Taking a casual glance at Eduardo de la Calle’s discography and one thing that grabs you is the sheer volume of releases suddenly – and quite dramatically - escalating from a respectable 2 to 3 releases a year to nearly 20 in 2011. This staggering amount of output almost seems super human and verging on the impossible, but in the case of de la Calle, it’s merely evidence that his adopted disciplined, centred approach to life away from the city and all its temptations is the secret to his surge in creativity and productivity.
Although the city life had its part in helping the now countryside based artist first accomplish his dream of establishing himself as a DJ – working in Barcelona’s record shops getting educated in the music of the world and getting his first foot on the ladder. Ultimately the balance tips in favour of less productive activities and can detract from the music which of course always should be at the centre of it all. It became clear very quickly that this is a huge part of Eduardo’s musicality, his passion point at the heart of it all, so naturally it was a topic we arrived at and settled on quite happily in our conversation with him below. He’ll be in Room One this coming Saturday joining his vocal supporters Craig Richards and Seth Troxler, so he’s also provided us with an exclusive mix to stream so you can digest the results of his happy way of being that have helped him reach the realisation of his early DJ dreams.
As I understand it you started out as a live artist – can you tell us a bit about your reasons for taking this approach?
The reason I started doing the live act is because I used to run a record shop at the beginning of the 90’s and through one of the distributors we started talking about setting up a live show because it was really difficult at that time to introduce yourself as an artist just as a DJ. So he helped me out with that but after I did about 50/60 shows all over Spain I then started my own record label called Recorder and then started DJing instead of doing these live shows. DJing was always the main dream for me. Doing a live act was really, really hard I used to transport myself by car 1000kms from my home nearly every weekend, it was really hard packing and unpacking the car every week with the machines.
There is that thing that for DJs to be successful they also have to produce and do their own production - but it's interesting that you ultimately want to be a DJ...
Yes from the beginning it was my dream to be a DJ but I also recognised that I was actually really bad to start out with my technique was amateur but then after 5-6 years of practicing every day and having done those 50 lives shows I decided to move to Barcelona. I worked in a couple of record shops there with Angel Molina who’s now well known for being involved in Sonar festival, at that time he ran a record shop with Paco Osuna. It was there that I introduced myself as a producer with the first Recorder release 001.
How much do you think being part of that record shop culture in Barcelona helped you with the labels you were starting?
I think it was a totally necessary thing for my DJ career because to really know what is happening in the world wide scene in terms of what records are being released it this is how you got that knowledge. Back then it was artists like Ben Sims, Surgeon all the Birmingham stuff that was really important and to know this helped me set up as a DJ with more knowledge and also as a producer because it gave me a lot of influences to feed into my own output.
What’s happening with Recorder now, you have a few other labels now right?
Recorder now is closed but currently I've got Analogue Solutions and a couple of sub labels – Superawax and Edits.
And how do you go about the A&R process – did you feed off the artists you were mixing with in Barcelona?
For Analogue Solutions I actually started it after I’d left Barcelona. I moved to Berlin and then I moved to the south of Spain where my mother was living and started it based from there. Right now we’re about to release the 15th record and this will be the first time that I’m releasing another artist that’s not me – all the records I’ve put out before have been of my own work regardless if I’d used samplers or not. So now I’m considering introducing more artists to the label because I receive demos all week from all over the world and now I’m starting to take a more serious look at introducing some new talents. But at the moment it’s just me and this Japanese artist.
From what I understand of your history is that when you made this move to this more remote part of Spain you also made quite a big lifestyle change with yoga becoming a big part of your routine – how do you manage keeping up this lifestyle when the DJ’s lifestyle is typically quite hedonistic and alcohol fuelled?
It’s helped me a lot because it’s given me the opportunity to be more focussed and release a lot of music – right now I’m working with quite a lot of labels, there's one in Japan called Mule Music which is due out this October, I’m also on Phonica’s anniversary double record they’re releasing in October too and I’m also working with Seth Troxler and Craig Richards doing an album project. There's lots of other labels too about 15-20 I think and this for me is a huge pleasure and new experience collaborating with all these labels and this kind of living is helping me much more than living in Berlin or Barcelona ever did. For me living amongst nature is helping me write a lot of music right now.
How do you manage the situations which DJ’s typically find themselves in at the heart of drinking culture?
I try to be myself everywhere I go, it’s quite difficult but I just try to focus as much as I can and try to respect myself as much as I can. Otherwise for me it’s hard to play records if I drink a lot, I have to concentrate so I just stick to water or juice.
There are other DJ’s that have adopted this way of life – like Goldie who’s stopped drinking and taken up yoga but still as prominent and productive as ever…Yeah and a few months ago I had dinner with Anthony Surgeon who’s also doing his yoga a lot with his wife. There are many people all over the planet who are starting to focus on yoga and this higher consciousness discipline – everyone is trying to be happier because the environment is more aggressive in society so I think it’s also touching the electronic music scene and artists. I think also not just the artists but the fans are themselves focusing on introducing some kind of discipline into their life.
Do you think it’s about having a discipline and not just using yoga a few days a week as a prop alongside drinking and other unhealthy pass times?
Yes, I think it’s totally necessary. To really change your mind to try to do every day discipline and really be aware of what you think, what you say and how you act with others it’s kind of difficult. With yoga it gives you a chance to start to be a more real person and improve your behaviour towards and how you relate with your family and friends for the better. For me it makes no sense to practice some kind of yoga while also practicing these other activities that directly oppose it.
I think it’s interesting what you’re saying about having respect and acting respectfully towards other people because we’re seeing a lot of reports and talk at the moment of people on the dancefloor in club culture with people not being respectful to each other. Have you experienced or witnessed this yourself when playing out? Everywhere I’ve been in the last year from Japan to Paris, Holland or German I’ve felt the crowd were really there for the music. There are places in every country where there’s more freedom people drink more and maybe sometimes take drugs or whatever but I feel that every place I’ve been this year was a really good experience with people because I feel that the people are coming to see what I’m doing with my music. People are focusing more on music definitely.
Maybe Ibiza is different because it’s summer and people are wanting to go crazy like at festivals. These people choose these as opportunities to lose their minds but in general I think everything is changing in a positive direction and you can feel more the people are more respectable between each other.
It’s good to hear that you feel there is this positive change – it could be because you’re part of maybe more underground parties. Like you mentioned Ibiza there, it’s got that more commercial side to it..
Yes and the first time I went to Paris in the late 80’s it was really different again because everyone was on ecstacy the energy was totally different from right now but the respect between each other on the dancefloor was the most important thing. I think the people have always had respect to each other in the electronic scene and now we’re in a situation where society is more and more stressful and there are lots of people focusing on electronic music because they are looking for happiness.