Interview with Core aka Daniel Kyo

by Gilles Wasserman

Valencia-based artist, Core aka Daniel Kyo is not a stranger to the underground electronic music scene. Having released on labels like Hivern Discs, Drumpoet Community, Bordello a Parigi and Night Drive Music to name few, Daniel has established his name as a versatile producer that explores different genres of electronic music with unique outcomes. Today marks a new milestone for Daniel, since his newly founded record label ARA, which he co-runs with Veryan, releases its first release ‘15 years’ EP under Daniel’s Core moniker. We had a chat with Daniel about his beginnings in music production, his days in the studio, ARA record label, the scene in Valencia and more.

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Hey Daniel, it’s a pleasure to have you here at Delayed, how was your week?
Hey! Same here, thanks for having me. Last week and weekend were quite relaxed for me, no gigs and lots of time in the studio which i love. I´m also in the process of moving to Berlin so I´m trying to spend so much time making music before I move all the stuff.

I read that you grew up surrounded by music, do you play any instruments? How long have you been making electronic music, and how has the way you produce changed over the years?
Yes, I remember listening to music since I was a little kid. I also started playing a couple of small keyboards I got and then after some time I started studying classical guitar and took lessons for around 8 years. Then after a while I came back to keyboards and synthesizers; it´s something I can´t help as I grew up in the 80s, loving synthesizers and melodies. These days I´m getting more and more minimalistic and it´s a big challenge for me that I´m really enjoying. After classical studies and so much melodies always at home I believe it´s something that will always be with me and hard to avoid in my productions so I´m trying to find a balance lately where energy and groove have more presence.

Do you produce music at home or at the studio?
At the moment I have my studio at home but I like every now and then to create ideas just with the laptop as it keeps my mind fresh. Then taking those ideas into the studio for arrangement and mixing.

What is your music making a routine like, do you go to studio every day, even if you don’t have any ideas in your head?
Yes, I try to go to the studio everyday. I go even at the weekends if I don´t have gigs and feel fresh although I don´t have any ideas. I´m becoming more and more strict about my working routine and I think it´s very important to keep fit in the studio the same way you need to do sports frequently if you wanna be in good shape.

What’s your studio set up like? Any favorite piece of hardware or a plug in?
I´m a big fan of Elektron devices. I think these are the machines that have had more impact on the way I make music in the last years by far. I don´t have a lot of stuff but I´ve spent quite a long time looking for the right one, mostly analog synths together with the Elektrons and a couple of hardware effects processors and that´s it. I don´t have problems in any of the equipment I don´t use, this way I can use that money to try new ones.

Where do you find inspiration when working on tracks?
For me inspiration means having my mind clear and fresh, which means mostly just being relaxed mentally to spend good quality time in the studio and make the right decisions in there. For that I think to follow quite a strict routine as I said which includes reading, walking, meditation, sports, eating well and to a lesser extent I would say being up to date with new music coming out.

’15 years’ is your second release under Core moniker. How did Core moniker come along and how is it different musically than Daniel Kyo?
I started with Core after a while feeling I wasn´t so comfortable only with one artist name as I wanted to feel artistically more free to explore new kinds of sounds and styles. I just can say Core is definitely more techno, more mental, darker but keeping the harmonic epicness that I also show as Daniel Kyo. In a way, with Core I’m more looking at the future, with Kyo more looking at the past.

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What was the creative process behind this release? Is ’15 years’, the name of your release, reference to something?
Yes, I chose that name because it´s fifteen years since I started making music. I also wanted to express that this is a moment of change for me, a kind of rebirth in my career with the new moniker plus finally my own label.

This release marks a new milestone for you since it’ll be the first release on your newly founded label ARA. What’s the idea behind the label which you’re starting with Veryan?
ARA came really as a necessity. I realized I needed a platform for my music that I could fully have under control as my experiences with other labels in general haven´t been specially good. The idea is of course releasing my own stuff but also having other artists with us, no matter if they are well known or not. Quality music we would like to listen in the club is what we are looking for.

What is your connection to Japan? Have you been there or are you planning to go and spend some time and work there perhaps?
I travelled there some times and still have lots of friends from there. I´m really into the japanese culture and also very interested in the zen philosophy. It´s real fascination for that country as you can see from my artist name to some other details from my work. Actually I´m thinking it´s been a while since I was there so probably time to come back!

I would like to ask you a few things about DJing. You used to be a resident at Miniclub in Valencia, what’s your most memorable night there?
Yes, I was the founder, booker and resident DJ for the club. I remember that time as probably the best of my DJ career. We had lots of good artists with us but as many of my friends from Valencia will know the most special night I can recall is the one that we had Carl Craig for our anniversary. The crowd was simply pure madness and at the middle of the night there was a moment when all the lights and electricity from the club went off except from (incredibly) the music. After that Carl took the microphone and started amusing the people and everyone just went nuts! (check videos on Vimeo and Youtube for more).

How is the underground scene in Valencia nowadays?
I think it´s been getting better in the last years. I´m really enjoying my monthly residence at La Carbonera and occasional gigs at places like Ágora. Things are looking good, the only problem here is that promoters in general don´t take this business seriously enough and other things are more important for many of them than just talent.

When you play out do you prefer to play vinyl or digital?
I love vinyl but I normally play both formats. I Would love to be able to always play only vinyl but many times this is not technically possible and although you could do it, not optimal for your performance. I often travel with my record bag ending up in the club with some turntables that are not working fine and sticking to digital after a couple of attempts.

I really like to get lost digging through Bandcamp, what’s your favorite platform to look for new music?
I would say Bandcamp too. Apart from discogs and several vinyl stores like Juno, Hardwax or deejay.de for digital I´m mostly buying all stuff on Bandcamp. The trick is just following any artist or label you like to get notifications about them as there´s so much stuff that you can really get lost in there.

What’s your favorite release lately?
Hard to pick one but probably anyone from Valentino Mora, Evigt Mörker or Luigi Tozzi.

For the end, give us some names that we should pay attention to for the future.
Sungate, Kimochi Sound, ARA