101 with Ale Castro

ALE CASTRO is a Dj / Producer born and raised in Argentina. He has been part of many national and international events in countries such as Germany, Russia, Ukraine, France, Croatia, Belgium, Sweden, Mexico and Colombia just to name a few. His tracks were signed to Avotre, Savor Music, Criminal Hype, Frequenza Limited and many others while his music was played by a number of great artists such as Sidney Charles, Santé, Dj Sneak, tINI, Silicone Soul, Erick Morillo, Nick Curly, Maetrik (a.k.a Maceo Plex)...

In 2013 his song ¨Stieglitz¨ became a hit in the underground scene with hitting the charts and superb support. It was included in ViVa MUSiC mix recorded by Steve Lawler and it was also a part of Delicias Compilation which was released on Savor Music and mixed by Ernesto Ferreyra (Cadenza).

His new project is a Love & Loops, which is his own vinyl only record label. The label specializes in house music that is created by already established acts such as Robert Owens and it's also supporting new producers from all the world.

Nowadays, based in Argentina, Germany and Russia, Ale Castro tours around the world playing live or DJ sets and he's also a part of the artist roster from Berliner agency Ballroom Music.

What’s your favourite piece of gear – something you couldn’t live without?

Pizza! Hehehe, I'm kidding, I honestly have learned to live without a big studio, since I share my time between Berlin, Argentina and Russia the last 6 years. In each place, I have a small studio to be able to produce or I use my friend's studio as well, but the biggest and most equipped is in Argentina.

If I had to choose something that would definitely be the keys, midi controller or some of my synthesisers. It is the only "instrument" that I can control quite well and with which I have been raised since my grandmother gave me my first Casio-tone when I was 5 years old and I still have it.

Which do you prefer – playing at enormous festivals or intimate clubs?

I like both, as long as the stage is close to the people. I don't like clubs or festivals that have the stage super far from the public. Is not that I prefer to be surrounded by people in DJ such as Boiler Room, but if my friends can't come to greet and have a drink with me, it really bothers me a lot. If I can choose, I always prefer the clubs since smaller places can create a more intimate connection with the people, while in the festivals sometimes the flow or energy is so big that it is difficult to control.

Also on festivals is kind of easy to play because people are already into the party spirit, so usually there isn't much effort needed to do a fun set. On the other side, club sets are a bigger challenge in that sense and I think I like that more.

Which is the most mesmerising club that you’ve ever played at?

The clubs in Berlin have definitely something super hypnotic and special. I think for that reason people can spend up to 3 days in clubs without even realising. I would have to highlight Sisyphos, which is one of my favourite clubs in the city and KaterHolzig (now is Katerblau) where the whole place is pure psychedelia, from decoration to light effects. I think those two are my highlights.

I have played in a lot of clubs that were very good, but sometimes it is difficult to remember all of them. I also have a list of clubs where I didn't play yet but hopefully, in the future, I'll be able to take them off the list. 

What is your best and worst experience at a gig and why?

The best experience is when I'm able to show my music to people, to make them lose their mind and to have a good trip. It is also when a message that one seeks can be understood throughout the set. I have a hard time choosing only one experience. Some of the highlights are festivals such as Fusion in Germany, clubs like Stackenschneider in Russia and outdoor events which are in surrounded by nature. Same as above, it is difficult to choose something punctual as the worst experience.

I usually go crazy if there is a bad sound system or if I am far away from the public. Sometimes, the equipment doesn't work properly and I'm especially talking about the vinyl since I use it a lot, that bothers me as well. Usually, there are always flaws, especially in South America. At this point, I will emphasise Plötzlich Am Meer as the worst experience due to the bad organisation and little interest by the crew from the stage called ¨Humbug¨.

The technical part was a disaster, the shuttle services never worked properly and I had to return by my own to Berlin and almost risked losing a flight to Russia (and consequently a lot of gigs that I've had there). What annoyed me the most was the uselessness of that crew who's missing the respect for the artists, and I was not the only one who had a bad time there.

I do hope that they've improved, but I highly doubt it. I try to ignore all these bad situations and learn from them so I don't repeat mistakes but sometimes people take advantage of it. then I simply learn the lesson again and blame myself for that, but you know, you can't fight the human nature.

Do you have any interests besides music?

Yes!!! Definitely gastronomy. I love to eat and I'm a food hedonist. I really like to cook and I do it quite well. Cooking is the closest thing that is similar to producing music. All the ingredients in the right balance can create a delicious track, Ummm sorry I mean a delicious dish!

