After years of playing his records on Primate, I finally met Cristian Varela back in 2000 at a techno night in Liverpool, England called Voodoo. He had such amazing skills and energy behind the decks, plus such a winning personality – that I knew he was going to be huge. Over the year’s he’s gone on to be prolific in the world of techno and can comfortably be considered as an all time great.
C-U: You were a firm favourite at John Warwicks’s Primate Recordings back on the day. How did you first get introduced?
Cristian Varela: It was an amazing period! Primate was one of the most important labels in the industry where great names like Marco Carola, Chris Liebing, Adam Beyer, Umek… grew up.
I met John because I owned a Records Shop in Madrid and used to import music was from Prime Distribution, John’s company. Every two weeks I travelled to London to buy all the music and it´s when I fell in love with such a great city.
C-U: So you finally made the move to London
Cristian Varela: I moved there two years ago and now I am working with Roland Instruments as beta tester and collaborating with them. I’m also training to become a composer with the ultimate aim of becoming a conductor who specialises in movie soundtracks.
C-U: You’re also currently celebrating 25 years in the business with a global tour. How long were you practising for this moment and how will you be performing?
Cristian Varela: to be honest I never practice a set, just listen and then carefully prepare the music. I like to construct my sets during the event by reacting to the crowd’s energy and feelings.
C-U: How was Pornographic Recordings formed? The label has been running since 2001 now right?
Cristian Varela: that´s correct, at this period my productions in Primate was very high in vinyl sales and is when I decided to create my own label distributed by Prime. I started it with my brother Marco Bailey but later he also created his own label and now I am running it in solo.
C-U: What are your future plans with the label?
Cristian Varela: Pornographic is living a great moment and I want to continue supporting new talents and music created from the heart. Also the big names always like to send their music and that’s the perfect balance for the label. My label manager is also working very hard behind the scenes.
C-U: Can you tell us about the type of sound you’re looking for right now?
Cristian Varela: I always want emotional music, with soul and organic atmospheres. When we select the music Marjan and I listen very carefully all the demos to find the perfect track to rock the dance floors!
C-U: Tell us about some of your own releases and projects you have in the pipeline?
Cristian Varela: I just finished a new EP called Project 10s for one of my favourite labels “Intec Recordings” owned by my brothers Carl Cox and Jon Rundell. Next is my compilation mix also for Intec. Then my new EP in Pornographic Recordings plus Toolroom Trax with my friend Tomy Declerque. Some big projects will be confirmed also in great labels….coming soon.
C-U: We know you’re a mega talented musician. Can you talk us through the production process? Are you using many VSTs? We’ve seen videos of you jamming on 303’s etc…
Cristian Varela: Thanks! Yes I love the VSTs and my analogic machines because is the perfect combination between the digital and analogue. I always start to create my tracks with Logic Pro, prepare the bounces for Pro Tools where I like to work in the mix. The mastering for me is really important and I mainly use Manley EQ, Compressors- Empyrical Labs Distressor and some secret weapons to have the perfect mastering. I’m also mastering music for other artists these days too.
C-U: Which clubs around the world do you most like to play and why?
Cristian Varela: I love Industrial Copera- Granada, Radion- Amsterdam, Space Miami, Womb- Tokyo, R33-Barcelona or Sankeys Ibiza because I can feel magic in all of them and the promoters make me feel like at home.
C-U: What do you see in the future for dance music?
Cristian Varela: live acts! The natural evolution of the Djs is to become more and more musicians and to play their music in live with keyboards, drum machines…like a concert.
C-U: Can you tell us some of the artists you’re really fond of at the moment?
Cristian Varela: sure! I love the music from new talents like Dax J, Gabriel, D´Or & Bordoy, Vlokken, Ian Axide, Alberto Ruiz and Old School producers like Slam, The Advent, Funk D´Void, Planetary Assault Systems, James Ruskin….
C-U: And finally – it’s your last ever gig. What do you close with?
Cristian Varela: with any doubt with Your Body Experience- Elephanthaus Records!!