With a handful of own labels, as one half of Subwax Distribution and as an artist himself, Barcelona-based Baldo Gallego or short Baldo has been shaping and influencing as well as contributing and giving his all to the electronic music scene for more than a decade. Shortly Baldo released music on Gerd Janson’s label Running Back and on STEP Recordings, after a hiatus of more than year due to the pandemic. Now the passionate artist is back, refreshed and inspired to hit the scene with more music be it due the (at least partly) opened clubs or other circumstances like Baldo’s not so cheesy but sweet morning addictions. However, overtime working Baldo found the time to speak with Torture the Artist about his jobs, that do not feel like work, his artistically directions, his latest releases and where we can find him socializing secludedly from the clubs. Additionally, Baldo mixed and compiled the latest and last art:cast of a fulminant year including music freshly and soon to be released music.
Torture the Artist: Hello Baldo, tell us something about your day.
Baldo: I just woke up and came straight to the computer to answer your questions. First thing in the morning! It’s cold in Barcelona these days, and in about an hour I’ll prepare some warm apple and cinnamon oatmeal. I know it sounds very cheesy, but I’ve become addicted to this kind of breakfast for some months now. A cup of coffee will come after though, and hey it’s Friday.
Torture the Artist: Barcelona-based, let us know your three favorite places, where we can catch Baldo on one of your few days off?
Baldo: Especially now when I’m off you eventually find me having a ramen, which is my latest addiction. My friend Nestor showed me this restaurant called Kanada-Ya just around my house and I can totally recommend it. Also for Mexican food there is El Pachuco, and another cool bar to mention is my friends’ 33/45 and also the new one they opened recently called 45/33.
Torture the Artist: You just released a track on Running Back’s V/A One Swallow Doesn’t Make A Summer Part 4 and an EP, Working Overtime, on STEP Recordings. Would you say that the EP title, Working Overtime, describes your life and lifestyle at the moment?
Baldo: Totally, but I do it with pleasure! I love my work so I spend way too many hours in front of the computer. It can be either writing emails concerning Subwax work, searching for new records and music, or simply making it. But I agree I work too long, but that’s my lifestyle I guess.
Torture the Artist: As the head of Subwax – among many other tasks or fields your work in – to what extent does the music you feature with Subwax represent and influence the artist Baldo and do you sometimes find it difficult to draw a line between those two affairs?
Baldo: I have a clear style that I like to play and produce as Baldo. Sometimes the music that comes out on the Subwax labels are totally my style and represent me very well, and some other times doesn’t. But it’s impossible that all the record labels put out records that are totally my thing to 100%. I still get inspiration from them and they influence me for my own career though, which is interesting. Additionally, I think the mission of a good distributor is to support and distribute quality music even when it’s not my own personal style. So I would say it is not difficult to draw that line between the two aspects, distributor and personal career.
Torture the Artist: Following the question before, how do both Subwax and your artistic-being complement respectively cross-fertilize each other?
Baldo: Thanks to Subwax I can constantly listen to new music by newcomers and experienced producers and that’s great. It inspires me a lot and helps me to stay musically fresh and up to date. Then on the other side I would say that Subwax gets complemented by all my contacts from DJing during the years and my personal global experience in the industry.
Torture the Artist: Working Overtime is your first EP since last year is that due to the pandemic that you did not feel like releasing music or why did take this creative break?
Baldo: I didn’t feel right to release new music during the pandemic as the scene basically stood still. For the same reason I wasn’t very active in the studio. Also I felt less productive producing music during this period as I couldn’t be inspired from playing in clubs, or simply attend them and listen to music in big spaces outside my four walls. So I spent most of the time to focus on Subwax as this job requests less creativity in general.
Torture the Artist: You released your latest music on STEP Recordings and Running Back instead on one of your own labels. Why is it important for an artist to not only self-release on one of your own platforms and what’s a label you would like to release your music on?
Baldo: In these cases I didn’t find those tracks to be right for my label, so I wanted another label to release them. I have an EP coming out in 2022 on my label Physical Education which is more in that kind of sound. It is always good to release on other labels just to reach a different crowd, especially if they are well known labels, and also because your own label gets attention too afterwards. I would like to release again on Running Back but an entire EP.
Torture the Artist: How did releasing music with Gerd Janson’s Running Back and Catz N’ Dogz come about and are those bounds/ relationships something you profit from your work at Subwax or go back to your longstanding belonging to the scene?
