Mendo is a big hitting house talent who runs his own label, DJs around the world and has had many Beatport Top 10s in his time, not least with many of the cuts from his excellent 2013 album Avalon. He also runs his own label Clarisse, which is a fine outlet for the best tech and house beats of the day, and is now enjoying much success in light of his latest and greatest remix on Hot Since 82’s label, which Pete Tong is already supporting. As well as that he has a residency starting as part of the Global Ibiza Radio boat parties, and is also working on a special VA compilation for Deeperfect as well as remix son Suara and Knee Deep in Sound.Here we chat to the fine Swiss talent about all this and more…
Introduce yourself and give us some background for those who don’t know…
Hello I’m Mendo, nice and funny guy, seeks blonde girl with… oops sorry! Hello I’m Mendo, born in Geneva to Spanish parents. I’ve been playing electronic music for 23 years now and producing for 14. A big moment for me was in 2009 when I produced a new version of my track ‘Everybody I Got Him’ – Luciano was a big fan and asked me to join Cadenza on the strength of it. I spent four years with this friendly team but at some point you have to make your own way to avoid staying in the shadow of such a charismatic person. That’s why I decided to leave to devote myself to developing my own label Clarisse, which has now been in business for 10 years.
You have been getting big support from Pete Tong for your release on Hot Since 82’s label- how does that feel – have you spoken to him yourself?
Yeah the support for this remix has been amazing; Hot Since 82 loves it and plays it out regularly. Several DJs have played my tracks on Pete Tong’s Radio 1 show, and he has just asked me to do a podcast for his US one so hopefully we will finally meet, maybe in Ibiza this summer.
When you have a big hit like this do you feel pressure next time you get in the studio? Do you try and do the same thing or something different or?
In a way you feel pressure every time you get in the studio because you would love to produce the next number 1! But really there’s no pressure because I really love to be in the studio producing new music. It might seem easier to try and do the same thing over and over like some pop artists and say this is the best solution; that is not my philosophy. I like to experiment all the time and improve on what I’ve already done.
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Tell us how you approach a new track – do you always start in the same place or do you just doodle or…?
I start with the rhythmical part and the bassline. For me the three most important elements are a good kick drum – a bad one can ruin your track, and you’ll easily notice when you’re playing it in a club with a big sound system. Then you need a good clap – this will always add brightness to your mix, and again, a bad one can make your mix sound muffled. Finally, the bassline; I always try to make groovy and sexy basslines. Fat bass gives tracks energy. After all these, I drop them into the arrangement.
You have had lot so music out recently – remixes, originals and more – are you always writing music or have you got tons of tracks already made or… ?
2014 has been a huge year for me with tracks (and remixes) such as ‘Sheeta’, ‘Summer Drops’, ‘No More’, ‘Poema’, ‘Truesoul’, ‘Magic’ and ‘Melody’ doing really well. This year we’ve released ‘Swan’ on my label Clarisse, a track from a young Italian artist called Simone Liberali that I remixed with my buddy Yvan Genkins. On the same day, my remix of Chus & Ceballos’ ‘They Say Nothing’ came out on their label Stereo Productions. Toolroom rereleased Jay Lumen’s remix of our track ‘What You Say’ for their Miami Underground 2015 compilation, and Defected have done the same with ‘Melody’ on their Defected In The House Miami 2015 mix.
At the end of March, another track I made with Yvan, ‘Crawfish’, featured on Hot Since 82’s Knee Deep In Sound Miami 2015 sampler. For the beginning of April, I remixed Coyu’s ‘Fire Alarm’ on his Suara label, and mid-April I dropped a remix of The Scumfrog’s ‘SendWave’ on Knee Deep in Sound.
As I said, I really love to spend hour after hour in the studio, trying new things. I don’t have lots of completed tracks up my sleeve because I receive a lot of requests and I always have plenty to finish – I prefer to work on several projects at the same time and not submit them until I’m really satisfied with the result.
And how do you hook up with labels? Do you send them stuff or do they contact you or?
I receive lots of requests – unfortunately, I have to turn down maybe 80% of them because I don’t have the time; but now and again I produce an original and send it to labels I think it would be suitable for. As I’ve already produced well over 100 tracks I have direct contacts for pretty much every label releasing my style of music.
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And how different are remix than originals, do you approach them differently? How do you decide what to do on each one?
When I receive a track to remix I really need to have a nice sample or vocal that catches my ear – that’s fundamentally what makes me want to work on it. Even if I receive a great track, if there’s no catchy sample, the job could be a nightmare. Usually, I don’t agree to remix a track if it doesn’t have that. When Hot Since 82 first sent me his track, I was drawn to the big vocal and FX synth. The job was really easy, and the remix was finished in just three days.
And whats your studio like, do you have hardware or are you a software guy?
I had a lot of hardware when I started out, but over the years, I’ve switched more and more to digital. To be honest though, lately I’ve had more and more desire to use hardware again – which is a shame as I sold what were super machines that would cost me too much money to re-buy now.
Any dream bits of kit you would like to buy? What is the most important tool you have right now?
Maybe Maschine from Native Instruments – it seems to be able to do amazing things with integrated samples. Most important are my Soundcard Appolo UAD plugins, without a doubt.
What else have you got coming up/are you looking forward to?
I’m mixing one of the Toolroom Live 03 Compilation CDs, and I’m gathering 10 original tracks from some nice names – Cocodrills, Paul C & Paolo Martini, Spencer K, Collective Machine – for a special mix for Deeperfect. At the same time, my ‘Magic’ and ‘Melody’ tracks are going to be remixed by Second City, Tapesh, Dos Santos & Christian Nielsen on Material Series.
I’m really looking forward to the start of Ibiza season. We started a weekly residency for Clarisse DJs on Ibiza Global Radio a few weeks ago, every Wednesdays 23:00 CET. I play at Space Ibiza on May 2nd for the Lovin Ibiza festival, and will be back for my monthly residency at the amazing Blue Marlin beach club. On top of that I will start a new monthly residency at Sankeys and play on Ibiza Global Radio boat parties alongside my friend David Moreno. I will join Hot Since 82 to play at his Knee Deep In Sound showcase at Sonar Barcelona, and then there are festivals at Track Terrace Budapest, Kudos Beach Romania, Dreambeach Villaricos, ElectroZIles… so you know I will be enjoying another amazing summer.
Mendo’s new remix of ‘Send Wave’ by The Scumfrog on Knee Deep In Sound is out in May.