Jose Cabrera, aka J.C., a techno artist born and raised in Madrid is best known for his raw, stripped back hypnotic style. We caught up for a quick chat before his new album ‘Mugako’ releases on Semantica Records on August 26.
Q: You have a new album ‘Mugako’ coming out on Semantica Records in August. What was the base idea around producing it?
A: Me and Enrique (Svreca) have been really close friends for a while right now. I have been a huge fan of the label since it started 10 years ago and I always found it like one of the world’s best and most interesting techno outlets. ‘Mugako’ was done for one of the series of the label, Exhibition Design, that is only released as CD-Rs, and I loved the idea so I started working on something that could fit Semantica but with my own sound. I was doing a lot of more energetic techno stuff before, so I felt like doing something different, something deeper but conserving the intensity.
Q: Who or what were your main influences whilst producing the album?
Q: You started your own label back in 2012 with Damian Schwartz called AHD, what was your idea behind starting that?
A: I have been professionally involved with electronic music since 2004. At that time I found my first label and ever since I have had different ones. I think AHD was the result of all these years working as A&R, and I think this is the most mature project that I have ever been part of. I think Damian was at the same point so with all the experience that we had gathered in our lives, we decided to create this AHD with a really concrete and precise concept, not only musically but also visual.
It’s like we wanted to do everything perfect and don’t commit the mistakes that we had done in the past, at least from my side. This year I started my own label, Cabrera, and I attempt to do the same!
Q: Have you any upcoming plans for the label?
A: We have just released Damian’s album, ‘The Dancing Behavior’, which is for me one of the best LPs of the year and right now we are working on the schedule for next year. We have a lot of new stuff but we need to close it up a little bit more and decide how to put it out.
Q: You produced your first EP under this alias back in 2013 for Argentinian label Greener records. How much has your sound changed since then, if at all?
A: That Greener release was the first one with my alias J.C. and its actually one of my favorites to date. I was producing a lot of house till then, and I think that I was still really conditioned by that way of producing. I would say that my sound has changed a lot since then. I have gone through different phases and explored diverse sorts of techno, and I think that right now, I am just finding my own sound. That, of course, is changing constantly. In my opinion, producers have to evolve all the time to research for new sounds and dig into music in order to innovate.
Q: Has being born and raised in Madrid had much influence on your musical choices and style?
A: Although I am currently living in Vitoria and love it there, I always miss Madrid. Of course I would say that it has had a lot of influence on me, specifically at the end of the 90’s, beginning of 2000. The scene was amazing, I was going out a lot and the parties were so good…
I wouldn’t say that right now it is in it’s best shape clubbing wise but there are so many interesting producers, DJs and labels going on… I think it’s one of the most underrated cities in Europe.
Q: Your style can be described as raw, stripped back, hypnotic techno. Do your DJ sets correspond to this?
A: I would say there are parts of my sets that could be described like that but I like to play varied styles and sorts of music while i am DJing. I can be playing techno but I always like to drop some Dance Mania Chicago booty tracks, or some electro… Something to change the vibe inside my sets and try to surprise the crowds as much as possible. I also love to play house or even ambient… It always depends on the context.
Q: Do you feel for your style of Techno that you need to use more hardware or software?
A: I think that every producer has to find his/her own way to do music. Doesn’t matter if it’s techno or anything else, the point is to be comfortable with it.
My system right now is based on 90 per cent of hardware and 10 per cent of software. I record everything from my machines into Ableton and then sequence there.
Q: I read that in 2014 you become part of the resident team at Tresor, are you still heavily involved with the club?
A: Of course! And I hope it keeps on and on! This was one of my dreams come true and it was so amazing when Diana proposed two years ago already. I have always had so much respect for the club, and of course the label, that it’s incredible for me to be part of it. They give me the chance to go there once a month and I can be playing techno at the basement or house at Globus. It’s great to have this opportunity to play different types of sets. One of the highlights of my life has been playing this summer at the 25 Years Anniversary of the club and be part of one of the most amazing techno line ups I have ever seen.
Q: What does the future hold for J.C.?
A: Right now I am finishing the next EP for my label, Cabrera, which includes a remix by Efdemin and also working on an album of my project with my friend Kastil, called ‘No Spiritual Surrender’. Hope to have both of them done by the end of the summer! Apart from that I am also working with Damian (Schwartz) on our label A Harmless Deed and there are some really interesting projects that we have lined up for next year.