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Introducing: Ilya Santana Interview

During Ilya Santana’s 10 years, the Spanish producer has remixed a diverse selection of artists from Human League to Dolly Parton, Norweigan demigod Lindstrom to New York’s psychedelic soul band the Phenomenal Handclap

Now though it’s time for the producer’s original productions to take the limelight as he joins fellow discoholics, Ruben & Ra, and their Retrospective family for a genuine summer anthem, ‘Big Foot‘.

Retrospective have enlisted a host of remixers including Retrospective’s own Rayko, Madrid disco edit king, NELUE, Thomas Jackson & Future Feelings. We grabbed ten minutes with Ilya to find out about his latest release, why more artists should play live and what he has planned for the rest of the year.

Hello Ilya, what’s the weather like in Gran Canaria?

It’s always nice weather here, sometimes a little cloudy but no less hot for it.

You’re just about to release ‘Big Foot’ via Retrospective – tell us a little bit about it?

I wanted to make something heavy, slow and big… Like a big foot! I used some drum samples from Abbey Road studio original drum sound recordings, I’ve always loved the idea of mixing classic drum and percussion sounds with synthesizers, it’s the perfect love affair.

When did you make it?

Oh some time ago, I think 8 months maybe, but the process is slow if you want to include some killer remixers, I don’t like to rush the artists.

Do you think where a musician lives has a big impact on the music they make?

Everything counts, place, family, friends and of course what you have inside you.

Do you think you’d be making disco if you lived in Detroit or Berlin?

Hmmm, hard to know that, then again before I was making disco, I was producing very different music.

We’ve been enamoured by Todd Terje’s live performance – could you see yourself doing something similar in the future?

Yes, Ilya Santana live… It is one of my plans but I still have to find the way to do it, my tracks feature many instruments and I don’t want to just be there with only a laptop and a controller on stage.

It seems like Disco is one of the few electronic genres that could actually be played live – do you think more musicians should follow Todd’s path?

I think so, playing your own music live is always better, it is when the music come to life. Todd has done it very well but to do it well I think it has to be done with a good set up.

Your dad has had a big influence on you musically – do you think his music collection made you the musician you are today?

I think my very first experience of music was through him, many many night I used to listen with him to all kinds of stuff and then we’d always talk about it. Mostly disco, latin music, Psyche-Rock, that kind of thing. Pink floyd was one of his favourites.

What have you got planned for the rest of the year?

Just keep on making music, I’ve got a tour in Mexico coming up and I need to finish a sample-pack for Loopmasters.

Who’s the most underrated disco producer?

I love D-Pulse and I don’t see many records or gigs from them. Sportloto from Russia too, there are not many producers who make electronic music like him with all those chords changes. There are also some guys from South America that are amazing but so far have not had a big impact in Europe, Julian Sanza and Avanti for example.

And the most overrated?

Well, really I do not follow many artists, so I can only say what I love.

What’s the best modern disco record in the your opinion?

From my point of view the Norwegian artists like Lindstrom, Terje, Prins Thomas… These are the ones who reinvented electronic-disco, but then of course before them Daniel Wang was the most original I think. Nobody nowadays make real disco. But I’m sorry I can’t tell you the best record, is very subjective.

And the worst?

Everyday we find tons of music that we could consider to be not good, but then each and every one of us are looking for something specific in music, so not every record will satisfy everyone.

If your studio was on fire and you could go back in and save one thing – what would it be and why?

The hard drive of course.

If you could change one thing about the music industry – what would it be and why?

I would say digital sales but well that could be stupid by me because you can’t change that and there are good sides to it, for the consumers definitely, but for producers it’s not so good, it has cheapened music in many ways and there’s just so much piracy.

Still there are good points, music distribution is better than ever before and you can get what you want everywhere, so let´s just see what happen in the future.