Our latest artist interview features Gabor Kaszas aka East Cafe. The Hungarian producer has a brand new single entitled ‘Hurt’ out now on Clinique Recordings. Please enjoy our interview with East Cafe below.
1. Hi Gabor, thanks very much for joining us here! This is the first time I’ve interviewed you so let’s give our readers and your fans some background info. How old are you and how long have you been producing and Djing?
East Cafe: Hello, and thank you so much for the opportunity, it is a great pleasure to be featured at Release Promo. 🙂 I’m 32 and I’ve been producing music – mostly progressive house – for more than ten years now in my hometown, Budapest. Although I have monthly shows in internet radios, and do gigs, my main profile is making music, Djing only comes second.
2. Where do your musical roots lie and when did you know you wanted to pursue electronic music seriously?
East Cafe: As I child my I had the chance to listen to music from artists like Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis. My dad had a massive record collection, and a great taste, so it was rather easy to find the good stuff even at a very early age. My mom and her parents were members of a choir, so music has always played an essential part in our everyday life. Though as a young teenager I was a hard metal and rock fan, in the nineties I came back to my beloved electronica, via big beat and house, so by the end of the decade I found myself collecting Global Underground releases, and house/techno/trance records. Compilations like “Arrivals” from GU made me want to produce the kind of thick, massive sound with a pinch of melody which was so trendy in the underground those days.
3. I’m always curious how producers come up with their artist names, is there a story behind yours? How did you decide on East Cafe?
East Cafe: As the name “East Cafe” goes, it evokes a feeling that there is a band, or at least a duo behind the concept, and actually this is how it used to be… About 10 years ago me and my friend we had a bright idea about a place called “East Cafe” where people would had the chance to enjoy underground music all day long. It was rather obvious that we couldn’t make this thing, but still the idea lives on in the “East Cafe” concept, which started as a duo, but really soon it turned out that I had to continue with producing stuff alone. One of my friends once told me that once people get to know my artist name, it is not a good ides to change it ever after, even if it sound strange to me later. Well it does sound strange, but I kinda like it. 🙂
4. So you’re based in Budapest which is the largest city and capital of Hungary. How is the nightlife there? Are there clubs and events you can go to which offer good electronic music?
East Cafe: When it comes to nightlife in Europe, Budapest is one of the best places to be nowadays. To be honest most of the time when I go out at night, I feel like I am at the right place, and there is no need to leave for Berlin or London for the ones want to ride the new wave. On one hand this unique vibe might be very inspirational (as it is for me), but on the other, it is rather sad for a progressive house fan that there are less parties to attend, than Hungary used to offer many years ago… At the same time I must mention that there are more and more gigs with melodic stuff, and while some places still stick to mainstream radio stuff or tech house (unfortunately not the quality tunes), there are parties where genres seem to melt together, nu disco and deep, progressive and techno, so there is light in the end of the tunnel. I’m glad to be a part of this change, as I will play at one of the most exclusive new places here downtown, on a rooftop with extremely beautiful view of the hills and the City, that delivers perfect scenario for dreamy pads and chunky beats. And to continue with some shameless self-promotion, you might also find me again at Sziget Festival and later at one of the best clubs in the city, A38. 🙂
5. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on in your career that really helped?
East Cafe: I did not attend any schools that deal with music production or sound engineering, although as a little child I had some piano lessons, just the basics. I read a lot about sound engineering and during the last few years I tried to find useful tutorials on Youtube, and to learn a lot from my friends who are more qualified in this field. Also from time to time there are pretty good meetings here, where experts share their thoughts for example on mastering. Most of the time these are organized by local stores, so you can buy your new studio monitor speakers right after the little get-together. Business does not sleep, you know how things work… 🙂 After all, I think I can say that I am a sort of an autodidact, it takes time to learn all these things by yourself, but it pays later for sure.
