FRISKY sits down with Awen Records and we discuss start-up challenges, Spain’s future in electronic music, personal musical influences and what talent they seek in order to become the next Awen Records artist.
Since their humble beginning August 2017, they’ve impacted the underground scene on their own terms. Defined by distinct sounds of old-school techno and melodic tech-house infused with sounds of nostalgic synthesizers and abstract harmonies – Awen Records is best characterized for their hypnotic organic sounds.
Originating in Murcia, Spain, Awen Records is the creation of three impassioned and talented artists: Jorge Saura (aka Noisek); Roberto Garcia (aka Yon-X); and Francis Martinez (aka Shemsu). They each bring personal and professional qualities that together make Awen Records uniquely stand out as the serious “new kid on the block”.
Nöisek, born in Murcia, Spain, started his music fascination at an early age. “I was especially attracted to the instrumental and new age music of great artists such as Mike Olfield, Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre”, he shared with me and continued by saying “it was not until a more mature age (when became older) I discovered electronic music”. Playing in some of the hottest clubs along the Spanish Levante (Eastern Spanish Mediterranean) – his producing and deejay career got underway in 2016. Immediately he proved natural talent for selecting sounds. Noisek is often considered for his Techno repertoire and infinite creation for his mix sets – making use of his atmospheric techno experience. “I enjoy music because it allows me to transmit moods, it gives me an expression … music is the secret language of the soul”, Noisek passionately stated.
Discovering techno in Paris with the occasional airport hangar “rave party” in 1992 became an all too familiar love affair for Fran Martinez. Known by his stage name Shemsu, he made his electronic music debut with Parisian duo Missing Time in 2015. Noticed by John Johnson, Shemsu quickly signed on with Hydrogen Inc. and in September 2016 with ‘Vertigo EP’. The French producer has since acquired a reputation of talent to watch out for. Shemsu maintains growing momentum that is seen on Awen Records, ICONYC Music, Krafted Underground, Hydrogen Inc, DNA Digital Records, Plethora Muzik and many more. “I’m influenced by industrial sounds and heavy rhythms”, he shares with Frisky, while adding “mixing melodic techno, my music oscillates between Progressive Techno and profound Deep-Techno with a hypnotic tendency”.
“From an early age, I was interested in electronic music due to the influence of my uncle who owned a vinyl store”, describes Yon-X. By 2001 he moved to Den Bosch advancing his DJ career. Yon-X started to make a name for himself in the German Techno scene, and was often added to the techno artist line ups from around the world at local events. In 2016, he started making his own productions that had Dub Techno sound coupled with atmospheric overlays & percussive rhythms. “I enjoy my work with music, because I live all its stages from creation, post-production, and exchange of information with artists and personal treatment that brings us closer”, he tells me. Further adding, “being able to live this experience for someone who loves electronic music is the best kind of luck”.
Within their first year being on the frontlines as a new business label, they have managed to join forces with a few new artists and those of familiar faces – including Frisky’s very own Paul Sawyer. In addition, Awen Records partnered with Proton LLC and Madrid-based, Eternal Midnight. Without question, Awen Records and the entire team remains committed searching for talented artists that comprise Awen’s same cool vision and excited to be part of the FRISKY family – as discussed in this expansive interview.
Kindly share with me your musical methodology and how each of you together as Awen Records managed to impact the “underground electronic music” scene?
YON – X: Awen Records had an amazing result during its first year thanks mainly to the music. Artists that we liked/wanted to take chances on with the label – we contacted them. There are people behind the scenes working with ingenuity and coordination and we have created an identity in all the senses. This helps us as artists and those who see such a young label have it [Awen Records] more in mind and together with our music, covers, designs and videos we aim to reach a sense where the idea is conveyed to us; thereby, delivering our musical style.
NOISEK: Not letting ourselves be carried away and doing things as we think we should do them, but by learning from our mistakes and having a very clear idea of what we want and how we want to carry it out.
SHEMSU: Everything already said – Plus we have set up a well-defined work system as like any other real company.
How would you define electronic music? And how would you categorize your personal style?
YON – X: Electronic music, the most “flip-flop” voyage dance trip of my life…My style would be categorized as: Ethereal techno, cold, harmonic, while blunt and simple at the same time.
NOISEK: For me, it is difficult at times having a definition for electronic music; so, I like to think of it as today’s classical music with today’s [technology] instruments. My musical style is directly related to Awen, being ethereal techno.
SHEMSU: Today, electronic music is omnipresent in the musical landscape, the same as the Jazz, classical or the song. Its diversity as its rise in power is mainly explained by the rise of the electronic instruments and the different musical heritages since these last 40 years. The Techno is in constant evolution and I find that very interesting.
You shared with me about some of the exciting ventures with artists including FRISKY’s Paul Sawyer. What’s been your favorite project you’ve worked on? And how has that experience transpired or basically affected Awen Records and you both as a team and individually?
YON – X: My favorite musical project was a track that I put out on the Secadero record in 2016, it had great exposure. Being it was my first release, it marked a turning point where I knew this is how I wanted to direct my future. That same year, thanks to Fran who contacted me, I met Jorge Saura, and from here the idea of forming a stamp began that became Awen Records.
NOISEK: Well, my favorite project is (of course) Awen Records because it gives me great satisfaction to see how something you have created takes shape and fulfilling goals little by little. This is a long-distance race in which we all as partners hope to go much further.
SHEMSU: Good question. Personally, I take a lot of fun and appreciation in every Awen project.
