LUCIANO is one of the most influential and ground breaking DJs in the world.
Switzerland born and Chilean raised he has been at the forefront of Techno and House for 2 decades.
A forward thinking innovator, he continues to bring his own eclectic and truly unique blend of electronic music and passionate Latin grooves to crowds all over the planet, taking the stage at all the most renowned clubs from Ibiza to Berlin, Peru to Tokyo, via London, Frankfurt, Sao Paulo and everywhere in between.
We caught up with him late last year ahead of his show at Electric Brixton to find out about his roots in electronic music, influences, his Cadenza label, juggling family life with being on the road and much more in this interview originally published on November 24, 2015.
Can you tell us a bit about the start of your career and how you fell in love with electronic music? At what point did you realise this was something you wanted to do with the rest of your life?
I used to have a band, which was always dependent on everybody so it was very difficult to create music. I think that was the first moment I got the electronic music flash, leading me to discover different bands and groups at a time where electric music was big and I was fascinated with the music produced by the equipment.
You were an influence to others from the start with some of your first gigs at predominently rock venues. Do you feel that there is a need to educate and influence others about the beauty of electronic music and the attitudes of togetherness and tolerance that the dance music scene promotes?
I think that it is different time. Back in Chile when I used to go to Rock concerts it was because no one else was promoting electronic music. Now it’s totally different. Electronic music is part of our culture and is everywhere you go, even Starbucks, so the approach is different.
I would agree that education is equally important and what I see is that there is a big gap in the consumers of electronic music including a big genre imbalance. For example if you were to search deep-house, the results return trance music and there’s no real definition of the genre of music. It’s very confusing and everyone calls it ‘underground music’, which doesn’t really mean anything. At the moment there’s big confusion and everyone needs to take it a bit more seriously, for example with Jazz you have different types such as conventional jazz. With electronic music it’s the same, you have deep-house, techno, house, there’s many different genres which need to be categorized somehow.
I think that these days people want to book underground DJ’s, but what is an underground DJ, underground music? It’s all very vague. Underground comes from a movement that not many know about and goes against society. However, electronic music is very trendy and is something everybody knows and I think the tolerance is the most important part of our generation, especially when you look at the kind of things that happen in the news, Europe and the world, a world that is in need of understanding what is tolerant and having a brighter future.
Would you say you still incorporate a Latin influence into your DJ and live sets from your South American roots? Do you pick up different influences in your music from your world travels?
Yes of course, I grew up in South America and I’ve been travelling the world for many years and I always try to be influenced by wherever I go. Any music is always a reference you to try to incorporate, but with South America, percussions and melody and the meaning of music is very involved in what I do. I listen to world music, Jazz, South American; I’m fascinated by new music sound.
Your collaborations over the years with the likes of Ricardo Villalobos and Pier Bucci have delivered some stunning dance floor moments and the camaraderie of your Vagabundos parties is as infectious as it is when you revisit Cocoon to play alongside Sven Vath at a party where you used to be resident. How important is it for you and DJs in general to work closely with others?
Well I think it’s like friendship, it’s a relationship that is united by love. I think love and friendship is one of the most important things not only at an artistic level but also on a personal level.
Ricardo and I have known each other for a long time. I think Ricardo has been very influential on my career, he’s like a brother, we took care of each other and I consider him part of my family. I first came to Ibiza because Ricardo and I were supposed to finish a track together we’d started in Chile, but he was living in Ibiza at that time and so I came over. We were unknown in Ibiza at that time. I came to finish the track and was supposed to stay 2 days max and I arrived and fell in love with the island like most people.
How was Ibiza and the summer this year for you? What were the highlights?
This summer, I think the highlight Is always seeing the hardwork of the team, all the behind the scenes that goes in all year round in order to make the party happen, and when the season comes and you see all the hard work and people enjoying it, that’s the highlight.
We don’t see enough of you on UK shores, are you looking forward to playing on the November 27th?
Yes, I love the UK and the English crowd who have been going for years, but of course with 4 kids it’s difficult and I don’t have the ability to do all the things I would love to do and play all the time in each country and so have had to reduce the amount of gigs I do. So for every gig I do now there is a very high anticipation and expectation for myself, having not played in a while. I always enjoy the educated English crowd.
How would you say the UK scene compares to around the world?
There’s a lot of trends and ideas which come from the UK with incredible producers and it’s always been a niche of music for every genre for 50 or 60 years even, so it’s very special.
On your new track 7 Direction(s) you have worked with JAW. What drew you to work with JAW? His vocal is becoming increasingly popular working with the likes of Loco Dice and Claptone recently.
Yes, we probably wrote this track way before anyone knew about it and kept it under wraps because we wanted to change certain things and work on it etc… JAW is a very good friend mine. It’s only coming out now and has excellent modular sounds. We’re very happy with it.
Two artists from different ends of the spectrum on the remix. What made you choose Dennis Ferrer and Matthew Herbert to remix the track?
Matthew is someone I’ve appreciated for many years and he’s someone I have a lot of respect for.
Dennis is incredibly technically able, someone very concise, very musical and to have both these people on the project I feel very fortunate.
What else have you got planned for Cadenza forthcoming?
We have a lot of things, there’s a lot little surprises coming this year. We’re always trying to work as much as we can with everyone. It’s very hard to keep an eye on everything when I have so much going on, for example with my family, the label, it’s very hectic. In the winter we are back concentrating on the label with releases and there’s incredible projects coming up.
How difficult is it for you juggle family life and your career? How do you strike that balance?
It’s very difficult, but now it’s more complicated as I have a big family. As kids grow up they need more attention and more of your time, so I need to find the time to do everything right. I need to make sure I’m doing the right thing with my kids, doing the right thing with my music and find time also to compose as well as Ibiza, travelling etc.., it’s really complicated.
What I’ve learned in the last year is to say NO in order to take the things that I think are more important and split my time better. You can’t please everyone and of course the world is to big to play constantly everywhere so I have to make one show a year per country. I’d love to have more time. But my priorities are music, family.
How do your kids feel about your music, have they been to any of your gigs?
Of course. I don’t bring them to clubs but to open air festivals. I take them on tour sometimes and they enjoy it. I don’t push them into music, they can be whoever they want, but they know I’m a musician. I have a studio at home so they do their homework in my studio and they’re used to it, it’s part of their universe.
Is it true you enjoy gardening? If so, what is it you enjoy about it?
I enjoy everything, I cook a lot, gardening, I do a lot of normal things.