Interview/Article by Telsa EP
Photography by Sandra Blanquez
Coyu’s continuous hard work and distinctive cat image made him one of the most in-demand DJs/producers in the scene. Not only has he left his mark in the electronic music scene with the birth of his imprint, Suara, he grew the brand and brought it to a whole new level.
Since the start of the project, already 10 years ago, Suara flourished and became one of the most prominent techno and house labels in the electronic music scene. With the support of some of the greatest DJs in the industry, Suara really made a name for itself, remaining once more in the top 10 Beatport labels in 2017.
As the years went by, the Suara brand became much more than just a music label. In fact, since its inception, the imprint grew into a multifaceted project. Within the label’s first decade, Suara branched out and started a fashion line, a series of podcasts, worldwide label parties and a non-profit Foundation for cats.
Just a few days after Suara’s 10th birthday, we sat down with Coyu and chatted about his musical choices, his love for the cats and the label’s mission.
We started our conversation by congratulating the artist on the label’s milestone and continued by asking about the celebration and showcases planned for the big anniversary.
Coyu: “We haven’t started with the proper celebrations yet, we just started with some showcases. We are definitely working on it and will be doing showcases over the next 12 months. Actually, celebration just started this month since the first release ever on Suara came out July 10, 2008. So ya, it’s 10 years now. We’re still working on it. We’ll try to make some noise and make some nice parties. Same thing with the label, we’re trying to make some special releases.”
RiR: Tell us more about the showcases.
Coyu: “Well, I’m born and raised in Barcelona. So for sure we’ll make some parties in my city, as well as the Suara store and some different venues. I cannot give you dates here. We didn’t confirm it yet but ya we’re working on it.”
Unfortunately, the DJ couldn’t give us more information regarding the dates or venues to come, as most of them were not confirmed. Luckily for us, Arder, a fairly new collective focusing on developing Montreal’s techno announced their third event, headlining the DJ/producer.
Click here to discover more about ARDER MONTREAL
If you’re a fan of the label and the producer, you can celebrate the big anniversary with Coyu at Newspeak Montreal on August 9, 2018.
CLICK HERE FOR EVENT DETAILS
RiR: The release of your first album was announced for the end of 2018. What should your fans be expecting?
Coyu: “Well, it’s difficult to answer because I have been working on this album for 7 years now. It took me so much time because I wasn’t really sure about it. I wasn’t sure about the type of music I wanted to release. Musically wise, I’m very opened minded. I’m opened to many kind of genres, so it’s difficult to pull everything into only 13 or 14 tracks. Techno, house, electronica, hip-hop, you know all of those genres I like.
You know, it’s my first album. I want to make sure that people understand who I am, where I come from and where I want to go. I didn’t finish it yet but I’m working on it. I would say 80% of the album is finished, but it’s still not done. It’s something very difficult you know. For me, an album is not only a compilation of tracks; it needs to be something special. Something that is special for me, for the people and for my fans. Hopefully people will understand it and will like it, because I’m putting everything on it. I’m putting all of my emotions and I’m giving everything. I have to make sure people will like it.”
RiR: Since only 80% of the album is finished, are you still planning on a 2018 release or has it been pushed?
Coyu: “Yes, late 2018 or early 2019. Probably next December, January or February. It’s coming out soon because I don’t want to delay it anymore. I told myself I had to finish and release this album this year. Unfortunately I’m not 100% it will be done before the end of the year. It’s almost finished and it’s definitely coming out soon.”
RiR: How many tracks are you planning on releasing on this first album?
Coyu: “ I’m not 100% sure. I will release some tracks that are not club tunes. They are not tunes for the dance floor or the usual techno and house tracks I’ve been making throughout my career. I will release some songs, some of which are only 3-4 minutes. It’s probably going to be around 14 tracks but I’m not really sure yet.”
RiR: It’s often said that cultural differences influence the gig and performance. How would this apply to North America, Montreal more specifically since you are coming in a few days?
Coyu: “I think that Montreal, the city of Montreal, its scene and people are very open-minded. I have played there a few times, first time was in 2011, I think. Yes it was a North American tour that I did with Edu Imbernonand. After that, I think I played a few more times. I played Picnik Electronik for example. Actually, some of my most successful sets were in Montreal. I think Montrealers don’t solely focus on 1 genre or 1 sound. They don’t just love techno, they love house music, and they love many different styles and genres. I love to play there. I think Canada and the States are a little bit different. I’d have to say that Canadian have more knowledge about music, they are more open-minded. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Americans don’t know anything about music. For sure they know, but I think Canada is more connected with Europe, which helps them to have a bigger picture. I love to play in Canada, not only in Montreal but also in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa. I really like the Canadian people and the Canadian scene.”
