Exclusive Mix & Interview
November 10th, 2019
Genre: Techno / House / Acid
Label: Pirotecnia, / Neovinyl Recordings / Drumma / Discos Pegaos
Welcome. Introduce yourself to our audience. Anything special you would like them to know?
Hello everyone, my name is Sebastián Mella and my musical project is called "Fantasna". I was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. I am a musician and architect. I started making electronic music around 1999. I released my first EP as "Fantasna" on the Chilean label "Nomucho" in 2006. In 2017, I released my first album called "Cuéntame" through the now London based Chilean label, Pirotecnia. This year, 2019, through the same label, my last EP called “Sentimientos Encontrados” was published. (http://thisispirotecnia.com/portfolio/sentimientos-encontrados/).
Currently my country is going through a very difficult political and social moment, so it is very difficult for me to answer these questions without thinking about everything that is happening here. People, after years of abuse, economic and social inequality, took to the streets to demand a fairer country. As a result, we have lived more than 20 days in an environment of strong police and military repression, a martial law and curfew period, in which the human rights of citizens were violated. While responding to these questions this situation is still under development.
Take us back to where it all began. What was the moment that sparked your interest in Electronic music?
I started to make music back in 1999. Along with two friends we had a band called CSS, in which we made covers of some bands of the time.
At that time, a friend from school, Rolando Silva, showed me several software’s he was using, such as ReBirth and Fruity Loops, and I started working with them.
After a while, I learned to use Ableton Live and got my first sampler, a Korg Electribe ES-1 MK2. Since I had not actually studied musical composition and didn’t really have that knowledge, I used sampling as a technique to generate sound. From these samples I structured my tracks.
"I think what’s most relevant, musically speaking, is the field of ideas and the message that you want to convey."
As a producer - Take us through your production process.
To compose a track, I start off from an interesting sample, a chord or an abstract idea or place, which allows me to imagine the music. From this initial idea, I build around an environment or mood and develop it into the format of a song or track.
In technical terms, I jam with my machines. Then, when the structure is ready, I record long loops of several bars and shape everything on Live. Finally, I export all these tracks to Pro Tools and finish the final mix there or seek the help of an engineer to help me with this process.
What software / hardware can't you live without? What pieces are necessary to form your sound?
I try to vary the source from which I generate my sound; drum machines, samplers and synthesizers. What doesn’t change are the software’s with which I record and structure the tracks: Ableton Live and Pro Tools.
Currently, I am also using a lot of software and hardware by Universal Audio (Apollo Twin and a mic preamp 4-710d Tone Blending), Elektron (Machinedrum, Analog Rytm MK1 and Digitone ) and Arturia software (synthesizers and effects).
Either way, I think what’s most relevant, musically speaking, is the field of ideas and the message that you want to convey.
Where do you see opportunities for collaborations between various genres, live instruments, vocalists and electronic music production?
I mainly see opportunities in collaborating with vocalists and other music producers. I am also interested in other musical instruments that could be performed and recorded, such as percussion.
On my last EP, "Sentimientos Encontrados" I collaborated with Chilean singer Alex June, we worked together the composition and musical production of the song "All About Ourselves". I composed the music in 2014, inspired by the departure of a loved one. Then we resumed work with Alex in 2018. She composed the lyrics and then we redid the beats to finalize the song.
On this EP, I also worked with Vincenzo Dupre aka VNZO to develop a remix of the song "Sentimientos Encontrados." It was very interesting how another producer could see and structure the same sounds from a totally different perspective.
"This mix is directly influenced by the social and political situation that we are living in Chile at the moment. I did it, thinking of the chaos in which we are immersed, but also in hope of a better future..."
As a DJ - Talk to us about your current residencies / favorite places to play. Why are they your favorite?
I don't have a favorite place to play. I think all gigs are interesting, regardless of the size and number of people they gather. Whether it's a big club or a small house party, they all have a special appeal.
I present both in my live format and as a DJ, mainly in Santiago, the city where I live, but I have also performed in other cities in my country and abroad. In 2014 we performed with artists from the label Pirotecnia at the LAMC in NY. And in 2018 I did a small tour through Europe and Shanghai.
Currently in Santiago there are very few electronic music clubs that have managed to last over time. The vast majority of them have disappeared, mainly due to closing time restrictions and the possibility of obtaining a commercial license that allows them to practice as a club. Among those that have remained, Santo Remedio, NoaNoa and Matrix Club (Ex Mamba) standout mainly because they have managed to develop an editorial line, which until now has been maintained over time.
On the other hand, there is a big underground musical movement developing in the country. Week by week, different groups (Futuro, Club Sauna, Tectónica, Pioneer, EnterDNoise, Plácido Domingo, Mapocho Bailable, Noctámbula, Arde, Fiesta Ilegal, among many others) organize meetings around music, without having an established space or residence. The vast majority of the parties are itinerant, they are held in makeshift places, old houses, warehouses, car repair shops, abandoned schools or basements. The focus is on music, without brands, VIP spaces or sponsors.
Best and worst gigs. Any memorable moments you wish to share?
I think the best shows in which I have participated are three, in all of them I performed in my live format. The first was at the first “Boiler Room” held in Santiago in 2014 (https://boilerroom.tv/recording/fantasna).
Second, my presentation at the Lollapalooza Chile 2019 festival (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U465d5rMNek) along with visuals by Fabiola Morcillo (1989) and Luciano Padilla; and the participation of Alex June on vocals. And finally, the presentation of my “FM Live” project with Felipe Venegas (Drumma) at the DGTL festival in Santiago this year. (https://www.youtube.com/watchv=WyIt2ZsO4_c&t=448s).
The worst memory I have playing was when someone from the audience once threw a lemon and it came straight at my forehead. I was very confused, but I didn't stop playing.
Can we expect any upcoming releases in the next few months? Tell us about what you have going on?
For the next few months I am scheduled to release a remix for an artist from Australia, which will be edited through a Chilean label that I still can't reveal. I am also preparing two video clips from my last EP, "Sentimientos Encontrados", and I am preparing new music to edit during 2020. I am also interested in playing in other cities in South America to enhance the local culture of the region.
I am also working on the production as well as in the band, along with Lainus (Alfredo Ibarra), for Alex June’s project. We hope to finish an EP very soon to release it later this year or early next year.
Fantasna, in a few sentences. Tell us about this mix you made for us. Where did you get your inspiration? Is there anything special you want the audience to know?
For this mix I prepared a set that tries to show most of my latest productions. I have included several original tracks, already published on some labels and others that remain unreleased. I also included a couple of remixes in which I have been invited to participate. The mix was recorded at “Casa Sonido” studios. (https://www.instagram.com/sonidocasa/)
To start my set, I used the ambient audio from November 5th, at 7:00 p.m. at the Plaza Italia sector in Santiago, Chile, which was recorded from the “Cima Gallery” broadcast (http: // www. galeriacima.cl/). You can hear screams, detonations, chants, "cacerolazos"(banging against pots and pans) and other forms of protest and repression.
This mix is directly influenced by the social and political situation that we are living in Chile at the moment. I did it, thinking of the chaos in which we are immersed, but also in hope of a better future and in the search for equality and justice for all of us who inhabit this country, regardless of our place of birth, gender or social status.