From Guatemala with love: Diego Moreno on his musical journey so far

Words by: Marcus Barnes
Posted: 26/9/12 8:30

From Guatemala with love: Diego Moreno on his musical journey so farThere is a contemporary house movement, which some refer to as 'future gangsta house', predominantly produced by a small, crack unit of music makers in Barcelona and adopted by many others around the globe. It's a distinct form of house that draws heavily on the sounds that were used by many of the gangsta rap/g-funk producers from the early to mid-nineties – who were, in turn, inspired by George Clinton and his ilk.

Diego Moreno is a member of this special unit, being co-owner of the inimitable Digital Delight Records, along with Sishi Rösch, and a producer whose sound encapsulates both gangsta rap and nineties house music. Born in Guatemala, he now calls Barcelona his home and we caught up with him to talk about his journey so far...

What kind of musical influences did you have growing up in Guatemala?
I had loads of different musical influences as a kid and in my teens. My Father has a huge fifties and sixties Rhythm & Blues music collection. Artists like Ray Charles, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Temptations etc..

From another side, my brother was into blues and classic rock, everything from B.B King, Muddy Waters to Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Police... So you can get an idea.

Basically I grew up listening to all of this and music that I was into, I remember flipping out over Peter Gabriel, Thomas Dolby, Devo, The Cure, Nirvana, Pearl Jam as well as rap groups like Grand Master Flash, NWA, The Fat Boys,The Beastie Boys, Wreckx-n-Effect. I also loved Black Box, Technotronic, Bizarre Inc., The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk... There's too many...

How did you get exposed to electronic music? Was there much of a scene there?
Just by listening to the radio or watching television. I think the earliest memory I have of listening to, or seeing a video of some sort of "electronic music", was from Technotronic's 'Pump up the Jam', or Bizarre Inc... 'I´m Gonna Get You'.

There certainly was a scene. When I started going to raves or warehouse parties the whole deep and progressive house thing was huge. Artists like Sasha, Steve Porter, PQM, Jimmy Van M, where headlining this events. One of the first warehouse parties I went was headlined by Oliver Klein, this was back in 2000 I think.

Any Guatemalan DJs who inspired you at all?
Definitely, my very good friend/label partner Sishi Rösch, and my mate Alberto Santizzo, are two of my biggest inspirations.

Is there much on offer clubs-wise?
There loads of clubs, but most of them play cheesy electronic music, most of the good parties are private, and made in different types of venues.

When did you decide to start DJing and producing?
I decided that I wanted to Dj right after going to that warehouse party I mentioned before. The music and the vibe impressed me a lot, and opened my eyes into this whole new scene for me.

As for producing music, it was something I've always been into kind of... Since I was a kid I've been fooling around with synths and guitars, my first drum machine was given to me for my 14th birthday, and a friend of mine gave me a copy of fruity loops when I was around 18. Producing for me started getting serious, I mean I got fully into it at some point in 2003.

Did you find it easy to get into it/get equipment and so on?
As easy as pie.. !

When/why did you decide to relocate to Barcelona?
I decided to relocate to Barcelona in 2003, I thought it was time for me to explore Europe, and try to get more involved in the scene and grow as an artist.

How has the move affected your musical output/career?
My music has gotten more exposure since I moved to Europe. Career wise I've developed two record labels, and got involved more in the business.

How does Guatemala compare with Barcelona?
They are two very different worlds. Culture wise, they have a lot in common, I could start comparing them, but this answer will never end.. [Laughs].

When did you get together with Sishi and the crew? When did you guys decide to start the labels...?
I met Sishi through a common friend of ours at some point in 2007 in Barcelona, followed by Miguel, and then Juan and Damian in 2008. We decided to make the record labels around 2009, due to our common vision, taste and interest in music.

How are the labels going at the moment? What releases do you have coming up?
The labels are doing well, we are very happy with the response and feedback we are getting.

Next couple of releases for Digital Delight are: Miguel Puente's 'You Can Have Head' EP, including remixes by Cera Alba and Rebel. Following that one is Demarzo´s 'Untouchable' EP, Incl. remixes by: Amine Edge & Dance, Kolombo and Sishi Rösch.

For Sultry Vibes: Sishi has an upcoming EP called 'Ruckus In The Ghetto'. Following that is Low Life's (Scott Mckenchnie & Danny Allen) EP, we haven't sorted out the name of it yet..

Diego Moreno How would you describe the music you make? How long did it take you to get to the point where you were making music you're happy with?
I would describe it as good wholesome Acid House. It's taken me about nine years to develop something where I'm happy with the results.. (though I'm still not 100% happy yet).

You still have a day job, do you find it hard to juggle that with running a label, DJing and so on...??
I left my day job to focus on my music and the labels for a couple of months, but I'm gonna have to go back to having one soon. It's definitely hard to juggle a job, and two record labels, and a music career. Hopefully there's going to be a point where I can just live from my music career.

You have plans for an album, how's that going? Any theme/concept yet?
I have an album coming out on Digital Delight in October, I started working on it in September last year, and finished it in June, it's called 'My Business Is Pleasure'. It's a mix between down tempo, deep house, acid house, dub, disco, rap and old school break beats.

How's the scene in Barcelona at the moment?
There are a couple of good parties going around, but most of the scene here revolves around techno and tech house. So for me personally it's not ideal.

Do you ever get to head home to Guatemala? Do you miss it at all?
I go back to visit every year for a month or so. I do miss it a lot, especially my family and friends.

What are your plans/ambitions for the future?
To keep on working on my music and my record labels, I'm also in the process of launching a new vinyl and digital label... so watch out for that.

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