Ahead of their performance at Paral·lel Festival 2018 we caught up with Natural/Electronic.System. to find out more about their roots, collaboration with fellow Italian producer Neel and their relationship with the Paral·lel festival crew.
Natural/Electronic System. are Antonio Giova and Valerio Gomez de Ayala, a DJ and production duo from Naples. Having grown up together, they share a likeminded appreciation for electronic music, specifically the florid Neapolitan house and techno scene of the late 90’s and an array of international DJ’s, bringing their sounds to the Southern Italian city of Naples.
After a long stint honing their sound palette, they released their debut 12″ in 2017 via Moroccan imprint Tikita, which was quickly followed up with a collaborative extended player with Neel in 2018. Today their sound explores the deep, psychedelic potentialities of techno, tinged with experimental and dub sensibilities.
Ahead of their performance at Paral·lel Festival (31 August – 2 September) in the pre-Pyrenees mountains of Guardiola de Berguedà for the third edition of the Catalan techno festival, we caught up with Antonio and Valerio to find out more about their roots, collaboration with Neel and their relationship with the crew behind Paral·lel.
Interview by Matt Mullen
"It’s a name that blends nature and technology, human and machines."
Thanks for putting together a stellar mix. How, when and where was it recorded? Was there a particular theme or concept behind your selections for the mix?
We are based in different cities (Antonio lives in Berlin and Valerio lives in Rome) so when we are not together to prepare a mix, we usually start by putting together a track selection, speaking about the sequence or how the flow of the mix should be.
When we come up with an organic sequence of tracks that fully satisfies us, we record the mix using turntables and CDJs. There’s not a particular theme or concept behind this mix. It’s just a selection of tracks we like to play out now, something that fits our sound right now.
What’s the story behind the name natural/electronic.system?
It’s a name that blends nature and technology, human and machines. We thought it works well to describe what we do in some ways.
Could you give us an insight into your collaborative process? Who does what when it comes to composing tracks. And do you ever have any conflicting opinions, or do you both tend to share a singular vision for your sets?
About production, we have separate studios and we share projects between us. Regularly we try to meet to make music together or to finalise projects. We have been good friends for a long time, so we speak about everything in a very direct way. Not very often but it happens sometimes that we end up with different point of view, but being critical about yourself is always a good thing for us.
You made your production debut in 2016 after focusing on DJing for 12 years. How do you feel your production style has evolved since your first release?
Yes we started out as DJs because this is what connected us from the very beginning, digging and finding new interesting music and listen to it together. DJing came as a natural consequence. We have always experimented in making music in the past but never felt ready to propose something to a label. Being so meticulous with what we listen to and what we ‘select’ makes us very critical and judgmental about our own productions.
Your music has a distinctively deep and atmospheric tone. Are there any artists that you would say had an influence on the development of your unique sound?
We have a lot of inspiration from many different kinds of electronic and non-electronic music. We just try to mix up the music we like in a way they make a sense together… at least for us!
All of your music to date has been released via Moroccan label Tikita. How did your relationship with Tikita come about? Do you foresee a move to any other labels in future?
With Karim we literally clicked from the start… we loved the project when he invited us to join the label and then we discovered that we have many things in common and we really like his approach. With Tikita we really feel at home, but for sure we will release on other labels too if we will have the opportunity.
"Being so meticulous with what we listen to and what we ‘select’ makes us very critical and judgmental about our own productions."
Your latest record, a collaborative EP produced with Neel, received a strong response. How did the collaboration with Neel come about? Do you have plans for any further collaborative work?
We are long time friends with Giuseppe and we have experimented and made music together for a long time too. Last year Karim asked if we were interested in collaborating together and we thought it was probably the right time to make it happen. Happy to hear it had a strong response, in the future there could be something more, time will tell.
You seem like you’ve had a busy schedule this summer, playing a variety of events across Europe. Do you find that it’s difficult to find a balance between studio time and playing out?
No, the difficult part is to balance our day jobs, studio time and playing out. We’re tying to make this work!
Would you say that your experiences playing live influences your creative process?
For sure when you come back home from a very nice event full of great vibes, people and energy, creativity flows much easier.
At the end of August you are performing at Paral·lel Festival in Spain for the third year running. Tell us about your relationship with the team behind the festival and how the festival has helped develop you both as musicians.
The guys behind Paral·lel are very special. They have battled a lot to make this event happen. There were not many festival for this kind of sound three years ago in Europe, but all the efforts have not been in vain as nowadays many other are popping up from other countries and crews and are connecting to each other in such an interesting way.
We’re just lucky that our paths met, we really love the likeminded attitude and of course similar taste in music! We are really looking forward to the third edition!
For those that have not been to Paral·lel Festival – why should they come to the festival? What makes it a unique event??
Well we think when something is made with passion and love, with the spirit of sharing, this links the attendees in such a fresh and genuine way. This is how it has been the last two years fresh and genuine, with people from all over the world that just want to share some days together with good music, surrounded by beautiful nature.
Have you been working for some time preparing your live set for Paral·lel? What can people look forward to?
For sure we are already digging and selecting records for our set at Paral·lel but we can’t say too much… it’s a surprise, like every year!
What’s next on the agenda for natural/electronic.system? Are there any future releases planned?
We have a remix on the next Tikita that will be out after summer, and we are working on new music and new ideas. Then gigs of course, we love to play records so looking forward to go back on the road after this well deserved August break.
Paral·lel Festival is located just one hour and thirty minutes away from the city of Barcelona. Tickets are limited to 1000 and are on sale now for €79 via Paral·lel’s website.
Inverted Audio is an official media partner for Paral·lel 2018, and we’ll be on hand to bring you all the info you’ll need ahead of the festival and show off the best bits afterwards.
Photography by Sasha Zmiievets and Rhythm Büro