Hard working Israeli DJ and producer Guy Mantzur is a rising star who is always smiling. James Gill caught up him earlier today and learned why he’s proud to call Sudbeat his home.
Guy, thank you for giving us this opportunity to talk with you! To start off, let’s talk about what’s happening! It’s been a very exciting year for you so far, can you tell us a little bit about some of what you’ve been up to?
Hey, thanks for having me here! Yes, it’s been a great year for me so far. My album that was released 5 months ago came out really well and is still going strong, I’m super thankful for this because it’s something I totally believe in.
Your tour schedule has been intense, from New York to Chile in one night, and then a heavy schedule in Argentina to follow. What’s it like being on the road right now? Have there been a lot similarities in the places you’ve visited and the people you’ve played for? Or perhaps a lot of differences? Are there any global trends in progressive and tech music right now you are seeing?
I have been lucky to tour a lot lately and so far have had a great time all over. Some places are totally different from each other, but every place has its own magic. It’s kind of like how every country has it own food but everything is still tasty in a different and special way.
As for the music … progressive, tech house , deep house etc.. , I’ve discovered more and more that the crowd doesn’t really care about genres but will always enjoy seeing something fresh, exciting, and honest.
Seeing that, what have been your favorite places to tour in 2014? What in particular about those places have stood out to you?
As I mentioned before, every place has his own magic, but for me Argentina is very special because the crowd there gives you so much energy and love and it turns DJing into something almost mystic. I’ve also had great gigs at Cosa Nostra in Malta , Verboten New York , Casino Budapest. Kazantip Ukraine, and many many more that I’m probably not remembering now.
Lets get back to roots! Can you tell us a little bit about how you came up in this industry? When did you first start producing and DJing?
I started with music when I was very young, playing piano and guitar. Then I started to write songs, making Chill Out music for a few years and even releasing 2 Chill Out albums. I was also writing music for TV shows and films, but my heart always belonged to the big dark beats and at the age of 25 I decided that from now on this is what I will do for the rest of my life
Israel has become a new center for progressive-oriented house music and techno, with artists such as yourself, Guy J, Sahar Z, and others rising to prominence in the international world. What about the Israeli dance culture do you think can be attributed to this rise? What kind of relationship do Israeli DJs and Producers have with each other, the clubs, and the scene that you think has contributed to this new community?
I think that Israel always had its special place in the world music scene . Starting from Trance to the more deeper, hypnotic sounds of Chaim, Guy Gerber, Aber etc. and up to the current sounds of today .
This question is something that I have been asked many times and really tried to understand myself because there is something that you can call “the sound of Israel:” something in the sad/optimistic melodies and the vibes; I think it’s related to this place we are living in and the reality of Israel.
As for the relationships of the DJ’s and producers, I can tell you its really good and and there’s a lot of mutual help. We like to collaborate with each other and let each other hear our productions even while the tracks are still being worked on; it’s something that helps a lot, when you have a group of people that can be there for you and you for them.
Do you see this kind of culture in other parts of the world as well? If so, where?
I’m sure that there are other parts of the world that also have this culture and groups of friends that work more closely together. I saw it in Argentina, in Moscow, Kiev as well as some other places . The thing about Tel Aviv is that we are also all really good friends, and not just musicians that have the same agenda, which makes it even stronger.
“Moments” was hailed as one of the top releases in progressive music in 2013, and continues to hold some of the hottest tracks used in the clubs in 2014. What was your creative process behind making this album?
The process was really long and intense. I started without a clear vision about how it will sound and then, after I had made some of the tracks, things started to get brighter. For me, after a while I got to the point that I knew how it should sound and I knew what I would feel when its complete.
I had made maybe 25 tracks and 40 sketches, and then I picked together with Hernan Cattaneo the ones we liked the most. It was important for me to give some of the different sides I have as an artist and as a person. Working on the album for me was kind of like walking in the dark but being guided by a small light that kept getting stronger and stronger as I moved along.
I can tell you also for sure that having Hernan Cattaneo’s support in the process made it sound as it is today.
With the release of other albums that are making lots of buzz in progressive, do you think we are seeing the return of album-based releases and the decline of the smaller EP?
The EPs are still a very important part of the industry because its faster and really related to the time of the release . With an album, it’s a bit different, it’s something that should have more timeless thinking and vibe. In an album there are always some tracks that wouldn’t hold in an EP but still are great and special.
I think that especially in these times it’s really important to make albums because everything is fast, instant, and digital so an album is something that connects the artist to the crowd in a more personal way.
You’ve released a lot of material on Hernan Catteneo’s famous Sudbeat imprint, what’s your relationship been like with that label? What do you feel Sudbeat really does that stands out from the rest of the crowd as far as label work is concerned?
Sudbeat for me is a home, and it’s the perfect place for my music , I have a really good relationship with Hernan and Graziano over there, and I admire them for taking this label to the next level and developing it with each new release. With all the changes that are happening in the industry, they still keep up doing what they love and believe in.
I think the label really stands out from the rest in it’s his own natural way and without even thinking about it. I can say the same about Hernan as a person and as a DJ, he also stands out from the other people in the industry.
Do you have a new album in the works?
Yes, currently I’m working on an artist album for Guy J’s label Lost & Found together with Sahar Z. We are almost half-way done and it’s slated to be released this November. I’m super excited about it and can’t wait for you all to hear it!!!
Time for the studio! Tell us a little bit about your studio process: do you have any favorite gear or software that you love to use? Or perhaps something new you’ve just discovered?
I work in a very simple way; I’m not the kind of the guy who knows a lot about new plugins or instruments. I have some outboard Synths and FX such as the Virus TI , Poly Evolver, Moog, and also some pedal FX , delays, etc.
I try to work only with them because it allows me to focus and it has the warm sounds that I’m looking for in my music.
If you had one production or tech tip for new and upcoming producers, what would it be?
There is no one right way to do things; if you feel it’s right for you then that’s the way you should do it.
On the opposite side, what’s the one thing from young producers and/or DJs that you would NEVER recommend doing?
I can recommend not to go out and look at what music and styles have the most hype and try to copy it: try to look up what excites you the most and then keep doing that.
Those who know you know that one of your hallmark personal traits is positivity. In fact, there has never been a time I haven’t seen you smiling! How do you feel this attitude has helped you succeed in this business?
Thanks! Good to hear, I’m a positive guy, and especially when I’m playing because I’m doing what I love. I never give it too much thought but I can tell you for sure that smiles and positive vibes are something that people will always feel good with.
What’s next in store for you? Any fun gigs, releases, or surprises coming up soon?
I have some very excited gigs soon: a solo set in Toronto, Canada, the Sonar Showcase for Sudbeat and Hope recordings, Kazantip with all of my Lost & Found buddies, Mexico, Russia, ADE, and more. Some really exciting months are coming up!
As for releases I have the album for Lost & Found with Sahar Z, I also have an EP together with Hernan Cattaneo for Sudbeat and I have a remix I’ve just made for MicroCastle . Additionally, I have an EP on my label Plattenbank with a remix from Robert Babicz, and even more things planned for the rest of the year. Super exciting stuff for me!