EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS — 19 December 2013

Carlos Manaca started DJing at his native Portugal in 1986. In the early 1990’s his releases were signed to major global labels like Twisted America, making him one of the first Portuguese to be signed with a respected international label. Since then, Carlos Manaca has cemented his legacy in club music with one great accomplishment after another. Dancepush had the privilege to ask Carlos about his latest release and other topics.

Please talk about your recent release “Tha Bass.” There’s a Techno and a Tech House version. What inspired you to create this sound?

I wanted to create a more Techno oriented track, and the groove of the deep mix came out…but since I wanted a harder version, I made the tech mix, which is kind of the main sound I play in my sets right now.

How did you go about creating the two styles that are a bit different?

That also reflects the type of sets I normally do: normally I go from Tech House to Techno, even if it’s not banging’ Techno. I call it “Tech.” I like to play like that, I get bored if I play one or two hours of funky Tech House or Techno, so I normally go from one “end” to the other.

You’ve been involved with dance music since the mid 1980’s. How were you able to maintain your longevity in the industry and stay relevant till today?

I think I’ve been very lucky to be able to live from my passion, since 1986 when I started working in a club. I was playing before that, but in private student parties, but only in 1986 I got a residency in one club in my hometown. I was lucky enough to be there when electronic music started to become big in Portugal, as I was resident of some of the main dance clubs in the North of Portugal between 1991 and 1996. After that I managed to play in some of the most important dance events, so my name grew with that. Also, since I started producing music around 1994 and 1995, I was one of the first Portuguese producers that released on an international label which was considered big at the time like Twisted America (with O.L.N. “Oporto Deep Cuts”) and that also helped a lot.
I think people now know my type of sound, and since I never made any “dramatic” change in my sets, (though obviously with different musical influences) I somehow have a “characteristic” sound that people like. And I’m very happy with that!

You are currently based in Madrid, Spain even though you had your start in Portugal. What made you move to Madrid?

I came to do a 1 year Audio Engineering degree at SAE Institute Madrid, when it opened back in 2002 and after that, me and my family decided to stay. I was playing a lot in Spain at the time, so it seemed a logical move. Besides, I also had some of my favorite artists here, Chus & Ceballos, David Penn, D-Formation among others, they all live around the same area where I have the studio so that also made me move here.
In 1999 you launched your very own Magna Recordings, what motivated or influenced you to start your own label?

We decide to start Magna Recordings because we had several tracks to release and we could not find a label to license them. Then, a couple of friends sent us tracks, and we thought we had enough to start something. At the time that meant that we had to start a company, taxes, vinyl (pre-paid) pressings, and all that but it was worth it and here we are today.

What would you say are secrets to a long and successful career?

I think the most important thing is that you have to do what you really feel, play what really “moves” you and keeps you going. I saw a lot of (DJ) friends of mine at some point stick to a (then big) style, just because it was trending at the time, and “denying” all of the music that they were playing just months ago… I don’t criticize that, obviously those decisions were right for them at the moment, but in the long term, if you say “ahh now I don’t play none of those tracks, I changed my style, and only play this” you can be put a side when that “style” stops being the trend and you go down with it… I saw that too many times. Luckily I’ve been able to play what I really like, what I feel for all these years, and I feel really blessed for that!

Where will you be celebrating the new year?

I’ll be playing in the North of Portugal at two events: from 3 to 5 am I’ll be in “Quinta das Lamas NYE” (in Fafe, North of Oporto) and from 6 to 8 I’ll close the NYE at “Sa da Bandeira Theater” with Peter Bailey (from NY) among many others.

What are your plans for 2014?

My plans are keep doing what I love: playing at clubs on weekends and being at the studio on weekdays producing music, working with some other artists.

How were you introduced to D-Unity?

I met them through their music. I started buying their tracks around 2007/2008, and by that time, in some sets of 2 hours I played 5 or 6 tracks from them. Most of the times I would play more D-Unity tracks than my own. I really like their sound and I still play a lot of their releases, as well as Beat Therapy Records releases. One of my favorite labels!

Thank you Carlos for your time. We are looking forward to your upcoming releases and events in 2014!

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