Vromm, full name Alvaro Martinez Marin, is the freshest addition to the roster of the mighty Doc Scotts label, 31 Records, and he has taken some time out of his day for a little chat about moving from his native country of Spain to the soggy metropolis of London, his history with electronic music and his love of Flamenco.
If you haven’t already checked out his Prototype EP which came out in September then I strongly recommend you drop what your doing and go cop a listen, it got praise thrown at it from left, right and centre upon its release and the scene is itching to see what comes next. Its some dark and experimental stuff and we are reassured that there is more on the way from this experienced and exciting producer…
Hello Vromm, nice of you to take the time out for a chat, how’ve you been keeping?
Nah… thank you for asking me for this interview, :)
I understand you’ve recently made the move to the UK, how are you finding it so far (apart from wet…)?
Well, I am feeling really good here in this city [London] because everything seems to be going the right way. I have been thinking of moving here for decades because of the music scene but the good weather and friends back home in Spain prevented me from coming!. :). This city is very generous, I have had the opportunity to meet some very nice and interesting people here from different cultures which I really love. Everybody here is extremely respectful of my music and has given me so much positive energy which helps me to continue doing want I do. People here really value my work and try to help me to achieve my goals.
What was the electronic music scene like back in Spain, did one exist at all when you were growing up?
Of course there was a scene, but I was so young. In 1990, there was a huge scene in La Costa del Sol, Malaga, which is where many of my influences come from. Many DJ’s from the UK used to come down and play there. You could find many raves and venues with amazing music: hardcore, jungle, house, techno,… all styles mixed in one place which was very unpredictable!. People were very opened minded too. I was only eleven or twelve years old when my friends who were all older than me, gave me many mixtapes which was my introduction into drum & bass. :).
And before you became interested in the more experimental and electronic side of things did you have any interest in more traditional Spanish music and do you feel that it shines through in your approach to crafting songs now?
Spain, and in particular Andalucia, is where flamenco music comes from. Although I come from a very different music culture, I never was interested in this kind of music until a decade ago, after releasing my first vinyl(s) and by this time I was already living in Madrid. I have made electronic music for more than two decades so my influences didn’t come from my country. Nowadays, I have learnt about flamenco and I am sure it enriches me when I write electronic music. For me, it is one of the most important and organic musics in the world, together with jazz, Brazilian and Cuban music. But it is a bit annoying when you show your stuff to your flamenco friends and they don’t understand too much what you are doing. So growing up as an electronic musician living there was challenging. You have to “self charge” your motivation batteries in order to find your inspiration. Flamenco is a culture which evolves slowly and most of the best musicians are not very open-minded. I’d like to mix some elements of flamenco within my music but I think I have to wait for a while until flamencos get ready to understand a little better what I’d like to do.
Talk us through your career before it was concentrated on music, because from what I understand it has always been based in sound and sound design hasn’t it?
Not really, I started to play vinyl when I was nine years old in 1986. After a few years, Luis Mendoza, one of the friends I mentioned before, gave me a tape with an amazing Grooverider mix on it and from that moment, something had woken inside my brain and I had this curiosity about how I could make this incredible music that was blowing my mind. At the time I was living in my town, and it was so difficult to find someone who could show me how to start making music. Mobiles, the internet and all these other helpful tools didn’t exist at the time. When I was thirteen years old I met Daniel who is another friend who is probably the reason that I am here answering these questions :). He was already working in a musical instrument shop in my town when he copied me hundreds of disks with many mod files and I started to make music immediately using just the very archaic software: Fast Tracker and Scream Tracker which run on Ms-dos. When you invest so much time in music, you learn a lot, and when you finally have enough resources, then you realise that you can design your own sounds. To me, sound designing is something that happens after being music producer.
Do you play any instruments yourself or do you prefer to stick to the studio side of things?
I would really like to play some instruments such as percussion and keyboards. Unfortunately the day has only 24 hours and I think this will take some more time. I don’t know how and when, but I will learn one day. :)
Just generally speaking, are there any new releases out there that you are looking forward to getting your hands on?
Oh!, there is lots of amazing music out there! I want to get my hands on everything! :) But for example: the next “Future Beats” album forthcoming on 31 Records!
Have you had the opportunity to work closely with any other D&B producers yet, or is there any one in particular that you would like to spend some time in the studio with?
There are some great dnb producers asking to me for collaborations already but now I’m focused in my stuff trying to finish new tracks but I think this will happen in the future.
How did you link up with Doc Scott originally, you must have been pretty buzzing to get interest from such a big name before even your first release?
I have been part of Various Production for nearly two years and through it, I met Chris Parkinson who manage Doc Scott’s label. They listened to my stuff and that is all. :)
Has Scotty let you have a listen of the new 31 Records compilation thats due at the end of the year yet? From what I’ve heard theres gonna be 24 tracks from 24 different artists, have you been honoured with one of the 24 spots?
Yeah, I have already listened to some of them, they are all really really good! :). And yes, I have been honoured with one of the 24 spots!
Congrats, we look forward to checking that out! We had a listen to the mix you did for Kmag recently and we enjoyed it a lot, have you had the opportunity to showcase your mixing skills at any clubs yet?.
Oh thank you! I would really like to enter a new stage now. I have been very focussed in the studio for the last couple of years and now I would really like to start gigging. I played the last Friday 7th November in “12 Hours of Noise”@Club414 in Brixton where there were some great DJ’s and producers playing.
With such an extensive background in music you must have some absolute gems tucked away, are there any tunes you’d be willing to share with us that we may not have heard before?
I don’t know if they are gems. However I have some tracks in my hd ready to go :)
Finally Vromm, whats on the horizon for you at the moment? Will you be working further with 31 Recordings or do you intend to move onto the next musical challenge?
I work hard in the studio every day. I know Doc Scott is very happy with my stuff and I think I will be working further with 31 Records. I have a few releases forthcoming in the next months and I am already working on my first album.
Well thanks again Vromm, we’ll be keeping an eye out for that new material you’ve got dropping soon and we’re already buzzing for that 31 Records compilation album that you’re a part of. Take it easy!
Show Vromm some love by giving him a little follow on the usual Social Media’s (that can be found below), or if you’re feeling particularly flush you could part with some cold hard cash and order his Prototype EP over at Red Eye Records. I doubt this will be the last time that Alvaro’s name graces our humble little slice of the internet and we look forward to hearing what he’s got tucked away for 2015!