Pépe has already proven his versatility and talent with successful releases spanning house, electro and breaks. His music is contagious, refreshing and individual. It’s easy to see why this guy is turning heads in the industry.
Ahead of his next release on Loose Fit. We had the pleasure of chatting through his typical day, the godsend that is social media and about his approach to a DJ set.
Treat yourself and read through some words from Pepe, which give a fascinating insight to the mind of an interesting and dedicated young producer. Whilst you are at it why not feast your ears on a mix from the man himself, which was recorded live in Gewölbe, Cologne.
Let’s try and paint the whole picture. Talk us through a typical day in the life of Pépe.
Wake up, drink my body weight in water, boil my skin off in the shower. Forget to eat breakfast and walk or take the metro to the studio, which is out of the city near the fields. Make some coffee, worry about social media, answer e-mails and get all the “technical” stuff out of the way.
Make lunch, water the plants, and then a solid 4-5 hours of making music. Delete said 4 hours of work and begin again, maybe with 20 mins to spare to make an actual song. Walk back home and play some pool with friends (trying to get good, it’s a hard game!) then make dinner and get to bed.
You mentioned social media worries. What is your opinion on social media as a tool for promotion? It seems almost crucial for any artist now to have so many followers or ‘likes’ on posts. Shouldn’t artists get to concentrate on music alone?
Social media is both a godsend, and a hassle. Used properly it’s an incredibly accessible tool for people who wouldn’t have the means to get themselves heard. But then again it’s massively detrimental for the ego… so many fake stories pushed around set very unhealthy goals for musicians.
I get that philosophy that people have that we should concentrate on music alone, but I don’t really embody it. After all, we are performers, we have personas… A lot of important musicians like Prince, Bjork, Aphex Twin are incredibly talented musicians, but also bring a very interesting experience to the table by using separate means of promotion. It’s all fair in war, love, and art…
Do you have any hobbies or passions outside of music?
Far too many to afford them all at once… I’ve skateboarded all my life and (not to be a skater boi bro) but I think I could never quit that, it’s such a liberating sport. Someone described it as “getting from a to b in the most original way you can, a sport where there is no wrong way of doing things”.
I’m a very casual gamer so I like to play every now and then, been trying to get into lesser known games, I find them very inspiring for music creation, because it’s so much more immersive than watching films. A good film let’s you feel for the character, a good game let’s you be the character, which is incredibly cathartic.
As aforementioned, I’ve been watching and playing a lot of snooker and pool, and I find it fascinating. I’m weary of the hyper bougie capitalistic environment around these games in competition, but it is such a satisfying game.
Back to the music stuff – how do you approach a DJ set? Interested to hear about whether the set is planned, how much you consider what time you play, whether you look at who is on before or after you, any other rituals?
Aside of the usual digging and sorting out music before gigs (i categories and list things heavily) I seldom prepare for a specific set, unless the promoter has requested a specific vibe.
I really do put those things into consideration, It’s my goal that when two different people discuss seeing my sets in different venues, they got a completely different experience. I don’t like doing “my set” and completely ignoring that there’s a crowd there that might require a specific energy for the place and time.
Who is on before or after me is very important and I like the challenge of being fitted between some curveballs, because I like to play a lot of different music, It’s like a puzzle where the middle has been torn and I have to design the pieces in between.
I’m not massively ritualistic, but lately I’ve started to take my shoes off if the floor of the booth is comfy enough, some clubs have a rug, which is an absolute vibe.
How do you think growing up in Valencia has influenced you both musically and personally?
Anyone who knows me knows I really don’t ever shut up about my Valencian “identity”
We have a particular accent, gastronomy, way of being, micro-climate, and this all bleeds into the way we are, relaxed, cocky, funny, and very proud of our heritage and my character has definitely formed around these traits.
Musically though, I don’t think I’ve had a massive influence. I always looked out to other places (like the UK or Japan) for musical inspiration, and tried to make my own music through the haze that is getting inspiration from scenes you aren’t a part of.
As music technology has improved it’s gotten easier for anyone to set up at home and produce – and of course also to ‘DJ’ especially with software like serato or traktor. It could be said that the industry is a little over saturated. Did you consciously try and stand out with your productions/sets or is this something that came naturally to you?
It was definitely an accident for me. I came up from a very parallel musical world, listening to a lot of hip hop, math rock, hardcore, punk etc… My introduction to dance music was much later, which meant my “musical capital” was totally different from the expected.
Therefore I kind of started creating music that was “dance” by definition, but took many elements from very different genres. In spanish we say “taste comes from variety” and it’s kind of been a mantra to me. Bring as many things from outside the core of the scene, to make things as colorful and interesting as possible
Finally tell us about your mix and the feelings behind it.
This mix was recorded live in Gewölbe, Cologne. I wanted to have a mix that was danceable and pumping but retained a colourful and trance-inducing feeling. a fair few unreleased pepe’s throughout.