Fur Coat: “We always worked for taking our music outside Venezuela and being a part of the international DJ circuit”
Fur Coat is not just an ever fashionable wardrobe item but, for the past 10 years, a name in electronic dance music importance of which grows with every release. Crosstown Rebels, BPitch Control, Hot Creations – you name it. The Venezuelan duo consisting of Sergio Munoz and Israel Sunshine have proven the significance of Latin America in the worldwide scene – even if they call Barcelona their home nowadays. A little chat with Sergio about how they made it and what are the ingredients of their recipe of success comes ahead of their gig in Opium, Lithuania – they’ll become the new heroes of Jäger Blow-Out, a series that has already presented DJ Hell, Rebolledo, Recondite, Zombie Nation and a handful of other important guys.
But let's start with the essentials!
Did you do a lot of raving/going out before you started making dance music yourselves?
I think we both are party people, not only coming from a Latin American and Caribbean country, we have it in our blood. But I think we have also been involved with music and partying since a very early age.
Israel used to own a couple of clubs, and started djing at the same time. On my side my dad was a DJ during his free time, never made it profesionally, but the music was always around. I was raised in a pretty open-minded family, so I’ve been partying, and playing music since I was 14 years old. But it wasn't until I was 17 that I decided to take it more seriously and really started raving.
Was playing abroad one of your duo’s initial goals? How did you get your first 'outside Venezuela' gig?
Sergio: We both played abroad before the duo. Israel had the opportunity to spend summers on Ibiza and even had some residencies, as well as playing in Latin America.
On my side, I played in South America, at WMC, was part of Bullitt Bookings and, with my Delete moniker, was signed to Sci Tec and Get Physical, to name a few. When I was in university I remember I went to Trouw to play with Deetron for the weekend, and then coming back to class. I was already touring not only as Sergio Muñoz, Undersounds with Israel in (Chile, Ibiza & Uruguay), but played shows in Europe, Canada, North and South America as Delete.
How did you meet Damian Lazarus and got released on Crosstown Rebels? Was it just a lucky coincidence?
Sergio: I had the email contact of Damian through a friend. I had already showed him once some solo tracks. When we started the project, we wanted to develop the whole concept with Crosstown Rebels. When we sent him some tracks, he listened to them and replied the day after. Although those tracks where never released, they opened the door to build up a relationship with Damian. He got interested right away with the music and the concept we had, so we started developing things, then we did our first release, album, played the showcases and just became part of the family.
Is the life you live today something like you imagined it would be 10 years go?
Sergio: Wow, I think we always had this in mind and we focused on living on this, but you never know how much time it can take to become real. Looking back to 2005, I think we had clear minds we wanted to live from music, as DJs and producers, although I think we never imagined we would end up living in Barcelona, being a duo, and all the things that we have lived over those 10 years. I think the desire was always there, and we always worked for taking our music outside Venezuela and being a part of the international DJ circuit. It´s true that with hard work and things and situations in life, this was possible. So its a combination of conviction and being at the right place at the right time.
What would you say was your most clever decision, in terms of Fur Coat?
Sergio: After having experience on our solo careers, I got to say we chose the right label to build up our project. Also Damian believing on what we were doing, and really letting us being ourselves, it's part of our success.
We think It’s better to develop a career releasing on a handful of labels, or labels that you really believe in, rather than saturating the market and releasing everywhere. Every release has to be important. More than releasing on a label, there has to be also a connection music-wise, and with the owners, so it all flows naturally.
Did you move to Europe for career’s sake?
Yes, moving to Europe is obviously a key part for our career. I think most DJs can say work is 70% Europe and 30% rest of the world. Our country is not located in the best place geographically for our career. Even living in the US is an option when most of your work is based in Europe. Venezuela is also not in it’s best times politically, so that also was part of our reasons to move.
Barcelona was the place in Europe we chose because we knew the city well, its very magical and artsy. Not only speaking Spanish is a benefit, but also it really has a nice weather, we have nice flats there, food is amazing, the airport is just 20 minutes from home, a lot of direct flights, the beach is close, what more can we ask for?
How do you work as a duo in the studio; who does what? Can you also work on the road, or do you need a lot of hardware?
We both are involved a lot in the whole process. Im more the synth guy, Israel likes percussion and arrangement. But when we develop and idea, it can start by jamming. I record the bass, the synth, a kick, some perc, then Israel sits down and plays around with it. Then I go back and add more things, or arrange something in my mind, and we go back and forth till we are happy with the result.
The main studio is at my place, and, yeah, we have some hardware and a lot of VST´s. The last hardware I ordered was the Moog Mother 32, which I’m still waiting to arrive.
