constellations - Fernando Ferreyra Remix

Kasper Komen - the observer

Mass Digital - Lonely Souls

What’s a book you´ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

Once upon a time in america and all the godfather, the union between friends and family, the soundtrack of these movies is really moving, I also like to watch documentaries about the life of animals.

What is one superpower you would like to have and how would you use it?

I don't know, I guess I had to teleport myself to be able to travel around the world.

A part from music, what makes you happiest?

I´m very happy when i finish my work and get on my racing simulator, get together with friends, go out to eat, it's something I love, go for a coffee, go to visit my grandfather and look out the window at the street, go for a luch with my cat to my parents' house on Sundays.

What does 2023 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

For this year I expect a lot of professional growth, both in the musical part and in IT. There is a lot of music coming in which I am going to try to express my feelings, making music is my grounding cable.

'Heal the Soul' is available now via Nature Rec: https://bit.ly/3VWcuJb

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