Interview: Fernando Lagreca
Published on August 11th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Uruguayan electro-pop guru Fernando Lagreca recently dropped his dreamy new album Childhood Is All We Have, so Rocksucker fired him over some questions to find out a little bit more about how he operates. First, though, check out this choice cut from the LP…
How long have you been writing, performing and recording music for?
I’ve been writing songs and recording music for more than 15 years. I started with a little Yamaha keyboard and a cassette-recorder with double deck that I used as a portastudio, making “bounces” (if that could be called a bounce!). Then I sold an old bike and the Yamaha (PSS170) to buy my first real synth, a Casio CZ101. After that, I bought a mini sampler Casio SK-8 or SK-5 – I do not remember exactly – and with the sampler my life has changed. I started to use it as a rhythm box, sampling percussion loops and playing along with the keyboard…
How would you describe your music, if pushed?
I used to compose a diferent kind of electronic music: my first works were a sort of ambient-ish stuff, then during the ’90s I started to make some jungle/d’n’b things but one day I bought a Roland mc303 Groovebox to start to make some dance-oriented tracks, as a test. It was in Uruguay, the country where I came from.
After a time and during two or three years I was known as “Lagreca 303” and practically only did music for dance, some techno, some trance, some progressive stuff. I remember that I used to play a lot at clubs, partys, etc. in those times. There had not mp3 or digital stores yet, it was 1998 or so… then I came to Spain, in 2002 and started to investigate glitch, clicks, ambient again, for about four years.
In 2006 I bought my first guitar and everything changed… I started to compose pop songs! So, as you could see, I made a lot of diferent styles. However, if there is something that I think describes perfectly my music it is the following word: melodies. I like melodies, regardless of the style I am making I always try to make some melody that could be remembered or even whistled, so,this is my hashtag: #melody :)
Where are you based, and what do you use to record with?
I have been living in Barcelona since 2002, almost 10 years, wow… It is a beautiful city to live, its scale
is totally friendly, it has mountain, it has beach, the weather is perfect. The Mediterranean sea gives Barcelona a special nature.
To record I use basically a MPC1000 as a multitracker and a bunch of hardware synths, such as Nordlead, DS Evolver, Nord Electro, Novation K-Station, some pedals/effects and a couple of guitars . Once I have all of the track, or at least a 80% of the track inside the MPC, then I put everything on Pro Tools and record vocals, arrangements, effects, sweeteners, etc… The rest of the process, mixing, mastering, etc is done on Pro Tools.
I like to work with the MPC since it has ram limitations (128 Megabites maxim) as well as very inspiring filters, LFO and effects. The preamps on MPC are great and lend all the mix a fat character that is very interesting. It is an important piece of my gear.
Are you signed to a label? If so, how did you come to their attention?
The new album is signed with Irregular Label, a spanish label, home of great bands such as The Suicide Of Western Culture, Lasers, etc. I knew people from the label since I work in a platform linked in a certain way with the label, so one day I sent them a demo tape of my lastest songs. Immediately I received good feedback from them and they proposed to edit the album… I just had to say yes!
Is there a full album in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it? (Feel free to be as abstract as you like…)
Actually I have a brand new album, released one month ago, so there is no new album in the works but the album I am presenting, Childhood Is All We Have, edited by Irregular Label from Spain. It is a sort of ’80s-chillwave-electronic pop stuff with a lot of synths, melodies, guitars and emotional peaks.
Where can we hear your music online?
At Irregular’s Soundcloud (soundcloud.com/irregularlabel) could be heard a preview of the new album and even download the single “Silly Girl Meets Silly Boy” for free, but the entire album is already available to hear at Spotify and to buy at iTunes, Beatport, Juno, Amazon, etc, etc. If there is anybody who is interested about my former discography, it can be found at my Bandcamp page.
Which have been your most exciting gigs and/or overall moments so far?
I think the best gig I had was one gig in Mexico on 2006. It was my second time in Mexico (what a lovely country), and my first gig playing guitar outside home and it was really great. During this Mexican tour I played four gigs but there was one of them that I prefer, one at Mexico City (DF) in a cultural centre located at the historic centre of the town. There was plenty of people and there was even people who knew the words of the songs, it was really really great!
Another great tour was an Italian tour in 2010: I released an album with an Italian label (Cool Hunter, on Ginotonico – 2010) and the manager of the label organised a presentation tour for several cities in north Italy. It was also amazing, I like Italy so much, my grandpa was Italian. I also speak Italian and I actually felt at home there. Fortunately I have travelled so much making gigs, although I have never been gigging in the UK… maybe it is time for it!
It is! Got any more coming up? (Gigs, that is…)
I hope so! Since I have new album, I hope to get many gigs after the summer. My manager is already working on it and I plan to play at several festivals in 2013. At the moment I am preparing and polishing the live act for the new tracks and taking time to rehearse and try out new live tricks. I only use hardware instruments on stage, i.e. samplers, sequencers, synths, percussion modules, etc… so now it is time to walk through the live show.
Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming acts that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
I recommend a couple of Spanish proposals that I think would be among the “best of” acts for the next season:
1) DOSF : an interactive audio/video project in which audio involves visuals and vice versa, a
paradigma of control on real time. (http://micro-clima.com/dosf/)
2) Boreals : a promising band from Barcelona, focused on postrock, instrumental electronic pop,
really emotive pop on stage. (http://www.miraclemgmt.com/index.php/boreals-live/)
3) XTRNGR : another promising talent from Catalonia, he dropped in 2010 and since then he has been
fascinating press, programmers and people. (http://soundcloud.com/xtrngr)
Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?
Wow, interesting question! But easy to reply… in no particular arrangement: New Order, Kraftwerk, Tarwater, Air, To Rococo Rot… mmmm well, maybe five are only a few, perhaps could I choose ten? Or maybe could I pick some books also ? :)
Fernando Lagreca, thank you.