One of the leaders of the global progressive house scene, the Tel Aviv-based visionary, award-winning producer, and an internationally acclaimed DJ, Guy Mantzur, reflects on 2020. Guy talks about “Goodbye 2020 Hello 2021”, the latest edition of his annual mix series, his new label, and shares his thoughts on his passionate feelings for the music. He’s an artist who’s unconditionally ready to support other musicians as well and show his gratitude to those who helped him on the way up. His idea of putting the needs of a club community before his own is not only admirable in the world of music but a moral lesson to humanity in general.
WWD: How has your life changed in 2020?
It has been a dramatic change for me since March because I used to travel a lot and spend time on tours far away from home. My family has always been supporting my career, but sometimes it has been difficult to explain my absence to my three-year-old son. It made us both very happy that we were able to spend so much time together during the lockdown. I have been producing a lot of tracks that are going to be released next year, and some of the music will be the very first release on my new Moments label. Also, I’ve been working on a cross-over project with Eli Nissan for months, but I can’t share any details about it yet!
WWD: You’ve just finished “Goodbye 2020 Hello 2021”, your traditional annual selection. Can you please share your thoughts about it?
Every year I record a mix named after the ending year and the year that is about to begin. It is always a collection of singles that made a particular twelve months special for me. Most of the tracks make an impact in my DJ sets, but some of them are material I find outstanding for purely esthetic reasons. It is one of my most popular series and the best way for me to share my artistic world view with my supporters.
WWD: Can you compare it to the previous parts of the series?
I didn’t have a lot of gigs this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic regulations, but that didn’t stop me from recording my annual mix. I realized it was even more significant to share it this time. The continuous DJ mix will be available for listening on Soundcloud and Youtube. However, the individual tracks and the DJ mix download are available as a compilation through PlattenBank Records. It is much easier, more comfortable, and more efficient, taking the journey with friends. My buddies and I always love to support each other. Whenever it makes sense to recommend one of my pals for a gig in a club, I’m more than happy to do that.
WWD: Do you also help each other during the process of music production?
Definitely! Sometimes after spending countless hours in the studio, I need a fresh perspective, so I can send my audio to Khen to check it out. He can give me his specific professional opinion regarding a sound design that could improve my production. It also works the other way around! The point is we are all die-hard studio professionals, so sharing our knowledge always results in quantum leaps impossible for an individual producer but achievable for a collective. It is just like that inspiring line written by Yoko Ono and quoted by John Lennon: “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
WWD: In a world where Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is becoming the new norm, these words have such an encouraging meaning. How do you make them relevant to your music career?
My approach to music is not only about me! It’s also not only about playing the tracks from my social circles, but also engaging in the creative process of my friends. When you’re a member of a team, it’s much easier to reach the most challenging goals. However, we need the room for new producers and creative energy that will take the collective even further.
WWD: Among a couple of breathtaking new and exclusive works by Kabi (AR), Kamilo Sanclemente, and Zalvador, there are two tracks produced by Tamir Regev on “Goodbye 2020 Hello 2021”. What’s the story behind those, and did the current situation help you discover some secret weapons?
It did! That’s why this edition of my mix series is so significant. I found some powerful unreleased gems that I’d never have the time to discover if I was touring the world. Tamir and I have been friends for a long time. All of a sudden, he sent me some music that blew me away, and I just had to have it on PlattenBank.
WWD: Your second album “Thin Skin” was released at the beginning of your career. The wideness of the genres and the boldness of your interpretations on the album were so unique. How does an artist of your skills get focused on only one genre?
It’s a question that touches on something I started understanding when I was in my early twenties. As my roots are in live music, that album was a chance for me to showcase my skills as a performer. Still, I wanted to do something professional on a global scale. I adore trip-hop, I appreciate lounge music, and I also have a great time listening to old songs by Pink Floyd and Neil Young. After I took some time to reflect on my goals, I realized that I can still love everything, but I had to focus on one genre. This attitude helped me focus and also to get more attention from my fans. I have created a sound they can relate to, and they can follow the development of my style in years to come. I see this as my sound signature! Still, I don’t allow myself to get stuck in the comfort zone but stay in a state of constant development.
WWD: Not too long ago, a UK chancellor Rishi Sunak suggested musicians should retrain! Can you imagine having another career?
I’m sure Mr. Sunak means well, but he doesn’t have a clue what it means to be an artist. It’s not a job but a passion. It’s a driving force that’s out of one’s control. It’s difficult to explain this to people who don’t have this hunger. It’s a drive that an artist needs to recognize and follow. A UK chancellor wouldn’t be a politician if he had that urge. I can’t imagine myself doing something that’s not related to music! It has been my goal since my childhood days. When I started my career, I had a lot of right people helping me out. They were artists that already made it in the industry, and they gave me a big push. I’m talking about Guy J, Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren, and other friends who gave me a chance to prove myself. These days I’m finally in the right position to pay it forward and help the next generation of rising stars. I see this as my duty, so retraining is out of the question!
WWD: Right before the lockdown, you were very busy with a new series of events. After Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, and Ibiza parties, those special events grew into a franchise with global tour plans. What can you say about the concept behind Moments?
Moments represent not only a new step in the evolution of my art but also a new perspective for my personal growth. I love the sense of community, and I wanted to gather my friends, as well as friends of my friends, and music lovers who have the same passion for the music . I’m not only talking about the artists with a similar sense of esthetics, but also straightforward fans who have a feeling of how the healthy scene should grow with a sense of integrity. The only way to do it is to bring together the music lovers, to find the unique location, and to handpick the DJ’s who will work together to achieve a specific vibe. That way, the audiences from any part of the world can feel at home at any Moments party, regardless of the continent where the particular event takes place.
WWD: However, Moments isn’t just a series of parties, but also a music label. Isn’t it?
Yes! My intention from the very beginning was to create a series of events under the same name as the label releasing the music by the artists performing at those events. I wanted to have a new platform with the releases that will go hand in hand with the parties. The idea is that artists releasing their music through the label are a part of the community, respecting and expanding the musical identity of Moments. There are for sure going to be more parties than releases, at least in the beginning, but we are going to see where this journey will be taking us!
WWD: Do you have any closing thoughts?
I do! It’s hard times for everyone, especially the people that got sick or lost their loved ones in the pandemic. The situation is scary for club owners, performers, artists, organizers, event planners, and many others who are currently unable to provide for their families. I’m sending my love to all of them and advise them to stay patient until the vaccine is tested and done right. I’m an optimist, and when it becomes safe, we’ll be partying like never before. Start planning those moments! Moments to look forward to with a smile. Be safe!
Interview by Damir Ludvig