A lifetime DJ, Dimas Carbajo’s winning of the Spanish DMC DJ championship when he was just 17 years old catapulted him to an incomparable career in underground electronic music. With over 25 years of experience behind-the-scenes running labels like MD Records and Beatfreak Recordings, as well as Spanish vinyl distributor Resolute Distribution, it was his decision to focus his direction on himself as D-Formation which has made his name renowned around the world. Recognized as one of the most important artists in the decade by Beatport and listed on the DJMag Top 100 list, his success as both a DJ and producer has solidified D-Formation’s place in music history.
With a distinctive sound and unparalleled perspective, he was a perfect fit to be selected for one of ICONYC TV’s epic episodes. His melodic and deep techno set performed at Caffè Vero House Vicenza IV in Italy can now be listened to in full exclusively on FRISKY. [Listen now]
D-Formation’s groundwork of decades in dance music has put him in a unique position to reflect on the status of the scene today, and he caught up with FRISKY News to take us deep into his personal experiences, and give insight to those who would like to leave their own mark on the industry.
Thank you so much for your time and thoughts. During this unprecedented time of industry shutdown, where have you been putting your focus lately? What keeps you positive?
The truth is that this is an unprecedented madness in which we have all seen how the world has stopped. The first days I had a feeling of disbelief pending what would happen with all this.
In my case I have dedicated myself like never before to be working in the studio without stopping. I am a person who doesn’t like to waste time and quite positive with which I quickly knew what I had to do – to dedicate myself full time to what I like the most, to the music.
What do you think are your personal qualities or traits that have contributed to your success and longevity in the electronic music industry?
Well actually I don’t even know myself perfectly to be able to say what my qualities are to perfection, however I think that one of my qualities, and I think that because of taking so many years and in different phases of my career having been very successful, is the tenacity, perseverance in my work. I consider myself a very very hard-working person and when I set a goal I don’t stop until I achieve it. Perhaps another of the traits I have is personality when it comes to making music or playing live. In terms of production, I always let myself be carried away by what I feel at every moment, when I make a new track, for example, I like to ask for some feedback, but I don’t get carried away by those feedbacks, I always have my own opinion and it is the one that I take to the end although other people tell me otherwise. Of course I have been wrong on numerous occasions but also on many occasions I have been able to see how I am not wrong in what I think or feel. So I think everyone should follow their own feelings and not pay much attention to what others say about your work.
What have been the greatest challenges for you in your career? Was there ever a time when you questioned continuing on?
Obviously the biggest challenge is to have a career of so many years, I have never had a job in my life other than music, I feel very lucky to be able to live from what I like the most. Of course, for so many years I have had very good, regular and bad moments and I have had to relaunch my career several times, this is perhaps the most difficult but I like challenges and in a way start from scratch even if I do not have that need. In some moments it has crossed my mind to leave everything because I felt that I did not have the strength to start again almost from the beginning but finally I always find a reason to continue because I love my job.
What keeps you motivated and excited about the music today?
Actually for me there is not much difference between the music of today and that of before. I have a very open mind to the new trends but the most important thing is to feel what you do, many people on numerous occasions tell me that the music before is better than now, I honestly don’t see it that way, as always, before and now we have good and bad music, now there are many styles that some I can more or less like but in general I feel that right now in my opinion there is much more musical wealth and diversity than before. Electronic music for me doesn’t have rules and that makes producers’ imaginations fly. This is one of the things that motivates me and excites me today, and especially the power to do and to play in clubs the music that I feel. Really if it wasn’t like that and I had to make music that I don’t like or play what I don’t want, I think I would never dedicate myself to music again.
For decades, Beatfreak Recordings has been a renowned name in the industry – what would you say are the qualities or values that have keep the label going strong today?
Well curiously I think that Beatfreak after 22 years of life is at its best moment. I have always treated Beatfreak as an extension of myself and as a general rule I have never thought of releasing on my label tracks that I would never play at some point, place or hour in one of my DJ sessions. I think that one of the main values is to be true to myself during all these years and to give priority to what I have considered musical quality for the label. In this new stage, with the full support of Teddy, currently Beatfreak label manager, I feel very calm and I fully trust her as we have practically the same tastes in terms of music. Although she has her own criteria I often tell her that she is like a clone of mine. On the other hand there is my partner Jesus Segura, who together I think we make a very good team.
What does a track need to have in order to make it as a Beatfreak release?
Well, as I said before, I think that a track that is on Beatfreak must be a track that fits at some point in my sessions, we receive many demos every day, some very good but unfortunately we cannot release everything that comes to us even if it is good. That’s why we have also created little brother Beatfreak Limited, there are many new artists making very good music that deserve to have a place too and in fact the people who know me know that I have always liked to bet on new talents.
Is there a common mistake you see artists making with the demos you receive? What advice would you give to new producers who are trying to stand out?
Well actually yes, there are several factors that all new producers should take into account at least when submitting tracks to Beatfreak. Many of them send demos by Wetransfer or links to download, they have to realize that due to the amount of demos it is not possible to download everything to our computers to listen to it later. We work fast and the best way is a link like SoundCloud that we can listen to without downloading. On the other hand although the artists always look for the A&R email and on many occasions they send it to me directly through various sites such as Facebook, email etc., I have to say that this is not the best way, the best is always to send the demos to the email of DEMOS of the label. In our case it is the only way to ensure that we listen to everything. There are also many people who send their demos and after 2 days they write to you again to see if you have heard it. The artists have to have a little patience because they are not the only ones who send demos, other artists also feel that the labels don’t behave well because they don’t respond to them. In my opinion the easiest way is to check in SoundCloud if the label has heard the demo or not, if the label has heard it and has not contacted the artist is because the label is not interested in that demo. Unfortunately we can’t reply to all the received emails but in our case I assure you that we listen to everything If we are interested in something we get in touch with the artists at the moment we decide it is good for the label.
What is most important for you to accomplish when it comes to your personal productions?
I think D-Formation has his own sound and in the vast majority of cases it is my identity. I really like the melodies but I also like the groove and the forcefulness on the track, I think it is one of the important aspects in my tracks.
Do you have a favorite track that you feel represents what “D-Formation” is all about?
Well I think there are several or maybe almost all of my tracks, but perhaps one of them that represents me the most is a track at the beginning of D-Formation around 2003, SIGNS & PORTENTS – clearly this track changed the concept a bit, in those times the trance, the progressive and also the tribal were quite strong, Signs & Portents was a total fusion between those 3 genres which made me take off as D-Formation.
How was your experience recording for ICONYC TV?
Very good experience with John and the entire ICONYC team in Venice, Italy. Honestly it was a very pleasant few days, an impeccable production and joy of being able to meet great people in person.
What can you tell us about your mix for ICONYC TV? Are there any special tracks or something that you particularly wanted to share?
Well I think the most remarkable thing about the mix and this session was the first time I met the DENON players and mixer, really the experience was also pleasant although I had never put my hands on them but everything was perfect.
Is there anything else you would like to say to the FRISKY audience?
First of all, thanks to the entire audience for supporting my music and putting up with me for so many years and just to say that we will see each other again soon on the dance floors.