Uner, and not DJ Uner, as we were rightfully corrected, is a DJ/producer out of Spain who is doing big things. He just finished up his U.S. tour, took home 3 Vicious Music Awards including “Best Artist of 2013,” is about to release his debut album “Tune 432” and has play dates stretching the globe all the way to July 31. He has not only graced our Jan/Feb 2014 cover (re-issued in March), but was on the Jan 2014 cover of Spain’s prominent music publication, Vicious Magazine.
“He’s no fake, fly-by-night type of talent either. Just listening to the composition of his production tells you that this guy not only means business, but is here to stay for quite a long time. Uner is one of those people you can tell knows humility and appreciates every opportunity that has been afforded him.”
Truthfully, there are so many talented artists, DJ’s and producers out there and we lucked up on an introduction through Uner’s team. After reviewing what was sent over and listening to his music on Soundcloud, I was totally sold. “Uner is a storyteller! He creates conversations with his music that draws you in with every beat; every sound, every contrasting elements and how he chooses to incorporate them in his tracks. His Dec 2011 podcast for instance… “I feel like I’ve traveled to Africa and Latin America at the same time I was going back in time… in reminiscence of my club days in NYC.”
So why was Uner chosen to be on the cover? Well, we connected with him through his music and we liked what we felt. Now people were saying that he didn’t have the numbers that required a cover, but we didn’t care. We wanted the readers to experience what we felt through his music and we thought he was a good contrast between the other cover DJ’s. “Music has a way of speaking to you and if you listen well enough, you can connect to the person who created it.”
Initially, when we came up with the interview questions, we were torn on whether we wanted different interview questions for all the features or the same questions. Eventually we chose the latter because we wanted to see how each featured DJ would respond to them. So, if you read on, you will find out just how Uner feels about his music, choices he made while trying to discover his place in life, some of his favorite clubs, his upcoming projects and what he has to say to those trying to travel the road of becoming not just a DJ, but a well-rounded person in this business.
Most people can explicitly explain what their love or passion is for; why they do what they do. For example, a dancer could say “When I dance, I transcend into my own state of euphoria.” What do you experience when you’re at the height of your game (artistry)?
Music is essentially a part of my life. It’s part of who I am. I’ve been linked to music since I was 4 years old. When I’m playing, I convey my feelings; I’m explaining my life, my feelings to the audience. It’s a form of expression, it’s my own journey.
If you weren’t getting paid to DJ or create music, would you still do it?
It’s NOT “all about the money.” I’ve been producing music since I was 15 years old. I spent many years not getting paid for it. I did it because, “It was what I was feeling; what I wanted to do. And I’d live my life again with each and every one of these moments.”
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.
What is your most memorable experience while Deejaying at nightclubs and events across the globe?
One of the greatest experiences for me was playing the closing set at Sonar (Barcelona) two years ago at the open air Sonar Lab; experiencing the sunrise with thousands of people across from me. All my friends were there, I was playing my home ground and a festival that’s been a reference for me. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.
Of all the acts you’ve worked with… who would you say was or are the most enlightening for you as far as artistry is concerned?
Laurent Garnier has been an artistic reference for me for many years. He’s undoubtedly the artist who made me think, “I want to do that!”
Tell us about your upcoming album Tune 432? Is there any significance in the title and what guests do you have on this project?
Yes, the title is “Tune432,” as all instruments are tuned at 432 Hz, unlike normal tuning which is 440 Hz. I’ve achieved a sweeter, deeper sound with this, with a different vibe. It’s a summary of what I’ve been working on for the last two years as I’ve been experimenting with this tuning all this time. I’ve collaborated with “unknown” artists such as Kafele Bandele, Negra and other friends like Piek or Lazarusman. This has been a very enriching experience for me.
What is your view on the progress of house, dance and electronic music in North America? Where do you see it going in the next five or 10 years?
We’ve only just finished our first tour and the feedback has been very positive. People are completely getting this musicality, the deeper, more heartfelt sounds. I think it’s a great moment for music here and I hope to continue being part of this development, enjoying the ride!
Remixes and nightclub appearances are the bread and butter of any EDM DJ. Successful remixes help build a DJ’s status, offering more work opportunities. Which of the projects you’ve been involved in would you say has been the most successful overall and what was the most important lesson learned from that project?
There are 3 milestones that stand out in my career: Bassboot, published by Diynamic, as with it I managed to achieve the sound I was really looking for and it led to great recognition on the professional scene; my first EP for Cadenza which launched my name on the “public” scene; and my first EP for VisionQuest with which we managed to develop the organic sound that Uner strived for. The stir caused by this release on the scene was amazing, probably the most I ever had. However, each and every one of my releases have set the path overall. The most important lesson: continue being yourself and go wherever your heart takes you.
What are your top 7 party venues and why?
I fall in love with every place I play whenever the vibe is really positive. I’m lucky to say that’s 90% of cases. However, if I had to choose 7 then they would be, in no particular order: Watergate (Berlin) as the energy in the place is over the top from start to finish; The X Club (Madrid), a small club with a demanding audience who truly give it their all; EGO (Hamburg), which is part of the Diynamic family and where you feel at home; as I mentioned earlier, Sonar which is at the forefront in cutting-edge festivals; SpyBar in Chicago, a classic with an amazing sound; TreeHouse (Miami) with a truly underground energy in a club that is underground in every sense of the word; Blue Marlin (Dubai), probably the sexiest open air club I’ve visited and with the biggest smiles throughout the night; and Ibiza clubs in general (Ushuaia, Space, etc.), where summer takes on a special meaning with a special energy and lots of love… As I said, these are only a few of all the clubs I adore.
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!
What are some of the future projects you have in the works aside from your upcoming album?
I continue working on new music and new sounds every day. Several remixes will see the light soon (although I want to focus on my own music this year), new collaborations with VisionQuest, a new label, new tours in North and South America, lots of work in Europe of course, getting through the next summer that will be amazing and trying to become a father for the first time!
Connect with Uner:
Interview By Patrick Kelly
Copyright 2014 USL Magazine