Five Minutes with Salva at RBMA

Publish date:
Updated on

Over the weekend, this year's Red Bull Music Academy officially came to a close. Nevertheless, we still have a few tidbits of information to share from our visit to Madrid. (Go here to check out all of our coverage.) One such tidbit is this conversation with Salva. The LA-based producer and Frite Nite label boss was accepted as a participant for this year's Academy, so we asked him to share his thoughts on the experience. He also expounded about his move to Los Angeles, his ongoing musical evolution, and his plans for the future.

XLR8R: How are you feeling about the RBMA experience?
Salva: Not to be cliché or overstate it, but for my musical life, it's been the best week. We're on this schedule, and having two or three events in the evening... I would normally not have the attention span to watch all of these artists, but it's been amazing. The lectures [have featured] some of my heroes, and [RBMA] has treated us so well, they cater this to the participants. Overall, I just feel really lucky to be here.

Have you been to Madrid before?
No, this is my first time.

How are you finding the city?
I think it's pretty chaotic. The first night I got here, one of the [other participants], Nehuen from Barcelona, we have a mutual friend, so right away, he took me all over the city, and the one thing that struck me is that everyone hangs out in parks at night. There are people always sprawled out on the streets, just drinking and hanging out. It's pretty wild.

Has the experience inspired you to want to do something more or different with your music once it's over?
Absolutely. Seeing the workflow of all these other participants, I feel really inspired. I totally want to reformat my whole live set, and start digging more into music that I know I'm being lazy and not keeping up on, even going backwards and digging into older stuff.

You used to live in San Francisco, but how long have you been in LA now?
Eight months.

Are you enjoying living down there?
Yeah. The weather and stuff for sure, but I stay pretty isolated. I miss San Francisco a lot, just the viability of going and hanging out on a Monday or Tuesday night if I feel like it. I definitely don't do that in LA. There's stuff that goes on. Funkmosphere happens on Mondays, I've been meaning to catch that. I didn't go to the Do-Over the whole summer, I wanted to do that. Stuff goes on, but it's tough to make an hour-long trip. I drink a little when I go out, so then I can't drive. As trivial as that sounds, I think it plays a big role.

You actually live in Burbank.
Yeah, I live in the suburbs.

When you moved down there, did you make that choice on purpose?
Yeah. I'm married and I'm on the road a lot, so I wanted a place that was quiet and isolated so I could feel safe leaving my wife at home. Really, the main thing is that we got a big house. I lived in a tiny shoebox apartment in San Francisco. All the neighborhoods I lived in, I always had a stinky little place, with my studio stuff spread out all over the kitchen and living room. I wanted to have a space again.

You just put out the Yellobone EP. What plans do you have for releases in 2012?
I definitely want to do something for my label, Frite Nite, because I haven't really done anything for it. I'll probably just do a small piece, because I'm focused on getting on some European labels to try and help build my profile out here. You can only tour the States so many times. Hopefully, by the end of next year, I will do another album, too.

Your sound has been evolving over the past few years. Where do you see it going?
I feel like I've just been exploring what I've always loved, but in the States, these scenes are so critical. The sounds change, and everybody hops on this one sound. I'm trying to pull myself away from that as much as I can, because anything that's been successful of mine has been because it's my own thing. I really want to try and keep that as the focus. I definitely want to keep exploring dance music, but I want to get back into lower tempos as well, maybe some funk tempo stuff, some 100, 110 bpm stuff, stuff that people aren't necessarily doing in my group of friends and collaborators.

But the Yellobone EP, it had the collaboration with B. Bravo, but the other two tracks are pretty straight-ahead house/techno.
I keep going back and forth, whether I should make an alias, wondering if I will alienate these beat kids that like my stuff, or if I will eliminate my American audience if I go too techno. I'm starting, especially [after doing RBMA], to not care. My album this year, I basically wanted to do something eclectic. That's what has worked for me, so I wanted to tackle every sound that I could pull off.

What's going on with Frite Nite?
B. Bravo has this new band project, The Starship Connection. It's all live synths, it's really great. That's going to be our next big 12". I've been trying to do my work on the A&R side and find some younger cats that are doing stuff. I've got a couple that I'm looking at. I want to keep a balance between dance and hip-hop stuff as well.

Do you think the US is as vibrant as Europe, especially when it comes to dance music?
The dance stuff, I think it's really no contest. Here in Europe, anything quasi-house, techno, anything with a straight beat, the fans go crazy to it. It's crazy because I always get billed on dubstep shows, and my sound is not dubstep. I think that's why a lot of cats are moving to Berlin and moving to London and leaving the States to pursue that, because they can actually get bookings for what they do.