He received a beatport nomination in 2010 for ‘Best Deep House and Techno Artist’, won beatport’s ‘Top Remixer of the Year’ in 2011 and has collaborated and remixed artists including Fedde le Grand, Sander van Doorn, John Acquaviva and Mark Knight. After packing out the main room at Ministry of Sound the weekend before, Manuel de la Mare returned to the UK to perform in the Toolroom Knights arena at Global Gathering. We caught up with him after his set to get a snapshot of the life of a DJ and to find out what clubbing around the world is really like.
How did your relationship with Toolroom develop?
Toolroom is like my second family. I met Mark Knight some years ago in Brazil; I think he’s my biggest supporter. I really feel like it’s my second family here.
What was your experience of performing at Space for Toolroom Knights?
I have my residency there. I played in June, I’ll play again in August and in September; I play there almost every month. It’s always an amazing experience; all people go there just for the music.
When you’re performing at festivals, is the experience different to when you’re performing in clubs?
Yes, it’s totally different. I play different music, there are different dynamics, you see the different reactions, but I want to keep my sound. I love both; maybe I prefer the clubs. I have my idea of what a DJ set must be. It depends on what time I play, on what venue. If I play in an after party, I cannot play commercial music; if I play in a very commercial venue, I cannot play underground. I play to make people happy, simply this.
Who inspires you?
I listen to a lot of music, many, many different styles. At the moment, there is not only one artist that inspires me. I can say some young guys like Nicky Romero, I really admire him, or again Mark Knight, Richie Hawtin, or in the past, Bob Sinclar, many different artists.
What is your favourite piece of gear?
Everything that makes me listen to the music the way I like are my favourite things; I cannot live without these. Maybe the best tool everywhere are my headphones, both Pioneer and Sony. I need these because they help me to have always a similar listening experience in different places.
Do you have any production tips?
Just make a lot of music; try to finish your tracks, not just mix some loops, really make a full track and go and play at your gig. It’s the best test you can do to see if your tracks are working or not.
Do you think it’s necessary for DJs to start their own labels?
No, it’s not necessary. When I started this with Alex Kenji, we were not happy with the label we were working with. We were very little producers and we were not always able to release our music in the way we preferred. So, for us, it was necessary because this happened a lot. Now there are many, many good labels, many different styles. With this explosion of electronic dance music, I think there is a place for everyone in all the labels. Very big labels, like Toolroom, can really make an up and coming artist a big artist quickly.
Tell us about your labels.
303Lovers is a bit more underground and Hotfingers we say is for the ladies; this is the main point. We can release everything we like; we feel very free to do what we want. We don’t have any requirements, we don’t need a big name; we just release what is good for us. There’s a Brazilian guy, Do Santos, who’s released tracks on Hotfingers; he’s doing very, very good music. And we have a release from Federico Scavo, one of our Italian friends, coming up on Hotfingers in a couple of weeks too.
What releases do you have coming up?
Now I’m working on a compilation for Toolroom. It will take a lot of time because I’m making some remixes, some originals and I’m working on a track with Mark Knight. I think it’ll come out in November, but we are still working on this.