With multiple stellar releases in the past year, Nau Leone is quickly consolidating his reputation as one of Madrid’s top up-and-coming producers. We caught up with him to chat about his newly released EP on SOL, his own label’s first VA, the source of his inspirations and more!
What was the process like creating this new EP? Were there themes you wished to explore sonically?
First of all, thank you for the interview and your great work, love all the When We Dip world. After creating Breathe I, I felt like I had to work more on this idea of spreading calm music to the world. My music has always had a strong ambient component, but most of the time it appears as a detail or a section, not as a full track. That’s why I wanted to explore full tracks of ambient and more relaxed music.
From the tracklist alone, ‘Distance’, ‘Dhyana’ [The Sanskrit word commonly translated as “Meditation”] and ‘Reconnect’, there seems to be a proclivity to spirituality in general, how does that influence your sound?
I’m not very spiritual or what we always think traditionally when we hear ‘spiritual’, but since I was a child I have always believed in good and bad energies. Energy moves the world and it’s always there. There are many different ways to approach this energy. Some people have religion, others have meditation or yoga, others beautiful stones and Palo Santo… the thing is the energy is there, people give it different forms. For me, this energy is always present when composing and creating new music. For me it’s a must to feel a good energy when creating, it gives me calm and concentration.
And how is your creative approach different whenever working on an ambient release compared to something more beatsy?
I always try to feel the music when creating. So I try to be in a slow mood, to generate that calm and freedom in my workplace and of course, never start with a kick or percussion element. 99% of the times that I create music, I start with a piano, doesn’t matter if it is for ‘Confianza’ / ‘I Wanna Know You’ or ‘Reconnect’ / ‘Dhyana’.
In a lot of your tracks, the human voice is used in many interesting ways, almost just as another instrument. What is it about it that allows you such freedom? And how did you think about using it on ‘Distance’ and ‘Reconnect’?
The human voice is the oldest and closest instrument for us. I always found it really interesting, not just for writing beautiful lyrics and melodies (which is great), but also for adding new textures and a different colour to my music. Sometimes I like to record my own voice to generate this feeling. Others (as in ‘Distance’ and ‘Reconnect’) I like to use samples.
Your imprint ‘Be Your Own Studio Label’ has just unveiled its first VA, ‘Be Vol. 1’. on March 5th. How did you go about choosing the tracks and artists to feature on it?
I talked with some friends and like-minded artists I have been listening to for some time. The idea was to create something very personal, with a target of creating electronic music inspired by this last year, but also being true to their essence.
One thing that is striking about the VA is the diversity of genres that it contains, with certain tracks borrowing from multiple styles. Was it a conscious decision to feature those?
I just wrote to artists that I knew their music would fit well together, but at the same time, every track would be unique with a lot of personality. It was a conscious decision to make a story, the album takes you from a point A to a point C, D or E as it is a journey with very different sounds, textures and genres.
You’ve also collaborated with journalist Ian Urbina on ‘The Outlaw Ocean Music Project’ for three different tracks. What was that process like? How did you enjoy working with the field, or should I say, ocean recordings that Ian provided?
It was a great opportunity. I always say that my music is about telling stories, and this was a great opportunity for doing it. First, I decided to read the book and get into the stories to understand it deeper. It was hard to read some stories and see how cruel humans can be. There was a lot of content in video and audio that creators had access to. It was devastating. After that I made a lot of music and worked on a unique sound design palette for this project. I’ve made like 7 tracks but I only picked the best 3 of them. It was really interesting to dig into the different field and ocean recordings to see which elements would be in the tracks. It was kind of similar to composing a movie soundtrack. An experience I will never forget.
There’s been loads of talk about the rise of ambient music throughout the pandemic. Have you felt this new interest regarding your music? Do you feel more people will continue enjoying more laid-back electronic music even after the clubs and shows pick back up?
Definitely yes. I think a lot of people now have finally understood that electronic music is not just clubbing. There is a HUGE quantity of electronic music for different moments. Clubbing music is great also and there is quality in every genre, but it’s great now to see a lot of new artists coming out proposing different rhythms, textures, sounds, ideas..
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! Any last words? What can we expect from you in the coming months?
There are a couple releases on the way for the following months. And then I’m planning to get immersed in the studio for an important change…
Stream/Download Breathe II: https://solxyz.lnk.to/breatheII
Photo Credit: Miriam Cuesta
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