Exclusive: Barem Shares New Mix Ahead of Movement Detroit
The Argentinian DJ-producer will play Movement's Main Stage on Sunday, May 29.
Mauricio Barembuem (a.k.a Barem) burst onto the radar of electronic enthusiasts in 2006, swooped up from his native Buenos Aires as Richie Hawtin‘s newest minimal techno protégé. The years that ensued were a valuable learning period for Barem, who, guided by Hawtin and his seminal M-nus imprint, quickly developed a sense of musical sophistication and artistry to his productions while simultaneously making a name for himself as a skilled DJ. Although his association with Hawtin and M-nus resulted in worldwide success and the maturation of Barem’s signature style—powerful basslines paired with expansive reverb and delay—the artist eventually started to feel constricted by the uniformity of Hawtin’s sound and in 2015 decided to break away and start his Fun Records imprint with friend and fellow Argentinian Alexis Cabrera. Already garnering much support from house and techno lovers around the world with their releases and parties, Fun Records has blossomed into a necessary platform for Barem and Cabrera’s more inviting, laid-back material.
In anticipation of his set this year at Movement, Barem has offered XLR8R an exclusive mix and interview showcasing the direction of the producer and his new label, as well as what to expect this year in Detroit.
The last time you played Movement was in 2010. The American scene in general has changed a lot since then. What changes do you expect to see at the festival this time around?
It’s been quite some time, you’re right! I hope the raising popularity of electronic music in North America didn’t affect Movement in a bad way. But I’m pretty sure it didn’t because they’re very careful with what they present and how they do it. If anything I expect to see some young people who got into electronic music through the EDM explosion but then realized there was much more interesting music around and decided to dig deeper into other styles. Somehow what happened to me when I was a teenager. The lineup pretty much speaks for itself. I don’t think anybody goes there by accident. In 2010 I left Detroit being sure that it was the best festival I’ve attended, together with Mutek in Montreal. I’m very much looking forward to having that feeling again!
We all know about Detroit’s musical heritage. Who have been some of your influences from the city?
Well, there are so many, it’s hard to pick a few. I got into techno through Plus8 around the year 2000. Before then most techno was pretty unknown to me because it was a very underground scene in Buenos Aires and I was pretty young. But the first Detroit DJ I listened to live was Carl Craig around 2002. I remember being very moved by that performance. Then I did some research, got into Planet E and also started going back in time to discover artists like Jeff Mills, Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Moodymann, Omar S, Kevin Saunderson and many more. That was a whole new universe of music to discover which really opened my mind and it was all much more refined than anything I heard before in electronic music. I guess my initial influences were mostly minimalistic tracks, but with time I got to understand and appreciate the classic Detroit Techno sound and the ideals behind it. It’s always been mind-blowing to me how many of those productions can still be so current today. That whole movement and what it still represents and stands for is very inspiring.
Last year you started your label Fun Records with Alexis Cabrera. What’s the idea behind the label and what can we expect in the near future?
The idea for the label is to create a laid back platform to release cool jams. The music we’re releasing is pretty simple, but we love it. We somehow try to release records that contain all we like from the past, but with a current approach in terms of sequencing and the new sound possibilities you have today. Ideally we want to build a little family with people that share the same feeling. I felt it was a good time for me to start my own playground after a bit over a decade of working for other labels. It’s a lot more work, but it’s very rewarding.
It’s now been five years since you released After The Storm on M-nus. Has your approach to music changed since then? How is that reflected on Fun?
Yes, very much I would say. After The Storm was to me some sort of retrospective that went back to my beginnings. It was a summary of the sounds I liked the most till then and my connection with M-nus, but I think it had much more modern structures and more variety than my initial works. After that I really focused on changing into new territories. I’ve had very frustrating moments production wise and even a few years of being totally away from making music. But that also helped me to miss it a bit. Now I’m somehow reconnecting with the minimal house from the beginning of the 2000’s when it comes to my own music, but again with more modern structures. What we release on FUN is in that direction, or at least we want it to be.
The Fun parties, particularly in Argentina, have seemed to be a big hit. Do you hope it will develop into a platform for new South American talent?
Yes, they have been amazing. We also did some in Europe last year and have a few more this summer. I like what we do in our nights because it brings us together with lots of friends. Sometimes you don’t get to play with some artists you used to share a lot in the past, because of numerous reasons, so it’s not a bad idea to make it happen yourself. The line ups don’t necessarily have to include people who are going to release on our label. It can be just people we like, respect and feel like inviting over. About it being a South American platform, it could be. We obviously have a stronger connection with Argentina and South America because of our roots, and there are amazing old and new artists there all the time, but we’d rather leave it open to anybody, new or old, South American or from anywhere on the planet. As long as we like the music and it fits our concept, we will be very happy to get anyone on board.