Alex Ranerro was born in Zagreb, but his family soon moved to a little city of Laško, in the heart of Slovenia. He always listened to various musical genres, gaining musical perspective from the early hip-hop records and soulful R'n'B songs to a bit more classical house music anthems. He released his first track in 2011 on Umek's high quality techno and tech house imprint 1605 Music Therapy, which instantly hit the Beatport top 100 techno chart. Since that, he's been releasing regularly on notable labels like Glasgow Underground, Bedrock, Simma Black, Undr The Radr and many others.
Alex's musical output is embossed by his versatility as a music producer and DJ and cannot be pinned down to a single genre. Some of his own productions go way deeper, others are more targeted at the peak time to reach a wild movement on the dance floors, but there is a constant to all of them; it has got to be groovy and it needs arouse emotion; hold a story that speaks to the audience. His recent trip to Ibiza, where he attended Burn Residency boot camp, has opened many new doors for him. We discussed his future plans, projects and experiences.
You started producing music when you were still a teenager. Until now, how would you describe your progress and where would you say it's shown the most?
Well yeah, I've found out about computer programs for producing music when I was still in high school. I thought it was really interesting and fun creating sounds and loops from scratch, even though they sounded shitty at the beginning. :) Throughout these years I've been learning and experimenting with sounds, programs and different techniques to develop my way of producing electronic music. It was an intense ride but also an interesting one. I've meet so many incredible people through music and experienced so many different things; it's just something that I probably would not had the chance of doing if I weren't involved in music. I think all of that helped me becoming a better person as well as an artist and I think this is where my progress shows the most.
You grew up in a small city of Laško, but you've lived in Ljubljana for quite some time now. What was the reason behind it? Would you say that living in 'a bigger city' makes it easier for your career to grow, or are there even more obstacles on your path to obtain?
I moved to Ljubljana simply because I've started studying there. Slovenia is a really small country so being from a small city such as Laško, you don't have many options if you want to go to college. Just recently I've finished Faculty of Sports so I'm kind of glad that now I can focus on music even more. Of course being here in Ljubljana, where everything was actually happening, opened so many new doors for me. I wouldn't say that it was easier for me, but you can surely get more opportunities to be seen or heard. On the other side there's always more competition and distractions that come with living in bigger cities, so there are always negative and positive sides to every situation.
Since your beginnings, you were always working alone and never had any residencies. Can you perhaps tell us a little bit more about it and where do you see your self 'at home' the most in the future?
Heh. It's true.. The reason is probably because I come from a completely different background and also from a really small city. I used to play basketball and when I decided to devote myself to the music, I actually didn't know anyone in the business. When I started going out to parties, I've met and approached some DJs. I remember that I'd written to most of the "big" DJs at the time in Slovenia and I literally never got any replies. That is when I realised that I will have to do it on my own. I've also never had any residencies even though i really wanted to do just that. Being resident DJ in Slovenia means that you mostly have to play commercial music and for me that was never an option. I'd really love to throw my own nights and parties here in Ljubljana and who knows, maybe I'll have one soon. We will have to wait and see what will happen in the following weeks and months.
This year you've released a couple of tracks in collaboration with a well known Slovenian DJ and producer, Mike Vale. Tell us more about that story, and does it continue?
Going back to the previous question, Mike was one of the few artists that replied me back then. Because of that and his great music I respect him a lot! He showed me support in the last couple of years when he invited me to warm up for him at various gigs. I was really excited when he called me last summer and asked if I wanted to produce a couple of tracks with him. I visited him quite a lot at his amazing studio in Maribor and we've quickly produced three tracks. We released an EP with Roger Sanchez's imprint UNDR the RADR, which was quite a success. We managed to stay in Traxsource tech house top 100 chart's first place for more than a month and we also had some really huge names supporting it. Follow up was a single on respectful Glasgow Underground label, so overall we were quite satisfied with our tracks. At the moment we are both really busy with our own projects, but I think we might produce a track or two in the future.
Congratulations on making it to top 10 at this years Burn Residency contest which took place on the magical island of Ibiza! You've stayed there for 3 weeks, learning, meeting big names from the industry and showcasing your skills. What would you say about the competition and what was the most memorable experience that you've brought home with you?
Thank you very much! Visiting Ibiza was always on the top of my wishing list, and now I can say that my dream has finally come true. There is something special about this island and its incredible energy. The competition was just amazing!! Respect to Burn and its crew for making these three weeks really remarkable. I've met so many new people, that I can now call my friends, and I saw so many wicked things, that it's really hard to describe them all. I guess the whole experience was the closest that you can get to living in a dream. For me, there were couple of highlights, but the best has to be when we've had the remix challenge and John Digweed described my remix as fantastic, which resulted with me being selected as a winner of this challenge!! That was just unforgettable.
Now, when you are back home, what are your feelings? Would you say, that this contest changed anything about your career?
To be honest I do feel a bit sad knowing that even though I won some major challenges, I had to go home. But on the other side, I'm more than happy, that I got to share my music and passion with some of the most important people in the business and that I got positive feedback from them. I won the Digweed's remix challenge and came as a runner-up in the second one (Uner's remix challenge). I got to meet so many big artists such as Carl Cox, Uner, Luciano, Dubfire, Nick Curly, Miguel Campbell,... I've also met Darius Syrossian who played two of my tracks in his set at the legendary Space in Ibiza and I've played at Sankeys and Privilege. Now I know that I have to work even harder and eventually come to the point where i've always wanted to be. The contest helped me get some really important contacts which will definitely help boost my career.
Please tell us more about your plans for the future.
Since I just came back from Ibiza, I need to get my plans sorted as soon as possible. I'll "lock" myself in the studio for the next couple of months to create loads of new music. I also want to find a slot in Ljubljana where I'll be able to have regular gigs, basically a residency. I do have some gigs already booked 'till the end of the summer though. Then there is a remix that I'm really looking forward to releasing on legendary Bedrock Recordings which will happen in next couple of months. So yeah, I think there are some exciting times in front of me, which I'm really looking forward to.
At this point in your career, what would you say about the music that you're playing? Which genre reflects your current mood, and what is your inspiration?
It's hard to talk about genres. There are literally new sub-genres born everyday. But for me there were always either house or techno. I think that production-wise as well as DJing I'm really exploring the boundaries within house and techno music. I tend to play more "housier" vibes during the summer, with positive energy and mood, but overall I like the momentum where I'm at with my music. I think I'm getting closer to truly finding my unique sound and to be able to build on that foundation.
You are working on many projects at the moment, and one of them is our very own SolvdMag. What's the fuss about that?
Heh, it is a secret! Well Solvd is really an ambitious project which I've started together with a group of like-minded friends. It is one of those projects that we tend to work and develop slowly through years, not rushing ourselves. The idea started last summer when I wanted to launch my very own music label. But I never wanted to start only a label. That is why we came up with the idea of creating a digital platform to connect and expose talents and to create a community, which would support Ex-Yu countries.
We launched a website with daily news, interviews, podcasts and other interesting things, which are related to music, just a couple of months ago. There'll also be different events and conferences to gather people with similar interests and to educate the younger generations. As said before, we started off slowly with our own funding and of course there are so many things that we still need to learn and improve, but we really are enjoying it as we go and that's what matters the most!