6. You’ve got a new record label starting soon, what can you tell us about Time Capsule? When will it be launching and what releases can we expect? What artists do you hope to work with on Time Capsule in the future? And will the label be an outlet for many of your own original productions?
East Cafe: To be honest I wanted to launch the label early this year, but one thing that is a huge part of my philosophy made me wait with that, that thing is patience. I think all artists need time to make their tracks sound good enough for their own expectations, that is why I never want to hurry anybody with a remix or an original… There are two packs ready to kick off here, and some are still under construction, but I promise that fans of quality music won’t be disappointed with Time Capsule releases. You might expect tunes and remixes from the likes of Stephen J. Kroos, MiraculuM, Nikko.Z, AMAN, Exoplanet and one of my latest favourites, Kacper Kostecki just to mention a few names… I made one remix to date (for Kacper’s crazy tune, Retrouvaille) and still working on a collab with an upcoming Hungarian artist, but I don’t think that this means that I would keep my own stuff for the label.
7. You also have a Time Capsule show on Proton Radio which has already been running for a few months. When can your fans tune in to that and what sort of music do play on the show? Is it a good representation of what you might play in a club or perhaps something different?
East Cafe: In “The Time Capsule” I always try to promote stuff from the label, my own tunes, and the promos that I got from the labels who show kind interest in my thoughts about their new releases. In May we launched a new show at GWM radio as well, basically both of these shows represent what I would play out at a private party on a late afternoon, they are made for your home stereo, even if they include tunes that are in my “bag” when going to a late night gig.
8. So according to your Beatport discography your production career started around 2007 with several releases on the Hungarian label Morphosis Records. How has your studio and production sound changed since then?
East Cafe: I’m not too keen on my first releases, but I look back to those days with sweet nostalgia. I used to work with a single pc, hi-fi headphones, and a pair of not so professional speakers which offered very limited opportunities to create complex sounds and proper mixdowns. Thanks God, now I have a chance to work with synths and midi controllers, studio monitors and headphones and a much better audio interface, that allows me to create almost anything I’d like to.
9. What’s a normal day like for East Cafe? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on production or radio mixes?
East Cafe: I have a daytime job, I work for a financial institution, and at the same time I attend collage on the weekends. Actually I don’t know when I work my productions and sets. 🙂 I guess need a time machine. Seriously, I always try to find the balance at home, I really don’t want to spend more time at my studio than with my beloved wife, every second spent together with her is precious to me. I try not to take music too seriously, as it is a source of fun and happiness, and not the main source of my income. Some might say one should take things seriously to be a real professional, but I try not to over emphasize the importance of being a producer.
10. You’ve had releases on some very respectable labels, Nikko Z’s Dopamine comes to mind first. Do you have goals in terms of trying to get music signed to bigger and more established labels like Bedrock or Anjunadeep? And if not those labels where would you love to see your music getting released on in the future?
East Cafe: A lot of friends of mine have already asked this question, but to be honest I hardly ever send demos to labels. Most East Cafe tracks are signed to labels which previously had shown interest in my music and had asked me if I could send them material to release. I am not the kind of guy who keeps on sending his work around, simply because I’m not sure if my work is good enough. I am pretty sure that this is not the best way to get a higher status, but at the same time, being patient turned out to be a good strategy… Step by step I get closer to what I long for, and as long as my career rises slowly, I do not mind being humble and patient. Getting released on Proton Music was one of my goals since the beginning, and now that they have signed one of my tracks I’m really looking forward to it. I know that Mr. Digweed won’t ever send a single mail to me, asking for unreleased material to sign and yes, sometimes I feel like a coward who is only afraid of rejection, because while my friends are brave enough to make a step forward, I just sit and wait, thinking: I need more time until my skills and ideas get better and better… well, only time will tell If I am doing it right.
