Paco Osuna is techno’s quiet achiever. Crafting quality tunes for almost two decades, the producer/DJ is a legend in his native Spain, cultivating a fiercely loyal following amongst Barcelona’s clubbing elite.
His long career has seen him work alongside underground heroes including Sven Väth, Richie Hawtin and Marco Carola, holding down residencies at each of their much-respected Ibiza nights, plus setting up his own imprint, Mindshake Records, and successful club night, Club4.
It was in Ibiza that Paco got his big break, nabbing a seven-nights-a-week gig at Amnesia in 1999 that saw him spin everything from disco to techno and back again. It was this ‘open format’ residency that Paco calls “his training ground” — it taught the young DJ how to read a room.
Since then, Paco Osuna has returned to the White Isle every summer — his most recent gig was at Music On’s 2015 closing party with long-time comrade, Marco Carola. When we meet in Madrid, Paco’s just jetted in from said closing, and when we sit down to chat he immediately gushes about how “spectacular” it is to play alongside Carola.
But tonight we’re here to watch Osuna play solo, and he’s just headlined mega-club Fabrik on the outskirts of the city.
A forty-minute drive from the center, the epic venue holds a whopping 8,000 ravers and (thanks to Osuna’s overwhelming popularity in his homeland) it’s completely sold out.
An audio/visual feast that Paco’s been working on for a number of months, tonight’s gig is particularly special for the producer — it’s one of the biggest shows he’s ever played to a home crowd.
He’ll hit Romania, Canada and Italy over the next few months, plus throw a Mindshake Records showcase at Amsterdam’s ADE. It’s all part of the DJ’s master plan for global ubiquity — he’s been quietly snapping at the heels of Hawtin, Väth and Carola for close to a decade.
In Spain, at least, he’s achieved superstar status, whilst remaining refreshingly humble and unpretentious. With 2016 set to be his biggest year yet, it looks like Ibiza’s big boys better watch their backs — Paco Osuna’s time has finally come...
Hey Paco! You’ve just played Madrid’s Fabrik. Why was this particular extended show so special?
“Fabrik is a reference point when it comes to clubbing, not just in Spain but worldwide, so to have their confidence and support is wonderful. I think this was only the forth or fifth time in history they’ve done (a show) like this, so for me, it was very important to do my best on both a musical and visual level. It was one of the most important nights of 2015 for me!”
How do you prepare for a show like Fabrik musically?
“Well, I was preparing for over three weeks. The audience at Fabrik is very demanding and the room has really large dimensions. To keep all the people there and dancing for more than five hours is something you have to work on.
Not everyone likes the same music, so I prepared hours of intense music plus some more chilled stuff, plus some special moments. Then some more funky tracks, darker tracks — a little bit of everything!”
Let's back-track to the beginning, you started as an Amnesia resident back in '99. How did you land the gig?
“My residency started thanks to a friend in common with my father and Martin Ferrer (the owner of Amnesia). At that time, my career was a little stagnant in Valencia and they asked me to record a demo to send it to Amnesia to enter as a resident. So I record it and they liked it, so I joined the team.”
How have you seen the club change from then to now?
“It has changed a lot! When I started as a resident, techno practically had no place in Ibiza, most of it was trance or house. But in ’99, Cocoon had its first night on a Monday, although it wasn’t happening every week at that stage, just once every two weeks. Then in 2000 it began every week — this was when techno first started properly in Ibiza! Today, techno is now the most successful sound on the island and promoters offer it as a pull for audiences — it’s about being together, enjoying and living for the music.”
Talk to us about your relationship with Sven Väth — how do you think your time as a Cocoon resident influenced your style and music?
“Sven in my early days helped me a lot. When he arrived to Amnesia I was the resident and I was there every Monday in the booth with him because my job was to be there in case he needed something. From that, our friendship grew and he treated me as the young apprentice who needed to be educated! [Laughs] He taught me a lot musically speaking, not only because I was there every day enjoying his sessions, but also because he used to give me many promos every week — basically anything he had two copies of. He was my teacher at the time.”
And the island, has it grown for better or worse?
“On an infrastructure level and the services available, the island has improved a lot! But it has grown a lot and become incredibly popular — it’s lost a bit of exclusivity.”
How did you start DJing initially?
“I was very young. At the age of 13 years, I started going to DJ sessions with older kids and watching them play — I knew I wanted to be a DJ from then on. It wasn’t until I was around 16 that I had the chance to properly mix with vinyl at a friend’s house who had some amateur equipment. Gradually it became an obsession and I started buying vinyl myself. It just went from there!”
Tell us the story of your wildest night ever in Ibiza?
“It wasn’t a night, it was an after-hours party following a night playing with Marco Carola. Once we finished at the club, we were invited to play in a huge house, but we didn’t like the environment and decided to leave. Then, a friend who was with us invited us to go to his home to play, though he warned us it was very small. When we arrived, we started playing in a room only big enough for three people, until we dismounted all the furniture and removed it — we even took the doors off! There were 40-50 people waiting to come in and out in shifts to dance. It was hilarious!”
You just played the Music On closing. What does it mean to you to play at Marco's party?
“It means a lot. Marco is one of my best friends for more than 15 years and this year he asked me to join Music On — it’s been both an honour and a challenge. To do the closing was simply spectacular. The party in the Main Room went on until 9.30am with the public giving everything on the floor, and then the Terrace with Marco Carola until 12pm — it was completely full to the very end. Incredible.”
What's coming up on Mindshake Records?
“During 2015, we’ve had a lot of internal changes to the structure of the label, we’re coming back bigger and better in 2016! It’s going to be a big year of releases, showcases and lots of special stuff. For now, all I can reveal is that I’ll have new music coming, and also some special collaborating with some close friends.”
Why do you think your party Club4 has remained so successful in Barcelona?
“Because our priority and passion at Club4 is to make people feel good, we’ve had consistent and strong programming for over 10 years. When you do things with passion and dedication without getting obsessive about the results, that’s when things tend to work well.”
And finally, what would you be doing if you weren't a DJ?
“[Laughs] I have no idea! There’s not many other things I can do well — perhaps a chef? I give thanks everyday for being able to do what I love: music.”
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