He might be one of the blossoming artists in the electronic music scene, and that’s not merely because his track ‘Amapola’ was named after a poppy flower, nor does ‘poppy’ depict his musical approach. Kevin Di Serna has been on everyone’s lips ever since his contribution to Innervisions’ Secret Weapons series a couple of weeks ago, but of course the Argentinian artist has way more to offer than just one track. With releases on Shanti Radio Moscow, Lost & Found and Endless Kevin has already left his footprints within the scene – and for a long period of time. Shortly after ‘Amapola’s’ release and Kevin having returned from well deserved holidays the humble artist found the time to speak to Torture the Artist about his hometowns, Innervisions and the impact of music on others and himself.
Torture the Artist: Hello Kevin – tell us something about your day.
Kevin Di Serna: Hello guys, I’ve just arrived home after a nice holiday, and now I’m full of energy and motivated to make new music.
Torture the Artist:Your track ‘Amapola’ was just released as part of Innervisions’ annual Secret Weapons compilation. To what extent does this release mark a peak in your career – irrespective the sales?
Kevin Di Serna: This release for sure marks a peak; my role as an artist is to invite listeners to their inner world, and, of course, Innervisions is a perfect home for this. The record label has a solid concept with many professionals working around all the projects – it was a great experience learning from them.
Torture the Artist: What’s a memory or story that immediately pops up in your mind when you talk about your track ‘Amapola’?
Kevin Di Serna: I always remember a moment in Berlin. The experience of attending ‘Lost in a Moment’ in a medieval castle was great discovering new dimensions and influences. I also remember an expression that I had there, a ‘Cosmovison’, been part of Innervisions.
Torture the Artist: Does ‘Amapola’ – which means poppy in English – give reference to José María Lacalle García’s eponymous song, or was there another way that you came about with the track title?
Kevin Di Serna: The sound creates the wave. For example, when a new track is born, you have to look for words that resonate phonetically with the track. Sometimes I just feel the name of the track during the creation part, but in this case I just looked for names of interesting flowers. I felt that ‘Amapola’ was perfect for this track.
I dedicate much of myself in helping other people to produce music.
Torture the Artist: Quite some artists from Argentina have joined the Innervisions artist roster over the past two years – for example, Ditian and Santiago Garcia. Have these artists opened the doors for you or has their general contribution to the label created a sort of mutual awareness to arise?
Kevin Di Serna: Fortunately, these friends are also on Innervisions, so it‘s nice to share this experience with them. Santiago is very generous and naturally we share music, contacts, and help each others to grow up; it‘s a value that I share with him. I dedicate much of myself in helping other people to produce music, and Dario was a student of that space that I offer. Then we became friends. I’ve shared great moments and experiences with him.
Torture the Artist: Argentina is mostly known for supporting electronic music that isn’t only solely ascribed to genres such as Tech or Progressive House. Is a musical change happening in Argentina as more Melodic House and Techno is being produced, or have the different genres of music reapproached themselves and therefore closed the gap?
Kevin Di Serna: Argentina has a great potential for all genres of music and principally it has a great love for this art. Melodies unite more and more genres; all the time music is evolving and reaching new and interesting moments. From my perspective, the most important thing beyond musical genres is to discover yourself as a creator through art, to be yourself and to create an original sound that really flows from within you.
Torture the Artist: In reference to a recent Santiago Garcia interview – who is originally also from Buenos Aires too – he said that being or living in the city ‘for too long can make you a little crazy’. Without asking whether you agree or disagree with this statement, what do you find the hardest to keep up with in your hometown, and also what do you appreciate about the city?
Kevin Di Serna: Maybe my experience is different because I was born in Santa Rosa, La Pampa, which is a very quiet and clear place. Most of my work is in Buenos Aires. I usually travel between these two places – which gives me a break.
Buenos Aires is great, it has beautiful places. In terms of DJ-ing, it has one of the best crowds; of course, it‘s a large city with a lot of traffic in the peak times, but you know, everything that exists has two sides, and it depends on how you observe it. It‘s important to find the balance in some way.
