Exclusive interview featuring Fabio Florido.

For the twenty-third installment of our interview series, we introduce Fabio Florido.

Based in Berlin, Fabio Florido is a DJ/producer who has previously released music on Richie Hawtin’s Plus 8 and other big labels like SCI+TEC, Elevate Records, Black Swan Recordings, Second State and many more.

He also runs his own imprint “Runa” and promotes his own event series “BLOOM”,  that helds on in Watergate club in Berlin. As a DJ, he likes thick rolling basslines layered with playful sounds, and his DJ live hybrid sets are sophisticated and fun at the same time.

Returning to his own label this month, Florido invited Luigi Tozzi, Exos, Amotik, Danny Wabbit, Edgar de Ramon, Insolate, Arthur Robert and Marsch to remix records from his impressive back catalogue on a brand new compilation, yielding thrilling results.

We chatted with Fabio about this new remixes compilation, his label “Runa”, his event series “BLOOM” plus a few more aspects of his career. Read this very interesting interview below.

Hello Fabio, Luis from Living Techno here, it’s a pleasure having you in our interview series, thank you. First of all, how are you and where in the world are you taking this interview?

Hi Luis, it’s all my pleasure! I’am good, thank you. Definitely in that being “good” there is a whole series of ups and downs, but that’s part of the game. I’m writing this from my studio in Berlin! 

What’s your story? How, where and when did your career in the electronic music scene started, and what do you think has brought you to where you are today? 

I will try to be brief, since it is a story of about 15 years now hehe. It started in my bedroom in Florence when I was about 19 years old, the only thing I was interested in was going dancing every weekend and making music for myself, which I was learning self-taught and with friends, even though I went to the Conservatory when I was very young. Then I lived in London for four years with the sole reason of gaining as much experiences as possible in the world of nightlife, slowly my tracks started to be played around and I started to yearn to be on the other side of the dance-floor, too. I moved to Ibiza in 2011, where Richie Hawtin often played my tracks, which I diligently brought to him every Thursday at his ENTER. party at Space, on an USB stick. One special day he listened to me play for nine hours at an after, after, after-party and a few weeks later he proposed to me to be resident at his event from the following year. I was for four seasons and from there I started releasing music on many labels as Minus, Plus8, Scitech, Mood.. and playing with Rich & crew around the world. In the meantime I moved to Berlin, where I’ve been living for nine years now! I am where I am because I have never been afraid to turn my life upside down, all the time, to pursue my dream.

What’s your view on the current state of the scene, since you began in this journey, what has changed and what would you change? 

I think it is normal that each of us at one point is nostalgic for ‘what was’, the past carries our memories to which we have attached billions of emotions. Yes, there was probably something different before, like a flame burning more genuinely with new experiences for their own sake and not to show off to others. Music told more stories, and drugs were there to love each other more. Now the scene goes hand in hand with the state of the world and society in general. But I’m sure there is a sense of belonging to the new generations too, even if they follow a ‘tik tok techno’ or something like that. I think that’s what’s important. Finding your tribe, being part of it. And it’s still happening! I just wish the desire to appear through social media, to depend on it, to alienate oneself with it instead of enjoying the moment would end. But I’m sure this trend will diminish, it’s just a matter of time. 

Do you remember what your first important release was, in what label, and how do you achieve it? 

Definitely. It was on Minus, a historic label from Richie. The EP was called “Be You”, released in 2014, it was undoubtedly different to what I’am producing now ahah. But back then myself and music was totally different from now, in fact I produced the four tracks in Ibiza during one of the summer seasons. That release opened me the doors to International DJing. 

Congratulations for the upcoming release on your label “Runa”, a very interesting remixes package. Can you tell us something about the invited artists and their remixes? What’s special and why did you pick them? 

Thank you! I am really grateful for this big remix pack. During the last years in Berlin my sound has changed and I have been lucky enough to meet/share experiences with new producers and DJs that I admire, some of whom have become friends. Each has left a lasting impression on me, inspiring me through their music, their energy, their values, and their authentic human essence. I selected them on the basis of these values, and as I imagined, there is a deep/ connecting feel throughout all mixes. From start to end, it is a journey to many corners of techno. I produced all the original tracks during the pandemic, definitely each of them brings something within, it was beautiful to listen to their reinterpretations. After all, we are all shaped by experiences accumulated over the past years, which we now apply to our new lives, clubs, and music. 

Now tell us about “Runa”, what is the story behind the label and what is the main goal?

The word Runa comes from the Quechuas, a population that lives in the Andean highlands of Peru, descending from the ancient civilisations that thrived in those places since 2000 BC. They also believe that in the stones as in the mountains, waters, plants and animals, resides a vital force, a spirit, an energy that can manifest as the emanation of a higher or inferior world. RUNA, it’s a person able to perceive these realms. It’s a human being who knows how to express in a balanced way, understanding both the rational and the animistic dimensions. It’s been a little over two and a half years since the launch of it. Particularly during the pandemic, it became my sanctuary and safe space, a place where I could release music and let my creativity flow. I want to combine Music, which can be Techno or Ambient, with “storytelling”, each release carry a story, a message or even.. an intention.  

What do you enjoy the most, producing music or DJing, and why? 

I would say that I love doing both at more or less the same level. If only one was present, I would not be fulfilled at all. Throughout DJing I can give vent to my more social and extroverted side, through the weeks in the studio on the other hand, it’s the exact opposite. As far as I am concerned, these two elements are essential and I always try to remind myself of that and make sure they are in balance as much as possible.

