Known for his bass driven, percussive sound, David Gtronic has released on a host of esteemed labels, including Vatos Locos, Suara, Monique Musique, Black Wood and Kina Music, with his sounds earning heavy support from the likes of Richie Hawtin, Marco Carola, Loco Dice and Dubfire.
David’s podcast series ‘The Terrace’ has grown since launching in August 2008 to reach over 2 million downloads, although he’s arguably become known for his work at Vatos Locos, where alongside label boss Hector and core members Chad Andrew, Hanfry Martinez, Javier Carballo, Randall M and Sece, he has played in some of the most instrumental parties and clubs around the world.
2018 has been a landmark year for the Colombia born, US-raised and Berlin-based DJ, as he’s thrown it down in Canada, U.S, Colombia, Netherlands, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Portugal and Italy. As if that weren’t enough, he’ll be closing out 2018 with gigs in France and will spend New Years at Epizode in Vietnam, where he plays alongside stellar names such as Ricardo Villalobos, Nina Kraviz and Seth Troxler.
With all this in mind, we put some questions to the main man recently, here’s what he had to say.
Hi David, how are things going as we look towards the end of 2018?
Everything is going really great! I had an excellent and busy year touring across Europe, America, Australia and even made it to Asia for the first time. The summer in Ibiza was fantastic and I had a residency with the Capadi Rebels on Tuesdays in Benimusa park for the ‘RebelsLand’ events and a few shows at Sankeys and Ibiza Underground. Additionally I had the opportunity to join the Music On x Cuttin Heaz closing party at Privilege. The event was a big hit starting with Marco Carola himself opening the Vista room followed by The Martinez Brothers, Paco Osuna, Jesse Calosso, Jean Pierre and myself. From Ibiza I continued on to Moscow, then Amsterdam for ADE and then a 4 week tour in North and South America. After more than 5 months on the road I finally get to spend the last few weeks of 2018 working on some new music and hanging out at home for once.
Sounds like it’s hard to pick a highlight?
Well, there has been so many incredible moments this past year that it’s quite difficult to choose, but I would have to say that Sunwaves in Romania takes the cake! This was the second consecutive year I got the chance to perform at the festival so the pressure was on to do it better than the previous year. It was Monday morning at 6:50am when I was setting up and getting ready to start my set at 7:00 continuing the amazing vibe tINI & Bill Patrick had been carrying out for the past 12 hours. I played from 7 till 9am which was then followed by Chad Andrew, Javier Carballo, Randall M, Guti and Hector all playing individual sets.
It wasn’t until 5pm that I jumped back on the decks b2b with Mahony. At this point the energy in the stage was massive and the beats and baselines were just flowing, it was such an amazing vibe! Once the sunset and the night took over, I cannot explain the energy in the room; it was so packed and the crowd was just dancing in waves to the beat… It’s something I will never forget. Once 7am came we thought we would be finishing after 24 hours, but the stage was completely full with no signs of slowing down, so of course we kept playing. From 7am till 3 in the afternoon I was going b2b with Mahony and Javier Carballo. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow I’m so exhausted…” but the vibe was so good that I couldn’t just stop. After 33 hours I finally took a break and went to the hotel to sleep. I thought for sure I was going to crash for two days but in spite of being so tired I was only able to sleep 2-3 hours… I guess I was still excited haha. The funny thing was that when I woke up, they were still going! So I got up and rushed back to the festival. I ended up doing the closing set in the last 2 hours of the night. The stage shut down at midnight on Tuesday night, so officially Vatos Locos played collectively for a total of 41 hours.
A big part of the reason why 2018 was exceptional for me was due to the fact that I had multiple releases scheduled throughout the year. There was a new collaboration with Iuly.B ‘Visionen’ released in January. Then there was the Diminution EP with Dudley Strangeways on his Leftback imprint, with the Loose Knobs in collaboration with Lorenzo Chiabotti released shortly after. It was never my intention to have all this music come out in such a short period of time. All of the tracks were actually made 2-3 years ago, it just took a really long time to be released, and they all happened to come out one after the other. I guess it was a strong way to kick off the new year. I would have to say apart from the releases I mentioned above, the highlight project-of-the year would have to be my solo EP ‘Kshama’ a word that translates to the acts of patience, releasing time, and functioning in the now as well as having a higher capacity to forget and forgive. ‘Kshama’ was released on vinyl and digital format in Dubfire SCI+TEC imprint. Ali is a good friend of mine and an artist I have always admired and respected, so to be able to share my project on his label was something quite special for me.
You were born in Colombia, raised in the U.S. and are now based in Germany. As someone with a very versatile production style, do you think the cultural differences have caused this?
In a way yes but I wouldn’t say it that way exactly. Something that has made me very versatile was having the opportunity to travel and experience so many different cultures and dancefloors across the world. There are so many different styles in music and I’m always able to take some inspiration from where ever I go.
Let’s chat about Germany, and Berlin specifically. When did you move over and how have you found it?
