World of electronic music is a very demanding field and very difficult to cope with. There is an overexploitation of musicians, labels, DJs, programmers and many other jobs related to this industry. The simplicity of accessing and being part of this community entails educating yourself and applying yourself to the maximum without expecting anything in return, only if you have worked hard, and can differentiate yourself from the rest, will you be rewarded.
Ocktawian is a veteran artist who has recently experienced what many producers would like to achieve, that a historic label notices your music and contacts you to release your work. That’s what we want to talk to him about, we want to know how it feels for any mortal to have received the call from Jeff Mills to release on his label.
First of all we must know who Rubén Perea is and who Ocktawian is.
Ruben Perea is a normal person, a music lover who lives by and for it, there is not much more… and Ocktawian is one of his musical projects, in which I embarked on taking up music production again seriously in 2015, until today and after having had other aliases as a DJ before.
Ocktawian is the most mature project in terms of my musical career, where I feel more comfortable either as a DJ or Producer and that more joys is giving me…. work hard, trust in what you do or what you understand by your knowledge of what is electronic music, in this case Techno, and follow your goals, in a way that is not easy, there are no more secrets.
You have published on several labels, but Axis is not just any record label. What does it mean for an artist to be noticed by a label like Axis?
To be honest and speaking in my personal case, it’s a reward for all the years of sacrifice, time and money invested in music (which is not little), without ever expecting anything in return.
And as for any Techno artist or producer, it’s an achievement, fulfilling a dream or reaching a goal that a few months ago I hadn’t even thought about.
Publishing in Axis Records and in his new project The Escape Velocity, means to be part of the Axis family together with great Techno producers of world level, and some of them great friends, like Dj Surgeles, Mike Storm or Orbe. It’s a great recognition, it means you’re doing something right.
“Don’t send us demos, if we like you we will look for you”. This is the way Axis and other major labels that work with other styles work. What do you have to do to arouse the curiosity of these projects?
It’s not exactly like that, but yes, I explain. In my case, I was contacted by a very direct person to Axis Records, either because of music I had released before or because of the amount of videos I usually upload from my studio, working on music that sometimes is released on labels and other times are just tests or trials, and that I like to share. Most of them are very focused on the Axis or Detroit sound, with Sci fi touches.
As a result of one of these videos I was contacted. We talked and they told me these words: This is the contact, cross your fingers.
And that’s how my story with Axis Records has been. Obviously, then I sent my music and one afternoon Jeff Mills listened to it and during the early hours of the morning I already had his answer. These were his words: Ruben, I loved your music, it has an electrifying sound and it fits perfectly with The Escape Velocity project at Axis Records.
You have worked with several record labels, what level of demand is it to publish on a label like Axis?
The level of demand is not something that a label imposes on you, the level of demand is something that you have to set yourself, in your day to day and for any work.
In this case, being Axis Records, imagine, everything multiplied by a thousand and planning to the millimeter, every step, every concept, why I want to do this, where I want to move musically, what fields I want to play and what fields I don’t want to play.
For Axis Records, I had to be very meticulous with everything in terms of music, plus the whole concept involved, with hours of study, sounds, recording and deleting, new sequences, new sounds, etc..
It has been and is a very rewarding experience, both personally and musically.
Into A Strange Surface & Core is not an album that you had ready to release at any moment, what indications do you receive from Axis for its elaboration and how did you create it from these guidelines?
You don’t receive indications from the label, if you really feel identified with the label and its sound, you will automatically know what to do.
I had it easy with the musical creation, to be honest, I’ve been listening to Jeff Mills all my life, all his discography, his sound, 90% of his sessions, plus the times I’ve seen him live.
To focus myself to start with the album, what I did was to get inside the head of Jeff Mills, and I asked myself several questions …if you were Jeff Mills, do you think you would like this? Would you play it? Would you release it on Axis Records?
And so began the process of creating my album “Intro A Strange Surface & Core”, because as you say, it is not an album that I had prepared, nor was it something usual, it would have been easy to focus on the dance floor.
This time I wanted to let myself go by myself, I had the opportunity to tell my own story, with a more futuristic vision and focused on the Axis Records universe. I thought about The Escape Velocity’s new project and above all, the classic musical passages of the Axis sound, to add my identity or a futuristic sound that could fit Mills.
I could have sent dance tracks, which in fact I had some, but this time I had a lot of faith in these 7 tracks, still being a different musical concept; exempt of punch, with atmosphere, UFOs, etc…. I liked them for the label, for me and for the public. I wanted to break away a little from the traditional and experiment by myself, my idea could be valid for the label or on the contrary, I risked that the answer was yes or no. I crossed my fingers and waited for the label to give me the answer. I crossed my fingers and waited.
In a short time 3 Spanish producers have released on Jeff Mills’ label. One of them is Lagware, who we know has released two eps on Sub TL and an album with an industrial and experimental sound on our label, why do you think Axis is focusing on artists with a discreet discography, and why lately is he betting on Spanish artists?
Hmm, difficult question. I don’t think Axis is focusing on artists from a particular country, although it may seem so, but it may be focusing on producers who are more akin to the Axis sound, from the more classic sound to producers who can bring their own musical vision of the Axis sound, contributing with new ideas, new methods or feeling free to create, as long as it falls within the parameters already set by the label.
Have you dealt directly with Jeff Mills, or is there a parallel team to find the artists and to manage the releases?
I’ve dealt with Jeff Mills from day one. I assume he has a team to manage the label, but that’s just a guess and I don’t know. As of today, my contact is direct with him.
Have you noticed lately more interest from other labels?
Yes of course, I have noticed lately more interest from other labels, agencies and also from other great producers who I admire and who have been and are great references and influences throughout my musical career in these almost 30 years.
What projects do you have in sight?
Right now I’m still working hard in the studio without thinking about what will happen in the future.
In a few months I will go to Berlin for the presentation of my next Ep on Sinxergy Records, together with Mike Storm, who remixed an original track, and we will perform together. The vinyl will be released in August.
There will also be a track of mine coming out soon on vinyl on one of my favorite labels, Subsist Records, with other great producers and friends, names that I don’t want to reveal at the moment.
There are more projects, to be released between the end of the year and 2022, but I prefer to keep the surprise factor.
The word techno is in fashion, it is used indiscriminately, do you think this genre is being trivialized?
I think the word TECHNO, for those of us who really know its meaning, is something very big, where not everything is valid, in my point of view, and I think with this I have answered your question.
You can listen and buy the album here.