We chat to one of the key figures of the London underground tech-house and minimal scene and head of Cartulis Music, Unai Trotti, ahead of his appearance at Timing tonight.
What is is like being a Spaniard in London? How long did it take for you to feel at home in the UK?
Same as an English, French, Italian, Japanese…but with a different accent. I arrived at 21 years old. Adaptation was fast and then came super fun, great times.
How aware were you of London’s tech-house heritage, with Craig Richards leading the way at Fabric? Do you see yourself as part of that lineage?
I think that Craig Richards’ heritage to London is immense. I didn’t really know him and listened to until I moved to London. Craig’s heritage is not only in Tech-House. He is a big collector an amazing DJ for many types of music. Actually, with London and Tech House I will give more credits to people like Terry Francis, Nathan Coles, Eddie Richards, Mr C…
About me being part of the lineage is difficult to say. We definitely try to bring quality music and artist to London with our Cartulis events. That’s our main thing. Maybe in the future we will get recognition, but is not something that I’m working for. We’re doing this to have a good time, dance and listen to music.
What is it about the London scene that you find so attractive? Has it changed much since you arrived ten years ago? What do you think of all the club closures?
London in my opinion used to be one of the capitals for electronic music and nightlife, with a lot of variety and venues. This has changed massively and nowadays and is in a really bad situation, with very limited number venues with limited opening hours. Also I think that new generations are not coming any more to London like before. London is an immigrant city, but the high prices of the city and all the new politics issues (Brexit) are making to young people look for other destinations.
On 10th Feb you threw a ‘very special party in a very special place’ somewhere in Hackney – could you tell us a bit more about what went down? Do you feel like you have the freedom to put on interesting events in the city?
Yes it’s a really small spot (100 people max) in Hackney Wick, with a great soundsystem, where is no closing time, this give us the opportunity to bring artist and give them long sets, last one we had there we had Nicolas Etorena, together with Raphael Carrau and myself. We played 4 hours each. I like to do parties where I don’t get stress to do numbers. I like to get stressed in preparing my record bag.
What is the scene like in Madrid? I don’t think of Spain as a producer of amazing DJs. Where did you first discover this style of music?
Madrid in the past, especially 90s and beginning of 2000, was amazing. Now it is small but is growing again with lots of great DJs and events. If you dig a bit, you will be surprised with all the talent and artist that you have from Spain in House, Techno, Electro, IDM…
Tell us a bit about your label, Cartulis Music. Who do you operate it with, and how did you all meet? What was the aim when setting up the platform?
Yes, Cartulis Music is a platform to release music we like. Really easy. In terms of operation, on the artistic side and music selection its Davy, Rapha and myself. Yuki Masda from EFD is doing the distribution, Curved doing the masters and my father Gerardo Trotti is doing the artwork.
How come it was three years before you released music on your own label? Whats about future releases?
Im not in a rush to release music. At some point, I have a bunch of tracks that I like I put them together and I decided to release it. I have few Various artists confirmed. I have a track going on a VA on LIT (London In transmission), also got another track going in VA on Melliflow together with Cartulis for a compilation we did for our upcoming event at OFF Sonar Barcelona, another track on another VA for a label called Drifted Records. And I’m finishing an EP for a label that hopefully I will get finished very soon.
You are a trained musician and producer. Did your creative and productive aspect of your musical output come before the “digging”? Would you say you were more of a listener or producer?
Digging is a really good way for inspiration. It’s a way to get ideas. First, I discovered music, then production came after. I’m both listener and producer. If you don’t listen to you cant produce.
I recently saw you giving love to Evan Baggs on social media. Who else do you admire as a DJ at the moment? Are there any unsung heroes in the London scene that you would like to shine a light on?
Evan is a good friend and an amazing DJ and producer. He invited me last year to play at CDV and was one of the favourite gigs of my whole life. Another artist that I really like is Nicolas Lutz and all the Uruguayan scene: Z@p, Dj Koolt, Omar, Etorena. All the artist that are part of Cartulis: Davy, Rapha, Dan Piu, Reade Truth. Also people like Vera, Masda, Javi Moreno and many many more. In London scene, I will highlight to Cartulis resident Rapha Carrau, the Spaced crew, LIT guys Christian AB and Ricky Courtmann, breakfast guys, North and South crew, Lion and Lamb…
This will be your first trip to Leeds, won’t it? Where is your favourite place in the world to DJ?
Yes really looking forward to playing in Leeds. About my favourite places…lots of them but maybe I will say Crucifix Lane. That is a really special place in Cartulis history.