RiR: Can you tell us about your 2017 Facebook post inviting people to send you their demos?Coyu: “I’ve done this once. The label has been in transition for the last 2 years. We want to be a more mature label with less commercial releases. We want to be less mainstream and want something of higher quality. I got bored of the entire tech house and that sound that has become so popular. For this reason, I started the transition and started becoming the label we want to be. We started focusing on a more underground sound. To be honest, we don’t get that many good demos. Maybe they are good, but they are not for us. In the past, we released a lot of deep house, tech house, progressive and techno. Thus, people send us a little bit of everything, diverse genres. Although it was a very successful campaign, I don’t think it’s worth doing Facebook posts like this one. In fact, within 2 hours of the post, we received over 600 emails with demos. We found some good music but didn’t end up signing anything. We’re a label that gives opportunities to small names and smaller artists. We want to support small acts and newcomers. Because of our transition to something more underground, I don’t think these kind of posts work for us anymore.”
RiR: What role, if any, do you think social media has in your business? Since you’re label changed its focus to underground techno and house, does it still have value after 10 years?Coyu: “For us, social media was super important back in the days, especially when people started to relate us with the cats. We were posting medias, funny videos of cats, which help us a lot grow our audience and our fan base. Nowadays, since we are focusing more on underground, social media is not that important anymore. We are focused more on the music and not other things. Of course it still has some weight, we have to show something interesting, show something fresh and cool. If not, people won’t follow you. So, even if our main focus isn’t on social media anymore, it’s still important.”
RiR: Any new talents we should keep an eye on? Are you in the process of signing anyone new?
Coyu: “I mean we’re always opened to signing new talents. At this time, it would be difficult to say any names. For example, we are currently working on a very interesting project. It’s a release for women producers, only women. We want to give some light to some of these producers that haven’t had the chance to release on big labels. We’re getting a very good response. Many women producers are interested in joining us and release a track with us.
We also wanted to have a good impact with this project. Thus, we’ve decided that all benefits would be given to NGOs, causes designed to help women that have been beaten or that are in bad situations. This record will be released in the first quarter of 2019, probably in January. We are very very excited!
I think it’s necessary to give the visibility to silenced producers that are not use to be supported by big labels. I believed women should be more represented in the music scene and in our business. So ya, this is something we are working on for next year.”
We couldn’t do an interview with the founder of the “cat label” without asking him on his special involvement with the felines. As you can see on the label’s website, the multiple cat pictures on their social media and the pictures all over the net, Suara became a label that is all about the music and the cats.
RiR: In history, cats have been known to be sacred. In fact, many civilizations, such as Egyptians, considered them to be sacred. What is your take and view on the matter?
Coyu: “They are conquering us right now. Nowadays, you can see cats everywhere. I remember 20 years ago, I didn’t know many people with cats in their home. It was more a dog’s world. Nowadays, 70% of the people I know own a cat or cats. I think people can now understand them better and see that cats can be as loyal and lovely as a dog. More people are getting interested to cats. That’s what we’re trying to do with the foundation. We’re trying to help people understand cats better.”
RiR: Can you tell us about your most recent project: The Cat House?
Coyu: “We’re pretty happy with the cat house. It’s a very nice project, probably the nicest project I’ve ever made. My girlfriend and I have been running the Cat Foundation for 7 years now. She is a feline veterinarian and really helped with my involvement with the species. We needed a place where we can show the cats, where people can touch them and have some fun with them. The Cat House is that place, a place where people can interact and be closer to them. If they fall in love with the cats, they can also adopt them. Not only do people come for the adoption, but also a lot of tourists and locals come to spend some time with the cats. The Cat House also allows us to have a bigger reach. We had been showing the cats on social media, but it’s hard to make people understand what we do at the Foundation. The main reasons would be to get cats out of the street and help people understand what is a cat. Some people still don’t really know them, they think they’re like dogs. They are not! The house gives us the chance to let the people know what we do and what we want to do with the Foundation.”
After roughly 30 minutes of chatting with the Suara founder, we couldn’t be more stoked to have been included in his 10-year anniversary showcases. Make sure to keep the DJ/producer and his label on your radar. The coming months are definitely going to be busy and filled with great tunes and new promises.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Coyu better and hope to see you all on the dance floor on August 9, 2018.
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