As we mentioned before, we will be doing a series of artist interviews with Melodika Recordings, the first one with another of Belgium’s most promising new artists, Pedro Cali.
Pedro Cali Biography
Pedro Cali was born the 19th of March 1979, in Charleroi, Belgium.
At the age of twelve, he begins to have a passion for music, dicovering a LP of The Doors in his Fathers vinyls collection. This drives him to play piano as a self-taught person and to improvise inside various musical groups.
At the age of sixteen, it is love at first sight for electronic music, and especially for the Detroit sound. In this music, he finds the melodies and the free pattern of artistic expression that he was searching for.
Few years later, while completing his studies to become an infographist, he works on his first tracks. One friend advise him to send his tracks to Fabrice LIG (Fcommunications) and the feedback is pretty good Pedro Cali signs his first track, Behind The Clouds, on F… U ! FCOM.
In 2006, he founds the Chroma Electronic Collective with his friends Erell Ranson, (AW Records, Styrax) and Tyler Smith (Audiocrash).
Today, Pedro has a job as a graphic designer and travels on his way through his melodies and their characteristic "deep & funky" side.
Interview with Pedro Cali by Kazuumi Ishii
You’ve just released your first single "Retrofuturism" on Melodika. I’ve been waiting for this for almost 2 years. Reminiscent of Melodika boss Fabrice Lig during his FCOM hey-day. Can you tell us how the recording went and if you are happy with the result ?
Well, it’s a good resume of the situation ha ha :-) The original project was produced in the same time as my Behind The Clouds EP for FCOM. To be honest "Behind The Clouds" was chosen by Fabrice for Melodika before I received a call from Laurent Garnier. So Fabrice advised me to give it to FCOM and asked me some new tracks. I produced twenty tracks and send him back a selection. He decided to take 8 tracks for a double 12". 6 months later I received a test pressing from the label but as you probably know this release had never see the light. (Except for a thousand of peoples)
2 years later Fabrice decide to relaunch the label and we talk about this cursed releases ! We decide to actualize the release with some fresh tracks like "Crazy Bounce" for the first release and "Esperanza" on the second… This is why I would to call this project RETROFUTURISM because it’s an old project with a big influence from the original Detroit sound made with a modern and old school setup. Make something new with something old… Retrofuturism ;-)
Describe your relationship with Fabrice Lig/MELODIKA ?
I think Fabrice is a friend. Because we talk about politic, music, movie, family, life… we have the same point of view on many things but we not always in the same way, … like friends… We share same taste in music too and it’s difficult to find peoples open mind. Of course I have a lot of respect for him because he’s a true father with values… There is a lot of differences between our musical approach but there is also a lot of same influences probably because we are born in the same city…
You’ve been doing graphic design work for the label. Why do you use video game pictures on their release ?
You know I have 29 years old, I was born with the video games generation… I remember it was futuristic and so exciting ! But when you look back now, it’s seems very old… When I found the titled of the project (Retrofuturism) I have naturally start googling about old school video games. I designed the first one and Fabrice asked me another one for the part 2 but with different modern and flashy colors, something impossible in the first games generation. So the second part of the project is really retrofuturistic, a space invaders with electric blue spaceship and flashy pink invaders ! When Fabrice asked me for the Matt Chester’s release design, we decided to keep this visual approach for the label…
So what’s your philosophy as a designer ?
The same philosophy as in my music… Be true, honest, I try to have my own personality. It’s very difficult to do something with your personal touch. You are often influenced by bullshit on TV, web, music, movies… You need to find what is good by yourself. But it’s a very beautiful job, difficult but exciting :-)
Any current developments with the label ?
The second part of Retrofuturism is ready, I consider this project as a finished level in my music. I think it’s like a first LP because there is a global approach on both, and if you join the releases on a CD, you can listen it as an album. For the future, I have to work on a remix for Itokim, a young talented producer from Japan. I don’t know what I will do with the label in the future except this remix but I am sure I will find some good ideas with Fabrice :-)
If you could paint your music, which 3 colours would you use ?
Black, Blue & White !
Black because we have all a dark side hide in our personality, not necessarily negative…
Blue for escape, dream, soulful, hope, because I have always my head in the sky…
And White, because I try to make something true, pure and honest.
