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Integral Bread: ‘I have taken the opportunity to work hard on my label, Univack’

Nacho Vicente Vargas, best known these days as Integral Bread, started his career in electronic music production in 1995. During all these years he has been working with a wide range of music genres but with a very personal and unique style during his natural evolution. In 2000 he joined Joaquin Gemio as they formed ‘Bread and Butter’, with great success due to their releases and live acts in the main Spanish festivals. Today, Integral Bread has a prominent career in the progressive and melodic techno spheres while he runs his own label Univack Recordings.

We caught up with Integral Bread to talk about his latest release ‘Collage’, which features remixes by Nick Muir and Morttagua, how he first started, and the state of the scene in his native Spain.

Electronic Groove: Hi there Nacho, how have you been? We’re excited to have you here. How did you spend your lockdown in Spain? How is the whole pandemic situation over there?

Integral Bread: Hello Electronic Groove friends, thank you for the invitation, it’s a pleasure to be able to chat with you!

In Spain, we have lived and continue to experience the pandemic very harshly, not only in the health field due to the large number of people killed and affected by COVID-19, but also in the economic sphere, the blow being stronger due to the fact that Spain is a country where most of its income comes from the service sector and from tourism, sectors that have been practically unemployed due to numerous restrictions and confinements.

In my case, despite not being able to play in any event due to the pandemic, I have taken the opportunity to work hard on my label, Univack, which has seen outstanding growth during these months, improving in many aspects, increasing the number of releases, and positioning itself as one of the most important progressive house and melodic techno labels in Europe. I’ve also dedicated this year to continue making music in my studio, and learning and studying to improve my musical knowledge.

Electronic Groove: What’s the situation with the clubbing scene like over in Spain right now?

Integral Bread: In my opinion the current situation of clubbing in Spain is critical. The scene and the industry in terms of events are practically dead. In our country, the electronic music scene is stigmatized, even by the music and cultural industry itself, being excluded from any kind of help from the state and the government. I really don’t know to what extent the scene will have been damaged, or if it will recover soon, once it can return to a normal activity, which will be very late, for sure. At the moment we are still unable to hold events. Even so, I like to be positive, and I think that we will recover, and there will also be a kind of reset, where many things in the music scene, which previously seemed unfair, will improve.

Electronic Groove: Let’s dive a bit into your background…how did you become entangled with the whole progressive house scene? Is it a strong movement over there?

Integral Bread: Although most of my current musical repertoire is cataloged as progressive house, I don’t consider that my music is 100% that. In fact, in my beginnings, I produced breaks, electro, and techno, and I still have vestiges of those first years of experience. My music has always been characterized by a strong melodic and harmonic content, and a progressive character, and that is why it usually appears in stores in genres such as progressive house and melodic techno, although they are halfway between several different genres. In fact, many of my future releases in the next months will be cataloged as techno, electro, or even electronica.

The progressive house scene in Spain is very small, totally underground, compared to genres like tech house and techno, which are the main ones in this country. Even so, it seems that there is a remarkable growth in this genre, in part thanks to the effort and passion of many colleagues and new labels and event promoters, or at least that is how it seemed that it was happening just before the COVID-19 crisis.

Electronic Groove: And production-wise…what were your first contacts with the studio? Do you remember the moment when you went ‘This is it, this is what I want to do’?

Integral Bread: In 1995 I attended my first electronic music party, a Breakbeat party in Seville, Spain; I was immediately fascinated by that music. I quickly started following bands like The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Orbital, Underworld, Massive Attack … I felt like I wanted to try and create that kind of music. As I also liked computers a lot, I began to experiment composing with Trackers, and then began to buy synthesizers, drum machines, and samplers, together with my friend Joaquín Gemio, with whom I created the duo Bread & Butter. After several years in this group, editing various vinyl, and showing our live act in some of the most important festivals and clubs in Spain, we parted ways and that was when I began my solo career as Integral Bread. I am very satisfied with everything I have learned and achieved throughout all these years, but I am even happier for feeling the same passion and enthusiasm that I had in my beginnings.

I am very satisfied with everything I have learned and achieved throughout all these years, but I am even happier for feeling the same passion and enthusiasm that I had in my beginnings

Electronic Groove: You’ve got a brand new release up on Univack, featuring two remixes by Morttagua and the legendary Nick Muir. What was the inspiration behind ‘Collage’? Why did you decide to go with Nick and Morttagua for these remixes?

Integral Bread: The three originals that make up the EP were created during a period of time in which I wanted to separate myself from the darkness that I had expressed in my previous releases. Resulting in a happier release that suggested more colorful emotions.

As for the remixes. I met the great Nick Muir at ADE 2019, and from the beginning, there was a great connection between us. Nick is a legend as an artist, but he stands out even more for his humility and closeness. No doubt he is one of the most authentic people I have ever met in my career. He wanted to remix my ‘Collage’, which he had already played exclusively on several of his sets. As for Morttagua, he is an artist that I follow a lot, and we wanted to have him on our label for a long time now. It’s an honor to have these two great stars accompanying me in this release.

Electronic Groove: Sonically, how would you describe these new original pieces? Were you looking for something in particular?

Integral Bread: With this release, my intention was to show a varied spectrum of progressive music … a timeless musical collage, with three different originals. ‘Tahiche’ is deeper and melodic, a track that was inspired by my last performance in Tahiche, a small village in Lanzarote Island. ‘The Blacksmith’ has fewer melodic elements and a groove closer to tech-house, and ‘Collage’ is perhaps the original closest to techno, but blending other elements of different genres.

Electronic Groove: What can we expect from Integral Bread for 2021? What are your next goals moving forward?

Integral Bread: Besides the large amount of music that I am currently composing, most of my time is devoted to the work I do as manager at Univack Records, which has seen tremendous growth this year and therefore, requires more and more dedication. We are at a very high level in terms of quality and quantity of releases, and the entire team is very satisfied with the horizon we are seeing for the label.

I also have many originals and remixes that will be out in the next months, not only from my more progressive and melodic side but also from experimenting with sounds closer to techno, electro, and electronica. I also dedicate time to what will be my next LP, which I have been preparing for more than a year, and which I hope to release in early 2022, both in physical and digital format.

Undoubtedly a year full of hope and good intentions, at least until I can return to show my Live Set at clubs and festivals, once the situation with COVID-19 crisis allows it, which we hope will be very soon.

Electronic Groove: Thank you so much for sitting down with us Nacho! We wish you the best going forward and hope you have a great year!

Integral Bread: Thanks to you for this invitation, and thanks to all the people who have dedicated part of their time to reading this interview and researching my musical work.  Best wishes!

Integral Bread’s ‘Colage’ is out now via Univack Recordings. Stream and buy here

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