Torture the Artist: Name a track that represents your hometown the best and for what reasons.
Kevin Di Serna: Well, I have two home cities.
Soda Stereo – Ciudad de la Furia
Lyrics: Where nobody knows about me, and I am part of everyone.
Traumprinz – Where is Home
I love this track, it connects me with two words: birth and peace.
Torture the Artist: What subcultural change you have witnessed over your time living in Buenos Aires that you either agree or disagree with?
Kevin Di Serna: The culture here in Buenos Aires is very good, and artists come here constantly from all over the world; this gives us inspiration and references about what is happening globally with electronic music. This city is very interesting for the subculture, because people have great interest in listening to new talents, and usually the underground shows have great success.
To be honest it is one of the best cities to hold a show, as there are many people with excellent musical culture and taste.
Music can work as a bridge for this, to transmute emotions, to connect more with our inner world and to expand our consciousness.
Torture the Artist: What is your vision of music that you would like to share with the world?
Kevin Di Serna: In my experience, music can help to heal, and as humanity we have a lot to learn about how to connect with ourselves. Music can work as a bridge for this, to transmute emotions, to connect more with our inner world and to expand our consciousness. Working on this is the most important thing for me; when a person tells me what my music makes him feel, and they express to me that it helps them to spend a moment of life with more awareness or less burden, this fulfils my role as an artist.
My intention with music is to help people to turn off the mental noise.
Torture the Artist: In your short biography it says that ‘the most important thing for him is to help raise consciousness in this world through music, and to invite you to heal and connect with your emotions’. Could you explain this approach a little bit further and how your music serves as a healer for one‘s emotions?
Kevin Di Serna: The mind is limited and we create many prejudices from it; the idea is to get out of the mental loop, ‘muting the noise’, and to see everything clearer. For example, when you see a river with a lot of movement, you can not see what’s in the background. but when the river is calm, you can see everything with more clarity.
My intention with music is to help people to turn off the mental noise and help people connect more with the background of each one of us, so that we act consciously and compassionately.
Torture the Artist: How would you describe your music to your grandparents?
Kevin Di Serna: Music to heal.
Torture the Artist: What was the moment / event or track that bonded you to electronic music?
Kevin Di Serna: The album: Sequential Vol.2 Hernan Cattaneo.
His vision of music and selection is very interesting.
Torture the Artist: Who’s an artist or person that is important for your musical career, and why?
Kevin Di Serna: Hernan Cattaneo, He is a great DJ and a great person, He helps me to grow a lot and always gives me good advice. His technique of mixing and the composition of his sets are really good. Dixon is also a great inspiration, his vision of music and selection is very interesting, and his support for ‘Amapola’ around the world marks a before and after within my career. I met him in Buenos Aires, He is very kind and respectful. I feel grateful to them for their kindness and support in what I do.
Torture the Artist:Who would you like to join in the studio and produce a track with?
Kevin Di Serna: I’d love to create an original mix with Dixon’s retouch. His edits have that right touch. Jimi Jules, &Me, Rampa, Trikk, Luca Bacchetti, Sandrino, I like their tastes and visions. Also I would love to work with Nils Frahm.
Torture the Artist: What’s the kind of track that you would like to produce at the moment but haven’t?
Kevin Di Serna: I imagine, an introspective track – a melody with nice hook, with a universal sound, without any specific genre, that makes people feel love. A track that works very well in the club, that makes history and would be useful for many years. A timeless, classic track.
Torture the Artist: Would you rather produce a timeless sound or something that depicts the present? Going on from that, do you think each sound has an expiration date and that what is now perceived as futuristic will be outdated in later retroperspect?
Kevin Di Serna: I prefer timeless sounds, because they can survive for a good time. After several years, you can return with more current remixes, and the original mix would be fitting once again for the dance floor.
Torture the Artist: What do you find is worth fighting for?
Kevin Di Serna: Simply, acting with empathy, compassion & presence.
Interview by Holger Breuer