In this edition of Times and Tunes, our latest bespoke Spotify playlist is curated by Spanish selector and music mogul ‘Baldo’ – an experienced behind the scenes actor whose latest EP recently land on E-BEAMZ
Producer, DJ, label-head and businessman – the powerhouse behind Barcelona based Subwax Distribution, as well as record labels such as Physical Education, Curated By Time and BLD Tape Recordings. When you join all the dots, you quickly realise that Baldo is a very busy man with multiple strings to his bow.
As a producer, his discography speaks for itself. With releases on Gerd Janson’s Running Back, Step Recordings, Physical Education and E-Beamz. You can hear the breadth of his taste and variety of output. It should come as no surprise he’s also released on Permanent Vacation too this year, joining the ranks of Fort Romeau and Lauer.
As a businessman, his distribution company has established itself as a global institution, putting out releases for a plethora of outfits. Serving up the likes of Limousine Dream, Butter Side Up, Haŵs Music, Mindhelmet, We’re Going Deep and Slapfunk to name a few.
How have you been doing, what exciting things are happening in your world right now?
Today is a funny day full of contrasts so far. I woke up with a nice message sent from a friend saying that Virginia played my song ‘Human Connection’ while she was singing over the top during her closing set at Panorama Bar. Also, Peggy Gou posted a video of herself playing at a festival in Chicago in front of thousands of people whilst playing ‘Ride The Night’. But right now, I’m actually in a medical centre because I have to do some food allergy tests and have to be here all morning, sat in a chair! At least I brought my laptop to do some work. So definitely, this is a very special and different Monday, haha!
What’s the inspiration behind the playlist you’ve picked for us?
I selected 10 modern house tracks. Stuff that I would play in a club set or pick for a podcast selection, I put them in this specific order – starting and finishing with soft tunes.
How does it feel to be putting your own music out into the world?
Well, most would probably say ‘it feels great!’. However in my case it really depends on the track or song. I have to admit by the time something comes out, I’m sick of hearing it! It’s only when weeks or months pass that I can really appreciate and judge things as they are. When I finally get to this point, I can certainly appreciate my work and feel proud of the result with some tracks, while with others – I also wish I could go back and make some changes, or improve things (such is life).
What’s the story behind the tracks on your latest new EP?
The tunes were made during the pandemic, however the release was postponed because of pressing delays. I wanted to make an EP with different styles, that’s why you got a bit of everything in it… Breaks, House, Acid, Trance, and even an M1 organ…
How do you find the time to fit in making your own music with everything else you have to do?
I’m constantly juggling, trying to dedicate a reasonable amount of time to everything… running Subwax, making music, selecting music for gigs, listening to demos for my labels. Basically, I’m a person attached to a computer.
We’d love to hear more about your musical influences– what first got you into electronic music?
In the late 90s ,there was a big UK Break Beat scene in the region where I’m from (Andalucía), and there was a club in my town where some DJs from the local area got booked. I used to attend to these nights as teenager, I was the classic geeky guy that would stand by the side of the DJ booth checking what the DJ was doing.
When did you start Dj’ing?
It was during that period when I started buying records and mucking around with the equipment of the older brother of a friend. Then, when I moved to Málaga in 2001 I started playing ‘professionally’ at bars and small clubs.
How did you get involved with Subwax?
I started working at Subwax in 2014, which was the beginning of the distribution side of the company. I already had a label distributed by Subwax (BLD Tape Recordings) so my relationship with Jimi (Subwax founder) was great. He offered me a job some months after and I became his right hand from 2014-2019. In late 2019, right before the pandemic, he offered to sell me the distribution part of the company which I took up. Since then, I’ve run the company together with my friend Paul.
What are the biggest challenges in running a business like this – especially with all the pressures people are facing right now?
Right now, the biggest problem in the vinyl selling business are the manufacturing prices. In the last year we had to rise the price 1,5€ or 2€ per copy so the labels could make the same margins of profit as before. However, this means we’ve had to raise the prices we sell the records to shops. So, nowadays 12”s records are at a retail price of 15-16€. The biggest challenge for record labels is to sign releases from artists and be sure that they’re going to sell. Whilst also reducing their profit to be able to offer the record at a decent price.
All this has an impact on our company of course. Record labels are now releasing less than before, which means less income for us. And so we’re having to reduce our margins as well trying to keep the price of the records competitive.
During the pandemic, our music habits definitely changed, did you find that the case for you too?
It’s true, I listened more home-listening stuff and also produced less. As I couldn’t go out to clubs, I wasn’t feeling that inspired or motivated to create club music. I still made some tunes but not as many as I would have wanted.
What can we expect from you going forward?
I’ve Got a remix for Benjamin Fröhlich coming out in November on his label and I’m finishing a couple of new Eps and have some upcoming gigs in Paris, Bristol, Strasbourg, Lithuania and also Barcelona… Am definitely happy to be back on the road djing!