One of the underground’s most requested remixers and head of the Clarisse Records label, the ever-ready Mendo has well over a 100 tracks to his name released over a 15 year period and has stamped his style across some of the best electronic music labels going Saved, Defected, 8bit, Noir Music, Terminal M, Get Physical, Suara, Viva Music, Rekids, Great Stuff, CR2, Material, Tronic, Circus Recordings and Cadenza, of course, have all taken delivery of high points from the four-deck specialist.
We had the chance to talk with Mendo about his summer plans and upcoming releases.
Electronic Groove: Hi Mendo, thanks for taking the time to talk with us today. Could you start by giving a quick description of your sound for those few who have yet to discover your music?
Mendo: Hi! It’s a pleasure to share this interview with you guys. Well, I started producing in 1999, and since then, I’ve always tried to make tech house for the dancefloor, with a lot of groove, energy, vocals, and fat basslines. I think the only time I’ve tried doing something more experimental was for my first album ‘Avalon’, which came out on my label, Clarisse Records in 2013.
EG: Highlighting a few releases on your back catalogue include tracks and remixes on labels like Defected, Noir Music, Suara, Cadenza, Toolroom and Crosstown Rebels, what labels do you have forthcoming music signed to?
Mendo: At the moment I’m working on a few EP’s with my studio partner Yvan Genkins, and once finished we would love to sign tracks with some labels that we haven’t worked before in order to expand our borders. We also have finished a remix for Mihalis Safras, and it will be out on Kaluki Musik in September, and another one for Russ Yallop which will be released on Happy Techno label.
EG: You also run your own label Clarisse Records which has featured music from artists like Technasia, Audiojack, Jay Lumen, Oxia and DJ Sneak. Please can you tell us a bit about the label’s background and what’s in the pipeline?
Mendo: I started my label 11 years ago, and I’m very proud of all the artists that I work with. Managing a label takes a lot of energy and time, we’ve tried to have one release per month. But to be honest right now it’s really important to release just the best music if you want to stay on top, so now we only release music that is 100% Clarisse, as it’s better not to release anything than putting something out only to avoid gaps in a schedule. Also, those little breaks have helped me concentrate on my own productions, and I’ve been locked in my studio for months… Actually, due to not getting out the studio my beard is similar to Santa Claus one 😀
EG: During the last years you have been collaborating with Yvan Genkins, how did you meet him and what other artists have you collaborated with?
Mendo: I met Yvan about 7 years ago. He was a big fan of my music and a friend in common introduced us. They came to my place and we had a great feeling from the beginning, to the point that now he is one of my best friends. Yvan Genkins and Danny Serrano are the artists that I work regularly with.
“I started my label 11 years ago, and I’m very proud of all the artists that I’ve work with”
EG: Recently your ‘Breaks’ EP on the Material label charted at No.14 in the Top 100 tech house chart on Beatport, what other releases have been featured in the top sales charts, and what’s the highest you have achieved?
Mendo: We are really happy with this EP. It worked really well, plus it’s always a pleasure to work for Material’s boss, Mihalis Safras. The highest that I’ve ever been on Beatport is on #2, but I’m sure I’ll get to #1 before my teeth fall off 😀
EG: Talking of charts and achievements, in 2011 you won release of the year in Spain’s leading music publication ‘Vicious Magazine’, what other awards or prestigious things can you tell us about?
Mendo: The prizes are always a “plus” in this business, and it’s always nice to receive one, but the most valuable thing I’ve achieved is that for so many years is I’ve being able to work with passion and love for electronic music.
EG: Your most recent release was a remix of Zoo Brazil for Hot Since 82’s label Knee Deep In Sound, would you say you prefer doing remix’s or making original tracks?
Mendo: I prefer to work on my original productions for many reasons, but mainly because you don’t have a deadline, which means no stress… if it takes a month or two to finish an original track then it’s all good, as people aren’t waiting for the final product. I’ve done a lot of remixes, but for the moment I prefer to concentrate on my own original tracks.
EG: You have played gigs and festivals all over the world and appeared everywhere from the Electric Zoo festival in New York to the Womb club in Japan. Can you tell us what forthcoming events are currently booked in your schedule?
Mendo: I have an amazing tour booked for Australia, and I’m really happy about it because I’ve never been there before, I have a South American tour planned as well. Also, I’m glad to be back at Pacha in Barcelona and playing a boat cruise for the Shipsomnia guys during ‘Off Week’ week. Then I’ll be back in my hometown of Geneva for a few gigs… so the next couple of months will be busy for me.
“I’ve always tried to make tech house for the dancefloor”
EG: I read in your bio that in your DJ sets you play music on four decks which is certainly very impressive. How did you develop such a skill, and do you have any tips for others who are trying to incorporate a third or fourth deck into their DJ style?
Mendo: I started playing four decks about seven years ago when I first discovered the DJ software, Traktor. Originally, I used to play only vinyl’s and then CD’s. I’ve always liked to play with more than two decks and Traktor really helps with that.
To play on four decks I often select looped sections of tracks rather than play the whole thing, so often I spend some time in the studio to find sections of different tracks that work together as one. Setting loop sections and cue points on Traktor is also very useful, as having these things prepared in advance helps to save time in the club.
Sometimes I know which tracks I’m going to play in a set, but you never know what kind of atmosphere you’ll find when you arrive at a venue, it’s always important to understand and rapidly read the crowd.
EG: To finish, I understand you are originally from Switzerland, where are you living at the moment, and what has taken you to your current location?
Mendo: Currently I spend most of my time in the city of Málaga in Spain, and that’s where I have my studio. I’ve visited a lot of the world’s cities, but for me Málaga is my favorite, because the weather is amazing and there is a beautiful coastline.