High-flying Ekai stopped in to speak about his latest release on Roush as well as what we can expect from his DJ sets
So, let’s begin by knowing more about your background to the project when did it all start for Ekai?
Hey guys! Ekai here. First of all thanks for having me on Sweet Musique. My journey as a DJ began some years ago when I started going out with other friends that were already DJs. They let me start spinning records with them and this was great for me. I had some money and I invested in a pair of old Technics and a Rodec mixer. After that, I started reading magazines like Computer Music and Future Music and all these kind of magazines began to introduce me to the world of production in electronic music.
Your upcoming release ‘Champagne In Glass’ is an EP comprised of two tracks, the lead features vocals from Medusa, how did you begin working with her?
I was looking for a sweet mezzo-soprano voice to sing the hook of my lead track, ‘Champagne In Glass’. So I got Medusa involved, who is releasing top tracks on big labels under a different alias. I thought her voice could easily reproduce the lyrics I had in mind. We easily reached an agreement, so she sent me the lyrics very fast. It was very professional work with her.
The release is arriving on Hector Couto’s highly-rated Roush Label; you join a number of artists such as Steve Lawler and Javi Bora to put music out on his imprint. How does it feel?
It feels like you are almost there, into the circuit, but also quite far at the same time because I’m a newcomer. It gives you a non-stop feeling, which in my case is positive. It’s like winning small battles every day. So at this moment, I’m very happy working all day and night in my studio, finishing new music which is gaining great support from artists that I admire, like the two that you have named. For example, a few months ago I received a message from Steve asking me for a remix, which is out now on his VIVa imprint. I also have a track coming soon on Javi Bora’s new label, ‘Too Many Rules’.
When attending an Ekai show, what can party-goers expect from you during the performance?
I’m always looking at the crowd when I’m DJ’ing so I can feel the vibe of the people at every moment. If they are dancing, if they are enjoying the set, or if they don’t… it all gives me clues to how the set is going. That of course, is not the 100% exact science, sometimes you can play a wrong track… but my aim is to always offer my very best during my performances. I’m not focused on only one genre, it’s true that I’m more confortable playing old-school, infused housey vibes instead of simple generic Beatport tech-house. As I said before, the crowd who is attending my shows are the ones who must enjoy the show. Maybe saying that sounds silly but I have attended a lot of performances where the DJ’s never look to the crowd, so you can see a lot of quiet people, meaning the dance floor can empty quickly. We are underrating the figure of a good DJ which is, of course, the leader of the party. If the DJ isn’t focused, the party can turn sour very quickly.
Who’s been the most influential and admirable person within the music industry up to this moment?
At this time I’m really enjoying great house artists like Krystal Klear or Brame & Hamo. They’re doing superb, bringing fresh music with an old-school vibe, which drives me crazy. Also, Bicep and their use of drum breaks inspired me a lot. Regarding my country of Spain, I’m a big fan of Hector Couto, he’s a very talented guy with a clear identity that you can easily find when you are listening to him. That’s one of the biggest things for me, to admire an artist they need to have a clear identity.
When producing a track, what is the general process, do you look to use hardware or are you very much an inside-the-box person when it comes to production?
I mix both of them, I try to get the best of the hardware and the software world. Also, it depends a lot on my mood and the type of track I want to put together. If I want to make a jam with my drum-machines and synths, I start playing around a beat and recording it on Ableton. Or, if I have a more specific idea, I build it directly into the DAW. For example, I just finished a track which is going out on Roush in a few months with a vocal take from Hector Moralez. The vocal is groovy and housey so I made a beat with my TR-909 and TR-727 around it and started jamming because I wanted that old-school vibe of the drum-machines. I then arranged everything on Ableton and I added some production details to make it more interesting. That’s an example of a track that I made almost out of the box. On theother hand, ‘Old Havana’, which is going out on Too Many Rules, is a track made from a sample, 100% in the box.
You’ve collaborated with many other artists on tracks previously, Sooney, Toni Varga and Baum to name a few. Who’s been your favourite collaborative partner and why?
I started doing collaborations with Baum back in 2015. From the first time, it was very easy to work with him because he was always clear on what he wants and he explains that very well. We started working together and after that, we built a strong friendship. I also admire Baum because he’s a guy who is always ready to help you and if you have a friend like that it’s like having a treasure.
We’re now at the end of the summer season, what does the future look like for Ekai, what do you have planned heading into 2019?
I recently started working with RSH Management and they are going to take care of my bookings and management. So Antonio Melo, which is my booker and agent, and I are going to try and consolidate my name by releasing music on great labels. I also want to make a name for myself on the underground circuit of my beloved Barcelona. Step by step, always looking to the next episode. Hope to talk again in a years time to see if much of this has happened. All the best for you guys and thanks for having me today!