The Barcelonan Red Bull Music Academy participant steps up to the plate for this week's RA podcast.
Here at RA, we've got nothing but love for Red Bull. Instead of throwing money at huge TV advertising campaigns, they've become responsible for one of the most impressive events worldwide, run not for the industry, but for musicians and fans. Starting back in 2002 in Sao Paulo, their Red Bull Music Academy moves to a different city each year, and if you haven't already noticed, their 2010 edition is currently in full swing in London. The first term has just finished, with Terre Thaemlitz, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Steve Reich and A Guy Called Gerald amongst the artists holding court on the Red Bull sofa.
Last year we lined up Johannesburg house sensation Culoe De Song after his time at the Academy for an RA podcast. To celebrate RBMA 2010, we've plucked another. Based in Barcelona, Javier López García has recently donned the Thompson moniker, releasing two fantastic mixes on his MySpace page that encompass classic disco and house with a few cheeky surprises along the way. Completing the mammoth application form for the Academy and getting through their rigorous selection process is one thing, but Thompson is someone who can back it up with his DJing skills and selections. His RA podcast serves to confirm his deep rooted love of black American dance music, keeping things soulful and funky throughout his hour-long mix.
If you like what you hear, you can check out Thompson play at our party in the upstairs of T Bar alongside Italian electronic music don Marco Passarani and other RBMA DJs on March 4th, where we'll be teaming up with Red Bull for an action-packed Thursday night that also features a star-studded bass music line-up of Untold, Scuba, Mike Slott and Jamie Vex'd.
What have you been up to recently?
I've been preparing for the Academy. I began to make my own music few months ago. I've been learning and studying about production and acquiring good equipment for my studio. After producing a lot of rubbish, my tracks are starting to sound like I want them to.
How and where did you record the mix?
I recorded the mix in my bedroom studio using a pair of Pioneer CDJ-400s, a Nuo Ecler 3 mixer and Ableton Live 8 running on a Mac Book Pro. I selected the first tracks of the mix before I did the podcast, but after that everything came from improvising.
Can you tell us a little bit about the idea behind the mix?
The mix represents my tastes and direction. I think that it's a mix that you can dance to in a club or at a beach party for the first hour of the night, but it's good for listening at home or in your car too. I usually play quite organic tracks, and I've been including jazz-funk, classic disco, organic house and Latin & tropical cuts.
What are you looking forward to most during the second term of RBMA London?
A lot of things! I hope to have fun with the other participants, share my knowledge, and learn from a lot of the lecturers. But I also want to go to a lot of parties too. I'm very excited about the Rollerskating Jam. I have never seen Moodymann before (he's one of my heroes) and I'm very big fan of the Horse Meat Disco crew. The Secretsundaze event with Todd Terje, Soundstream, Giles Smith and James Priestley is going to be massive too.
On the other hand, I'm very curious to see Joy Orbison in action. A Taste Of Sonar have an amazing line up too and I'm gonna see Laurent Garnier's set for sure. I saw him play four times last year, but I never tire of seeing him. Also, I'm gonna pay attention to John Talabot's live set (he's from Barcelona too) because he's doing an amazing stuff! Finally, Brainfeeder Sessions looks so good! Seeing Martyn, Daedelus, Dorian Concept and Flying Lotus for the first time... so crazy! There are a lot of exciting names during the two weeks. Out of the RBMA events, I'm going to try and see Trus'me playing at fabric on 6th March. I identify very much with his work.
Would it be accurate to say that your musical style leans considerably towards American sounds?
Absolutely! I'm a music lover and I listen lot of styles, but at the time my DJing and production references are artists such as Theo Parrish, Masters At Work, Metro Area and Larry Heard. They mix a lot of organic stuff from multiple eras, and are always trying to demonstrate, above all, a good track selection. I'm not a very technical DJ, and for me, the most important thing is to put across my track selection and bring a good party feeling. In other ways, I'm very influenced by classic disco music (Salsoul, West End, Ze Records, etc.) and Latin sounds from Brazil, Cuba or Puerto Rico. It's evidence that Americans have the best conceptions of groove, rhythm and soul, and these are the keys to making people dance!
Does Barcelona offer a supportive scene to upcoming musical talent such as yourself?
Yes, but I'm in a strange position. Barcelona supports a lot of good deep house and electronic music. There are amazing clubs like Be Cool or Macarena, and underground collectives such as Avenue Entertainment, which are all good platforms for local DJs and producers. Be Cool in particular put on amazing parties and bring back the best DJs—last week Greg Wilson was here—but I play quite eclectic sets, and it's not usual to programme this stuff in clubs. But this is my direction, I like to be open-minded... I have to say that I started my Thompson moniker quite recently, and I have not promoted it yet so much in the city, but to be honest, my wish is to promote my music all around the world.
What are you up to next?
Enjoying RBMA a lot! After the Academy, I want to finish some tracks and I will try to issue an EP or an official release. And of course continuing working, learning and enjoying music.
Trus'me - Can We Pretend - Prime Numbers / Fat City
Johnny Hammond - Tell Me What To Do - Milestone Records
The Crusaders - Merry-Go-Round - Blue Thumb Records
Roy Ayers - Can't You See Me? - Polydor
Sylvia Striplin - Give Me Your Love - Uno Melodic Records
The Salsoul Orchestra feat. Loleatta Holloway - Seconds - Salsoul Records
Evelyn Champagne King - I Don't Know (PPF Re-Edit) - Popular Peoples Front
Spirit Of Atlanta - Messin Around - Buddha Records
Louie Vega & The Elements Of Life feat Anane - One Dream (Gilles Peterson Edit) - ITH Records
Miango - Mussiki E (Jungle Mix) - Feel The Rhythm
Norma Jean Bell - I'm The Baddest Bitch (In The Room) - Pandamonium
Taana Gardner - When You Touch Me (MAW Re-Edit) - West End Records
Lego - El Ritmo de Verdad - True
Jon Lucien - Mi Vida - Columbia