Mailing with Marc Piñol

Mailing with Marc Piñol

02-07-2014 | 15.33

Usually, when an artist wants to do an interview by mail, I try my best to still do it over Skype. For some reason, many Spanish artists are very afraid of their English skills, and think they won’t be able to express themselves fully - in a way that often is correct. On the other hand, an interviewer will never be able to get the most out of a question with an interview by mail, for obvious reasons. Strangely enough, Marc Piñol answered me very blatantly while sitting in front of his computer and gave some beautiful open answers. Below you can read about his affection with pop, his aversion to Sónar and his discontentment with his own productions.

How did you get in contact with Hivern Discs label head John Talabot?
“I met John Talabot 15 years ago, when I began my residency at Nitsa Club in Barcelona. He came there very often (even while not having the legal age to get in) and stood besides the DJ booth with a notebook and a ballpoint pen all night, asking about the records we were playing. Once he even told me that he wanted to be like me when he grew up. I thought: ‘this guy is scary!’ Eventually I found out that he was a very special kid. Nowadays, he’s one of my best friends and an inspiration. Actually, now I'm the one who wants to be like John Talabot when I grow up.”
This year Barcelona already had its 21st edition of Sonar. In what way did you see the festival grow?
“I’m sorry to say this, but currently I don’t like the festival at all. They let it grow too much during the last years in my opinion. They don’t take care of the sound, neither of the crowd or the artists as they did in the past. Sónar used to have a solid reputation of being a festival where everybody felt like they were at home. Now you’d only feel at home if you live in an aircraft hangar with 40.000 flatmates while being high on the most harmful drug combo. I don’t want to sound too nostalgic, but I miss the time when you could enjoy Sónar during an entire weekend without feeling like a deer in a hunt. I remember something Svengalisghost said to me at the previous edition: ‘a place as big as this is an invitation for logistical problems’. I haven’t found a more elegant way to define Sónar right now.”
Do you also have a big affection to pop, like Talabot and Pional have as well? If so, could you name some current favorites?
“Yes I do. I've been into pop since my early teens. It would be a longer list than with electronic music though, so I won’t write down too much names right now. There are too many artists that I love. I'm more into old stuff anyway. Phil Spector, Beach Boys, Nilsson and obviously a bunch of weird, barely known, terrible and/or awesome bands, which only released one record and disappeared forever. I'm probably a little snobby when it comes to pop.”
I’ve read that you don’t want to be remembered as someone who mostly did edits and remixes. Still, those are the things you release mostly. Why is that?
“Maybe I meant to say ‘I don’t want to be remembered at all, under any circumstances’. I added something at the end of the quote so it wouldn’t sound too depressing. I’m struggling a lot to finish my music, but most of the time, I’m not even showing the result to anybody. I don’t have the skills, which is something that annoys me. A while ago, I stopped doing edits and remixes and now I’m just focusing on doing my own stuff. The release I did with Hugo Casablanca as C.P.I. on Hivern Discs I find quite cool though. Plus there is some stuff that still needs to be finished and I don’t know if I hate it yet. But believe me, I know myself very well and it’ll happen any time soon. One thing I’m sure of is that I’m a better DJ then a producer, but I’m working very hard every day to change that.”
You just brought out Clef.III. To me it shows a more obvious acid sound then on other recent releases, but often it’s still noticeable. Do you have certain affection with the sound?
“I did Clef.III while jamming in real time, just because I wanted to try an SH-101 I bought a year and a half ago. I didn't want to release it since I don't really like the track, but a couple of friends were interested. So I said ‘ok, good luck with that’. To be honest, I still don't really like the music I do. Maybe my musical background as a record buyer is too big, and I’m comparing too much.”
I believe you usually play vinyl. Most of the Spanish DJ’s I know barely do so. Why did you choose to play with records?
“I enjoy playing vinyl if I get the chance to do so. I grew up playing records and it makes me feel connected to the music (ahem, that sounded pompous…). At least it doesn’t make me think about doing loops all the time like the CDJ does, which is very mind-consuming. But at some point, traveling with records is a pain in the ass when you fly often. In the past I’ve lost a couple of bags with very valuable records, and with most of those I’m not going to be able to buy them ever again, since they turned very expensive over the years.”
Also I’m aware that there aren’t many electronic record stores in Spain’s big cities, compared to Germany, Holland or England for example. Is there a reason for that?
“Not as many as in the 90s, that's for sure. But we still have Paradiso in Barcelona, which is probably my favorite record store at this moment. Maybe that’s just because it's close to my place though. There's an explanation for the lack of record stores in Spain: it's all about the government policy. In this country, running a small business is the most suicidal thing you can do. You can open ten Zara stores, a dozen H&M’s and five McDonalds in the same street, but not a small business. The government has not been interested at all in any business that doesn't give them loads of euros since day one. They're like fucking mafia. It’s so sad.”
Is this your first time in the Netherlands? And are there certain Dutch producers or musicians you admire?
“Yeah, it’s my first time, and I’m really excited! My parents were there on a holiday 25 years ago, but my brothers and me stayed at home since it was their 25th wedding anniversary. They still keep an album full of pictures and have always told nice stories about the Netherlands. I have always wanted to go there, ever since I was a little kid.”
“I was a very big fan of Steffan Robers in the early nineties. I still keep a lot of Outland, Spiritual, 100% Pure and Djax records at my place. Tjeerd L.J. Verbeek as Trance Induction, Arno Peeters, Like a Tim, etc. I loved their music and I've played it a lot when I began DJing. I really liked Kettel and Speedy J at the beginning, and I even bought some Psychic Warriors of Gaia records at some point. But I'm not that nostalgic, so I'm not playing them anymore. Records I still play are the ones from Legowelt, I-F, Rachmad, Unit Moebius or Alden Tyrell, I feel more connected to their sound. Also when I was working as a music journalist I received some Clone promos and I still keep them as a treasure, since they were one of my very first connections with new Dutch electronic dance music. Any new producers I like? Maybe Roberto Auser is the one I enjoy most. He is an awesome producer and I think his Future Exotica 12" is one of my favorite releases of 2012. That said, my all-time favorite Dutch producer is Dick Raaijmakers. It's been 10 years now since my ex-girlfriend gave me the Popular Electronics compilation on Basta as a present. I still listen to this a lot. The best thing that girl did for me, by far.”

Text: Ruben Leter