We sat down with Juan Rico to discuss his ambient new release, Seven – a track made for the dance floor with hypnotic
overtones and rythmic basslines.
Firstly thank you for interviewing with The Playground. What’s it like being an artist in Spain, especially Oviedo?
If you want to make it in Europe, coming from Spain makes things slightly more difficult for you. We don’t have a great electronic music tradition and, although you wouldn’t think it, this affects people’s attitude towards your music. They need to listen to it several times. Oviedo is a small city but it had a good few years as far as electronic music goes, and that helped forge a few techno artists, including myself.
To anyone who is unfamiliar with your sound, how would you describe it?
I want my records to have a rough and experimental sound, as well as an atmospheric and melodic feel, with lots of ambient details. What I’m looking for is great depth, a wide-open space. This can help you to better perceive auditory sensations and transport you to sonic landscapes.
The digital release of Seven was March 21. What’s the inspiration behind these tracks?
The record is two tracks. The digital album was released in March, but I think the vinyl, the physical format, is the important release. If I said that a great deal of inspiration went into this album, I’d be lying. Most of my records result from a particular inspiration, but these are simply two very effective tracks for the dance floor.
What kind of atmosphere are you trying to create with Seven?
The aim is to immerse the dance floor in dark, rhythmic and hypnotic sounds.
I really love the sound of Amour. How does Seven compare to your previous work?
Amour had a great deal of inspiration behind, as well as a very different atmosphere and a more musical approach. On the other hand, Seven has been conceived straight for the dance floor. The sound is the same, because they are the work of the same person, but the intention behind them is definitely very different.
Do any artists current or old influence you?
Pink Floyd has always been a big source of inspiration for me. They make very long tracks with psychedelic and atmospheric notes, and that has always influenced my music. I also listen to experimental and ambient music.
What are the five albums of all time that have influenced you?
-Ummagumma– Pink Floyd
-White album – The Beatles
-Nosferatu – Popol Vuh
-Who Can I Turn to Stereo -Nurse with Wound
-Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
How are you keeping the momentum going to continue to be this creative with your work?
By listening to different styles of music, seeing lots of films –mostly independent cinema, and looking for new sounds in my studio. I give all of that a lot of time, and the simple act of looking for new music to listen to is productive when you’re looking for inspiration.
Is there a formula to what you do and the way you mix?
I’m not sure if you’re referring to a work methodology or to finding your own creativity. The answer in both cases is no. For me, the only formula is to immerse yourself in all sorts of art; in most cases, creativity is fortuitous.
Who are you currently listening to?
Nobody in particular and everything in general. I listen to many movie soundtracks, rock, soul, classical music, ambient, experimental, electronic music, etc. I welcome anything that is well made and has something to contribute. I don’t mind whether it is a commercial artist, or underground as they come.
What are some of the key pieces of gear you use to write your tracks?
Almost all my tools are hardware, and lately I’ve been using a lot of modular synths. I like them because they give your music a very personal sound. Lately, all my records have modular synths in them. Nowadays, they are probably what I use the most. The other gear I use varies quite a bit, depending on the track.
Lastly, what lies ahead for 2016?
My next release is going to be an EP with Spanish label NON series, as well as some collaborations with Ellum. As for any other projects, it’s too soon to talk about them.