INTERVIEW | UNER
Spanish musician UNER has been making great strides since his 2009 debut. Early on, he became an active member of the Diynamic family, pushing multiple chart-topping releases and making a name for himself. He would continue to spread his sound with releases on labels such as 2020 Vision, Get Physical, Cadenza, and Visionquest, to name a few. Recently, the artist has expanded even further with the debut of his own label, Solar Distance. His most recent EP, “Return & Rebirth,” serves as Solar Distance’s first release, defining the label’s inventive sound and creating a foundation for what’s ahead.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with the man himself where he provided deep and intelligent insight on his musical upbringings, his development as an artist, and ice cream. Be sure to catch him in Southern California
this March where he may be bringing his signature sound to our home base of Bang Bang…
Spain has been pushing out great techno talent for quite some time now. What was your musical upbringing like in your hometown of Lleida and how did you first start to develop as an artist?
Any place where you spend a lot of your time influences your music. And being born there, even more. Spain for me has been an influence in terms of light in music. I haven’t lived in a freezing climate, or with 340 days of clouds and rain, or in a country with a dividing wall or with wars lasting 100 years.
In general, the spirit that you breathe in Spain is happy, the weather is incredible, geography has given us all kinds of beauty and the people are lovely. So that has influenced my life making, which has made me a positive person and able to walk away from sorrows, although I have experienced them, which has helped me to see music as a path towards smiles and not sad faces and unhappiness. That helps to make you and the music you produce more natural, where you don’t feel the need to prove anything.
As an artist I’m originally a pianist. I started studying classical piano when I was 4 years old. I completed my tutoring several years later, adding harmony, composing and chamber (as well as musical theory and transcription, of course). Those were hard working years, very intense but also with a lot of joy. Everything I have comes from there, part of my education, the way of confronting many life processes and of course my career as an artist.
But Jean M Jarre was one of the artists that awoke my thirst for electronic music. That’s how I started to produce electronic music. Years later, another Frenchman startled me even more than I thought possible and influenced my ambitions to start producing “dance”. It was Laurent Garnier, and that’s how it all started.
You played in a live band growing up. What was the name of your band, how did you guys form, and what kind of music did you play?
Yes, I’ve been doing live sets with electronic bands from a young age. The first band (well, it wasn’t really a band, it was a duo) was called Real Dream and we used to do electronic pop from that era (around about 1994/1995). It sounds a bit cheesy now, but we were 16 years old and our dream was just to be able to play live to people. But that’s not the only type of band that I’ve been in. I’ve played every type of music from classical concerts to music for dancing halls. It was an incredible era because being able to play such different types of music taught me to respect every musician, every style and especially to be inspired by many different formats, even seeing the real side of the music scene, not only about electronic music, but how hard it is to make a name for yourself in any type of music and how easy it is to be mislead by other artists who control the market. A great learning curve 🙂
What turned you toward the dance scene?
After my classical music start, I’ve always been linked to electronic music one way or another.Like I said before, all the music that my dad brought me back from his trips inspired me a lot, especially the electronic music and it was when I discovered Jarre that I took the step to devote myself to this music. Obviously, during the first few years, like I’ve already said, I had to earn money to buy new equipment and you have to go from rock to pop and any other style, accompanying musicians or bands just to earn a few euros (pesetas in those days). But electronic music has always been by my side, until I was able to make my own records (which I “auto edited”) and do live sets at my first gigs.
Your track “Pallene” served as an absolute hit for you. Where did you produce it and what was the process like? Also, how did your career evolve after its release?
Yes, “Pallene” was a turning point in my career, but I have to admit that a few times I got quite sick of it. LOL
When a track gets so popular, everybody asks for it, everybody wants you to play it, even a few times in the same night and it gets to a point when you want to move on. It was insane. Haha.
However I’m really happy that it’s part of my life because, in the end, it allowed me to meet those who are now part of my team, my manager and my friend/brother Alex Montoya and all those who have and are accompanying me on this crazy journey. And, obviously, my reputation changed in the music scene and it got me to places I hadn’t been before and it allowed me to meet artists that I now work with. But especially, it taught us a lot about this business.