Also when you're cooking for other people, that is quite similar to music. You give the best of you to satisfy others and make them eat something delicious and that's more or less what we're doing with music, right? I think it's a common the culinary - DJ relation.

Do you enjoy sunset or sunrise sets?

I like both. I'm going to steal a phrase from Tobi Dei (sorry dear) but I like the "blue hour", which is the moment where that change takes place, from day to night, and from night to day. I also like to play long sets. Since I'm coming from old school,

I've used to play from the beginning till the end while nowadays DJ sets are too short for me sometimes. I also like the open air venues and nature, so if I had to choose, I would choose sunset... or sunrise... fuck, I don't know.

What do you like and what do you hate about the music industry?

I like? Mmm, I do like piracy, somehow I like to disrespect labels in the same way they disrespect. artists. I also like that vinyl industry is strong again and I like that the era of the internet brought people closer. That enabled more fan reaching to the artists, or the artist can now get to a certain label, etc. In the past, those things were super difficult, especially if you're living in Argentina. I also like platforms that allow working at long distances such as Splice. I really like all the new options there to share files and make life easier for the music producers. For example, I love Bandcamp.

I think they are really honest with the payments to the artists and they're also allowing fans to make donations; I think that's really cool. The truth is that I promised myself to take away the hateful feelings out of my life several years ago and I have achieved it pretty well.

I can name you the things I don't like, and I have a long list, so let's start: I don't like Beatport, I think it's the biggest robbery in history. Even though a lot of my tracks were released there in the past, the way they steal money which belongs to the artists is ridiculous. I don't like artists that work strategically to achieve Beatport charts and I don't like that music industry has stopped giving real importance to the music itself. Suddenly the industry is full of people pretending to be DJ's, trying to be cool, etc. A lot of "DJ's" with money are investing it in advertising or ghost production and from that aspect, I think the competition became super disloyal and uneven. There are many good artists who don't have the opportunity to show their excellent music which they did with heart because of all the reasons above. On the other side, there are many new guys with tracks created from libraries and zero creativity and of course zero shame about it. Everybody uses libraries, I do that sometimes as well, but I try to make them sound different and play with them a little bit to give it my personal touch.

I am aware that a career can be made from money, based on being pretty, nice or popular; that's the way to make it happen, right? But if there isn't any talent, everything sooner or later collapses, and It's when the real artists come back to life. The problem is that many of them don't have "balls" to endure the bad times and they decide to change the field. At the end of the day, that's bad for them. Everybody wants to have a good life but not everybody is ready or enough strong to survive in this disloyal jungle. I also have mixed feelings with social networks.

Measuring whether a DJ is good or not upon a number of likes or followers they have on socials is pathetic. Let's be honest: Today all the artists have Soundcloud, Mixcloud, etc. Many promoters are taking advantage of the DJ's, especially newcomers. The DJ work today goes beyond selecting good music. You have to be PR agent, designer, promoter, sound engineer etc... All those things I don't share at all since I think everyone should focus on making good music and everything else will come naturally... or maybe not. But paying advertisement as an artist? I understand it if you are a label and you have to sell your records otherwise, I don't like that.

If you could pick any artist to do a b2b set, who would it be?

Phil Weeks, Todd Terry and Masters at Work... Sorry, I know that was only one, but it's impossible.

What’s your biggest fear?

I have a repeated nightmare, where the club is full and I can not find my music or the equipment does not work and all the people start to leave. I think it is a common fear among the artists and I think it is also due to my bad experience with the technology of storage. I broke two 1TB hard drives in 6 months this year! Can you believe that? My other fear would be to stay deaf before the age of 95. It would be very sad and boring life without music and I don't think I could stand it.

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you on a gig?

I'm a pretty funny person in general and my friends are funny too, so we usually go in crazy clothes at my gigs. We always like to do crazy things (without hurting anyone, don't worry). But I think one of the funniest experiences was in 2012 when we were given a more "nudist" facet... I became naked in more than 10 countries and in very large festivals in front of many people. It was a revealing period of my life where everything started to free me from many personal tensions that I had been carrying for many years.

I still remember this and I laugh a lot. luckily for me, the internet has censored all the photos and videos but on the other side, it's a shame because everyone could have a laugh to it and not just me and my friends.

Could you pick one timeless track?

"Deep Dish – The Future Of The Future" This track is just simply beautiful, and the vocals from "Everything But The Girl" makes it even more beautiful. You can play it everywhere - during sunset, sunrise, warm up, closing set, in a fashion event, on the radio well… anywhere!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Yes! I would like to invite all of you to check my other crazy musical projects and also my vinyl label + digital label!

By Saša, edited on 14 June 2018