Let’s talk a bit about "Misty" which is coming out in October. "Misty" is proper deep techno at its best, and one of the singles of the year for me. How did you come up with the ideas for that track and how long did it take ?
First, thank you for your comment on Misty ! Misty was the name of my first wife and I cat. When she dies I was very sad because this little animal had a large place in my (our) life. This track was made in two times: First, simply on my table room with a laptop, Cubase, Reason, 3 VSTi and a 2 octaves USB keyboards. I had a 8 bars loops with the bass, main drums and the back chords in 35 minutes… but I couldn’t progress in this track so I had stop after an hour. One week later, back in the studio, I open the project, start the loop and… I was thinking about my little cat, a bit sad and angry… I put my 2 hands on the keyboards and found the strings shot you can hear as the main melody. FUCK ! I got it :-) 2 hours after the track was done and I decided to call him MISTY. It’s probably one of my fastest produced track in my life and probably one of the best until now. I am very proud of this and particularly happy to put it out. This is the Misty’s story.
The release includes remixes by Rodriguez Jr. and Duplex. Did you personally choose those artists to remix the tracks ? If so, why those particular producers ?
Yes this was my choice. When Nitzan talked to me about remixes for the Misty EP, I would to find the good producer. So I asked Rodriguez Jr because he knows that track since a long time. I knew that he could do something beautiful with the original. He had work really hard on it. The result is simply magic… Duplex was my first choice for the remix of "The Way" because I love what they do, deep and groovy. The result is amazing too… There is a live touch in this remix and it’s rare to find it today…
On your recent chart it seems that you’re interested in jazzy thing. Have you any more plans to explore jazzy electronica ?
Of course, I always had attraction with jazz music… it’s the key ! I am a funk addicted because it’s nervous but for me jazz and blues music are so powerful and true. I build my own music slowly but I am sure jazz will be a part of my main influence in the future… I answer this more closely in the next question…
What are your plans for the future, both musically and personally ?
In music I am actually working on an album. It’s take times and reflexions because I don’t want to do a compilation of techno tracks… I explore different kind of music I love as soul, jazz and funk. It will not be a techno album as expected. There is some downbeat and down tempo tracks, an electronic slow funk track, some house or deep house… The major part of this project is not for the dance floor like an EP, it’s base on what I feel. The core is produced, now I need to finish it ! :-)
More personally, I plan to have children with my wife, because for me there is no sense without children… probably for the next year. For the rest, I don’t know. It depend of my destiny, who i’ll meet in the future… i’ll try to keep motivation to develop some new projects.
Finally, can you tell us one thing about Belgium that we may not know ?
Well… something positive or something negative ?
There is no (or just a little) artist support in Belgium from radio or promoters… except if you are ready to offer your ass… I am not like this.
But Belgium is globally positive ! beautiful place where fields never end… I need this. You should come here ! There is also great beers :-)
To be honest I am not really patriot or Nationalist… Did you know the world is a village my friend ?
Pedro Cali makes his Melodika debut with his retrofuturism
Pedro Cali – Retrofuturism (part one) [Melodika]
Ahh Melodika finally comes back here with this great release from Pedro Cali. ‘Crazy Bounce’ is an interesting, subtle yet strong track with his funky beats and synths that lives up to its name. Both ‘My Sweet Angel’ and ‘I Am As I Am’ are very sweety and emotional tracks with familiar Motor city flavours and particular atmosphere.
- 01. Crazy Bounce
- 02. My Sweet Angel
- 03. I Am As I Am
- exclusive on beatport. Walk Away
- exclusive on junodownload. My Sweet Angel (Beatless mix)
Get "Retrofuturism (part one)" here:
Pedro Cali Selected Discography
Time To Change, Digital
Fine Art (2007)
Soulshine EP, 12"
Learn To Forget, 12"
Extremly House Music (2008)
Distant Brother, 12"
Fine Art (2008)
Basic Unit – FedAss (Pedro Cali rework)
FedAss, Fine Art (2008)
Buset – Stay (Pedro Cali rework)
Stay, Fine Art (2008)
Aruba – I Need (Pedro Cali remix)
I Need, Elevation (2008)