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Interview with Pedro Sanmartin
The Pulse of Passion from Mediterranean Shores to Nordic Nights
In our first interview on the fresh Substack page, we caught up with the talented Spanish artist, Pedro Sanmartin, now based in Norway. This week marked the release of his four-track EP, "Immersive Experience", on Sound Avenue. Dive into the read and don't hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments!
Hello Pedro! How are you today, and what have you been up to lately?
Hi Guys, I'm good, thanks. Lately, I have been quite busy working on future projects, including music for an international production of a soap opera here in the city I live in.
Can you briefly share when you started producing music, your first piece of equipment or software, and reflect on your debut release?
I started producing music around 1999 with Fruity Loops 3 and a Pentium One. Years later, in 2005, came my 1st synthesizer, a Micro Korg, which I still have and use.
Did you have a mentor or take any lessons, either offline or online, to enhance your skills?
I could say I learned by myself, but I also take inspiration from those around me. This includes some of my closest friends who also happen to be great but unknown producers. From Paulino (Clase Sencilla), who runs the Spanish label Sinhilo, I learned a lot about hardware. From Guillem (Bombjack), I learned a lot about music software and mixing. Then there are other people who helped shape the way I make music, like Alex (Stereonoise), Isidro (Onicrom), and my good friend from my period in Germany, Christoph, the person I've met with the largest vinyl collection and who got me my 1st professional gig.
While you were born in Barcelona, you are now based in Trondheim, Norway. Can you tell us about the music scene in your current location? Do you have fellow producers nearby with whom you can collaborate and socialize?
There are plenty of DJs, and I know there are some other people making music, but we have really different visions of dance music. After all, Trondheim is a small town, and mainstream pop and rock music is what rules here.
Do you have a preference between producing music and DJing?
I enjoy both as they are completely different. I enjoy the calmness of being in my studio and the whole creative process, but the connection you create with other people through live music (DJing/Live act) is something really special and almost addictive.
What do you consider the highlight of your career so far, both as a DJ and a producer?
As a producer, releasing my 1st album last year at Seven Villas was a highlight. An album is something I would have never thought of releasing; it seemed a lot of work, and in the streaming era, I thought no label would have gone for it. I’m super grateful to the label for the opportunity. More than as a DJ, as a live act, which I also do, was last year too, presenting the album at Nitsa Club in Barcelona. I could say I grew up musically listening to the guest artists that visit the place.
How did you first learn about Sound Avenue, and could you mention some of your favorite releases on the label?
Well, it was actually Dominique, the owner of Sound Avenue, who contacted me around 10 years ago through Soundcloud to release on their sublabel, Crossfade Sounds. I had my first releases with my friends at Munit music, and he had listened to them. So we decided to start working together, and here I am, after 10 years, on the main label :)
Could you share some insights about your latest EP “Immersive Experience” on Sound Avenue? When did you start working on these tracks, how long did you spend on them, and any interesting details about the creative process?
The idea was to make something dynamic and for the dancefloor without losing the deepness I like and, of course, as is usual for me, without stylistic boundaries. The last one, though, is another story. I did it during a difficult personal period, and it is a reminder that all storms come to an end and the sun always shines again. For this last track, the process was fast and visceral and started with the piano. For the other three tracks, it was more studied; the groove was the first thing I worked on for all three to make sure it had the right energy.
Many artists have a signature sound or style. How do you balance staying true to your artistic identity while also experimenting and evolving as an artist?
To be honest, I think I don't do more things due to a lack of time, but I try to touch many different styles. I just do what comes naturally from me, which depends a lot on my inner state. I also have an AKA (Basic Shape) with which I have released on Tronic or Tanzgemeinschaft.
The music industry has undergone significant changes in recent years, with streaming platforms and digital distribution reshaping the landscape. What are your thoughts on the current state of the industry, and how have these changes affected your career?
It hasn't affected me in a big way since when I started releasing, there was already social media around. The internet has helped me a lot, not only to reach people with my music but to create a worthy network and even build friendships with other artists. Now, I'm completely against how everything works nowadays. The fact that with enough money invested in a PR or marketing agency to boost your social media accounts, you become a respected/famous/successful/call it what you want artist, instead of what truly matters, which is the work and the music an artist does, has created a fake celebrity DJ scene. It's like a parody of what it was when I started, and it’s sad to see. Hopefully, as all trends do, it will pass and/or evolve.
What advice would you offer to your younger self, considering all the knowledge and experience you've gained in your career? Additionally, what advice would you give to aspiring artists who may be reading this interview?
The most important advice I can give to both my younger self and someone starting is: don’t listen to negative people. Persistence is really important, and don’t distract yourself. Working at night as a DJ can be tempting and dangerous; stay focused on the music.
Do you have a day job, or is it possible to make a living solely from your music career?
Sadly, I have a boring day job 😛. Even though I earn money with music, I still can’t make a living exclusively from it.
Besides music, do you have any other passions or hobbies?
Art in general. I draw, paint, and tattoo. I love swimming too and reading a good book.
Are there any books, documentaries, podcasts, or TV shows that you'd like to recommend to your fans and fellow artists?
I will center myself on the music thematic. Books: “Loops una historia de la musica electronica siglo XX” is a Spanish book, not sure if it is possible to find in English. Dance, music, culture, and the politics of sound by Ewan Pearson and J. Gilbert. Movies: All Gone Pete Tong, Human Traffic. Documentaries: “Hasta que el cuerpo aguante” to understand the club culture and its roots in my country, Spain. "We Call It Techno" is about the early German scene, or "If I Think of Germany at Night."
Could you share some of your all-time favorite tracks or songs that have had a significant impact on your musical journey?
The majority are old Detroit-sounding tracks: Aril Brikha - Groove la Chord, Laurent Garnier - The Man With the Red Face and Acid Eiffel under the name of Choice, Rolando - The Knight of the Jaguar, The Martian - Red Planet, to name a few.
What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
I'm working on a few collaborative EPs with different artists.
Stream/download Pedro’s latest EP: https://soundavenue.fanlink.to/sa170
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