We caught up with DJ UNER to talk about new music, Ibiza and how he spends his time away from the decks.
How did you first get into music?
My father was a music lover. I do not remember any moment of my life without background music in my house. From there, I started studying piano when I was 4 years old. 20 years later I had my musical career finished, classic training of course. But in the middle of the road, my father gave me an album by an artist that I fell in love with. It was Jean Michel Jarre’s “Magnetic Fields”. I still have that record!
At that moment I discovered that there were so many different sounds to work with, so I started to play with synthesizers and to learn different concepts. I studied some jazz, the guitar, and at the age of 15 I edited my first record. I then started to get to know some people from the industry and I had my first chance to play live (I only did live sets, I did not start playing as a DJ until 2004) in one of the most famous clubs in my country. That’s how it all began, and here I am now, still making noise, from the same room in my house where it all began.
When was the pinnacle moment you knew you could make a career as a DJ?
I never considered having a career as a DJ before, but as a musician instead. I started playing as a DJ for comfort more than anything else, when it came to traveling a lot, because it was very difficult at the time, to move 5 synthesizers, mixer, rhythm boxes, etc than a box of vinyls… But from the first moment I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to music and I loved electronics. I’ve always had the idea of playing concerts and that idea it is still in my mind for future projects.
Where and when was your first ever DJ set?
My first live set (as I mentioned, I did not play my first vinyls until years later) was at a high school party. And I must say it was a disaster hahaha. But the first performance as a professional, in a club, charging, was in Florida 135, one of the best clubs in my country (its owners are the same creators of monegros Desert festival or Row). It was the year 1995!
Name the three main artists you had on your playlist growing up?
Jean Michel Jarre is always the principal.
Queen occupied a very special space too. And if we talk about a third party it would be Laurent Garnier.
Jarre and Garnier have always been my biggest influences where electronic music is concerned.
Do you have any new music out at the moment you can tell us about?
I just released a new EP called ‘Immortality’ on my own label, Solar Distance. An appetizer of what’s in store over the coming months and years.
I’m working on more introverted music these days. In much more musical sounds and perhaps something far from the main dance floors and clubbing. It really is what I feel at this moment.
My music is in a very strong process of introspection and I see the future in a different way from how I saw it 3 years ago. That makes me look for new ways, new sounds and new ways of understanding my future as an artist, so music marks all that process. I’m also working on a new album where you can notice all that process of inner change when you listen to it.
What has been your career highlight to date?
It would be very difficult to choose just a moment since many things have happened in all these years.
As a DJ, maybe my first step in Ibiza thanks to Carl Cox in 2010. As a producer, my previous album on Diynamic or my EPs on Cadenza or Cocoon, marked a before and after. But the best time is still to come.
If you could collaborate with someone past or present, who would it be?
I always wanted to collaborate with Laurent Garnier and a few years ago I got the chance to work on a remix for him. That was a great milestone at a professional and personal level!
Right now, if I had to choose someone to collaborate I probably would not be a dance music artist as such, but rather an artist with a different vision than just the top charts of music sales websites.
So that’s how I have chosen the collaborations that will appear on my album. I’m in a very intimate moment and right now, apart from the incredible collaborations that I have for the release of the album, which I am enjoying a lot, I need a time of solitary work to rediscover myself with that other me that is coming out
Who’s you favourite DJ to go B2B with?
I’m sorry to repeat myself so much, but Garnier would be one of them 🙂
Maybe then I would put a list with people who right now call my attention like Lee Burridge in a more organic sound or Marcel Dettmann in deeper sounds, but anyone who has something different to contribute is always a good option to enjoy and learn.
Who’s your favourite DJ to watch live?
It has been a long time since I stopped to see an entire session of an artist. Travel and work sometimes makes it impossible to go out and enjoy another artist if you do not share a line up with him/her in a show.
But now probably I would enjoy a live set or concert more than a djset like Nils Frahm, Olafur Arnalds, and so…
Favorite song out at the moment?
If I have to choose only one, we have a problem, because I have many that give me goosebumps. If I have to talk about electronica, there is an artist called UNER that I love hahaha
If we talk about music in general, we could go from Bohemian Rhapsody to Dust in the Wind … A difficult question!!
What DJs should we have on our radar for this summer?
It is very difficult to answer a question like that. Being dj touring every weekend I don’t have so much time to enjoy other artists even on the island, but I will be very honest: I would choose someone for their musical quality. Unfortunately and probably part of the scene will be just waiting to see who has the most plays and likes on Instagram to choose their favorite… so I’m out of that game.
You scheduled to play in Ibiza this year, what do you love most about playing Ibiza?
I have played in ibiza for the last 9 years. For me, as an artist, it is the freedom that I have to be able to play what I want. With the different set times in which I can see myself playing, I can change my “speech” very often and I can play things that I could not otherwise. It is something magical. If we think about the repercussions, the best thing about playing in Ibiza is the exposure to the public that we get. Thousands of people pass through the island every weekend and each time you play you have 7 or 8 thousand people in front of you. And that changes every week. There is no club in the world that has that many different audiences every weekend and that is the most interesting thing in Ibiza. Of course playing in Ushuaia is a plus since it is like a big stage of an open air festival, every Saturday.
