With a new four-track EP out Filth On Acid, we meet Spanish techno producer Aitor Ronda
There's no doubt that Spanish techno producer Aitor Ronda's star is firmly in the ascendant right now, but he's no newcomer to the scene. A fixture in Spanish clubs since the mid-90s, he turned his hand to production around the turn of the millennium and has been providing a constant string of EPs and singles ever since, on labels including Terminal M, Elevate, Elrow Music, Work Hard Play Hard, Lapsus Music, Adult Records and his own Drakos Recordings.
His most recent offering is the Beyond The Edge EP. Out now on Reinier Zonneveld's Filth On Acid, it's a four-track affair that showcases his muscular yet groove-driven style perfectly while throwing in a few casual nods to the rave era, and should serve to boost his profile even further internationally.
Which is good, because as he reveals below, he's recently kicked off a whole new chapter in his career with the launch of WHACK, a new record label and party brand with which he aims to "focus all my music concerns under the same name".
Before we move on to Aitor's doubtless bright and shining future, though, let's have a little catch-up on the story so far…
Let's start in the present day... your new Beyond The Edge EP comes on Filth On Acid. How did you come to hook up with them?
"It was like always with all the labels I have worked with, just knocking at the door and sending music to them. In this case, it was a really nice surprise that from the very first moment Reinier liked my music, and everything was smooth from that point."
Talk us through the four tracks on the EP... how would you describe them if you had to review the EP for iDJ?
"Beyond The Edge is the A-side, no doubts about that: it packs a powerful punch, it's groovy and it’s got that classic 90 stab that completes it. Water Drop is dark and filthy, with an old school bassline that drives the track pretty well. It’s a great tool with a cool vocal before the drop that surprise the crowd when shows up.
"Tetra is a look back to my childhood and an updated view of my roots. The bassline reminds me of the Knight Rider soundtrack and it's got those kinky trance leads that remind me of the 90s sound. And finally Crossroads is a dark, minimal, straight hard techno tool, built purely for smashing floors!"
Your last EP, Ace Of Clover, came on Pig & Dan's Elevate label, who've put out a lot of your previous releases. What is it you like about working with them particularly?
"It’s fabulous! I’ve learned so many things and I improved my studio skills so much since I meet them. It's so easy to work with them: there's no ego, just respect and lot of talent. I’ll be always very grateful for their trust in me and their big support. They are living techno legends for me. I love their music, I’ve been playing it for years now."
You used to have your own label, Darkos, but I can't see any releases for a few years now… is that label now gone and if so, what happened?
"Well, I don't like to say 'gone' so let’s just say it’s paused for now…. but yeah, I’m more focused right now on the opportunities that I have to sign my music to all these big labels."
Your Discogs entry lists over 40 singles/EPs spanning 17 years, and I'm sure there'll actually be many more than that! So why has there never been a full-length album so far, and do you have any plans in that area?
"Actually, there is an album… it’s called Victoria and it's dedicated to my mother. It includes 12 original tracks, plus a couple of remixes and collaborations. There's also an official mix version…
"It’s pretty conceptual and melodic, there’s a start, then it has its development to finally conclude with a great end. I worked on it thinking of a trip, I uploaded it on my Soundcloud and it's still there, so people can download it for free. I enabled the free download because I felt it was so special that I wanted to share it in this way, sincerely it is a piece of my heart. Of course, now you can also find it on all platforms because that was the only way to get it into Spotify."
Of those 40 releases, around half appear to be collaborations: what do you enjoy about making music with others? And when you do collaborate, is it usually done remotely or do you actually go into the studio together?
"What I enjoy most about working on collaborations is tsharing knowledge and getting surprised by the results of creating new music with another artist. At the moment, I prefer to work remotely: this way I’m always ready when inspiration comes to find me!"
Speaking of which, what's in your studio: are you a hardware geek and chronic black box accumulator, or do you tend to work 'in the box'?
"I had a lot of hardware in the past but not now. I am sure I will in the future again, but at the moment I feel good working as I have been doing for the last four years: digitally with my controllers and always MIDI. I don’t use libraries, just my own samples that I did in the past.
"Currently I’m creating all my tracks from zero, because templates suck! I must have millions of sounds, libraries, presets, etc… from the old times, but right now I’ve got my own formula to export all my ideas into Ableton and it works well for me."
What's happening for you on the DJ front at the moment?
"I will be pushing WHACK, my new brand for parties and label. Also, I’m planing my first international tours: South America first and maybe Australia will be next. I would also love to bring my music again all around Europe, and for sure I will keep playing around Spain, as I have for last two decades and which I love so much because, you know… good weather, great food and amazing people!"
And how is that experience these days? With the massive upsurge of interest in techno in the past few years, have the crowds changed at all, do you think?
"When I first started playing techno in the 90s, I would have never imagined that we were ever to get to this point. The crowd hasn’t changed much, because techno still causes the same effect on people that it did 20 years ago. The difference now is that there are much more people dancing around the world!
"It gives another image – much more inclusive – about the techno artists, who in the past were sometimes kind of outcasts, depending on the different areas."
Finally, what else is going on in Aitor Ronda's world right now that iDJ readers need to know about?
"I’ve recently started my own brand, WHACK, to focus all my music concerns under the same name. We launched the brand with a big event in my hometown, Barcelona and the next step is to create the label and start something fresh with my newest sound.
"And then after that, the next step is a live act! I’m very excited and motivated about it. More info will be shared very soon."
Words: Russell Deeks
Beyond The Edge is out now on Filth On Acid. Buy it here.