Which artist would you like Awen Records to collaborate with the most in the near future?
YON – X: Mind Against, Monoloc, Mano Le Tough, Jobe, Hernan Cattaneo, Patrice Baumel, Adriatique – the list is very long … In the future I would love to sign Recondite for example, … I love their elegance and how skilled they are of being very complex with the minimum elements. This defines my current taste for Awen Records.
NOISEK: For collaboration, I love Animal Print, who just released their latest work. Hopefully, one day they will work with us. I have had the chance to enjoy them live not long ago.
SHEMSU: I’d say be nice to collaborate with Tales Of Us, Rebellion Township, and/or even Mind Against.
Out of curiosity, who has been your musical influence(s)?
YON – X: I’m currently focused on emerging labels such as Steyoyoke, Us & Them Records, and Krafted Underground. They have set an example, for me, sound that is born from innovation, setting high quality standards and helping new young talent as well as others already more established in the music scene.
NOISEK: I always liked new age music and when I started to discover electronic music I loved the sounds from labels like Steyoyoke, Us & tem, Afterlife. I can say maybe Maceo Plex, Bodzin were the artists that I listened to the most.
SHEMSU: I was influenced by Sasha, Francesco Farfa, Brian Transeau, Underworld, John Digweed, Laurent Garnier and many others …
How do you see the ongoing future state of electronic music in Spain? In what ways does Awen Records appeal to a broader audience not just in Spain, but globally?
YON – X: Recent years has seen growth of many new labels and artists here in Spain. I also firmly think the electronic scene in Spain is growing and will continue doing so. Awen Records has Artists from all over the world, it has helped us a lot to have exposure outside of Spain, such as excellent marketing, coherent image and design of what we intend to transmit and of course excellent administration! We also pay attention when artists recommend others to us. This alone has multiplied the level of demos and artists that come to Awen Records.
NOISEK: In Spain there has always been a great following of electronic music. Lately, great national productions are coming out and Awen, I think, already has begun a great international presence since most of our sales are outside of Spain and are in countries like the United States, Germany and Greece.
SHEMSU: I think that electronic music has always had strong potential in Spain and for many years as we see it. There are many new talented artists, new underground labels with different styles and above all a receptive and warm audience. Our musical line is more Ethereal Techno, dancefloor or more mental, we actually have for all tastes. 85% of our artists come from all over the globe and we try to offer in our catalog the best of each.
Since Awen Records has been together for a short time, what has been the most difficult and challenging part of managing the record label?
YON – X: Getting an adequate internal work system is something that we have spent a lot of time on. When we organize projects, we meet every week and define objectives, this, I feel, has been the biggest challenge we have faced.
NOISEK: Perhaps, when I think about it, it’s having an identity of our own that distinguishes us from the other labels and having to reinvent ourselves again and again until we achieve a work mechanic that works.
SHEMSU: I think the most difficult part was to gather all the information needed to start the label the codes, and the distribution, ect ..We have learned a lot from our mistakes, we are always united and a motivated team. The competition is exciting for us, especially getting charts in the music industry – seeing the data.
To release a record label some may see it as a foolishness and others as an idealistic passionate gesture. How did the idea to form Awen Records happen?
YON – X: As a project idea among several music professionals, marketing and design, a common sound, we all felt a musical connection to what we wanted to sound and decided to try to define something with identity above all, we wanted to express things and not be mere music administrators.
NOISEK: We wanted to take our passion a little further, we always took this venture very seriously. We already knew that there are thousands of stamps, but if we did things right, we would be able to gain a foothold in the industry.
SHEMSU: It is true, we have a romantic and even spiritual side when it concerns music. Awen was formed to bring a new musical vision with a real identity to the public…doing something different.
What does a new artist need in order for a label like Awen Records to focus on them?
YON – X: First, if it corresponds to our line. We want to sound more defined towards Ethereal Techno. We look at people who have decent final sounds in their productions. We really like those artists who have a personal concept and take care of those details in their music.
NOISEK: We listen to everything that arrives to Awen and we try to answer everyone, Sometimes it is difficult because of the amount of demos that arrive daily.
SHEMSU: The sound quality and the seriousness of the artists.
If you would please, kindly share with me how did you get started with FRISKY? What will we hear from the Awen Records show? Anything special FRISKY listeners should look out for?
YON – X: Paul Sawyer released his first track with Awen Records a little more than a month ago. For our first Frisky show, I will be the deejay artist and will bring the sounds of several new tracks. Awen Records’ exclusives just for FRISKY!!
NOISEK: Through mediation with Paul Sawyer. He already published a track with us and we have also had some collaboration with his stamp [label] – Krafted.
SHEMSU: For me personally, I’d like to add that I have known FRISKY for a long time and have listened to Dave Seaman regularly (I’m a fan of him). FRISKY has always maintained a very good reputation with excellent artists.
Besides working on music, what does everyone like to do for fun?
YON – X: Normally I enjoy nature and mountain sports. I also enjoy to travel and know different places – whenever I can.
NOISEK: Well, I am a huge movie buff! I also love nature, playing different sports and I enjoy tournament diving.
I like to be with my friends, spend time with my family and I also like playing sports, as well as walking and reading when I have time.
What words would you like say to the FRISKY listeners?
YON – X: Thanks to all who love the music! Enjoy the Show!
NOISEK: Well, I want you to love our show on FRISKY and do not lose sight of Awen Records that we are going to give a lot of talk.
SHEMSU: I want to thank all the listeners and every one of FRISKY for their support and wish you have fun listening to Awen Records!