Name: Indira Paganotto
Occupation: DJ, producer
Current Release: Indira Paganotto's new EP "Jungle" is out on January 29th on Off Recordings. It can be pre-ordered now.
Recommendations: I recommend that you discover the inner world of the plastic art of David Morago.
Another musical artist I respect is Unkle Fon, producer and incredible sound engineer from Madrid, who accompanies me on the adventure of creating our new label: Phase Insane Records, and who will release with me the first vinyl reference: "Death Valley" with remixes by Flug and Ricardo Garduno.
If you enjoyed this interview with Indira Paganotto and would like to find out more about her and her work, go to her facebook page, soundcloud account or instagram.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What what is about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
My first musical influences were inherited from my parents who gave me a very rich childhood in terms of the love for art itself. Classical music and opera by my mother and goa trance and acid jazz by my father, was the eclectic and varied base that I had since I was little. In adolescence, I was already messing with my father's vinyls and I wanted to study at a music school and started playing the transverse flute for two years.
I was 16 years old when I went out to the first techno club and there I discovered electronic music and I fell in love with this genre completely. I started practicing with the records of my father had but it was very psy and acid music so I went to my friends' clubs and practiced before they opened ... What memories!
A year later I was playing at the festivals and clubs of the island. I started producing and at the age of 17 I already released my first vinyl on Ian Pooley's label. It was a very quick start without knowing almost anything about it. The truth is, I suddenly saw myself playing in legendary clubs like the Egg Club in London, the Harry Klein in Munich or the Rex Club in Paris … and all this at a very early age!
Music attracted me and has attracted me since I can remember. It is something inexplicable, it is true, it is innate in oneself. Just as I am attracted to art or any artistic expression in which the beginning and the end is, to create.
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
I have never copied anyone, since I do not have an idol, I don’t exclusively follow a specific sound or artist. Since I started producing until today, after more than ten years, I have been self-learning about myself and my musical language. I would sit in the studio and turn on the machines, and I would let myself get carried away until I heard a melody or rhythm that I understood as mine. That is how I developed my tracks.
I had three aliases, one from house, another from psytrance and another from techno, in which I have been able to develop without complexes, investigating sounds, textures, energies ... until today. Obviously I still do not have my sound 100% because it is very daring to say it, but it is true that I feel very comfortable with my language and I create every production you hear of my harvest. You know it is mine because it has a very personal development.
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
At first it was a great challenge to create several tracks with the same style because I loved psytrance, house, techno or minimal, so focusing on a specific style gave me a lot of headaches. I would sit in the studio with an idea, an energy and then I'd created something else completely different.
I created three aliases to be able to publish different styles without stepping on the other, but today I have already been able to mix all that and create my own language. It is an interesting development because each track I finish, in my opinion, is better than the previous one. And then I listen to tracks from seven years ago and they still seem timeless to me, so I suppose it will be a continuous loop of growth and development until the end of my days!
What was your first studio like? How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
My first music studio was very simple, a laptop, two monitors, a sound card, a midi keyboard and my first drum machine, the Korg Electribe SX that has still been with me since then. I have been buying and selling machines and monitors over the years, testing which one I felt most comfortable with or had a sound closer to the language I wanted to achieve.
Right now in my studio the most important pieces and from which I get most of my sounds are the Tascam DR 40 on which I record sounds when I go out for a walk in the mountains or, when I am at home, I put it on record while we eat for example. I'll then edit those sounds and some cool stuff comes out.
I'm not a big fan of collecting, I have a machine for each instrument, for the bass I use the Bassline Acidlab 2 and the Moog Minitaur; for synths or leads I use the Clavia Nord Lead and Roland V-Synth GT, the latter is very versatile and has multiple forms of advanced synthesis under the control of a simple interface and includes a vocal designer, which can be played simultaneously so it is very entertaining to handle.
For drums and rhythms I use the Korg Electribe SX and Roland TR8, almost always connected with the Boss RE-20 Space Echo pedal.
How do you make use of technology? In terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity, what do humans excel at, what do machines excel at?
