Being born and growing up in Ibiza is a great starting point for anyone wanting to get into the dance music scene, just ask Manu Gonzalez, Ibiza’s leading son, he has a touring schedule that sees him DJing around the world as well as gracing the decks in some of the finest clubs on the island. Not only that his music productions are being supported by some the biggest names in the scene, pushing his stock further still.
In the first of our new ‘In the Studio’ DJ Mag TV video series, DJ Mag Tech spent some time in the glorious Ibizan sunshine with Manu, as he talks us through how it all began and some of his production techniques that goes into making his dancefloor hits.
How did it all start for you?
When I was fifteen my Dad got me a job in a local record store here in Ibiza - Disco Delta, I was always into hip hop, funky music and started getting into house, I was really hungry for it. I grew up here in Ibiza with the house music scene so I was always exposed to the DJs and the clubs and that was how it all started. Disco Delta was a great shop, we were sending records all over the world, I was meeting a lot of big important DJs who were coming into the store, it was a great place to be involved in the dance music scene.
How long have you been producing?
I started to make music six - seven years ago. After the record shop, I went to Madrid and studied music for three years, I had a tiny studio and spent a good period of time getting to know my craft, before I was ready to release music.
‘Play It’ your collaboration with Secondcity was one of your big tracks from the summer…
Yeah, I was working with Secondcity in his studio in London and we came up with ‘Play It’, it got a lot of support. It was really amazing as we were getting plays on Annie Mac’s show on Radio One and loads of DJs picked up on it. I had been travelling back and forth to Seconcity’s studio in London to work on this, we were doing something for Marco Carola, looking at the stuff he plays and we came with this track, it is a mix between Romanian new music with breakbeats and techno influences, Marco supported it big time playing it in all his sets, we were happy with the impact of the record.
We made the track using some pretty nice gear, all the rhythms are from the Roland TR-909 and the basslines from a Prophet Synth, Secondcity has some really nice gear in his studio, it was fun making it.
And what about the kit that's in your studio?
I’ve got a Roland TR-08 drum machine, basically it is a modern-day version of the 808 and 909 it has the sounds from those classic groove boxes, it has some great kicks, snares, everything that can be found on the 808 and 909 can be found on it. It sounds just as good as those original boxes. I’ve recorded on the laptop my own kicks and claps using it so that I have my own unique sound, I then use the TR-03 (Roland) for acid sounds and stuff, I’ve got a few presets set up on it, I use it to add harmony to the tracks, some people use it as a bassline but I like to use it for adding elements on my productions. All my basslines I create with my Moog Little Phatty, for me it’s the best, it so good, a great analogue synth, you can make some great sounds from it.
I also have a Novation SL that I use as my MIDI controller, which I controller my VSTs from, I use a lot of plugins from Native Instruments, with everything I have in my studio it is enough for me to make my music. I have been working in some pretty cool studios but they can have too much kit, of course it’s amazing to work on all those machines but when you find the things that make you comfortable in the studio, the bits that you really know how to work, that’s all you need really.
What are you working on?
I’ve got about twenty releases coming out over the course of the year, I’ve been really working hard in the studio, gigging a lot but coming straight off a plane and locking myself away in the studio just making music, I’ve just finished a remix for Marshall Jefferson that is a proper jacking style house mix, so much music coming through…
To find out more about Manu Gonzalez’s production techniques and studio secrets check out the new video below. A really insightful masterclass into how this Ibiza wonder DJ/producer goes about making his tracks…
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