Ricardo Piedra on Budapest’s thriving Progressive House scene

Fresh off the release of his ‘Neukliana/Azure’ EP we catch up with Hungarian artist Ricardo Piedra

1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?

Ricardo: I’m 42 years old, and after 10 years in Finland, me and my family was moved back to Hungary about a month ago. I producing music from the early 90’s I based my first band at 1991 with my friend. We played several clubs in Budapest, for example in Hysteria Techno Club. That was the first techno club in Hungary. So that was long time ago

2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously?

Ricardo: My father was musician. First memories of electronic music from my childhood. My moms listened Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, and from the socialism tv commercials . First electronic dance music experience came from elementary school. About 87’-88’ .There were events with music every month, under disco lights. I’ve met there the early house and acid like S-express, Bomb the Bass, Hithouse etc.. After a year I was dj there and I played tape cassettes. 🙂

3. What is the state of electronic music or more specifically progressive house in Hungary at the moment? The country is well known for its love of the genre, is it still growing in your opinion?

Ricardo: I really enjoy what’s happening in Hungary. Every week amazing parties. I think it’s still growing. Many agency, many bookers, labels, talented producers and dj’s working on it.

4. What was the first amazing moment you had in club?

Ricardo: In the Hysteria techno club Budapest. 1992 I had genuine ecstasy experience by the pure music, the lights and techno sound, for example Chimo Bayo, Altern 8, 2 Unlimited, L.A Style, Prodigy….. That was real music revolution.

5. What kind of stuff have you been playing in your DJ sets recently? Who are some of your go to artists?

Ricardo: I played recently smooth, deep, melodic, progressive set for radio, but off course club sets are different. In the clubs usually I play more techno depends situation.

6. You have a new EP out this week on Stellar Fountain, a two track, progressive minded release alongside remixes from Kay-D and Billy Alex. Tell us how you approached writing the tracks, the thought process behind the remixer selection and what’s coming later this year from you?

Ricardo: Under this name Ricardo Piedra i started producing music with my friend Gabriel West, but this duo is mostly techno. I was sure from the beginning I wanted to make more melodic, more dreamy music, cause this is really who I am. Neukliana is one of my favourite pieces. This track and Azure were born in Finland’s winter close to Christmas. I needed to create something what breaks the busy days, and the northern winter. After the first melodic arrangement I asked my 3 y.o. daughter what would be good title for that. She said Neukliana. I was wondering how useful title is this fantasy word, from a little dreamer :). With this mind, I knew the track must have been something mystic, epic and soulful. Azure was little bit different. I just found a melody witch remind me of something from childhood. This melody just easily built the track.

7. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?

Ricardo: The most difficult process for me is mastering actually in our living room. On one hand this makes me creative, but in the other hand it’s difficult to concentrate on every frequency separately. Creative parts comes easily and during night time I can compose any kind of music with headphone.

8. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effect on your own productions?

Ricardo: I never choose genre. I’m looking for good music. I listen to every kind of genres, from chillout to heavy rock. Talented artists always make me happy, or got me high. Favourite bands are MUSE, Coldplay, and glorious olds like, Mike Oldfield, Queen, Depeche Mode, U2, RHCP, but if I need some relaxing music I listen Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre. Each and every sound affects the people. Somebody just more sensitive. I had a band in Finland named Boga. That was a band with guitarist, vocalist, and myself, and we played music what was mixed every kind of genres. A little bit rock, little bit reggae, a little bit punk, pop, dubstep, or any anything. Now I want to continue this feeling with a new band, cause this was so free, and funny, and powerful feeling.

9. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?

Ricardo: I have a porn Oscar.

10. What five tracks are you currently loving the most at the moment?

1. Marvin & Guy – The Train Of Fantastic Feat. Fantastic Twins (Original Mix).
2. East Cafe – Drops in a Downpor (Sebastian Busto Remix)
3. Mees Salomé – Equivalence (Original Mix)
4. MiraculuM – The Beauty Of Existence (Original Mix)
5. Pacco & Rudy B – Spacetacular (Original Mix)

11. Who was the first big Dj to support your music and how important was that moment in terms of inspiration as well as being validated as an artist? and where else does your inspiration come from?

Ricardo: I had a successful band named Draft in Hungarian and our first song “ Dombok felett” Original version was supported by Sasha, Lee Burridge, Anthony Pappa before the official release. That was big surprise, and a some kind of “dream comes true story” at 1997. Than another project, The Quasar with my friend Chriss Ronson get support from Hernan Cattaneo, and John Digweed at 2005. I always got power, and inspiration if somebody likes my product. Biggest inspiration if my daughter likes my ideas. If well known Dj’s whom you appreciate a lot rolling your music and production is a bit of miracle.

12. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound like you have, what advice do you have for them?

Ricardo: Try to make MUSIC! Try to find musical harmonies, what are close to your personal vibe. Be open to ancient instruments and understand why these works since over 6000 years, and try to say something without words! The equipments doesn’t matter! Realized that our environment is just lots of resonation and there are beautiful harmonies as well. Life is music, music is life! Be humble.

13. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?

Ricardo: Abba – Arrival 😀

‘Neukliana/Azure’ is out now on Stellar Fountain, you can purchase the release: here


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