[INTERVIEW] DENNIS CRUZ

[INTERVIEW] DENNIS CRUZ

To describe Spaniard Dennis Cruz’ sound is to enter a refined, deep-tech and techno groove with a hint of dub that moves you. Known for his deft productions that frequently chart in Beatport’s Top 100, and with releases on acclaimed labels Snatch!, Saved, Stereo Productions, Deeperfect and Material, he’s been steadily making his mark among noted industry veterans. We sat down ahead of his Canadian debut at Captive Audience’s Equinox party this past weekend in Toronto for a light-hearted conversation punctuated with laughs and a few stories. He touches on his production background and process, challenges, influences and advice to self. Enjoy our interview with this constantly rising talent and one of the underground’s gifted producers!

Thank you so much for taking the time to be here! How’s it going? How’s Toronto?

Good! I was in the CN Tower and saw the city. It was amazing and very beautiful. Also, it’s really good weather so… (laughing) It’s perfect. I really like it.

It’s your first time in Canada?

Yea, my first time. I hope I come more to Canada!

We hope so too:) You produce, you DJ - how did this start? You’re in Madrid, right?

Yea, I’m from Madrid. I first started as a DJ when I was around 16 or 17. One of my friends played at his home, and I went and was like, Whoa, what is this? So I just tried, and I loved it. I bought vinyl, turntables everything. Then I was playing in Madrid, and close to Madrid, only in Spain. When I was 22 or 23, I stopped playing because I was getting a little bored going to the clubs. There were a lot of problems, sometimes with the promoters. So I stopped and I started to study sound engineering. When I finished, I started working at studios recording rock bands, making hip hop beats, making everything.

 

As an audio engineer.. 

Yea, recording, mixing and mastering. I continued producing music, but not DJing. I was more producing. I was also making music with my friend - we were a duo. But about five years ago we went our separate ways and I started as Dennis Cruz again. Then, I started to make more music and play out more.

When I started to make more music, people started to listen to my music and played it to bigger DJs and I started to get requests to play at good clubs, also ones outside of Spain.

Did you enjoy that part?

Yea, I love it!

Do you have a favourite destination?

I don’t have a favourite. I love some clubs where I play, but I always like to play new clubs, new locations, especially to meet new people. For me it’s amazing to go for the first time to places, like here, to a new country. And see how you build the party.

What do you like most about producing? How do you approach production?

I love to be in the studio. Sometimes I start making one track, I have one idea, and other times I just sit in the studio and see what happens. I started producing only with one Roland MC-909, I bought it around ten years ago. I started only with this. Started with Ableton and for me it was this and the Groovebox drum machine [Roland MC-909]. But in the studio, when I make a track, I always try to focus on the groove.

You do have the grooviest productions. So you start with that..

Yea, I always try to keep the groove. Sometimes if you put too many elements, you can lose this groove. So I always try to make it simple.

I love that about your productions.

Yea, I always focus on the groove. (Laughter) Always.

With DJing, what do you love about it? They’re different..

Yea, it’s really different. Producing you are alone, and DJing you are with the crowd. I love to DJ because you can feel the people and there are always different vibes, you can feel the crowd and the energy. I love both parts, producing and DJing.

Have there been challenges for you along this path?

Yea. I always try to improve. I think I’m also very critical of myself. Maybe sometimes too much. I always try to do my best and sometimes… I want to reach the top. I know it’s really difficult at times, because there are big DJs and artists, but my limit is the top. I don’t know if I’m going to reach it, but I’m going to try. I think also if you want to improve, you must think of the top. If you are a conformist, I don’t think you’ll get there.

You have to be yourself..

Yea.

If you were to give yourself advice, from where you are today, back to yourself ten years ago, what would it be?

Dennis, be patient. (Laughter) And work hard. Yea, to be patient because sometimes I want to reach fast the things, and you have to work step by step.

Who’s influenced you?

I think my biggest influence is Oscar Mulero, from Spain. He’s techno. When I was young, whenever he played, I went. Also, when I started playing I was more hard techno, now I’m more soft. But he was a very big influence for me.

Very cool. Any producers that you really love?

I love a lot of producers, for example Samu.l, Metodi Hristov… There are a lot of big producers and artists. There’s one who did a release for me, Hugo. He’s released on Suruba X. Also, Paul C and Paolo Martini. I don’t have a favourite artist, but I maybe have some labels I like a lot because of their sound. I like 8Bit, from Nick Curly. I also have my own label, where I try to release the music I like.

Lemon-aid?

Yea.

How is that going?

Yea, it’s going good. We just had our 100th release last Monday. It was two tracks in the charts, one of mine in the house charts and the other one was in minimal, so that was really good. So happy!

Nice, congrats! What’s next for you?

Tomorrow I’m going back to Madrid because I am going to play the closing party of Vista Club in Privilege in Ibiza, with John Acquaviva, from Canada!

Canada vibes!

Yea! And then I go to Costa Rica and Panama on Friday, then back to Madrid, then Egg in London. Lot of gigs, yea.

Any new releases?

Yea, I’m going to release a new EP on Suara, with Coyu. I think it’s going to be a good EP, let’s see. (Laughter)

And you just released Bad Behaviour on Suruba X..

Yea, I didn’t expect the reaction of people with this track because I think it’s a dark track, for being now high on the charts. I didn’t expect it. I’m so happy about that!

Amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this!

You’re welcome! Thank you so much.

Many thanks to Dennis for taking the time for the interview, and to Nadia and Chris at House Addict for setting it up! 

 


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