Ernesto Ferreyra is an Argentinian-born producer and DJ who has, in recent years, become well known as the host and curator of the legendary Loosen Up parties during the summer months at Berlin’s Club der Visionaere. Ferreyra’s fresh, minimal sound has been mesmerizing dancefloors for over a decade, and his productions can now be found on a slew of reputable labels from the likes of Canada’s Mutek Records, Crosstown Rebels, Memoria, Cadenza, and more.
Ferreyra’s monthly Loosen Up events have been going strong under CDV’s iconic weeping willow since 2013, championing a deep and whimsical side of minimal house and techno through performances from The Mole, Vincent Lemieux, Bill Patrick, Voigtmann, and Federico Molinari, among others. Over the years, the party transformed into a sort of community for both Ferreyra’s friends and colleagues as well as likeminded music lovers, and earlier this year Ferreyra and co-host Ema Remedi announced the expansion of Loosen Up into a label, calling the move a “natural next step.” The label aims to highlight the refined, innovative house aesthetic always present at Loosen Up events, with the first record of the series featuring four tracks from Ferreyra’s new alias, Fresno. The project focuses on fusing two of his musical passions: modular synths and straightforward, dancefloor-oriented house cuts (listen to snippets here).
In anticipation of the inaugural Loosen Up release, which is set to start shipping on Friday, Ferreyra has shared an exclusive new mix with XLR8R which reflects the new label’s sound as well as the vibe of a Loosen Up party. Ferreyra also answered some of our questions about the mix, the launch of the new label, and what’s on the horizon for the rest of 2017.
Where, when, and how was the mix recorded?
At home last week with two Technics MK2, a Vestax PCM 580 mixer and a CD player. I tried recreating what I like playing in the early afternoons at Loosen Up.
Describe your journey into electronic music–how did you get into DJing and production?
My journey into DJing started at a very early age. By the end of primary school (age 12) I had built a very rudimentary “one knob box” that served as a volume crossover between two walkmans. I used this simple setup, using those two walkmans and a third one to cue the music, at school parties and during leisure time. By the end of my 13th year, I was DJing at the local radio, and from there at birthdays, weddings, sweet sixteens, you name it. This was my way to be independent at an early stage in my life. The discotheque and club gigs followed soon after.
When I moved to México, I had this urge to create music and started fooling around with production software. But I really lost myself in the studio for many years when I moved to Canada, learning from the best: Mike Shannon, Akufen, Deadbeat, Guillaume Coutu Dumonts, The Mole. All these artists had a huge impact on my learning curve, they helped me a lot those first years.
How do you prepare/select your music for a gig?
It depends on several aspects such as timetable, the country, and the size of the event. I believe DJs should be able to adapt to different situations, respecting ourselves on what we want to share with people but also understanding the context in which we’re playing.
We can’t be egocentric, thinking that people have to listen to whatever we feel like playing. I’m not saying you should please dance floors all the time, but let’s not forget that people go out to have a good time.
After some years of experience, you know that there are places that enjoy a housey vibe, others more minimal, somewhere 120 bpm sets are ideal, and others 130 bpm.
So based on that understanding, I prepare my record bag with 60-70 records and a USB key for backup in case the records don't show up or this ‘’understanding’’ is just bullshit and all of my records suck for the occasion!
Your residency at Club der Visionaere in Berlin has been going strong since 2013. How has the party changed over the years?
When I started my residency, the party acted as a sort of therapy–being able to play exactly what I wanted for as many hours as I felt. Loosen Up was my way to relax and enjoy all those records I couldn't play somewhere else. Over time it became both a little platform to support artists that were not necessarily known in Berlin who passed by the city over summer, and to support longtime friends like Franco Cinelli, Federico Molinari, Barem, Alexis Cabrera, Mirko Loko, Cesar Merveille, to name just a few.
This year’s a bit different. I invited my dear friend Ema Remedi to host the party with me; she’s a very talented artist with great taste in music. We put up a more diverse lineup together, inviting artists like Funk E, Ben Vedren, Pit Spector, and Ohm Hourani, among others.
You recently announced the launch of a new vinyl-only imprint. What inspired you to start your own label?
It had been on my mind for a long time and felt like the natural next step. With so many good artists passing by the party to play, why not also make records with them? The idea is simple: to release the music I love from past and future guests of Loosen Up.
Do you have a specific musical vision for the label?
I want the records to capture the feeling of the party. Somewhere between house and minimal, the deeper the better.
Your own alias, Fresno, is already locked in for Loosen Up’s first release. How does Fresno’s sound differ from Ernesto’s?
Fresno is an anagram of my own name. As we know, an anagram is formed by rearranging the letters of another word. This new alias is just that: approaching the composition from different angles and rearranging the way I’m used to working. This process leads me to more experimentation and allowed me to record long jams instead of sequencing and arranging tracks in a traditional way. While before I was always trying to come up with melodies and was a bit obsessed with quantization, now I try to break free from that frame, caring less about melodies and focusing more on the trip of jamming.
What's next for Loosen Up?
On September 13 we will have Loosen Up 001’s release party at CDV. As we speak, the second release is being pressed with three original tracks from Ema Remedi; this is planned for mid-November release. There will also be a third record, which is the result of a collaboration between Tomas Bodeler and myself with a Horror Inc remix scheduled for late February 2018.
What else do you have coming up for the rest of 2017?
An upcoming South American tour playing some DJ gigs together with some Chic Miniature Live acts.
Release-wise I have quite a few outputs for the upcoming month:
A new Chic Miniature track on Changing Pieces which just came out.
A remix for Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts on MDRNTY 003.
A split vinyl with Alexis Cabrera for Momentz Records.
Another remix for Ema Remedi on Piros Records.
A track on Savor Music’s forthcoming VA together with tunes by Priku and Luly. B.
The upcoming Unlock Collaborative vinyl series also features a track of mine.
Last but not least, the Chic Miniature album is ready to go with a bit of delay until the beginning of 2018 on BLKRTZ.