Uner is an artist we have a lot of respect for here at C-U. We caught up with him for a chat and got the lowdown about his label project Solar Distance.
Your label is fairly new in the scene. At what point do you go from being an artist to wanting to start your own label also? Was there a moment or turning point for you?
Uner: Yes, it’s still a baby in label terms. I have always wanted to start my own label, but finding the right moment was always the challenge since I am always travelling and producing in the studio, for my own label as well as others. My team has been in great shape for a few years now and we finally decided to go for it 3 years ago. We had a good feeling about it, and it felt like the right time for us all.
We started Solar Distance when we wanted to focus on building our own brand too, helping our current roster artists as well as supporting new DJ’s and producers on the road of success.
You have a team of people who help run the label. How to you go about demos you receive? Do you have a criteria or are you open minded when it comes to what’s being released on Solar Distance?
Uner: Yes, I have an amazing team working with me. Everyone from my manager to label manager, PR team and my music manager. We are all involved in all aspects together which works really well and keeps it very much like a family vibe.
Demos, we do try and listen to everything which we get, but sometimes there are so many of them, I need some help. Also when I am on the road, it’s not so easy to concentrate as when I am back home in the studio. What are we looking for? Just passionate artists who love what they make. We don’t like limits, labelling styles and formatting music into categories. If you have a beautiful story to tell with music, that’s when something stands out from the rest. Those tracks have those special, emotional elements which you can only get deep from an artist’s soul.
We have read that you are quite spiritual, so is this why you based the label’s name and ethos around the solar system and planetary alignments? Tell us more as to why this is something very important to you.
Uner: Well, the name is a metaphor. For me, the way you have to apply yourself when you are working on your music, and how you become in love with the sounds you produce is all about finding yourself, this is never ending and its actually harder than it sounds. The distance between everything in the universe is something we cannot comprehend. It’s a huge distance to which each person must travel to find their own sun. This is the meaning of Solar Distance. A long journey of listening, learning and loving to find your true self.
We know you are keen to support new emerging talent with Solar Distance, can you talk to us about a couple of the artists who have particularly impressed you that have seen a release on the label since its inception?
We have a lot of amazing new talented artists coming soon on the label. I have to say I really love all of them so much, but if I have to talk about a couple, the first would be Fideles (now everyone knows about them I think) and also Lower & OSp.
Uner: I did an EP with Fideles for Sasha’s label Last Night On Earth a month ago, and I really loved working with them in the studio. They are both classically trained musicians, as am I, so we had really good synergy and a very similar idea on how we wanted the tracks to sound.
Uner: Lower & OSp are also fantastic. They are now very close friends of mine and are so talented. Their ideas are very original, creative and exciting. It’s nice to see new artists so focused on really making something new, when a lot of music can get put into a certain category or genre. They are so focused on their careers, and have the right attitude to get to where they deserve.
How often do you plan to release on your own label? Do you think this is important, and if so why?
Yes, this is always important to me. The label was a way to express my own music, as well as music that I love.
Uner: When the label is smaller, I think it needs the support from more established artists to help it grow slowly, and this is why I have always done releases on Solar Distance, and ended up with some awesome remixers on some of the EP’s too. It encourages more demos to come in, and people are now familiar with the labels sound and ethos. I plan to release a couple of EP’s every year and also some remixes on new artists projects.
Talk to us about the production and thought process of your next EP on the label due out on the 7h July. We hear there is also a remix from Monkey Safari. Are you excited for this release?
Uner: We did plan for this to come out in June, but we delayed it a little but as I was having new monitors put into my studio and I need some extra time to make sure the mix down was perfect! It’s a three track EP called “Fonema” and one of those tracks is a remix from Monkey Safari of the original “Skylon” track. It has it all this EP, my tracks are more melodic but Monkey Safari bring the club edge to it! I love it and can’t wait for this one to be released.
It seems that artwork for releases, can be hard to make an impact. We love the solar and planetary theme – who is the brains behind the artwork?
Uner: Thank you! We have a designer, Rafa and he is amazing. The idea was to change the main style of the artwork each year to keep it fresh but always linked with the solar system and universe. We might even do something run with the conspiracy about flat earth! Ha
We know you have worked as a mentor with the Burn Residency, so you are keen to help others. Therefore, are you active in offering artists advice and suggestions on improvements when a demo is not quite the right fit?
Uner: Yes, I love to be involved with all kinds of educational events. Helping people is such an important thing to remember to do throughout your career. We all needed help from someone at some point, so we need to remember to give that back to the next generation of producers. Feedback is the most important thing when it comes to demos. You need to be constructive if you do not like it, and offer the artist some advice, which they can choose to accept. Sometimes its better to speak with the artist in person, as you can get the main idea of what they’re trying to do, but develop ideas together and arrange a better track with two minds!
Is there a dream artist you wish to release on the label? If so, who and why.
Uner: There are so many artists I would love to have on the label. I am sure legends like Laurent Garnier, Nils Frahm and Pional would be at the top of my list. I love artists who have something really different and special to show the world, and they want to give it to the electronic music industry. That’s special. But this is a long process running a label, and we are still young, so we need to go step by step! No running before you walk as they say….
Can you talk to us about your plans for 2017? We hear you now have a radio slot on Ibiza Global Radio every Tuesday with your “Sounds From Solar” podcast, which is a huge step for the label this summer.
Uner: Yes this was a really great moment for me and the team to have the show with Ibiza Global Radio every Tuesday. I host the show, and choose the tracks and I try to explain with music – what Solar Distance is all about. Make sure to catch us on Tuesdays online! But I also have all of the shows on my Soundcloud for people to catch up on.
This summer is heavily involved with Ibiza for me. I have so many shows this summer with my residency with ANTS to make the 5th year, and also will be playing at Black Coffee’s residency on Saturdays too, at the new Hi Ibiza. I also have a ton of cool festivals in Europe, and some dates back in the USA – really starting to love going to America, the gigs are always fun and more and more venues are popping up every year.
I have been travelling a lot recently to the US and all over Europe, to work with musicians in their studios for my album which is being worked on at the moment. This is a very big project for me, with a lot of classical live band elements, which in time, I will be very excited to launch.
I can also announce I am starting my own party, where the first one will be held in Barcelona in July. It has a whole concept about developing extended sets, where we want to work on a mind trip of music for the listeners. I am happy to take it stateside for the first time in Miami in August, with a 12 hour set! It’s been a very busy year so far, and only seems to be getting busier for me and of course all my team.
Uner’s Fonema EP is out July 7th. Click here to pre-order