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Pornographic Material: Cristian Varela



In a career that’s been littered with accolades aplenty, the past few months have still proved pretty substantial for Spanish techno producer Cristian Varela. The recipient of the Best techno DJ award at this year’s Ibiza DJ awards, his is a career that’s hit new heights recently, a fact in no small part attributable to his winding, mind-bending sets and his many slick productions. With another successful Ibiza season just finished, Varela is now firmly back on the road, and he’s sure to wow the crowds soon thanks to his 2nd November appearance at Egg London, where he’ll be joined by none other than H.O.S.H. and Mr. C. We picked up a chair with him to find out more…

Welcome back to London, Cristian.

Thank you very much. It’s always a pleasure to be here.

How has your summer been? What were the highlights of your Pornographic residency at Privilege? You had some very special guests join you over the summer… 

This year we made some radical changes. We moved from Eden to Vista Club at Privilege. The change also motivated the change in our name, which is now Cristian Varela and Friends. We are going on tour soon with some of the artists who collaborated with us such as Christian Smith or Kenny Larkin, which is sure to be really great.

So yeah, we have certainly moved on to a new stage. Pornographic is still the name of the label, but we have had some problems around the Internet and social networking in terms of Community Management. The term pornographic is a word which limits us in many ways! So the change of the venue gave us the chance to change the name in order to have more impact on the net and avoid any restriction.

This summer has been awesome because we have achieved everything we had planned. We are all very satisfied with the results and the season can be considered a total success. As a result, Cristian Varela and Friends have been playing in venues from South America to Asia, including Eastern Europe, Japan, and Bora Bora, Ibiza.

You’ve won countless awards over the years, but you’ve just won best Techno DJ in the DJ Awards 2013. What does winning this award mean to you?

This is without a doubt one of the most important awards to me, and I said as much during the ceremony. Ibiza is to electronic music what Hollywood is to cinema, and the DJ Awards are like the Oscars for us. It’s important because it’s recognition of a lot of hard work, and shows that people appreciate what we do too. I was the winner in 2007, and I have been nominated ever since. Winning this award again proves that all our efforts have paid off.

Tell us a bit about running the label. How do you decide who to sign? How do you plan the releases?

The label works in different ways. The basis of the label, founded back in 2000, is working with both top international artists and young new-generation musicians and producers. We believe it is essential to help and support that new generation of national artists as they come with a fresher vibe and new ideas. It goes without saying that we need to take care of the future of our music. Our company works as a platform that provides new producers with the chance of working with a renowned label, and also as a kind of talent seeker. We want the best artists working with us too.

We are focused on techno right now. We have been trying to give a fresher touch with the inclusion of tech-house and more Joseph Capriati-like remixes, etc. We have realized that sticking to our origins is the way to go. People like it that way, and we are experiencing more digital downloads.

Can you remember how you felt when you first heard electronic music? Why did you get hooked?

Well, I remember it was a very pleasant feeling. I came from the classical music, from my piano classes at a music school. My brother bought me a tape with tracks by Vangelis, Depeche Mode, Jean Michel Jarre, and the like. I had never heard those sounds. I was so amazed and kept wondering: How did they create that sound? What kind of machinery did they use? I discovered that electronic music could be as deep as classical music, and that it had a huge potential. I started collecting vinyl LPs, and I even bought an Atari computer to begin creating my own music.

What made you want to become a DJ and producer? What has kept your enthusiasm up?

At first, like many other people, it started out as a hobby for me. My brother used to work as a DJ at a club and I would stand in for him sometimes. At that time, in the early 90s, I was obsessed with the idea that DJs didn’t use to mix the tracks at the same rhythm. They used to mix by turning one track down and cranking up the next straight away. I wanted to see how that worked and mess about with all the controls, beats, and BPMs. I believe what keeps my enthusiasm up is the energy you share with the fans and that same energy you receive from them. When you’re in front of 15,000 people you manage to create indescribable feelings and emotions. I could spend several lives playing music.

What have been the major changes in the scene since you first started out? 

In my experience, I guess there are three main stages. The first one was the beginning, in the early 90s. This was a time of experimentation, of finding your own personality in terms of creativity. Clubs didn’t think DJs were a kind of artists who could hold massive events and fill venues. It was a very underground time, with few followers. Everything was very homely.  The second stage begins when I start working at a club as a DJ resident and promoter. It was the Epsilon, in Madrid. It worked very well and it was the one of the first venues receiving international artists such as Francesco Farfa or Laurent Garnier. That’s when I learned how to promote events.

The third stage comes when you have a very defined style. Your personality within music. You know what you like and you begin to enjoy everything a lot more. It gives you the chance to start out new facets such as composition, for example. I think these changes go hand-in-hand with what other artists have experienced and what the music scene looks like now and then.

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