Aug 25, 2016
Albert Neve Joins Forces With Abel Ramos
Following up on their successful collaboration, "Let The Bass Be Louder," Albert Neve & Abel Ramos have decided to join forces on a more permanent basis with their new collab project. Their second release together, "Party," is forthcoming on Musical Freedom next week. This summer they began a residency at Pacha Barcelona where they DJ b2b. We caught up with Albert to discuss the project and life inside and outside of the studio with Abel.
Can you talk about your new collab project with Abel Ramos?
It’s an amazing project. I’ve known Abel for a long time, maybe 20 years - I won’t tell you how old I am (laughs). We produced a lot of tracks together when we were really young. It was a different kind of music and the songs were really successful throughout Europe. We ended up following our own careers and went without communicating for a while. We met again at a festival and decided we should try producing together again. We threw around some different sounds and ideas and that’s where we started this project.
The first track we produced was “Let The Bass Be Louder.” That was really awesome because I didn’t trust the track 100%. I liked it, but I wasn’t sure it was a track for a big label like Musical Freedom. Abel was so confident; he told me, “Man I’m going to send this to Tiësto and I’m sure he will like it.” And that’s it, that’s the history. One day he told me, “Albert, the track is getting signed to Musical Freedom, you have to trust more in me!”
Do you remember the first time you played the track out?
The first place I played it was Tomorrowland last summer. It was awesome for me because the people didn’t know about the track. It was really exciting for me to see all the people jumping without ever hearing the track before. Actually, there is a classic sample we used in “Let The Bass Be Louder,” so everyone knows the vocals, but the rest of the track goes in a different, awesome direction. Tomorrowland was the day I thought it was going to be a big track.
What was the initial inspiration for “Let The Bass Be Louder”?
The first version was nothing like the final one. We were searching for the right direction. I’m a big fan of the new bass, wobble, house sound. We tried to do something like that with a groovy sound, but with enough power to be played on a mainstage for a big festival.
For the new track we produced, we tried to do something similar: search for some cool and groovy sounds, but keep the energy needed to be played on a mainstage. Actually I played it for the first time a few weeks ago.
How’d it go?
Amazing. It was a big festival for 40,000 people in Valencia. I played the track without saying a word about it. Sometimes as a DJ, if you say, “This is my new track...everyone let’s put your hands up,” it’s easy to get a reaction. I like to validate the track without people knowing what they are hearing. I played it like I was playing any other track. The reaction was impressive. I have a video that I will publish. I think everyone was asking, “Hey what the hell is this track?!”
Abel’s played it at a couple of parties and told me exactly the same thing - played it, didn’t say what the track was, and the reaction was genuine. All the DJs backstage were asking later, “Hey what was that track you played?!”
What has it been like DJing with Abel at Pacha Barcelona?
Amazing. Barcelona is my hometown. I live between Barcelona and Ibiza, but this summer I’m here in Barcelona. At Pacha it was a curious situation. I have a lot of followers here in Barcelona who come to all of my shows and they know Abel as well. But in the summer, Barcelona is full of foreign people. Mondays at Pacha are full of American people often too. It’s a curious mix between foreign people and locals, and we have to play for both. But the energy is insane. Really insane. Before the first show, I was here in my studio with Abel thinking about what we should do in order to play for both groups of people. We decided that we should do a lot of mashups between hip hop, electro, wobble, house, and tech. It was an amazing show because you could hear a lot of different things, but we connected them really well. There was nothing too out of place. The energy was crazy!
Photo: Gisela Jané
What’s the difference DJing solo versus back to back with Abel?
When you are playing alone, you are playing your mind. When DJing solo, I’m playing one track, but I’m thinking ahead 10-15 minutes and developing everything in my mind, connecting the tracks and the progression. When you are playing with other people, but especially with Abel, it’s a race to see what is the best way to surprise the other. I’m playing one track or mashup and Abel is looking at me like, “Really?! I’m going to surprise you more!”
Even though you guys have known each other so long, you’re able to keep surprising each other?
Yes, absolutely. And not just by playing new tracks or the latest promo. Actually at the last show, at the end of the set, it was like a time travel back to old techno and house tracks. Initially I was playing some groovy house and Kryder stuff (I love that stuff), and suddenly Abel started to play some older stuff and dropped “Jaguar” from DJ Rolando and I was like, “Really?! We are going that way! Okay let’s go!” And on Mondays, Pacha closes around 5:30, so the last 30 minutes we experiment. Nothing planned, we just let ourselves go and see where it takes us. It’s an experience I think all people should live. I think we do it pretty well.
What’s something you think most people don’t know about Abel?
He’s like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. If you know him out of the booth, he’s a really nice person. He’s a serious DJ, not doing stupid things like me. I’m the funny one. He doesn’t even smile sometimes, but whenever he starts to play, he turns into a monster in the booth. Jumping, smiling, waving, dancing. If you don’t know him and someone introduces you to Abel before the show, when you see him start playing you think, “He’s the same guy I just met?!” I love that about him! I’m pretty sure that when we go to play together, even he isn’t very happy before the show because he is shy. Once he starts to play, everything changes. We have a brilliant connection; we don’t even need to look at each other to know what we are thinking.
Your remix of “Play Hard” is by far your most supported track. David Guetta actually played it again this year at Tomorrowland. What does that feel like? Did you think you were on to something when you made that remix?
No way, no way. I’ll explain the whole history. I was in the VIP area of Pacha four years ago with JP Candela, a close friend of mine. I knew David from releasing some tracks, one of which was my remix with Chuckie of “Craissy.” He put the track in his playlist of the year, he played it in his sets at some festivals, and he knew about me. We were talking with David and he suddenly said to me, “Why don’t you go and remix my track?” You can’t imagine my face. I obviously said yes, please. He said, “I think you can try and do something like you did for the remix with Chuckie, but with the vocals I send you.” But he didn’t tell me anything else about the track or what he was looking for. That was in July. I wrote to him the next week saying, “Hey David, I’m ready to do the remix, send me the parts.” He answered like two months later. He is a star and is really busy, so it’s normal. I never lost my hope and thought one day he would answer. One morning I woke up and saw his name on my email and I jumped out of bed and came to the studio and started to produce the track.
I sent him a first version full of NeYo and Akon’s vocals and rapping. He answered me like, “Hey I mean the track is awesome, but I don’t want as much vocal, just keep the NeYo vocals on the break and that’s it. It doesn’t need anything else.” I changed it and sent him the final version and that was it. I never expected the track to be so, so successful. The first time I had the track played in a radio show was Nicky Romero’s Protocol radio. I got goosebumps when he played it. I still get excited thinking about it. Suddenly the track was released and kept rising on Beatport and then was #1 in a lot of charts around the world. And three years later, he’s still playing the track! Not only him, but other artists still play it at festivals and in clubs. I don’t know what else to say, I am more than happy. I never expected the track to be successful. I’m so grateful to David. Every time he plays the track at a big festival, I email him and say thanks again for playing the track. Every time I play it, I smile. I’m so thankful for David and all the DJs who play it.
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