Festival season is here, what’s your favourite thing about playing festivals?
It is always interesting to play at a festival. Apart from being able to perform in front of a large number of people (which otherwise would be very complicated) you also get the time to meet other artists that during the year it is difficult to see in person. It is like a mega reunion of artists what makes you stay alive in the scene and cultivate the personal relationships that are so important these days. At a musical level It is a huge input for the number of people who attend this kind of events, like we said before.
What festivals are you playing this year?
We have several very interesting festivals this summer!
One of the most exciting is that it will be the first time I play in Tomorrowland 🙂
I will also go through Decibel in Florence, Playa Stereo in Puerto Rico, I have my own festival in Malaga with my brand Umamii in June, Weekend Beach and DreamBeach in Spain, Les Deferlantes in France, and some other things that I cannot reveal, until after the summer.
Which has been your favourite festival moment?
If I have to be honest, I have never been a festival kind of guy, meaning getting into an event for 4 days without leaving. But as an artist I remember with great affection the first time I played in Monegros or my first performance in Sonar (Barcelona). These are the 2 events that have impressed me the most in my land and in those that I most wanted to play. I am a music lover and I like to enjoy it a lot. I’m that kind of guy who is going to see an artist and be able to attend to all the details that surround that performance and a festival is a perfect place for it. But as I told you, those 2 moments were magical for me. I was very nervous in both (I always get nervous before playing but in those more) and it was something very big, especially personal level since I attended for so many years growing up to listen to artists that I admired and then find myself in that scenario, on the top of the stage. It made me and my team proud of the effort of all these years of work.
What separates UK festivals to those around the world?
Unfortunately I have never been in a festival in UK. Of course I know a lot of great festivals, but I can’t speak with property about the difference If I haven’t had the opportunity to appreciate it myself. I’m sure the festivals in the UK have their own special magic, but as I said, I can’t feel it via youtube 🙂
What’s your festival outfit?
For me?? My pink Tutu and my shiny boots, with a lot of glitter in my hair.
How do you spend your down time away from music?
I like to have an easy life. Enjoy free time with my girlfriend, my family, friends…watch a good movie or a good TV series. Sharing a meal or a dinner (I love to eat) and a few laughs with the people I love. Those moments of reality are what help me to continue day by day. We live and work in a business that, although it seems the opposite, is very hard. Many hours alone, many flights, you sometimes eat badly, you sleep badly, you find a thousand and one problems of all kinds. To feel a hug from the person you love, or sit on the sofa at home to eat an ice cream while you laugh at anything wearing just your old slippers, is something that has no price. That gives me inspiration, life and strength as I said, to overcome each day with new challenges and new projects. And above all with the desire to continue learning, creating and enjoying my family.
If you weren’t a DJ, what would you be…
Chef, without a doubt! Hahaha
Although I’m the typical nerd who sits in front of a computer and his hours are gone!
Who’s your dream girl?
The one that gets up beside me almost every day. The one that makes me smile and makes me happy every day! The girl of my dreams is my girl. Nothing more than that to get up with a smile every day!
Favourite place to vacation?
Any place where I can be with my girl.
Sitting in the back of the house, listening and watching squirrels. Anything I can do if it makes me happy.
Drink of choice on a night out?
A little tequila, or according to what kind of night some martinis. Always shared with my friends and with the girl which you asked me about 3 questions above: D
Favourite film or TV series?
I’m going to go for the TV Series, if only I stay with the first season, it would be a fight between Stranger Things and the incredible German show Dark. If I add to Stranger Things the second season, Dark has won me!!! You do not know the mathematics that we have done with Dark to tie things together.
Describe your fashion/style?
Just me, I like to dress neat but comfortable. Skinny pants, comfortable shirts…I love black and not because everyone wears it! 🙂
But I have to say that it is a color that I adore since I was a child. In my communion I was dressed in black while everyone was wearing white. Hahaha
Sneakers but if they are elegant. I am a big consumer of NIKE for my feet. But any high top shoe, that has sporty but elegant flair, drives me crazy.
And my bracelets and necklaces…that can not be missing !!!
I love all those things that I carry and they make me feel very much myself: D
Who would you consider a style influencer for you?
I’m not a fan of fashion to talk about specific names but anyone with personality…whether it’s jeans or a suit with a tie…as long as I know how to wear it with elegance, for me it’s a good image influence.
Finally, words of wisdom for those wanting to make it in music…
It’s very easy: be yourself.
Forget the trends, the tags, what they tell you that you should do, what others do. Do not look at the lights and the fireworks. Close your eyes and feel the music with your heart. Enjoy each note, make it yours, smile, love it, and if you are lucky that it chooses you to be part of it and you can get to make this your life, give back that gift in the form of more music. We must return the love that gives us. Never forget that.
You can download UNER’s new EP here.