Eric Estornel doesn’t have to pull rabbits out of hats to dazzle a crowd. Juggling multiple monikers between the irresistibly funky rhythm of Maceo Plex, the electro alien sounds of Mariel and Plaex and the dark n’ distorted world of Maetrik- it seems there is no trick too quick for this Cuban techno wizard. In light of Maetrik’s Wiggle party jam alongside Terry Francis and the gang next month, we caught up with Eric to talk about how he stays on top of musical goals, his new releases on Crosstown Rebels and Supplement Facts, his upcoming USA tour and his plans to “f%&k up” Room Two next month. In his own words, “I’ll probably play dark sexy tracks but made in another galaxy where humanoids aren't allowed to procreate.”
All of this comes alongside an exclusive hour long Maetrik mix brought to us directly from our friends over at Hybridlife. Trust us when we say, this is music you want close your eyes and groove to…
Could you tell us a little about your background in dance music?
I’ve been into dance since I was born pretty much; there's old super8 videos of me at the age of 3 or 4 dancing hard to some salsa, meringue and Latin freestyle. I was really into freestyle electro when I was young and living in Miami and later got into b-boying to 80s electro like Cybotron, Unknown DJ, World Class Recking Crew, etc...Then in my early teenage years we moved to Dallas, Texas and I heard for the first time a late night techno mix show that changed my life. I quickly got some cheap turntables for my 14th birthday... and the rest is history.
We read that your father was a salsa musician/enthusiast and that you have Cuban roots. In what ways did this affect your music style?
I think that's just where I got my love for music and percussion from... but I never was into Latin music beyond the age of say 8… In fact once I discovered electronic music I was obsessed and couldn't hear anything else. But I do thank my father for instilling music in me.
You are a man of many guises. Can you tell us a little bit about your dynamic production outfits, Mariel Ito, Plaex, Maceo Plex and finally Maetrik - who you will be performing as at fabric on November 6th?
Mariel Ito is my roots. It's that electro sound in me that I started with and still love.
Maetrik comes from my love of dark tech-house and techno; and it’s what flows out of me easier. Maceo Plex is my new guise for deep funky more musical house music. I have a lot of fun making Maceo Plex stuff cause I can let go and just be happy; make music that I just wanna close my eyes and groove to.
How do you stay true to the individual sounds of these monikers and keep on a level with their musical goals?
With Maceo Plex and Mariel Ito...i t's easy... they have very specific sounds. But writing Maetrik records is a little tougher to stay consistent with. I love blurring techno and house in creative ways and sometimes I'll write something more on the housey side... and sometimes I feel like writing something dark and twisted with a 4/4 kickdrum. I think it's dumb that some dark techno lovers will say Maetrik is "hit or miss"... I'm never trying to hit any pre-concieved style! I’m just trying to write the most creative techno/house that I can make.
What do you enjoy most about performing live and how would you describe your live shows?
I love working the people up or down or side to side... whichever direction I want and doing it all with my own music. That's pimp for real in my opinion... but I still do love djing... which is my first love anyways. I do the same thing when I DJ, but with amazing music by other great artists… Djing is like coming home from a hard day at work (of live PAing) and playing your favorite jams. At fabric I’ll probably play dark sexy tracks but made in another galaxy where humanoids aren't allowed to procreate. And then I'll build it from there... dropping technoid sounds and groovy beats with no need for the same old cheesy elements. Throw in a few surprises of course!
You have released on European brands Dumb Unit, Treibstoff, Audiomatique as well as Claude VonStroke's Mothership imprint? Tell us about your highlights from working with these labels and in your opinion, which labels are killing it out there right now?
I think all of those labels mentioned are killing it in their own way; and have been for years. Mothership/Dirtybird is great cause they don't give a shit what the Europeans are doing... they're just funking it up over there. And Dumb Unit to me has always been and innovative label.... Jeremy has great taste! Audiomatique is Steve Bug's label and not many are as consistent as Steve. I did a Cocoon record which is a great label to reach out to people that wouldn't normally know of me. And I just signed an EP to Supplement Facts which I think is releasing some extremely interesting and fresh music lately. They have a slightly different sound that's super fresh to me!
How are you looking forward to your Room Two takeover with the rest of the Wiggle crew next month at fabric?
To be honest.....I'm gonna f%&k that place up! I love the Wiggle crew; they're guys that have been there and done that years ago and are amazing well rounded DJs and artists. I’m gonna try to show them something new!!
Tell us about your new album "Life Index" on Crosstown Rebels as Maceo Plex?
Ahh. It's my baby. I worked hard on it. It's a very musical album and I didn't sample complete songs and put beats to them. I really wrote my own music for this and sampled as little as possible. I tried to fuse soul, funk, techno, house, disco all into one with my own take on it all. It's a very personal album, but also a personal dance journey to me. And Damian [Lazarus] was great to work with he has impeccable taste and very creative ideas. It was al ot of fun to work on! The first single titled ‘Vibe Your Love’ is out in late November with a sick remix by Zev of Wolf+Lamb. Then maybe another single ....followed by the full album in Feb 2011 I believe.
Tell us about your upcoming gigs and releases?
I’m doing a mini tour of the UK with stops in Leeds, Glasgow, and of course in London at fabric. Then back to Europe for a whole slew of dates all over the place up until New Years and then I’m excited to do a full tour of the USA in January. Haven't been back to the U.S. in almost 2 years! Need to re-energize my funk core batteries. I’m also excited to do some touring as Maceo Plex with Crosstown Rebels.