Barcelona-born, Switzerland-based artist Riki Ustrell aka Ustrell has become one of the main musical minds on Swiss label 3-4-1 Cuts. We get the chance to catch up with him about his previous releases on the imprint, music, life and what’s next…

Hi Riki. Welcome to Music is 4 Lovers, great to speak with you! Where do you find yourself right now and what have you been up to lately?

Hi guys, it’s a pleasure for me to do an interview with you! Right now I’m working on my third EP after releasing the recent second EP, “Real and Chill”. I have also finished a track with a friend of mine that we would like to release. On a personal level and in my private life together with my wife we are expecting a baby so I can’t be happier!

You are returning to 3-4-1 Cuts with a three track EP, can you please tell us something about the ideas behind the project, ‘Real & Chill’?

Real and Chill is the result of a mix between the summer airs of Barcelona and Switzerland. Beaches, mountains, sea, lakes, cities, towns. All of the feelings associated with the time spent there together with my wife are reflected in the three songs on the EP.

What’s your relationship like with Sevenscale Records and, 3-4-1 Cuts? How did your two EP’s with them come about?

I’ve been living in Switzerland for 8 years and it’s been a year since I met the man behind Seven Scales Records. It all came about through a friend of mine who has worked at Warner and I asked him if he knew of a local, serious and professional label interested in signing new artists. This is where it all started. I clearly explained my musical project. To publish EPs with the three styles that identify me both as a producer and as a DJ. I showed him some demos and we worked in that direction. I think that the good feelings we had from the start have made everything come naturally easy from the get-go.

How does your creative process work, particularly for these three tracks?

I always start with the original mix because it’s the one that comes to me easily and it’s the kind of track I identify with the most. I always try to look for 4 elements (Kick, Bass, Vocals and a characteristic sound) and from there I develop the whole track. Then I think of a mix intended for the dance floor and I produce it imagining how it would fit in different clubs. I do the same for the more tech version. I’ve played a lot as a resident DJ and I think that gives me the possibility to do these three versions. They are practically a reflection of a session from 12 am to 6 am. Warm up, Peak Time, Closing.

You used to be a part of Spanish duo Wow & Flute, how do you feel Ustrell differentiates from your other projects? Can you describe the alias for those who may not be familiar.

“Ustrell” is the result of several years of experience both as a DJ and producer so mainly now I show what I really like to produce and play. With Wow & Flute we were much more flexible.  I met a friend from Barcelona studying sound engineering and we started making all kinds of electronic music. We could go from a dance/mainstream track for Spinnin’ Records to something more tribal-like on a remix for Danny Tenaglia on Stereo Productions. We did a remix for Nervous, or Minimal / Tech productions for Neurotraxx. A little bit of everything! We even did soundtracks for adverts.

How did you develop your musical skills and what challenges have you faced along the way?

I have been passionate about music since I was very young and at the age of 15 I won a raffle for a complete DJ booth. I started to make my first mixes and at the same time I wondered what it would be like to make the music I was mixing at home. I started making my first productions with the PlayStation 1 video game “Music”. I recorded the tracks on a cassette tape and listened to it in my parents’ car! I still remember that feeling! It was amazing! Then I studied sound engineering and little by little I evolved to make my own productions and get them published with record labels.

What motivates you to keep learning and pursuing your music career?

I would say the only motivation is the fact that I love music and the feeling I get when I make music. What I was saying earlier about the feeling I had with the PlaySation video game is the same feeling I have with a Mac and Logic Pro. Listening to a song you’ve made yourself, in a club, is priceless. All this makes you can’t stop making music.

What’s next for Ustrell? Anything you’d like to share with us?

At the moment I have two unsigned projects. One is a production I have done with a friend of mine. House style with classic touches. The other one is a track that contains a fusion of deep house, afro rhythms and a soul vocal. I hope to get them signed soon!

Ustrell ‘Real & Chill’ is out now on 3-4-1 Cut

Purchase HERE

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