Since his debut in Diynamic in 2009 until his Newcomer Dj Award in 2013, UNER has doubtlessly had the time of his life. After a whole life devoted to music, the reward comes in the shape of success among audience and critics, gigs all over the globe and his music released by the best electronic music labels in the business sUCH AS Cadenza, Cocoon, Visionquest, Cécille & Diynamic.
UNER unleashes his true potential during his gigs. His DJ sets are powerful, burst with energy and personality, and are aimed at the dancefloor. His setup, constantly evolving, combining four decks, dozens of FXs, touch controllers and a sampler, so during his show only his creativity is the limit.
Sometimes entertainers create a persona that isn’t their true self. What are the elements that make up who you are? Are the persona Uner and Manuel one and the same?
Uner is Manuel 100%. The only difference is that Uner is an artist with a public life and Manuel is a person that protects and enjoys his private life. I find it very hard to create ‘a persona’. I’m a musician not an actor. Music is my truth; not being part of a science-fiction story or a stand-up comedian acting like a mad man. What you see is what you get.
Before your current success and the awards, was there ever a time when you doubted who you were or what you wanted to do?
Totally! Five years ago, after many years of hard work, nothing was happening, I wasn’t earning a penny, I was at risk of getting in debt. All of that affects your mind in a negative way. I was thinking of dropping everything. I then had an accident and it was a sign that made a difference. I decided to turn things around, I changed my artistic name and started making the music I really felt like doing at the time; what I was feeling without considering what others were doing or what was fashionable at the time, as that was a complete waste of time. That’s how Uner was born and that’s how I saw that being true to you is how everything works.
With Barcelona growing what looks like endlessly within the scene of underground dance, how would you describe the scene in Spain, especially within the Catalonian region? How have you personally witnessed the scene develop in Spain? Name some under-the-radar DJs/Producers from the region the rest of Europe (or the world) should be keeping an eye on?
The electronic scene just keeps getting better and better right now. Of course, we can’t deny that we’ve been through an economic crisis that has affected not only this industry, but all of them. And that’s been felt. But the clubs are really taking care of the line-ups and trying out new things, just like the festivals, too. Of course, part of the line-ups are always big and famous names, because let’s not forget that this is a business and nobody does this just for their friends, but the commitment towards new talent is getting bigger and bigger. I’d highlight two names, Piek and Baum, who are also good friends of mine. You should give them a listen 🙂
How does your home country and town influence you as an artist? Have you ever considered basing yourself outside Spain?
Any place where you spend a lot of your time influences your music. And being born there even more. Spain for me has been an influence in terms of light in music. I haven’t lived in a freezing climate, or with 340 days of clouds and rain, or in a country with a dividing wall or with wars lasting 100 years. In general, the spirit that you breathe in Spain is happy, the weather is incredible, geography has given us all kinds of beauty and the people are lovely. So that has influenced my life making me a positive person and walking away from sorrows, although I have experienced them, which has made see music as a path towards smiles and not pale and sad faces, as well as shunning the arrogance of being the first, which we have never been. And that makes you even more natural because you don’t need to prove anything. And about moving away from my country, I thought about it many years ago, but today, now we live in the information society, I reckon it’s no longer necessary. I’ve tried it myself 🙂
You have been a part of the dance music world for quite some time now. Was there ever a part of your life that didn’t involve music? If so, what were you doing? What was the worst non dance music job you’ve ever had?
Music has always been in my life since the age of four, but as we all know it doesn’t always give you the money you need to live on, so until that moment happened, I obviously had to work in other areas. Besides being a “ghost producer”, which allowed me to dedicate many more hours to my own music, I’ve been a computer programmer (I studied software engineering), an IT teacher, and an investment broker in a private bank, which I gave up after 3 months because my morals wouldn’t let me mislead people like they did. I NEVER sold a product, not one. THANK GOD!!!!!!
One of the main skills in DJing has always been to read the crowd and respond to the energy of the room. Is that idea outdated now that we have superclubs and crowds of thousands of people? Aren’t you always going to have some people going crazy while others stand round looking bored?
I think it’s easier to play at a huge festival than a small club. Energy spreads much faster in a big venue. But the feelings themselves are more intense in a small club and the people come with more taste and an understanding of the music at a special night. It’s worse to see 30 bored people in a crowd of 500 than it is to spot 3,000 bored people within 15,000 people dancing, because you can actually see it in their eyes. So you always need to read the crowd for sure, but of course you have less chance with thousands of people in front of you. It’s impossible to play the right set for everybody with a crowd that big.
Many people, I think, started on the road to having a career as a DJ or producer by just playing with programs on their computers or with a simple set of decks. You, however, had some professional training didn’t you?
Yes. I started to study music and play the piano when I was only 4 years old. I was studying since I was 24 years old and I finished the complete studios (solfeo, piano, harmony, camera). Everything with a classic formation. During this time my parents bought me my first synth and I fell in love with it. I started to produce and do my live sets when I was 15 years old and I did it ’til I was 24 when I started to play DJ sets. I did my first one in a club. I never had a DJ setup at home and I don’t have one still! Nowadays, I have a lot of hardware in my studio and will love to continue working in this way. I love that sound and that’s the idea for my future live set; try to come back to the ‘past’ playing only analog stuff with laptop support
When you started out on this career path, was it your intention to end up doing what you do with this kind of music?
Not at the beginning. I love classical music, so this was not my idea. But I started to listen to some electronic music like New Order or Jean Michel Jarre and I started to think that those sounds were like the music I was studying but with a synthetic sound. So in my mind appeared the idea; I want to do the same Develop my classic formation with this kind of sound! And here I am.
What did you want to achieve?
My first idea was try to work only with music and base my live performances on it, so I think my first one is done! I would like to continue working on it because the music is part of my life. But I don’t like to think in the future… I prefer to live in the present, think about what I want to do in every moment and enjoy it because if you have too many goals to do maybe you can have a huge deception if you can do it. So I prefer to put only near goals; my immediate goal is to finish my two first albums and continue working on my own style and sound and play around the world. For sure, I would like to grow up but always doing my best and working hard, not with gifts.
If you could mentor any young man or woman out there wanting to get into the music business, what are five things you would tell them to look out for?
You need a passion for music, hard work (you can’t stop working and learning), being yourself and loyal to your truest feelings. Surround yourself with the people who make you happy, not only with those who make you earn money (that, in the long run, would be worse for your career) and most of all, enjoy every moment that music can give you, it’ll be wonderful!