If you want to be featured in my Electronic Republika interview series or Spotify techno playlist and you are a techno DJ/Producer please contact me!
Alex Deusan: Hi and welcome to Electronic Republika interview series! First of all please tell us a bit about yourself.
Ballarak: First of all thx for this interview.
My name is Leonardo and I produce techno music with the name of Ballarak. I live in Palermo, after having lived for many years in Padua. I am currently the manager of two companies and this allows me to be able to delegate a lot of work and spare time for music production.
Alex Deusan: How do you start your musical journey and what do you think was the most important moment until now? When did you decide to be a DJ?
Ballarak: My passion for music was born in the 90s when I was 14 years old. At that time the rhythms of techno began to combine melodic lines and gave rise to the genre trance and dream. I was deeply fascinated by it. In this sense, German and Italian artists contributed enormously to evolve this new genre, to give it an identity and I always listened to them. I can’t forget tracks like: “the house of house” of cherry moon tax or “Acid Phase” of Emmanuel Top, just to name a few.
Today there is a great revisitation of that period and surely I think that was the best time for techno music. It was then that I decided I wanted to make music although it would still be several years before I actually began to set it. I studied physics, started working in a large company and in 2015 I did my first Ep “Tunguska” with the name of Dipølår which was released by the Torsten Kanzler label.
Alex Deusan: What are your big influences as a DJ as well as a music producer? Name five artists.
Ballarak: Actually I’m not really a DJ. I rarely play in clubs and prefer to play in events organized in places where you can combine music with particular landscapes and have a deeper experience. But in the future, who knows?
As a DJ I really like Joseph Capriati, Sam Paganini, Markantonio, Luca Agnelli, Luigi Madonna (I must say that Italians are very appreciated in the techno scene) but also: A.Paul, Len Faki, Kobosil and many more.
Many producers have influenced me but surely there are productions that have had, within me, a greater impact. I speak, for example, of “Pressur Cabin” by Cleric, “Face of Rejection” by Alan Fitzpatrick, “Cleric” by Recondite, “Awake” by Joseph Capriati, “Rave” by Sam Paganini, Remix by Len Faki of “Human Reason” or “Combined Forces” of Torsten Kanzler & A. Paul (I’d better stop ..). Let’s say that these productions summarize, each for some aspect the idea I have of techno
Alex Deusan: How do you describe your style?
Ballarak: My genre is rude. I’d say it’s pretty underground. Some call it acid but, not making excessive use of Roland, I think they refer to the fairly rough result of the tracks. I really like to combine low bass with powerful sounds that have a bit of noise and give an underground impression. The melodic line may not be missing like the glitches. I don’t like extreme clean sounds and I don’t like tracks that are too refined. The underground sound must be dirty.
Alex Deusan: What are the things that inspire you for your music and mixes?
Ballarak: In reality, it inspires me everything. Sometimes it’s a sound I hear while I’m out, sometimes a song I listen to. From there I can think of a melody and then I record them with my cell phone so as not to forget them and then I try to translate them into tracks.
Alex Deusan: How is your searching for new tracks process and from where you take your tracks?
Ballarak: As I mentioned before, the music I imagine is the first in my mind and then I translate it into sound. It’s a fairly complicated process because the music that I imagine has some timbres and nuances that I can’t perfectly hit, so I need more time. Fortunately, I have so many registered projects that I could go on for a long time. However, sometimes it happens to me to play with my synths and tracks are slowly born. My “tekna” track, for example, was born like this.
Alex Deusan: What is wrong and what is right in techno music?
Ballarak: Let’s start with what is right.
It is right that everyone should have the opportunity to produce music, with a budget that is not too excessive and without housekeeping. Software and small synth today really make it possible to do good work. The advantage is that this increases the chances of renewing music, creating new sounds and new trends.
But we must have the courage and many producers, especially emerging ones, do not have it and this is what is wrong.
Many emerging producers prefer to use samples rather than create sounds (even dirty but different). The sample is faster and also cleaner but above all, it is part of the paradigm of what is in fashion. This makes it easier for you to publish it. On the other hand, the market always requires the same things and even the labels go on the safe side, releasing what is not far from the fees.
Even large platforms are the other major problem of today. On the one hand, they allow you to discover new things but on the other, they are often completely distorted and mortify the work of some at the expense of others. However, I think that those who have the talent and do good things sooner or later succeed.
Alex Deusan: The perfect day for you is…
Ballarak: I start a track in the morning and finish it in the evening (impossible) or it writes me an email drumcode and tells me that we can do a release.
Alex Deusan: How do you like your music? Vinyl or digital?
Principally this in digital even if I belong to the hierarchy that started with vinyl.
Alex Deusan: What is your DJ setup? How about your studio setup?
Ballarak: My studio consists of: A Mac, two AdamA7x speakers, a Focursite Clarett 4Pre sound card, a motu 828 mk2 sound card, an akai keyboard, mashine, mooog minitaur and roland tb03. As software, I use Ableton, Komplete and Sylenth1.
Alex Deusan: What are the best and worst things about being a DJ/Producer in 2019? What do you consider to be the easiest and hardest things?
Ballarak: The best thing was definitely having published several singles with important labels and discovering that my tracks are starting to be heard more and more. Worst of all, sometimes the “no” must necessarily be part of the life of a producer and must be accepted.
The easiest thing is to imagine music and develop new ideas. The difficult thing is to translate them into sound.
Alex Deusan: Your favorite food and drink?
Ballarak: As a good Sicilian I love pasta (e Coca-Cola).
Alex Deusan: How about films and books?
Ballarak: I love all the science fiction films and novels of Isaac Asimov
Alex Deusan: Samples or originals for your music production?
Ballarak: All the tracks I make have sounds entirely built by me. I used the samples only once in the “Power Pumper” track.
Alex Deusan: Last track that blew your mind?
Ballarak: I tell you 3:
“In Silence” of Amelie Lens, “Sysma” of Dusty Kid and “Buddha on Acid” of Kanglos (from which I am taking inspiration for other works).
Alex Deusan: What do you want to happen with your music career in the future?
Ballarak: I hope that the labels I worked with continue to publish my tracks but above all, I also hope to publish with some labels that I have always admired and that they made the history of techno music (I think it’s everyone’s dream … no?). Also, now that I have some more free time, I’d like to start playing in some events.
Alex Deusan: What is next for you?
Ballarak: I’m working on some remixes, whose demos have received good feedback. I await the license for the copyright to be able to decide with which label to release them.
I also recently started my own label Humanog Records with which I want to release only techno (Obviously with an underground imprint. ). The first release had good feedback and I’m working on the second one.
Alex Deusan: Any last thoughts?
Ballarak: Avoid taking too many substances. Music is already a fantastic drug.
Alex Deusan: Thanks and take care!