It was October 2013 and I had just finished my first full season in Ibiza. I first came to Europe in April to tour before heading to Ibiza. It was the first time I got to play in France, Amsterdam, Spain and Italy, so I was really excited. After the tour I moved to Ibiza to spend the full season. It was never in my plans to move to Berlin afterwards especially since I was just on a 90 day tourist visa, so I didn’t want to overstay too long. After spending five months in Ibiza I spent most of my savings on living expenses so by the time October came I didn’t even have any money for a flight back home. My good friend Sece, who has been my roommate ever since, had a plan to move to Berlin and set up his studio, so I decided to tag along even though I was coming to a new city without much to survive on, but in one way or another I managed to apply for a visa and pick up more European gigs. By the time January came I was granted the German visa and I was economically stable again. From that point everything started to align and I knew Berlin was going to be my home for the next couple of years.
You’ve obviously been a key player with Vatos Locos since the beginning. Can you tell us a bit about how you know the guys and your background there?
I met Randall and Chad when I first moved to Orlando to study the Science of Recording Arts at Full Sail University. Chad was the main local dj in town, so from the moment I got there, I started to hang with him and get to know the area. Randall was making the transition from hip-hop to the electronic music scene and he was very hungry to learn as much as he could. We became very close since we were all interested in the same style of music. We would always have discussions about making the move to Ibiza so for us that was always the goal. Hector and I met for the first time at Space Ibiza during an Enter party where we were introduced by Randall. We got along right from the beginning since we’re both hispanics and we had so much in common. He was already supporting a lot of my music, so a few weeks later, he invited Randall and I to join him in his birthday party at Hoppetosse in Berlin. This was my first introduction to the city that would be my next home for the next 5 years. This was the first time we all played together, Hector was already planning the development of Vatos Locos for a while but I guess he was just waiting for the right crew to come along and the rest is history….
What would you say is the best thing about being part of a collective such as Vatos Locos?
One of the best parts about being a part of a collective is to be able to travel the world with some of your best friends. As much as traveling to new and exciting places can be amazing, sometimes it sucks to not be able to share that with someone else. For example; earlier this year we had our first showcase of the year at Club Space in Miami and a couple of days later we all met in Japan. It was the first time we were there as a crew and the experience of exploring Tokyo and Osaka was amazing to share together.
So you all inspire one another in different ways?
Yes, of course, that’s one of the best parts about it. With Randall and Chad I always had this experience as we made music individually, it was always nice to be able to count on one of them for feedback or vice versa. They would send me a new track they were working on, and I would be like “Damn, this is really good!” That would automatically inspire me to make something new just as good. It has never been about competition in any way, but it’s always good to push each other to be better. Same goes for deejaying, playing with 2 or 3 other people, you better bring your best tracks because for sure they are bringing some heat as well. It’s always a constant search for new rare records since playing with the same crew so often you always want to bring new music instead of repeating the same music you have been playing.
You’re going to be at Epizode in Vietnam over New Years and also have an Australian tour booked in. You must be pretty overjoyed to be a part of it I’m thinking?
I really wanted to go last year, but I was already booked for other shows so I had to skip it but I have to say the concept of the festival looks incredible. A festival with an extraordinary line up right next to the beach in Vietnam… it can’t get any better than that. I was invited by Dubfire to join the SCI+TEC showcase on the 7th of January so I’m really excited for that. The last time I played for him it was during Miami Music Week in Miami. The party went so well, we even played b2b towards the end.
You’ve put out music on a wide range of labels, but have you ever thought about kicking off your own label? And similarly, have you ever considered a full length album?
I actually owned two vinyl-only labels, but for me it was always important to let the music speak for itself rather than promoting it as “my new label” the first one is called ‘Tervisio’ there have been already four releases and the fifth one is coming out in January by Pierre Codarin including a remix from Losoul, one of my favorite producers. The second label is called ‘Oroblanco’ which is a project that I have together with Chad Andrew. The concept from the label is to combine classical music with minimal. So far we have only one release out but it’s a special one!
When do you think it will be time for an album then?
A full length album is definitely something that is constantly on my mind but I have just been waiting for the right moment. For my first album I want it to be special with not just “club music” but something with a story, even some ambient tracks. I don’t think it will be anytime soon but once it’s out, you will definitely hear about it!
Let’s chat a bit about your podcast series, The Terrace. It’s been quite a ride, eh?
To this day I still have people coming up to me saying they first discovered me from The Terrace Podcast a few years back. It’s funny because i started the podcast ten years ago while i was 16 and I when I went to Space Miami for the first time i was so amazed by the Sunday morning after-hours in the terrace. This was one of the first time I entered a 21+ event and experienced a party like this, which inspired me to launch the podcast series. For a long time people confused it for being the official Space podcast but I never promoted it that way besides calling it The Terrace so it was quite popular from the beginning, but it wasn’t till later that the listeners realized it had nothing to do with the club. But by that point they were already loving the podcast so for me it was a good introduction into the scene! During the first five years I had so much more time to search for music and prepared everything to publish a new episode every Friday. This past August I recorded episode 445 for the 10th year anniversary mix, so yes, it’s been quite a ride…
Finally, can you let us in on a tune you’ve been playing non-stop this year and tell us a bit about discovering it?
Its a track that was released in 1996 on Temple Records from New York City ‘You Make Me Function’ by Cube 40. I discovered this track randomly at a record store in Amsterdam back in 2013 so after a while i completely forgot about it. It wasn’t until Sonar in Barcelona earlier this year that i was listening to tINI and she played this record, it sounded so good I had to search for it again in my collection. I ended up making my own edit with additional bassline that drives the track much better.