11. If you had to pick one track which solidified your love for electronic music early on what would it be?
East Cafe: JMJ’s Oxygene, the whole record. Thanks Dad! 🙂
12. What was your first and last DJ gig?
East Cafe: I don’t remember which one should I consider the first but it started with some private parties in the early 2000’s. As for the last one, it was at a local café downtown in April. We started our chill afternoon series there, hoping to see a prosperous future. 🙂
13. What was the first and last record you purchased?
East Cafe: My oldest record that fits the genre of today’s East Cafe is an Underworld tune, Dark and Long. The latest is Kompakt’s Pop Ambinet 2014 compilation, which I bought today in one of the few record stores that are still open and alive in Budapest.
14. What would you say is the highlight of your career thus far?
East Cafe: Maybe there were more important breakthroughs like when my dj idols supported my works, but as far as I remember the happiest day of my career was the one when I put my hands on the Mixmag issue which featured a great review of a track from a Hungarian guy, called Gábor Kaszás. 🙂
15. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
East Cafe: My shoe size is 15… and a half.
16. Who are some of the best undiscovered talents in your eyes?
East Cafe: The world needs more Kacper Kostecki tunes.
17. Which producers consistently inspire you?
East Cafe: I guess I could not make a list without forgetting someone important, so instead of names let me mention one thing that consistently inspires me: studio videos, you know there are tons of “in the studio with” sessions up on the net, watching professionals doing extremely cool stuff with their fancy machines makes me want to open my DAW and tweak those knobs on my synth. The same is true for good movies, and soundtracks. 🙂
18. What artist or track would you love to remix? and who would you love to be remixed by?
East Cafe: I’d definitely do a remix for Dido. I am a huge fan of her, really. I guess I listened to her debut album more than any of the Depeche Mode Lps I own, which is quite a big surprise. 🙂 Also I would like to be remixed by Mr. Quivver.
19. Record labels are a dime a dozen these days and the majority of people feel most of them are mediocre music factories. Which ones if any standout for you?
East Cafe: I could make a huge list of good labels, but since there is one which appears almost in every tracklist of mine, I would say Particles stands out. Of course I like Sudbeat, Lost & Found, Bedrock, etc.
20. What would you say is the best mix compilation of all time?
East Cafe: GU013 Sasha – Ibiza
21. Current Favourites (you can list more than one per category if you like)
East Cafe: I guess everybody has an idea about whose tunes I listen to day by day, my tracklists speak for themselves… so let me mention some artists outside the progressive genre that “East Cafe” is connected with. For example Daughter, I just love “If you leave”, can’t get enough of that album. Also I’m really into the second Moderat LP, I know it is not a fresh one either, but I just put my hands on the deluxe 2 vinyl release a few weeks ago, brilliant stuff… I usually listen to DJ sets when travelling, one of my buddies, Numbred has awsome mixes, his sets are highly recommended to everyone… 🙂 Anyway, if I had to name a few new favourites from our scene then I would pick Simos Tagias and Kacper Kostecki, these guys rock! 🙂
Food: Unfortunately there are waaay tooo many.
Drink: Cool clear water
Drug: MUSIC (no other drugs for me, never ever)
Animal: Cats, especially mine, Paci 🙂
TV Show: Twin Peaks (Angelo Badalamenti’s music is so hypnotizing and emotional…)
Movie: Again there are way too many.As a child I watched Bud Spencer and Terrence Hill movies all the time, they were rather popular here. 🙂
Video Game: Who has time for that? 🙂 As far as I remember, I really liked a football game that I had for my Commodore 64, don’t remember the name though.
Album: Dido – No Angel
Track / Song: Dido – My lover’s gone
Producer / Band: Depeche Mode (but Dido is a close second :D)
Record Label: It used to be Hooj Choons, now there are more than one as I mentioned before
Nightclub: Used to be HOME /Budapest/, but now I can feel myself home anywhere there’s good music
DJ: Hernan Cattaneo
22. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
East Cafe: That Quivver remix I long for.
East Cafe’s ‘Hurt’ is out now on Clinique Recordings, you can purchase the release: here