J.C. is the techno alias of Spanish producer Jose Cabrera. Earlier this week Jose released his debut album ‘Portrait Of The Flying Sky‘ on Fred P’s sub label Boards. The album itself features 10 tracks of hypnotic spaced out techno featuring remixes from Dario Zenker, Tadeo, Psynote and Kastil. Despite being based in the North of Spain, Jose is also a resident at Tresor, so it’s no surprise that his mix is a reflection of what you can expect if you catch him play in Berlin. His mix features music from Christian Vogel, Svreca, Oscar Mulero, Max_M, Abdullah Rashim, Alien Rain and many more.
Hi Jose, thanks for recording your mix for Inverted Audio. Can you tell us more about your idea behind the mix, the tracks you’ve included and the atmosphere you’ve created? Also how and where was it made?
Thanks so much for inviting me, it’s my pleasure! I normally approach podcasts in many different ways so I don’t get bored. I like to make all sorts of mixes with the music that I like, which is very varied but in this specific one I wanted to reflect what I normally play on a J.C. set. Mostly spaced out techno. I think it creates a certain atmosphere that could be related to what I normally do when I play the warm up spot at Tresor, which I love, because you aren’t conditioned by the artist that plays before you and I am able to build something from zero.
It was recorded at my house with one Technics turntable and two CDJ’s, which is what I normally use in my shows.
This mix has been recorded to celebrate the release of your debut J.C. album ‘Portrait Of The Flying Sky’, tell me about what your initial ideas for the album?
This being my first album, I really wanted it to represent my sound, my influences, all the experiences I have lived through music, where I come from. Something like a recapitulation of all this years working on this and share it with everybody through this format.
Where did you write the majority of the album and how long did you work on the album for?
Most of the album was recorded in my studio in Vitoria-Gasteiz, in the Basque Country (North of Spain). I am from Madrid originally but I have been living here for the past 6 years. It’s a really beautiful and calm place, I love the life here.
It took me about 8 months to finish all the creative process, although there are a couple of tracks that are a bit older. I had been making and releasing a lot of music lately so I also had the time to accomplish all the project, which I knew it was going to take me a while so I didn’t want to set up any deadlines or anything, just let it flow till it was done.
Making an album is a really interesting project, very different than making an EP, its like a puzzle where you have to put all the parts together till it makes sense.
Considering the album is being released on Fred P’s newly established record label ‘Boards’ – Did Fred P help you out in anyway to finish the album, or add some tips to mixing it down?
I actually started working on the album for myself, without any release plan or anything, so it wasn’t till I had it 100% finished that I sent it to a couple of friends to have a second opinion. Fred was one of those. He really liked it from the beginning and was interested on releasing it, which made me really happy.
We have worked together a lot over the years so it was kind of a natural thing to do. He gave me all the freedom, not only musically but also on the artwork, which I am really grateful for because I had a really concrete idea of what I wanted and maybe with a different label, it would have been more difficult to make it happen.
Can you tell us how you initially met with Fred P?
First I met Fred online, I think this was about 8 years ago, more or less, not sure about the exact date, but I contacted him because I was a huge fan of the Black Jazz Consortium music and I wanted him to release on my label, Esperanza.
We made a release with a Patrice Scott remix, which was really good and from that we started talking a lot on Skype. The first time that I got to meet him in person, was in my first tour in U.S.A., I was playing in New York, in a loft in Brooklyn and I told the promoters that it would be amazing to have Fred on board for the gig and so it happened. From that point we started seen each other and speaking a lot, also back in Europe when he was doing tours before moving to Berlin.
When he launched Boards, the first release was a split EP by him and I. It was one of the first J.C. releases ever too.
What does the album symbolize to you?
I have been making music most of my adult life, first started producing rap songs around 1999 / 2000, then got bored of all that scene and the music it was coming out at that point and started making electronic music, more sample based house, chopping my father’s jazz collection which was really similar to the process I was using for hip hop. Even though it has passed so long since I started producing, I have always been an EP kind of guy.
I never thought I was prepared to make such a huge project as an album but when I started the J.C. alias, I gained a lot of self-confidence in my production and thought it was the perfect spot to do it. From day one I knew it was going to be a long and hard process so I took it with a lot of patience till I finished it.
So the album symbolizes to me a feeling of self-accomplishment, being able to do it, to tell a story with 10 tracks. Its a beautiful project, much more complete than making a single. You are able to explore other areas of your production, select the right tracks, put them in order and then see how the people react to it. If it was depending on me, I think I would only work on LPs from now on.
What’s the story behind the coining of the album title?
Like I said before, from day one and this being my first album, I really wanted it to reflect myself, my influences, where I come from and what I have been doing most of my life and that’s why its called “Portrait”.
At this point of my life I am really interested in creating spaced out atmospheres with music mixed with futuristic elements and sounds. Something like creating the soundtrack of a sci-fi movie so that’s why I called it like that.
