Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Max. Let’s start with your new single: La Dorada for Rebellion. Tell us about where the inspiration came from for the production and about what the title means for you?
Thank you. La Dorada means “the golden one” in Spanish, it’s the name of a fish, the sea bream, and it’s also the name of the home where I spent most of my childhood, near Barcelona. The track was made in London, while I was living and studying there. It was quite a hectic period for me, the city made it feel even more frenetic. I was meeting a lot of new people, doing lots of new things, so once this track started to exist, I felt it would be nice to join both worlds, where I come from, and what was going on at the time. I had a similar approach with the name Tibi Dabo. There’s a hill in Barcelona, my hometown, called Tibidabo (notice the slight difference), keeping this name for wherever the journey took me felt like a nice idea.
photo by @merlegrain
Buy: Tibi Dabo – La Dorada – Rebellion https://lnk.to/RBL056
La Dorada has a particularly distinctive flavour. Can you talk us through how you produced it, including any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you like to use?
I’m a big fan of happy accidents when working on musical compositions or productions. La Dorada is a good example, it was one of those tracks that came very naturally, I almost feel like it was given to me in a way because the workflow was so natural and spontaneous. I think one of its key points is that it’s quite simple when it comes to layers, as I think it relies on all of its elements. I wanted it to feel quite clean at the start, so I could progressively make it feel more dirty and gritty. A key element of the track is the gliding bass line, which is a heavily processed sound from the Prophet 08 (actually I hadn’t used it for bass yet). One piece of software i really enjoy using is Echoboy, it helps a lot when it comes to adding analog touch to something that might lack warmth, it’s also great with saturation and general space distribution in the mix. It can even make you coffee if you ask nicely.
I love hardware because it’s hands on, it helps me so much creatively when I’m jamming out to a new idea. It also makes you not think about burning out your CPU as much, which was a great feeling for me as I used to fill my projects with very heavy soft synths and that hurt the processor too much, to the point where the creative flow slowed down or even stopped as I had to focus on the technical side.
I’m still figuring out my ideal setup, which I doubt will ever get to a “final form”, some of my favorite toys are of course the Prophet for its versatility and the Elektron Analog Rytm (although its workflow is quite a thing, one’s got to get used to it)
Buy link – https://lnk.to/RBL056
Do you think that it has become harder to hear originality in Dance Music? Or do you think the opposite is the case?
I think we’re definitely at a point in time where it’s harder to filter out the good stuff as it’s easier than ever to put music out there. That doesn’t necessarily mean there is less interesting music.
I think it can get a bit overwhelming though.
Big tracks can’t develop the way they did in the past. The same thing happens with any kind of news, it’s just not “news” for long anymore.
There’s such an enormous variety nowadays. One can go in any direction, therefore you can become very specialized.
I remember having a chat with a friend, we were saying something like the scene feels like a huge and very refined tapestry, where its patterns are hard to distinguish, one has to examine it for a long time to recognize its structure and see the individual colours it has to offer.
Who are your main influences from inside and outside of electronic music: any favourite artists, writers, vocalists etc?
I try to avoid comparing myself to other musicians/producers as it almost always makes me feel bad about what I’m doing. But I’d be lying if I said there’s no inspiration in what I do (obviously). A big influence in my music I think is listening to records that might not have much to do with the styles I work in.
I still feel like I’m in a “baby mode” for plenty of aspects in my life. By that I mean that I’m still absorbing things like a sponge. I’m constantly listening to music and wondering how the artist behind that particular song might have achieved a sound, an arrangement or a particular chord progression. This makes me aware of a constant evolution going on in my “creative process”, I doubt I’ll get stuck in a particular style, there’s just too much to try out.
What does DJ’ing mean for you? What ideas and emotions do you like to translate to the people you play for?
There’s so many ways of approaching a DJ set. Something that i really enjoy when listening to someone DJ is spontaneity and a factor of surprise. I really like it when there’re risky moments that can switch the mood in sometimes a very positive way. But overall I’m very into playing long and slowly evolving sets, with an ideal outcome of making the listener forget where he/she is at that given moment. As cliché as it might sound I don’t think that happens too often. I think carefully selecting each track so there’s a continuous energy is a crucial part of this style, merging tracks so there isn’t a clear notion of where the previous track ends and the next one begins is a big part of what i try to achieve on a DJ set. That’s why extended sets are my favourites, the ones where one can really get lost in.
The flip-side to the release is: No Mantra which feels more musical via its rich, piano chords and captivating vocals. Do you think that music is missing out not having as many great songs around, or is rhythm more important and potent in itself?
Rhythm and dance music have an unquestionable link. Some tracks can immediately be recognized because of its incredible groove. But the musical part is what can really make a track memorable. I like melodies that touch you emotionally, and this is quite a delicate subject, because it can be relatively easy to create something that has an obvious emotional impact if you follow certain rules, but I feel it’s really hard to touch an audience in a subtle and elegant way, where the melodic side of the track is suggested instead of imposed. That’s when a record can have a very powerful message and at the same time be very emotional but not in a cheesy way.
I’m definitely still learning how to achieve this.
And finally. Can you share with us your forthcoming plans for moving into the future?
Right now I just got back from working on a new live music project with some close friends. I’m really looking forward to locking myself in my new studio in Berlin, will try to finish some new ideas I have been collecting during the summer, some of them aren’t much more than voice notes and others are almost done. I want to experiment more and dig deeper, there’s so much one can do it can be overwhelming, so I’m trying as hard as I can to limit myself. There’ll be new music ready soon that’s for sure.
Tibi Dabo – La Dorado. Is out now on Rebellion.