#92 - Victor Santana
Born in Madrid at the beginning of the eighties, Victor Santana’s musical influences came from hip-hop, jazz, funk and reggae before he fell in love with techno. Professionally his career started in 1999 with The Park Collective playing techno organising parties in the Madrid area and sharing decks with the likes of Marco Carola, Mistress Barbara, Jim Masters, Adam Beyer, Oliver Ho, James Ruskin, Regis or the 65 D Mavericks amongst others.
After some time promoting parties all over the country, he decided to focus on music production, starting sound design studies and buying his first synthesizers with Detriot techno as the main influence. In 2004 Chaval Records was born, with the aim of releasing analogue machine made music as a fight against the digital era.
From November 2015 Victor Santana can be seen habitually behind the desks of Madrid club Mondo Disko. In Mondo he has had the opportunity to learn alongside the best, practicing as host to artists like Tin Man, Omar S, Robert Hood or Lil 'Louis. Víctor has also played at Cocoon in Formentera, as well as in The Pharm in Privilege Ibiza and the anniversary of Reverse in La Riviera in Madrid playing a special warm up for the following five-hour session by Laurent Garnier. His emotional live act has been played in China with performances in Club Latern and Club Vervo.
As Victor’s career begins to go supernova you can catch a glimpse of the man in action here with the new EPM Podcast. His and James Ruskin’s remixes of Ben Long are released 12 May on EPM.
In the first in a series of remix EPs released this year, two tracks from Ben Long’s album ‘Standing Alone’ are reworked by Blueprint’s James Ruskin and Victor Santana from Madrid’s Chaval Records. ‘Calling Broadsword / Standing Alone’ Remixes are released on 12 May.
Q&A with Victor Santana
1. How did you approach the mix? Was it a different process to how you would DJ in a club?
I loved to do the mix! Actually, I have enjoyed it so much. This time, I have prepared a mix oriented to EPM, with many promos from EPM. Techno music in different ways, but always thinking to the dance floor.
2. So before house and techno what sounds were capturing your ears growing up in Madrid?
My first sounds are coming from jazz, hip hop, reggae and dub music. When I started as a DJ, I was playing this kind of music. Little by little, I got interested in other music styles after listening to music sessions from other artists. When you are young and you love music, this is a kind of knowledge. Years ago, in Madrid there were many clubs of different music styles. One day, you could be able to enjoy Plastikman in a club, Surgeon in another, and the next day find Anthony Rother live or a Jeff Mills set…. Nowadays, it is not like that! For me, it was very important to be a clubber and learn about English and American Techno and Chicago House.
3. Was music always part of your family life? Did your parents or any siblings have a musical influence?
I was so lucky to grow up in a creative family, my father was a painter and my mother worked in fashion. From a child, I have grown up listening to music at home. My grandmother raised us, and always supported what I did, playing music. Always at home their was positive energy to do my dream, to be someone in the electronic music. All my life I will be thankful to her, Manuela. I remember when I was seventeen, my uncle helped to find a job in a multi. Some weeks after, when I have arrived at home after work, I sat to talk with my grandmother and I told her that I was unhappy because I wanted to do music and she told me: don´t stop to do your dreams, go on with the music. After that, I have started an engineer sound course, after another one, and other… It is very important to learn to be a professional.
4. What were your first clubbing experiences like? And what clubs / nights did you go to?
In my first clubbing experiences I wanted to know who were playing with machines and sythns and what vinyl’s the artists were playing. I was always in the first row, enjoying so much. Then I started to play in raves, between friends… After that, we started a collective and we did many parties around Madrid, after that I started to play as a DJ.
5. As a resident DJ of Mondo Disko how do you keep things fresh both for yourself and the crowd?
To be a resident DJ of Mondo Disko is one of the best thing in my career. For nine years, I was playing live with my machines and my Akai MPC, it was what really motivated me. After that, I came back again to do DJ sets, out from clubbing, just Jazz, Soul, Hip Hop and Dub Sessions. But I got tired of dismantling my studio every time I had a gig, so I started to do DJ more often. One day, Gerardo Niva, Booking Artist Manager and Manager at Mondo Disko, booked me for a set with Robert Hood. It was an amazing night, my first night in Mondo - and with Robert Hood, I will never forget it. After that, he has booked me again for a showcase of my label, Chaval Records and Underground Resistance (Mike Banks & Mark Flash as Depth Charge), another great night… after that, I became a resident at Mondo Disko. Now, after almost two years, it was something very special, you know the main character of the night is the guest, so you must to adapt to him/her and it is not easy to do a warm up. You have to know about many different styles and always to know all the news in the scene. Thanks so much to Mondo Disko in believing in me.
6. How do you bring your love of jazz into your techno productions?
Jazz music is the mother of all music. For me, jazz music is very important, many friends are playing this style and my other project, Victor Santana & Band is where electronic and jazz music are mixed. I try in all my tracks to introduce jazzy elements like drums, Rhodes, Nord Lead and others. I like the improvisation with my synths as a jazz band. In the studio, I like to do jam with my machines.
7. Can you recall making your first productions? How did you feel when your first release come out?
I will never forget when my first release was out. It was the step to start to make music with others artists. You always afraid about if people do not like it, but after the first, that all changed. I remember that time with love and a smile. Analog life is the consequence of many years of work.
8. It appears you have a big love of recording with hardware. What are your favourite pieces of kit in the studio?
I am a lover of the machines from years ago, they are part of my life. Many years, many gigs, many planes and traveling by car… My favourite is the TR 909. And Waldorf Q and Waldorf XT too. But I love the sound of the Moog and Dave SMITH as well.
9.How did your label – Chaval Records come about and who are the key people involved with it now?
Chaval Records is my life, it keeps me alive. My team is the best! They are few, but they are great. They are my family: Isaac is my A&R, all my music passes by his hands, he is part of my music. Ana, my wife and manager also handles the distribution and the logistics of the label. Pat is my Press manager and Juan aka Static Eyes my art director. I'm lucky to have them on my team, without them, Chaval Records would not be the same.
10. What are your plans for 2017?
My plans for 2017 are to finish several releases on my label and to finish an EP for EPM. I want it to make a bomb for the dance floor. I have also started EPs for a German and Detroit label. I hope to finish my album too, more than 4 years in in to it…
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EPM Podcast 92 Tracklist – Victor Santana
1. Ben Long – Standing Alone (EPM Music)
2. Electric Rescue - Forwer (Virgo)
3. Slam - Vapour (Soma Records)
4. Ben Long – Pulsus (EPM Music)
5. DJ 3000 - Take Me Away (Truncate Remix) (Motech Records)
6. Mark Broom - Snake Eyes (Beard Man)
7. Onionz - NY Thunder (Mile End Records)
8. Victor Santana - Past Echoes (Madrid Mix) (Chaval Records)
9. Floorplan - Spin (M-Plant)
10. Ethyl / Flori - Shelter (Rolando Remix) (Secretsundaze Records)
11. Frank Biazzi - Synthetik (Kompile Research)
12. Laurent Garnier - The Sound Of The Big Babou (F Communications)