We don’t work on the road, although Israel is sometimes comfortable sometimes working on headphones. On my side, I really need the reference of my speakers or a big studio that sounds like mine. The main problem for me in headphones is when you hear something, and then you go home and it’s shit, hahahaha.
Looking at your discography could cause some serious envy for some producers - Crosstown Rebels, BPitch Control and Hot Creations is a super strong base. Do you have any other companies in mind? Do you usually already know where you will release a track when it’s still in the process? How does a Hot Creations track differ from a BPitch track, for example?
Thanks for the compliment on our discography. We don´t think what label our music is going to come out. We mainly release on Crosstown as it’s our home. Sometimes we feel there is some music that doesn’t fit the direction of the label and is more alike to labels that we have a friendship or a relationship with. For example, with Jamie Jones, we know him from a long time. We had always talked about releasing on Hot Creations. When we did “Together” we sent that to him, and he liked it, but he wanted another track, so we worked on “There´s No Time” and the EP came together, and it just happened. With Ellen, we previously released a remix on BPitch Control, then the EP just came naturally. So we have a lot of labels that we like, and we are always open to work and explore new projects, especially if there is a relationship from before. So, yeah, you can expect from us working on other labels that we have admire from our beginnings, it’s just the matter of right time and the right music to be done, so it happens naturally.
On the part on how a Hot Creations track differs from the BPitch, we think both releases have the “Fur Coat” stamp and sound, although the moods are different. The Hot Creations one is more uplifting, techier and heavy based release, while BPitch is more melodic, and one track even has a vocal featuring by Jaw. So it’s really nothing planned, but it’s important to be on the same page as the label, and in our case sending this music to a label we really believe in, that we like and respect and it’s not just one release but there is a good relationship behind.
Do you mingle a lot with the international diaspora in Barcelona? What is your favorite pastime besides music?
We hang out with all kinds of friends. Friends from the music business and friends from Venezuela and Barcelona that aren’t related to music. It´s a small city so a lot of time you see people at the same party, or the same restaurant, or you just hang out at someone’s house and other people you know arrive.
I can say our favorite past time beside music is food. We like to eat a lot, try new restaurants, and always discover new spots. But we are always open for plans on going to the beach, going to a bar, movies, to name a few. Israel is more into sports, especially into soccer. I’m more into tennis, basketball or F1, although not a super fan, I just enjoy watching a game once in a while, for example, next week im going to a Heats game in Miami.
We are not too much of sports guys nowadays, although Israel goes to the gym, I try to go during the week too, or at least sprint around the beach in Barcelona.
Could you foresee dance music trends for 2016? What will be the hottest sound and what will be the coolest labels?
The music industry is a circle. We think it’s all done, although new music, melodies and fusion of styles can be born. But in the end techno, house, and all the genres you can name, or the music that we want to make, are already done. We all make music with the same instruments. Nowadays everything is going towards techno, but other styles and successful people making music in other styles remain, so in the end it’s all relative. To predict what label or what sound will be the hottest is not a goal or something that we are after. We just work on what we believe and on our mood. We respect the labels that have been there for many years more than a label that can be hot for a year just because it’s releasing the hottest trend.
What’s your favorite set time and why?
Sets times are different everywhere. If you play in the US, a good set time could be 1-3 AM, that is, peak time to close. Other places can be 4-6 or 7 AM, it´s very relative nowadays. As we headline our gigs, even when it’s with other DJs, there is always an opening act, so set times past midnight till the end are always good when the crowd is there and the party is going. We think a set of our can change the mood is when the sun is coming up and its an outdoor event, probably you get more emotional and trippy, but if it’s in a dark room with people eager to dance, we will do our thing.
Is being a headliner most of the time a privilege or a challenge, and has this perception changed during your career?
We are really happy being headliners. I think although people can see it as pressure, it’s also something to feel proud of. People come to see us, and we are always looking to be in our best shape, search for music (old, new, classics) and melt it on a journey for people to take back home and remember that night. So we think the perception of being a headliner is still the same, it’s an amazing feeling and probably is the best set time of the night. Although many people think it’s less important, openers or warm up DJs also have a lot of pressure and many have forgotten or don’t know how to do a good work. It’s an important job to set up the right mood to have the people waiting for the main act and not get them tired by dropping a set of pure bombs believing you are killing it, hahaha. You gain more respect from other DJs if you do it the right way.
Is the Fur Coat faux or real fur?!
Oh! We are for real! But no animals where harmed during the creation.
D.D. 2004 - 2016
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