Baldo: I know them personally from playing together at Razzmatazz. We exchanged contacts back in that time and stayed in touch, and it naturally ended up that we worked together. We talked about Subwax and they know I run it too, of course. They support some of the labels and artists from our distribution, but in this case the connection didn’t come from that, but from the DJ-side of my life.
Torture the Artist: How important is it for that you music gets a vinyl release too besides a digital one and how do you feel about digital releases from a Subwax-point of view?
Baldo: I think the major thing and part of our distributed labels’ success in the vinyl market is that they are only available in this format. However, these days digital releases are also interesting and a way to put music out faster and cheaper, and I’m fine in doing it for my own music from time to time. Actually we’ve started developing a system and hope we can offer digital distribution in the future to our labels too, perhaps from next year on this will be the case. There are more and more labels asking for digital distribution.
Torture the Artist: Your music unites several sub-genres like Breaks, (Deep) House, Acid and partly has a cosmic or trancey-note – maybe a midnight city-light mood at times. Where do those influences come from and how did you get involved with electronic music?
Baldo: I’m originally from Andalucía, which is in the south of Spain. In the late 90s there was a big trend of UK Breakbeat. That was my when I connected with electronic music as a teenager so that caused a big influence on me as you can imagine. After that, during the 2000s, I played different styles like House, Techno, Electro, Minimal… so all these genres or sometimes only little sounds or elements that I’ve picked up over the years result in what I am now today: a mix of everything but still having my own personal sound.
Torture the Artist: We said it before, you are quite busy: producer, artist, Subwax-head. Basically your entire life circles around music. Firstly, how do you give yourself a rest from all this and secondly how do you cope if things do not entirely work out the way you want them as they are mostly connected at one level or the other?
Baldo: Honestly, I love all the different sides of my job so much that I don’t consider it as work, so I don’t really need to give it a rest, I can do it without taking a break from it and every day. I do take some time off on the weekends though, of course, and try to be away from the computer as much as possible and instead do some home tasks and focus on my social life for example. Regarding the second question, I think at this point I know that things won’t always work the way we want them and certainly not all the time. So when this happens I just try to be as positive as possible and look for practical and easy to achieve solutions instead of just becoming stuck in a circle of frustration and overthink everything too much.
Torture the Artist: What keeps you passionate about music even when it has become your daily job?
Baldo: All the labels that we work with at Subwax have a positive energy and are always thrilled to release new records. Since we handle the vinyl pressings of many of them I feel part of the creative process chain as well, so it is always exciting when the final record arrives and I can finally hold it in my hand. After that, we take care that the records are are shipped to all shops around the world, also and of course as part pf the Subwax-brand, which make me happy. In general all the steps are very fulfilling.
Torture the Artist: What’s an artist you would like to collaborate with or sit in the studio with for an EP or track?
Baldo: I’m not really good when I make music together with somebody else, but I would love to sit in the studio and see how artists like James Shinra, Lauer, Dawl, DJ Sprinkles, Tim Jackiw and Krystal Klear work for example. Those are producers that I respect a lot and have influenced me, and I would learn a lot from their creative process.
Torture the Artist: Generally speaking, are you more of a team-player or DIY kind of guy and when/ where do you find it hard to compromise?
Baldo: I’m totally the DIY kind of guy. I prefer to not have to depend on someone when it comes to certain tasks and prefer to handle or deal with them on my own and if I have the time and can afford it, then I’ll do it, otherwise I would delegate it or ask for help.
Torture the Artist: With 2021 slowly coming to an end, what are your resolutions for 2022 and why are you confident about them?
Baldo: I’m very realistic person so I don’t enjoy having big hopes and then become disappointed if they don’t happen. I rather think of reachable goals instead, especially these days when the pandemic taught us that everything can change radically very fast. So I just hope that everyone around me stays healthy and that I continue with a successful artist career and also that Subwax keeps growing. I personally do not need more to be happy in 2022.
Torture the Artist: You mixed and compiled the latest art:cast and also the last one of 2021. Where and when is it best to be listened to, and why?
Baldo: The mix is a representation of music that has come out lately or will be out on Subwax distributed labels soon. It starts with deep vibes but then switches to a more dance floor-oriented and clubby style. I guess it is best listened to before going out to a club, maybe in the car while driving on the highway or at home just to get an idea of what is the current sound of Subwax.
Words by Holger Breuer
Title picture & first picture by Daniel Vazquez
Picture 2 & 3 by Mira Karouta