This Argentinean tech house DJ and producer first blipped on our radar a couple of years ago when his name began to appear on club flyers alongside Desolat boss and techno player, Loco Dice. If you’ve heard one of his sets anywhere around the world since, you’ll understand why Dice was quick to take Guti into his fold: a driving tribalism, warm bass undercurrents and the sort of percussive lines that send clubs wild all characterise his sets, as well as his productions for the aforementioned imprint and more recently Crosstown Rebels for whom he served up one of the tracks of 2010 in the form of ‘Every Cow Has a Bird’. And he only started this game back in 2007….
Before that time Guti was still making music, but of the rock variety; with guitars, and was touring his native South America as a fully paid up member of a stadium filling band. Having grown up on a diet of jazz and as an accomplished pianist from a young age, though, the pull of the next musical challenge was too great for Guti and so he found himself jacking it all in pursuit of a more electronic 4/4 beat.
As such, he presents his debut album to the world, Patio de Juegos (or “Playground”) on Desolat this month: it comes with plenty of collaborations including Anthea, Ryan Crosson and Guy Gerber and bares all the hallmarks of his love for jazz, blues and real musicality but, at the same time, does a fine job of getting you dancing. To find out about his previous life; love for Seth Troxler and co and about the work that went into the album, read on…
What music did you grow up around in Argentina? Was the important in shaping the musician/producer you are today?
Loads of different music, my Father was listening to Classical music and my mum was a former psychedelic hippie of the 70´s. So it was a weird mix of Bach and Deep Purple with Yes! I do think it was important in shaping me as a Musician; every song you heard in your life is part of your story. It is the soundtrack to your life, and a personal thing.
And how did you then come to be a big rock star?! What was your life like back then day to day?
Let’s say I was part of two big rock bands, it was crazy, amazing, and exciting. Some people dream to live those things and I’m lucky enough to be able to tell to my kids I was there. There were so many emotions and big nights, creativity and wildness. Good times!
When did you first hear electronic music? What was it that you liked about it?
It was the whole dancing thing that caught me. I guess it was another way to see the music, from the body and then to the mind. Also it was having fun with friends. First it was just an escape from the rock life. Then it brought new needs, and I´ve ended up here…and I’m loving it.
What made you decide to give up the rock for techno in 2006? Was it a hard decision?
Yeah it was hard. It was a jump to nothing essentially. Overnight I quit the big thing of being in a band, just because I wanted to write other music. Now maybe it makes sense, but back then I suppose you could argue it was a case of dreaming. I just needed to go out of the loop, to see if I could achieve success by myself. It’s been quite of a journey so far.
Do you still listen the stuff from your old days, still play instruments and such? I guess that’s you on the opening track of the album…?
I do. I don’t listen to electronic music at all really, just my own productions. I live in my own world, and I like that. Electronic music for me as an input, it is the club. And yes, I still play piano every day, it is my ‘safe place’. So yes it’s me on the opening song, and every key on the album.
How is your life different now – has everything changed for the better? Would you ever go back to that old life?
Of course the thought is in my mind, I think that is natural. But life now is amazing, I’m experiencing new things all the time, there is always a new adventure. Rock has been a really important of my life and it will be forever. I still play Blues every morning, but is nice after all these years to have new goals and dreams. That is why I’m here.
So how/when did you first start producing/DJing? How long was it before you sent out your first record?
I started back in 2007, but my first record was in 2008 with Damian Schwartz on Raum Musik. I made some records before that release, but that was the point where I realized I could play my instruments on top of electronic music. It changed my outlook and approach, and I must say I’m grateful to Damian for that, he opened my eyes. Until then I was just trying to escape from rock, but after I felt more free than I ever was, music was from the heart.
When did you first hook up with Desolat and Dice? How important has that relationship been for you? What have you learnt and taken from it?
Dice made me an electronic artist! He was the one who trusted in me, who had a vision for my electronic music, it was a brave move! I can write music, and I´ve been doing this for years. But I didn’t know much about electronic music. Dice gave me a space to grow on the road whilst we toured. The relationship is great, it is kind of a family, and yes I am learning from them all the time.
And it’s well known you’re very close wit Seth, Shaun etc – how did you meet those guys? Why do you think you hit it off so well?
We met a couple of years ago, and I saw in them lot of things I had when I was their age. I’m a couple of years older than them, and even if doesn’t appear to be a big difference at face value, I think it is because I had an intense life. The experiences they are living now, I had them ten years ago – so for me that synergy with them I natural. I guess it is a pure feeling of friendship and love. From the first second I met those guys I knew they would be my friends for ever, and it is really amazing to see how all of us are growing, and doing great things, it is a nice feeling.
So how was the album writing process for you? Was it different to writing 12”s? Was it a process you enjoyed and would like to do again?
I write music all the time as it is a method of escape. Writing the album was special because it was the result of my first year in Europe. So it’s like a diary of all the things that have been happening to me, all of my experiences. The last year has involved some big changes, especially with the music I was making. So it made sense for me and Dice and Martin to do this now, to close the chapter if you like.
Did you write the album whilst on tour or at home or…? Did the location you were in influence the sounds you were making?
I’ve written the album around the world on my travels. Every trip changes your life a bit and I’m lucky I can make song out of it.
What else influenced/informed the LP? Where did ideas come from?
Everything, my whole life I guess! I have a bit of a dual personality thing going on, this melancholic thing, but also I am a super happy person. This is the Latin rollercoaster of feelings that are always there! I think the album reflects this…thank God I’ve got a piano to deal with it.
What feelings / emotions / expressions / thoughts do you try to convey through the music you produce and play?
Hope. Happiness is about moments, little moments that make the whole thing worth living. When I am writing music I don’t think about anything. I just play then the emotions come along. So it is an internal process that flows naturally.
You’ve done a couple of collaborations now, what is it you like about working with someone and how do they come about? Also, would you like to do more?
I am a musician so I grew up playing with people. I see the whole collaboration thing from a different point of view. To make music with someone and to share the studio, to get lost together is a gift. I don’t think there will be a time where I don’t collaborate. I also make music with people I have a strong connection with, as it gives you the opportunity to be a better person and artist after the song. I don’t care about releases or names; I just want to make a beautiful song. And I think if you listen to my collaborations most of them were beautiful songs, and that is permanent.
What else have you got coming up in 2011?
Many many things – you will have to wait and see! But for now I want to enjoy my album and the whole process. Sometimes it is cool to stop time for a bit, look back and take stock of what you’ve got, smile, take a breath and then keep on going.
Kristan J Caryl for AUTOBRENNT