Let’s talk about your DJ live hybrid sets, tell us about how you prepare the music, what’s your setup and how do you play? 

Over the years I have been refining and understanding how I can best express myself during a performance. I am satisfied but I certainly know that my setup will continue to evolve! I use ‘Traktor’ from Native Instruments, thanks to which I can manipulate music in a thousand ways. On the programme I can play 4 tracks, or loops at the same time, which helps me to constantly build a story by extrapolating frequencies from each of these tracks into one. On the same computer I run “Ableton Live”, in which there are additional sample lines, as well as two additional effects; Reverb & Delay, which I can use externally. I then use the Roland Tr-8, with which I can play drums of all kinds live. The whole thing is controlled by two K2 controllers, and a MODEL1 8-channel mixer from ‘PLAYdifferently’. In a two-hour set I can load up to 70 tracks into the programme. This means that I have to diligently keep my libraries very clean, but above all I have to place the tracks very carefully in their respective folders, so that when I play and want a certain sound or mood, I can find it quickly. 

In your personal opinion, do you consider it important that every DJ should produce his own music at some point in his career? 

I don’t know. I think everyone has to find their own way.. Some people feel that they have to produce their own music to be able to give their own imprint when they play, others concentrate on refining the art of djing and maybe open a label where they can enclose their taste by choosing releases. Others focus on how to appear. Others follow trends. In the end the important thing is how you feel about yourself every night when you go to bed.

Can you tell us about the production processes and inspiration behind your tracks, and how do you manage to keep motivated?

I am not an on-demand producer. So I don’t have a technique that makes it so that regardless of my mood or external factors, I sit in the studio and definitely do something. There are times when absolutely nothing comes out, in which case I do something else, ranging from meditating to going for a walk in the woods to locking myself up in a club for a day. Nevertheless before any new track it is important to ask myself “what do I want to give back to the world (people) with this new track”? What are my intentions behind it? When you give intentions in what you do, especially when creativity is involved, it’s all another story.About the process I usually open a ‘template’ project where I already have my chains of effects and modulation, plus my favourite plug-ins open. Then I start off by finding a bass line that goes well with a kick, at the same time as I lay down a pad or something sneaky that applies a feeling to the track. The rest is history! 

Can you describe to us your studio, what gear do you have, and what gear do you wish to have, how are your sessions and regularly how many hours do you spend in each session? 

My studio is my sanctuary. It is exactly like me, there are machines and technological elements, just as there are candles, a space to meditate, shamanic/sound healing instruments and objects from South America, collected during my travels. I have several machines from Roland, a Dave Smith ‘Sequential’ Synth, other Synths from Korg and Behringer.. I wish to have a bit of modular present here. I’am working on it. I cannot really say how many hours I spend in each session as when I’am not traveling I basically live here (lol)  

Living the Dj/producer life, how do you handle your spirituality side and how do you stay focused on what’s more important in life? 

As much as one wants to be consistent in wanting to live in balance, often this is not possible or does not happen, and that is OK. In the end, life is all about learning something and then forgetting it and then learning it again in another form. So going off-balance is useful. It serves to remind me what is most important in life; BALANCE! A lot of meditation helps. I often take periods for myself, away from the buzz and stress of always having to do “something”. I also organise ‘spiritual’ retreats every year in Spain and this although stressful helps me and defocus from the DJ ‘career’.  

There is probably a lot to say about your event series in Berlin “BLOOM”, tell us about the concept behind it, the venue, the community and how it has been growing, and what’s the main purpose of doing it?

Definitively. Bloom is synonymous with ‘rebirth’, ‘awakening’ or ‘blossoming’. Since the beginning of 2023 we have moved to Watergate Club, specifically the Waterfloor, where we have been making bi-monthly events on Thursdays, with a secret line-up concept. I didn’t want to be just another line-up event. Too much attention is paid to who plays up until everywhere looks the same. Instead I committed to work on creating a community of people who, like me, love the act of jumping into the unknown. There is a general lack of trust and an excessive need to always know everything nowadays. My party is a training to throw oneself into the hands of the unknown and be ready to Bloom. At the club, we take great care to create a safe environment in which we make changes and decorations. Even more attention is paid to the Artists. The music is the most important attraction of the evening and my wish is for DJs and audiences to share a unique Techno experience in a safe space, from which a myriad of things can then arise. So far we have booked several DJs and residents of Tresor or Berghain, who were so grateful to play in such an intimate environment… but.. they will remain untold.

What are the ups and lows of running an event, especially when you are also a DJ, Producer and label owner?

I certainly have the opportunity to call in my favourite DJs to play, and thus connect on a human level (and of course dance to their music throughout the night). I have the opportunity to express myself and bring my own trademark to the evening, hopefully providing a unique experience to take home for people. There are no downsides, just another opportunity to work on myself and how to deal with stressful situations and eventually… surf them!

To this moment, what would you consider as your most significant achievement in your career as an artist?

To understand what I really want from my life and career Vs what I was made to believe I wanted by social media and the unhealthy comparison with others.

Thanks for your time, to close the interview, what advice would you give to anyone who wants to start their career as an artist?

ALWAYS think long-term. Know that there will be beautiful moments and very hard ones. That the hard ones will probably be many more, but it is from those that you will grow as artists and as human beings. If you can remain true to yourselves, everything will be worth it. Don’t be fooled by the mundanity of the music industry, playing music is an Art. Art and creativity is what keeps the world afloat, make good use of it!

Thank you : )

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