The latest mix in the Him Self Her podcast series is from Cristian Varela who’s an artist that for over two decades has been at the forefront of electronic music. Originally from Spain but currently based in London, he has released music on a number of seminal labels ranging from Carl Cox’s Intec to his own Pornographic Recordings.
Longstanding fans of the techno genre will need no introduction to his seminal remixes of artists such as Speedy J, plus Ben Sims, and he is soon planning to relaunch his “Black Codes Experiments” project with a series of gigs and vinyl only releases.
> Thanks for supplying us with an exclusive mix for our podcast series… I understand the mix was recorded live at one of your gigs, could you tell us a bit about the event and venue?
It’s from my set at La Vaca Club in Ponferrada which is one of the most important clubs in Spain, with more than 15 years history of booking techno artists from around the world. The event was a very magic night and the venue was packed when my four hour set started at 1:30am.
> Could you give a brief description of your mix, and is it the genre/style you think people would expect from you?
The mix is the first part of a very techno focused set that I played using four vinyl decks, and I kept the track selection very underground. I did also play a couple of my own new productions on CD, as I’ve not had them pressed to vinyl yet, and wanted to test them out on a crowd who are notorious for having high standards.
> If you have decided to share your set from the club there must have been a great crowd response, what was the atmosphere like in the venue, and were there any tracks in your set that really sent the dancefloor wild?
The atmosphere was electric and very intimate because it´s only a small club that holds about 400 people. I mentioned it just before… the crowd is full of purists who have a very select tastes when it comes to techno, but their response is exceptional if you can provide what they want to hear. It’s a venue where some of the most important artists play nearly every year, and you have to be at your best if you want to get invited back. I’ve played their numerous times now, and every time is better than the last, so I’m already looking forward to my next set there.
> When playing live do you ask for any specific specification of mixer, and assuming you have a preference, why do you prefer that make or model?
For DJ’ing I always like to have a pair of vinyl turntables plus two CDJ-2000 Nexus, and for the mixer I always ask for a Pioneer DJM Nexus2. Sometimes I also play hybrid sets with a live element where I can do more than just play records, and for those I use all my Roland stuff including the TR08, TR09, TB-303, plus touch screens controllers, and my favourite synth the Roland System-8.
> I often hear a lot of conversations about vinyl versus digital, where do you stand on this discussion point, and what music format do you usually prefer to use when DJ’ing?
I love the combination of both formats because digital music in WAV and AIFF is hi quality with a very clean sound that adds crisp hi EQ pigments to my sets, but vinyl adds powerful warmth with amazing bass frequencies. Fortunately more and more clubs are realising the importance of vinyl, and providing well maintained turntables for DJ’s to play on. I’m a big fan of analogue sounds so glad vinyl is becoming popular again, and furthering that I’m also a big fan of tracks produced with modular synths.
> What do you have lined up for the coming months, do you have any other gigs or new releases you want to tell our readers about?
I have lots of new releases, and I’m happy to see the Emphatic 022 release I made with Ian Axide plus Sergy Casttle being charted by friends like Dave Clarke and UVB. It’s been a successful release for me and I’m already working on a follow up which will be Emphatic 024.
Soon there will also be a new Compilation on my label Pornographic with music from some great artists such as Axel Karakasis, Frank Kvitta and many more.
Most of all, I’m very excited about the relaunch of my label Black Codes Experiments, which will feature some vinyl only releases with tracks and remixes from Regis, Mark Broom, Experiment 5, Abstract Division, Tensal, Refracted, Arnaud Le Texier and lots of others… we are also doing some Black Codes Experiments parties, with the first one scheduled in London on the 10th of March.