Alex Celler chats with Different Language
Air London's Alex Celler chats to Different Language ahead of his appearance at the Fruit warehouse this Easter on living in London, music, promising emerging talent and what he gets up to in his spare time.
Different Language: Yassou Alex, how are you?
Alex: Hello! All good, in the studio at the moment making some fresh music and some edits!
How has 2012 so far been for you, any highlights?
2012 has been very interesting so far, I travelled for first time twice in Ukraine, played in Belgium, did quite a few b2b sets with my good friend Anthea and also Weekend club in Berlin b2b with my good friend Martinez!
You're based in London right? Why did you choose London and do you miss the Greek sunshine?
Yes, I have been based in London since September 2004. The reason I chose London is because before finishing high school I already had plans to try make a living out of music production and DJing. My hometown, Thessaloniki, didn't offer much more than progressive house and psy-trance at the time. I was reading all the UK dance magazines DJmag, Mixmag and Muzik at the time and I learned about the UK scene, Fabric and all the other legendary venues. Being able to speak English fairly well, I decided I would come for studies in London and to get involved with the scene and here I am! I do miss the Greek sunshine but I guess one cannot have it all... sometimes in life you have to sacrifice certain things to obtain some others. So for the time being I am trying to be patient and visit sunny places regularly!
When you are not producing or DJing, what do you get up to in your spare time?
I really enjoy reading books of educational context, preferably history, faith and religion.
"I rather focus on being a great producer with releases in the right labels and try to be an equally good jockey. It's hard enough to do one thing well, let alone do 2 or 3!"
What was your first involvement with house music?
The first time I heard about house music was at the age of 13 in 1999. My father's best man who is a very musically educated gentleman, brought a compilation of great house tracks of the 90's. It was my first real taste of house music. I'd never heard that music before and it really struck me, stayed on my head and definitely led me towards house music.
What came first... DJ'ing or Production?
I know it sounds very cliche but guess what! My father had a record collection... blah... blah... blah!!! So I was mixing and spinning my father's disco and latin records and had the chance to spend few summers playing all kinds of music in Greek beach bars between 2000-2004, so DJing came first. It wasn't long though before I started putting down my first beats, I remember it was around 2001 or 2002.
A lot of artist's these days often have other roles within the industry, from label management to promoting club nights. What other roles, if any, do you have?
Now that's a great question! My roles are only two, those of producer and DJ. Trust me, it's hard enough to do just one of them well, let alone to do both! Sometimes after producing in the studio for few days I realise the amount of records I missed in Juno and I am like, wait a minute, I need to listen to 1000 releases! Vice versa, after buying records for a week daily, I feel I could have more of this time to produce music and make new stuff. Being a label owner and promoter on top of that, would surely manage to eat up one's entire lifetime and I am sure he/she wouldn't be able to do some of them well. I rather focus on being a great producer with releases in the right labels and try to be an equally good jockey. It's hard enough to do one thing well, let alone do 2 or 3!
We've had Simon Baker, Anthea, Laura Jones and Nick Curly from the Air London family, have you heard anything about the Different Language parties?
I recently spoke to Anthea and Nick who have both told me the best, amazing soundsystem, great atmosphere, excellent music and lovely crowd! I am really looking forward to come over and play for Different Language!
You've played at many of the major clubs across the globe, what are your favourite destinations for music and parties?
This is probably the hardest question to answer, but if I can pick few places would be Fabric in London, Panorama Bar in Berlin, Amnesia and Underground in Ibiza, Trouw in Amsterdam and Robert Johnson in Frankfurt. In those clubs I have had really amazing moments. I am sure there are so many more I haven't been to yet which are great as well, so apologies for the ones left out!
How would you describe your sound and who are your influences when in the studio?
I would say that my sound is somewhere between house and techno but it's quite hard to define. I like things with a lot of low end and deep basslines, broken rhythms, a tough beat, loads of attitude and moody. As for influences, Ricardo Villalobos and Rhadoo are the first names that come to mind. Especially Ricardo's music is just so different, weird, complex and deep that listening to his stuff just for few hours makes you feel as if the reset button of your brain has been pressed. I always keep him in mind when producing, his productions are a milestone for the world of electronic music.
"As you probably know, 2011 and 2012 so far, were not very house & techno years but rather electro/disco/vocal influenced, so naturally there's not much going on in my opinion apart for few bright exceptions..."
You've an impressive catalogue of releases, which tracks are you most proud of?
Hmm...! I would say that I do enjoy Montagu Bay, Sourire Du Sphinx and Congata.
You have collaborated and DJ'd heavily with Anthea over the years, how did this come about and why do you think it works so well?
Anthea used to work in Phonica were I used to go (and still go) to buy records. I met her there couple of times but it wasn't until June 2008 when I listened for the first time to her DJ set in T- Bar that I realised she had an amazing sense of groove and a great taste for house music. After that we met couple of times in Phonica as well as the Fabric's dancefloor and talked about a possible collaboration. We did our first EP, "The Playmaker" in August 2008 and since then we started working more often. Over the years we had more releases but we became really good friends through our common taste in electronic music and mostly because we share the same attitude towards faith and religion in our life. I consider her to be my best friend in London!
Which producers and labels are you feeling the moment?
As you probably know 2011 and 2012 so far, were not very house & techno years but rather electro/disco/vocal influenced, so naturally there's not much going on in my opinion apart for few bright exceptions: The Romanian scene is the first which come to mind. The Arpiar group has influenced a whole new generation of young producers who are appearing like mushrooms everywhere at the moment. Having been exposed only to the Arpiar sound, these new wave of Romanian producers truly manages to sound extraordinarily good from the tender age of 20. Can't imagine how they will sound after 10 years! Also, Conforce from Holland manages to deliver 12" after 12" of truly sublime productions. During the past two years he has released exceptional stuff, keeping the underground vibe alive. Some other amazing and promising talents are follow are my good friends from Ukraine, iO, Goshva and Tish.
What's coming up for you in 2012?
I have just upgraded my studio with some really really top notch hardware so expect some weird and experimental sounding stuff soon!!
Great talking with you, we look forward to seeing you at Different Language this Easter!