Hi Eric, first of all congratulations for winning the award as best Deep House DJ on Ibiza! Let’s do a short review of the last months. How was your summer season and which were your favourite places in Ibiza to play? Thanks, it’s nice to be recognized for something I love to do. Summer was the best summer I’ve had so far. The Circoloco guys really treated me amazingly and had me as resident, which is a big honour for me. And Marco Carola and Mar-T over at Amnesia were the topping on the cake. They had me play a couple of times and even had me out to close Amnesia with Marco, and it was game changing experience for me. I think I’m really lucky at the moment to have these gigs, and I’m working harder in the studio to keep things rolling forward.
Is it correct that you recently moved from Valencia to Barcelona? The Catalonian metropole seems to be an inspiring place for you guys, e.g. Dubfire is also living there, and Guy Gerber. Why did you decide to move? I decided to move to Barcelona mainly because it’s a bigger and better city than Valencia and has an amazing airport. Also people like Dubfire, Danny Daze, Davide Squillace, Audiofly, Art Department and other friends of mine live in Barcelona, making it the best place to live for collaborating with my friends and drawing inspiration from each other.
We read somewhere that your move from the US to Spain has changed the basic sound of your music. How would you comment this statement? Yeah, it made me more aware of the dancefloor. In the US I wasn’t playing for more than a hundred or two hundred people so I wasn’t too seasoned in making proper danceable stuff. I had a much more experimental sound before, which some might say is a good thing, but that sound wasn’t making people dance. Now I think I’ve learned a lot and have been able to adapt well to the dancefloor while still designing good sounds and engineering well.
You won the last DJ Awards in Ibiza as Maceo Plex but this is not the only alias you’re gaming with. Besides Maceo Plex and Maetrik there are a few others and every single one shows another side of Eric Esternol. May we ask you how you express your different „faces“ to the people? Maetrik is a bit darker, harder and more techno. Maceo Plex is usually deeper and sexy, and Mariel Ito is very experimental and electro. I love all kinds of electronic music and it’s important for me to make anything I want have a name to help people distinguish between the three. I prefer to take on personas than to put out every type of sound under one name.
In one of your short biographies we’ve read that your first steps into music was through dancing – your family are passionate dancers. Do you still enjoy dancing or do you like to hide behind the decks? Maybe a secret hobby during the week? Yes I grew up in a dancer family. I was a dancer from a small child all the way up to my teens. I was competing all over the US and I enjoyed it a lot. But djing became much more interesting to me and as soon as I started making my own music in 1996 I was hooked on that. I’m obsessed with sound design and beats, and my background in dance is a huge reason why I stick to dance music. I know it well.
Your Label Ellum is going to celebrate the first anniversary in November 2012. How far has the work as a label owner changed your daily business? It takes a little bit more out of my day now, but thankfully I have an amazing label manager who keeps things moving. Also a great set of friends that give me sick music and really cool remixes. So I’m very lucky to have friends in the business to help me out and teach me about good A&R work. I’m a producer and DJ first, so being an A&R is a new talent that I must learn.
Why did you decide to build up your own label and doing all the hard work for yourself which has been done for you the last years? I had a lot of material that Crosstown Rebels couldn’t possibly put out, so I needed to launch my own imprint to get it all out. Ellum is definitely very “me” so far, but we’re slowly shifting into proper label mode and discovering artists and planning strategies. I want to grow slowly with Ellum and don’t want to get to hyped or big too quick. I think it’s important to take my time with Ellum.
Recently you released the EP „Love Somebody Else” and “Future Music”. What’s coming next, do you plan something like an anniversary release? Any other plans for other labels? No, no big release. I don’t think we’re ready to celebrate… yet. As I said Ellum is in its infancy still and no need to show off that we’ve been around 1 year. Let’s celebrate at 3 or 5 years. I have an amazing new release by Maxxi Soundsystem coming out in November. And a really interesting new group called Switchbox coming out in December. They’re new guys from Cologne and blew me away with their funky techno. Can’t wait for these two to release.
The last ten years you’ve been working with a lot of labels around the world but especially German labels like Treibstoff, Cocoon, and Get Physical are on top of your list. Is there something special about working with Germans? Yes, they are machines in the studio and in the office. I want to learn how to be so efficient yet creative like German artists haha.
Although you are working a lot with German labels, your gigs in this country are very rare or did we get it wrong? When we’ll see you again playing around Germany? Yes, I was with the Rebel agency before and they spend a lot of energy on other territories than Germany. I’ve recently moved over to William Morris, and they seem more in tuned with what’s going on in Germany. Now I’ll be in Germany more often, and I’m sure the parties will be amazing.
Thank you very much for your time and see you soon!