The creation process was pretty easy because it was one of those tracks that I completed in one afternoon. I had the beat really clear in my head and the melodic side just naturally came out, like it does after playing on the piano for 20 or 30 minutes. I chose the best bits and the ones that sounded ‘most latin’ because that was the main idea I had for the track. The solo that appeared was elaborated a lot more because it’s a composition of 16 beats, meaning that it doesn’t matter how you trim it, move it or mix it, it’s always in harmony. After that came the synthesis and the remaining processes. But, like I’ve said, I only worked one afternoon on its composition (I’m talking about the composition, not the production).
You recently released your own label, Solar Distance – amazing achievement! From concept to reality, how did your label come to be?
Thank you!! The “Solar Distance” idea came about around a year ago, but the idea of the label has been around for a long time.
My motivation comes from all of the international labels that we have worked with. We’ve seen incredible families being formed as well, sometimes the politics in the industry don’t help other artists to grow and we’ve had to react to that and create a support team. We’re not going to stop working with the labels (we’ve still got a good relationship with incredible artists!), but we also want to make our own contribution so that new artists don’t get blocked out because of artists that only think about their money and their jets, being able to fuel their brands thanks to geniuses who fail to understand. 🙂
The label’s vision is very clear: MUSIC without tags. We don’t want to concentrate on one specific genre, we want to concentrate on special music. It’s not necessary to edit music for DJ’s or for clubs. We can edit music to listen to in your car or at home. The most important thing is that the music is special, made from the heart and with a story to tell. There are a lot of artists that can’t edit this type of music at other labels. This is their home.
What is your favorite flavor ice cream and why?
Vanilla!!! Sweet, but smooth at the same time, and if you put a bit of cinnamon on top, you’ll make me the happiest man in the world!! It reminds me of my childhood and that’s where I want to be forever, that moment in your life when all you do is smile. What’s better than smiling about those moments you’ve already lived? So, vanilla for everyone 🙂
Your “Return/Rebirth” EP serves as the first release on your new label, and is also your first solo release since last year’s “Tune 432.” What went into producing your latest EP?
Creating this album was a very long and intense process. I made 24 completely different tracks so I could choose 13 tracks after which were the ones we edited. I put all of my creativity into this year and showed it to the public and, obviously, it was all over my work desk. When I finished, I had put so much energy into it that I wanted to stop for a bit and have time for some other new experiences and inspirations.
So I decided not to bring out anymore original tracks and concentrate on remixes, whilst I was trying to discover new inner inspirations. This is what I’ve done throughout this year, I’ve created thousands of tracks with which I’ve been able to experiment different styles and sounds. That’s how the first 2 tracks from the EP appeared but I wasn’t finished there, I wanted to
keep on going. Life hit me hard 6 months ago, in a way that I’ve never felt before and it gave me a totally different and clean inspiration, and you can see that expressed, in some parts, especially in the last 2 tracks of the EP… You’ll be seeing the rest of it over the next few months.
Can you tell us a little bit about what goes into planning and performing your live act today?
This has also been an intense interior process. About a year and a half ago, we decided that it was time play live again, but not with a laptop and 3 controllers but as a live music band. But the musical concept also changed, like I’ve said, a few months back my inspiration and my motivations changed, as well as the way I saw life. So we’ve converted ourselves into an electronic rock or an electronic & roll band (“wink, wink” for my friend Sergio) that we are working on now. We’re in the process of producing our first album with the musicians and magical components of the band, and then onto playing live. It will be a different concept and we will be letting you know about any new developments, so look out for more news in 2016
I just got done watching your Boiler Room Berlin set from about a year ago. Its always fun to listen to great music while watching people dancing and getting weird in awesome ways. What is the atmosphere like playing in that venue?
To be honest, it was a unique experience. I have to admit that when I watched it at home, I didn’t know that I had to feel the artist and I thought that it must be something hard to achieve because the visual connection with the public is very important for me, but when you’re there, you realize that don’t only feel the energy with your eyes but also within of your body, your soul. You can feel all the people that you’ve got behind you, how they move and how they’re feeling. It’s like a direct connection with the people. It’s a great project and it’s incredible the magnificent and professional work that all of their team does. They’re geniuses!!!!
What is currently inspiring you and what can the fans expect in the future?
Silence still inspires me, because it’s when I can be totally connected with myself and it’s where I find my inspiration. And the place where I live, Lleida, is perfect to keep yourself is that relaxing state of mind so you can work peacefully. Regarding the future – a lot of music and now only club / dance music, but many different styles that always have a background and story to tell.