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Emil Toledo: “OLGA was a very personal project for me”

Emil Toledo is a music producer and DJ who started his career performing in Peru as a Red Bull and Pioneer resident, thanks to the support of the DJ College of Music where he studied to become a DJ.

His career led him to play music with international talents such as Darren Emerson, Christian Smith, and Sandra Collins. After a few years dedicated to DJing, Emil followed his path entering into the music production scene and working with Latin American artists in house and techno music.

Nowadays, he is finishing his Electronic Music Production and Sound Design Bachelor at Berklee College of Music, while living in the US and performing as a DJ in local clubs.

EG caught up with Emil Toledo to learn more about the drop of his ‘OLGA’ EP, his Polaris event promoter/artist booking and management company, and more.

EG: Hi Emil! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? Where are you based right now?

Emil Toledo: Thanks EG, it is my pleasure. I’ve been doing amazing! 2022 was a great year for me artistically wise. Had amazing gigs with great talents and finally was able to release my first EP! I’m very excited about this new year, I feel like it’s gonna be even better now that I moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco where I was based for a couple of years.

EG: First of all, congratulations on the release of your ‘OLGA’ EP! What has the initial reception been like?

Emil Toledo: To be honest, this first release was a very personal project for me, I haven’t promoted it as much as I’m planning to do with the next one. I feel it was kind of my first step towards putting my music out there and start showing a bit more of myself to the crowd [deep house-minimal-melodic techno lovers]. I did get some amazing feedback from people that I admire which honestly feels so good after working so hard!

EG: And this is your first foray into melodic house and techno, right? How did this “new path” come about? What is it that particularly excites you about the genre?

Emil Toledo: It is! (laughter) Melodic house & techno have refreshed the industry with a sweet mixture of both genres. We now have a lot of house & techno lovers in the same place and time. Labels like Anjunadeep, Afterlife, and Stil Vor Talent, among many others, made an amazing contribution to this new era with fresh light-weighted but deep strong beats and melodies, and this is exactly what captivated me.

EG: What can your fans expect to find on ‘OLGA’. Is there a concept here or an emotional trigger to the tracks?

Emil Toledo: I like that you asked. As I said before, ‘OLGA’ was a very personal project for me, more than any other so far. I think it was the first time I really got involved with the emotions the tracks were triggering in me, more than how “bumpy” “groovy” or “solid” it would be felt by the crowd on the dancefloor. Even though it has a fresh percussion mixed with a nice groove on the back, melodies trigger plaintive thoughts but keep you on the not sad-solitary part of the journey. You’ll get a better understanding after listening to the album.

“I think it was the first time I really got involved with the emotions the tracks were triggering in me, more than how “bumpy” “groovy” or “solid” it would be felt by the crowd on the dancefloor”

EG: You’re also a member of the California–based music collective Polaris, right? What is Polaris all about? How was born and where is it going?

Emil Toledo: Yes! It’s an event promoter/artist booking and management company based in San Francisco which I’m part of; they constantly introduce new sounds into the industry. We are partners with the best venues in the city and regularly host events as well as big festivals. Me and Adam (aka ALMA), co-founder and owner of Polaris, also make music together; we are working on our next EP and, hopefully, we will finish it soon!

EG: What does the California electronic music scene look like now? Where is it “failing” and what can be done to improve in your opinion?

Emil Toledo: I feel everyone would agree that California is one of the most important places in the world for electronic music; there’s Los Angeles and San Francisco, which alongside Miami, New York, and Chicago, are all considered electronic music hubs in the US since always; most of the biggest music and in-demand festivals are hosted there. I believe that, even though the electronic music industry’s growth stays flat in the US, we are still being surpassed by the UK and Germany; I’d say probably Europe is outpacing us in terms of music innovation. New sounds, new genres, new concepts…In the US we know how to make money out of something once it has been created; we need to start creating new music, creating trends, and markets.

EG: Given your experience with Polaris…what does the future of live events hold? Will we stray even more from our roots and into these big “immersive” experiences?

Emil Toledo: Events are being taken to a whole new level thanks to the artists using technology to express their musical ideas in meaningful ways. Modern electronic music performers are beginning to break down old boundaries by re-inventing live performances and searching for new ways to connect with the crowd. Aside from the physical event, companies like YouTube, Red Bull TV, and Apple Music, broadcast performances on the internet constantly; this is related to musicians who would also like to monetize their own concerts and make their careers more profitable; streaming is a viable income source for business-minded artists who want to connect with their fans anytime, anywhere. In the next few years, we will certainly discover how music performance develops and reflects the modern times we live in. I believe the future truly lies in the hands of the artists and how they choose to use the tools available to them.

EG: How do you improve your skills? What things do you do that make you go: “I’ll really get something from this”?

Emil Toledo: I’m always looking for artists and professionals to learn from. Production-wise, Djing-wise, anything. Every time I run into an artist that amazes me, I research him and try to understand how he became unique, and what skills make him different from the rest. How is he handling his career? Anything that I could learn from. Once I understand something that I believe could help me to become a better artist in any kind of way, I work on it and put it into practice, execute it.

“I’d say probably Europe is outpacing us in terms of music innovation. New sounds, new genres, new concepts…In the US we know how to make money out of something once it has been created; we need to start creating new music, creating trends, and markets”

EG: How do you keep entertained when not in the studio? Have you checked out any good movies, series, books, or albums you’d recommend?

Emil Toledo: (Laughter) this has been a real challenge lately, I think a lot of people/artists would agree with me that the more you get into your career, the harder it gets to separate personal time from professional time. I usually try to rely on family and friends for this. I think it’s the best way to enjoy my personal time and “touch base” with myself and the things that are also important in life. Nevertheless, Netflix and Amazon Prime are always lifesavers when bored, haha. ‘The Office’ is my all-time favorite TV show, I play it on TV even if I want to feel I have company.. 100% recommended!

EG: What’s next for Emil Toledo? What particular milestones are you looking forward to in 2023? Where can your fans catch you next?

Emil Toledo: This is gonna be a great year for me, I know it. My sound is getting sharper and people are getting to know me fast. This will be an important year career-wise. I’m looking forward to signing my music with the labels I’ve been following for years and spinning alongside artists I’ve always admired. Polaris is now fully managing me, so I can stay focused on my music, which is something I really needed. I’ll be soon sharing my next event on my socials, definitely some good stuff coming in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

EG: Thank you so much for your time, Emil! We wish you all the best for the future.

Emil Toledo: Thanks to the Electronic Groove family, it has been amazing to share so much with you guys, and thanks for promoting the dance community in so many ways!

Emil Toledo’s ‘OLGA’ EP is out now. Purchase your copy here.

Follow Emil Toledo: Instagram | Website | Soundcloud

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