Keep Dancing: Around the World with Kolombo

Kalen Bergado

Combine a catalogue of releases that would take days of continuous listening to work through and a force of nature in pushing the boundaries of dance music, with a both a label owner and a prolific DJ who tours the world, and you might come close to discovering what Kolombo is all about. It is apparent from the start that Kolombo is not a person who takes a life of music lightly. From funky tracks like “NYC Tourist Bus” with Spiritcatcher to his new releases on Dirtybird Records, he showcases his knack and open-mindedness for new sounds that is joined with his affinity for the more old-school analogue side of production. It is a joining of the past and present. With the amount of productions listed under Kolombo’s name, it is any wonder how he has time to not only DJ, but also to do so on an international level whose scope covers almost every continent.

Before taking off yet another tour, this time to Australia, we caught up with Kolombo to chat about how he manages to do everything (producing, DJ’ing, label running) all at once, his studio set up, and a bit about important parts of his career. Through the interview it becomes clear how much music runs Kolombo’s life in all aspects, something that shines through in the records his label puts out and in the music he makes. Enjoy!

Leading up to your tour in Australia this month, what sorts of records have you been listening to or buying? Any magical discoveries that you’re excited to play during your sets?

Actually I received a couple of demos during my Australia tour that I was able to test at the parties and finally decided to release on LouLou Records next year. It’s from Noah Devega which I’ve met in there, Veltron and Wolf Jay.

I absolutely love your track “NYC Tourist Bus” you did with Spirit Catcher back in 2010. How did that track come about? Having spent much of my life riding buses the vocals on that track hit a sweet spot. Are they from an actual tourist bus trip?

Ah, this is a funny story! I’ve bought this microphone once in NYC and we decided to go on a tour bus to know more about the history from the city, architecture etc. At the moment I was with the mic with me, and I thought that the guide had a nice voice, so I’ve recorded and we decided to use in a track.

With your new EPs coming up on Dirtybird and Warung Records can you talk about the inspirations behind some of the sounds on the records? Is there any style you experimented with in the past that you could see yourself revisiting in some of your upcoming releases?

For those releases is getting more into technoish, but I always try to keep my style and identity on house music. As an inspiration is to make it simple and catchy.

Looking at your release page you have an insane level of output, from original productions to remixes. How you manage your workflow between running a label, producing your own tracks and remixes, and DJ’ing?

Well, in fact it is a lot of things to work on. For the label, I have my partner Jerome (LouLou Players), he takes care about pretty much everything, 85% of the work comes from him. Normally I help him on deciding about new releases and also plans for showcases, etc. I’ve been touring a lot and I’d like to spend more time in studio actually, I try to do my best on this. In fact, I decided to take a few weeks off for studio, otherwise it’s not possible to make music while I’m touring like crazy.

What does your current studio set-up look like? As you’re starting to work with some plug-ins and no entirely digital has it changed recently?

My set-up its really old school with a lot analog synthesizers and drum machines, of course I use a bit of plug-ins but not too much. It’s hard to compare a sound coming from a 70’s machine with a plug in, for ex, it doesn’t mean plug-ins works bad, but I’m a old school guy, I like to play with my synths.

Working with a lot of analogue instruments from the 70s and 80s is there one that is a holy grail you have yet to get a hold of?

Looks fun to work with Modular synth, but I never tried and I wouldn’t like to, because I would probably love it and I have no more room in my studio for a machine on that size.

Having DJ’ed all around the world, what have been some of the most standout places in recent years? Why?

There is a lot, but I could say Florianopolis in Brazil where is my second home. In fact, pretty much everywhere in South America is always excellent. I’ve just come back from Australia where people have received me with so much love and respect and also I had the opportunity to pass by in the middle of the Lord Of The Rings and Hobbits in New Zealand.

Following the travel question, what are one or two things that you cannot live without while traveling? Is there anything non-music related that you bring with you everywhere you go?

My HDMI cable to plug at the hotel TV and my headache pills. I bring everywhere with me my electronic cigarette and my phone, of course.

I saw your ADE 2017 b2b set with LouLou players, Sharam Jey, and Mason and am wondering what you think makes a good b2b set? Is it the surprise tracks that the other DJs drop or maybe the overall chemistry or flow of the set?

I’m not really a fan of b2b sets. You need to have a lot of chemistry to do something like that often and normally its’ short time to develop a good story on your DJ set with somebody else playing with you. Sometimes, in occasions like our party at ADE, it’s a different bid, where we are there to celebrate with friends.

In your career as both a DJ and producer what have been some important landmarks or turning points for you?

One of the most important ones was to meet Fran Bortolossi and Gabi, together we had built my career in South America, where all of us had the opportunity to grow professionally and learn together. Now Fran is my support DJ and partner in South America and Gabi my manager.

Is there any advice or anything else that you’d like to share with the audience?

Keep dancing and thank you for your lovely support.