We speak to Solvd magazine co-owner and House DJ/Producer Alex Ranerro about his creative process, his latest Solvd event and how he got his start in the music scene.
How did you get into DJ’ing/Music production?
I discovered music production in high school when a friend of mine gave me a copy of Reason, FL and Ableton Live as well. I used to play saxophone for few years as a kid but I somehow didn’t continue to do it. Out of curiosity, I decided to try these music production softwares and I really liked Ableton, which dragged me in quickly. I realised that I could share my emotions through writing music so I started spending more and more time doing it. After my first release, which was in 2011, I started playing music as well. I didn’t have money to buy gear, so I basically had to practice on gigs. After a while I’ve managed to get a pair of 2nd hand Pioneer CDJ 200’s with some random mixer so I could at least perform at home a bit.
You have recently had some notable releases on Glasgow Underground, Lauren Lo Sung’s E1even Records and Bedrock Records, how would you describe your signature sound?
Well, I’m still looking for my signature sound. You know, my sound or what I like changes so fast, that sometimes I have difficulties catching up with the production side of it. It always takes time to adjust to a different style and to learn new techniques though. I currently really like deep/dub sounding pads or stabs that are sharing some kind of emotions. Of course, it has to be layered with some smooth swingy groove and I’d say that most of my tracks are dance-floor friendly. I’m the type of person who likes to seek for inspiration everywhere and currently, there’s really a lot of music that I like and sometimes I do feel stuck in between different genres. But I guess, I’m handling it pretty all right so far.
You also run co-own a magazine and events company; SOLVD, what was the inspiration behind starting the magazine/events?
I started SolvdMag project with a bunch of friends roughly two years ago. At first, it was meant to be a label but then we’ve decided to expand the idea a bit and create a digital platform where we’d be able to create and share quality content created within electronic music community. We try to focus on our beloved Balkan area but we do pay attention to the rest of the world as well. Shortly after our launch last year, we’ve also managed to get a monthly residency at the best club in Ljubljana, K4. So far we’ve hosted artists such as Phil Weeks, Sakro, Mariano Mateljan, Julien Sandre, Jogarde, Kristijan Molnar and a lot of local talents as well. We have plenty ideas for the future such as a record label but we’re taking it slowly one step at a time.
Photo credit: P.K. Photography
Your recently had a SOLVD event at K4 with rising UK talent Jack Wickham. Could you tell us how it went?
Yes, we’ve just hosted Jack this weekend and it was a really good party. We normally discuss with our team who we want to book and Jack was right on the top of our list. He’s really a genuine guy with a lot of knowledge and of course, skills. He played a really good set and I think people really enjoyed it. I joined Jack Wickham at the main room while another SOLVD resident, Evident performed at bar room together with young Slovenian talent Lara H. We had a full house and on top of that, the vibe was right, so I can’t really complain. You guys should definitely check out Klub K4 in Ljubljana though, it’s a hidden treasure.
For DJs/producers that are just starting out in the scene, what advice would you be giving them and why?
Hmm… I’m not sure if I’m the right guy to give out advice since I’m still at the beginning of my journey. But, if I really have to, then I’d say that the main priority is the love for the music. The whole music industry can be really hard and tough so you if you’re not into for the right reasons, you’ll fall out quite quickly I reckon. I’d also advise youngsters to take time and to learn as much as they can about music. Knowledge is a virtue that no one can take away from you and it’ll help make right decisions. And another thing… Since nothing comes through all at the one time, learn how to be patient and to wait for your chance. If you work hard and have some luck as well, things will fall in place. At least I believe so.
Could you tell us about the studio setup you have?
I have a small home studio setup, which includes my laptop, a pair of Monkey Banana studio monitors, a NI Maschine Mikro Mk2 and an Akai Midi controller. I also have a studio which I share with a couple of friends which we have some hardware gear there. We have a pair of Yamaha HS80 speakers, Moog Sub37, RME 400 soundcard, Elektron and a few other bits. I work in both environments as it gives me a different perception and it never gets boring.
What else can we expect from you in the future?
We have monthly SOLVD nights till June and we’ve also teamed up with Labyrinth Open festival which will be in Omiš, Croatia for the second year in a row. The festival hosts some big names such as Stephan Bodzin, Dubfire, Guti, Hernan Cattaneo and others. We’ll be there as media partners and we’ll also host a daily SOLVD stage. I have few other nice bookings such as SoundFactory in Zagreb and Silver & Smoke in Sarajevo in next couple of months. Besides Labyrinth Open, I’ll also play at few other local festivals during the summer but I’m still waiting for confirmations. Production wise I decided to slow things down a bit. I’ve notice that I don’t have to release every month to be present, but it’s better to focus on delivering great music on the right labels. I’m really looking forward to my next two releases, which will come out on vinyl via HouseOnWax and MyHouse YourHouse. Other than that, I’m working on a lot of new material, which I’ll hopefully finish soon.
You can keep up to date with all of Alex and Solvd’s latest news via the links below