I am not sure if it makes any sense to you but it took me a while to find the correct name of the album but when I found it, I just knew it was the right one!!
Would you say that the album is a collection of old tracks, pieced together, or is it a stand-alone album?
I actually think it’s a stand-alone album. It’s true that most of the tracks are dance floor related but I think that it tells a story from beginning to the end. All of the tracks but one were made specifically for it and all were made with a certain concept and mood I chose for the LP.
When listening to the album it seems to build up and up from start to finish. Did you intend for the album to be listened to as a whole, or for DJs to flick through?
I would like to think that it will be used both ways. Some people will hear it as a whole and others will just pick the tracks they like to play and just use them as they are.
From day one I was really sure that I wanted to make this kind of album. I don’t really understand this people who had always been releasing EPs related to techno or house and then at the time to work on an LP, they just put ambient or more electronica stuff, just because its an album.
Of course some intros make it more interesting for the listener but in my opinion and being my first album, I really wanted to reflect where I come from and what I have been doing most of my life.
To me it’s very much a techno-focused album, less house orientated. Is this a natural reflection of the success that techno is receiving at this moment, or is it naturally the type of music that you are listening to and producing?
With the J.C. project I mostly have released just techno related music. It was a natural thing for me to do. I had been making house for a long time already and I just felt I needed a change, something that excited and inspire me more, try new production techniques, scape a bit from what I was doing at the time because I was a bit tired and looped so this is what I came up with. I have always had an eclectic taste, not only in electronic music, which I like almost every genre, but also love rock, rap, jazz, soul, whatever excites me. I don’t like to put limits to what I hear or make.
Do you have a favorite track on the album?
I actually don’t. Its like having children, you can’t pick one! I am very happy with the whole result!
How do you feel this album stands up alongside your previous J.C. productions?
I think it’s a follow up to the 8 EPs I have released as J.C., something like a conclusion of them. Right now I have changed my entire studio set up, trying to include more and more hardware on my production process so I guess my next productions will sound different. I am already starting to work in a new album with a different concept but I think this one and the previous EPs, all have a connection, all sound alike.
How do you plan to celebrate the release of the album? Will you be going on a tour, playing a live setup or something similar?
I will play some gigs of course! I am really looking forward to the album release party, the 13th of June, at my home, Tresor in Berlin, where I am resident and I hope the full schedule will be known soon.
I am also preparing a live set with the machines but I still need to work much more on that, although its something I really want to make soon.
How do your productions as J.C. differ to your other production names (Kasper and José Cabrera)?
Although J.C. is more associated with Techno and Kasper with House, I like to think that J.C. is my mature project so I don’t want to put any boundaries to it. I will probably release all sorts of music and keep Kasper on hold for a while.
Actually my next release on AHD with Kastil is 100% electro; it will come out before the summer. Looking forward to that too.
The album also features Dario Zenker, Tadeo, Psynote and Kastil – Can you tell me about how these collaborations came about and how you went about working with these artists? Was it face-to-face or sending snippets back and forth over the Internet?
All the artists that collaborate on the album are long time friends and music colleagues that I know for many many years. This was one of the most exciting parts of the project, I have always liked to work with the people I have around me. I think it’s very inspiring and makes you learn a lot, not only the production side but also musically.
I wasn’t sure how to approach it because most of this people don’t live in the same city, nor country, than me so I just made some loops and then asked each of them to send me some parts that could be added to this songs. It was a back and forward process but turned out to be really interesting.
The only track that I made in the same studio was with Kastil, on Endorphinas. Mario has one of the best studios I have never seen, he has every machine in the world and it’s a pleasure to work there and jam so we try to do it as often as our lives let us. This one was a result of one of those days.
Apart from music what else do you spend your time doing?
I love hanging out with my girlfriend, friends and family, reading, watching TV shows (I am addicted to HBO), going to concerts, etc.…I also play poker very regularly, been doing it for a long time already. I love the mind game of it, its like playing chess with cards and money.
‘Portrait Of The Flying Sky’ is out now of Fred P’s Boards imprint, order a vinyl copy from Juno.
1. Christian Vogel – Exclusion
2. Nacho Ortega – Del cielo caiga una bala
3. Svreca – Trance
4. Mental Resonance – Filaments
5. Oscar Mulero – Mentally Induced Action
6. Max M – Exceeding Brightness
7. Leiras – No Partial Truth
8. Abdullah Rashim & Axel Hallqvis – Mark (Claudio PRC Remix)
9. Aiken – Reductive
10. Cassegrain – Intrude Restrain
11. Leiras – Aoroi
12. Alien Rain – Alienate
13. Mike Parker – Flying Nerve
14. J.C. – Titania
15. I-Y – Objection
16. Parallel 9 – Technic