Machines are very human-like, or vice versa. That's why I like to use them in the studio, they have that margin of error and heat that catches me. You can load samples and new sounds onto some machines, but they will always have their own personality and character, They're like a human: No matter how much he learns and discovers new ideas and knowledge, he will always have his special and personal touch that makes him unique.
Production tools, from instruments to complex software environments, contribute to the compositional process. How does this manifest itself in your work? Can you describe the co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
The truth is that lately almost my entire creative process occurs in front of my instruments and my synthesizers. Over 70% of my tracks are hardware synthesizers and the rest some Roland VST of mythical drum machines like the 808, 909, and synths like the D-50, Jupiter 8, Juno 106, Tb 303 or the Massive from Native Instruments.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
This year I have made three collaborations and with this COVID situation, we have not been able to meet in person so the process has been completely telematic. I am not a big fan of too much talking, I prefer to start an idea in the studio and send it to the other artist and develop my idea or vice versa, and continue until we have the track that we both like.
Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
I live with the music every day. If I am not in the studio, I am listening to some vinyl, watching tutorials or listening to podcasts of new artists, I always try to update myself and see what “cooks”. When living with a sculptor, it is easier for there to be a balance of creative energies, and there is always a constructive mental development whether it is creating art, taking a walk in the mountains with our dogs and mini horse, or cooking. We don't have a work routine, but it is true that we wake up early and go to bed late. We enjoy and we take advantage every possible hour of the day!
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?
The next EP "Jungle", which will be released on OFF Recordings, consists of two originals and a remix by Oliver Deutschmann. It was created completely in the quarantine, and is the description of the madness that was going through my inner being. You can perfectly feel the darkness, stress and tension of those days as well as the progression towards light and final serenity.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
I prefer to call it: the trance state. This is how I feel when I am fully immersed in a track in which I cannot get out of it until it is finished. That impulse to continue investigating that story that you do not know what the end will be but you know that it is inside you, searching your mind and state of mind until suddenly the Idea appears. The idea that will be the light of the track and the sense of history.
How is playing live and writing music in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?
With the frenzy of gigs and tours in the previous years I have never really stopped to think how much they are related to me. In quarantine I had an existential slump for two weeks where I could not even enter the studio, and I discovered that I was missing something, the energy of the people! That epic sense of connection and direct understanding of my language with the audience filled me with vitality when producing. So I had a not very long but strange process until I returned to balance. In fact I am not 100% yet, I suppose it will be happening to many artists, since we are living a very hard historical moment.
How do you see the relationship between the 'sound' aspects of music and the 'composition' aspects? How do you work with sound and timbre to meet certain production ideas and in which way can certain sounds already take on compositional qualities?
To tell you the truth, I don't follow any compositional rules or patterns, just the one I learned by myself and which I think fits my mind. In the same way with the sound or the timbre, I let myself go without ties until harmonic sounds begin to come together, balance and fair proportions are created in my opinion.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work? What happens to sound at its outermost borders?
Without a doubt, hearing is one of the most important senses that we have and the most unknown to most, despite being key in our body. Music can modify the body's metabolism, alter muscle energy or speed up the respiratory rate.
The sensory information that we collect by listening to a track when it reaches the brain is infinite.
Personally, I use sound, if it can be called that, to increase the feeling of physical and mental well-being in my day to day life, deciding which melody or rhythm is the most suitable for me at each moment, helps me find balance in my body and mind.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
My relationship with art itself is direct since my husband David Morago is a well-known painter in Madrid who exhibits all over the world. I admire him a lot because he is a genius in his own way but at the same time he is a super outsider. He treats art as I do music, in a pure and true way, with passion and respect.
We live in the mountains away from the hustle and bustle of the city, where we renovated a house from the 70s and built our respective studios from scratch. So you can imagine how much inspiration there is in this house!
I love painting and he loves electronics, so we feed each other every day, it's wonderful.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st Century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?
Everything is relative, but in my opinion music is a timeless genre in constant evolution that prevails over fashions.