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Welcome once again dear reader, another artist interview and I must tell you that I’m very pleased to have this opportunity to dig into the background of Aad de Mooy aka Alex Cortiz as I’ll admit I’m a big fan of this producers work so this interview was also an honour for this music-lover!
As an early aside folks, I’m always grateful that such direct contacts are now more easily made per the web, communication & the technology tools available to all of us in the age we live in.
So, this interview is another of those such encounters along my musical road so many thanks to Aad de Mooy for his time, myself & the Music2Deal team appreciate.
Let’s lead into our conversation via a tale of my own first encounter with the work of Alex Cortiz which began when I stumbled across ‘Bar Fly’ on a compilation album purchased on the spur of the moment whilst crate digging in London’s west end. I immediately loved the lazy lounge feel and vibe to the track but also, I found the name of the artist quite distinctive for some quirky reason although I didn’t dig much deeper at the time. A couple of years later a good friend in my music-land Guido van der Meulen** mentioned Alex Cortiz as we discussed life as well as one of his mix’s during an early morning Skype call and then, Guido mentioned the name ‘Aad’. I dug deeper and it transpired that he already knew the producer behind the Alex Cortiz brand & persona as their paths had crossed via music and social media etc, a common tale in music-land I’m sure.
As an aside, I myself dig the work of Alex Cortiz as I admire how his work moves effortlessly between up-tempo, dark & moody deep house through to down-tempo but still with a good use of beats & fine atmospheres. Aad drops in effects and sounds that really work with the overall ‘tone’ and vibe of the track. This is an aspect I seriously dig about this artists work. With that said, let’s now discover more about the man & producer behind the Alex Cortiz brand and various other production personas.
DP Hi Aad, a warm welcome to the Music2Deal platform and thank you very much for making time for this interview. Let’s first begin with some background from yourself as a solid brand and producer, can you fill us in?
AAM Sure, well I have produced music professionally since 1990 with brands/personas such as D-Shake, Paradise 3001 and Flygang to name just a few and of course, as Alex Cortiz. I started off with D-Shake, a one-man artist & band known for the worldwide techno club hits ‘Yaaah’ and ‘Technotrance’. These days though, I’m predominantly working under the Alex Cortiz banner capturing downtempo, nu jazz, dub and deep house. My latest project is planned for release via the Groove Gecko persona (album title ‘Slo-Fi Cuisine’) which captures musical elements including dark jazz, dub and future downtempo.
DP mm, sounds like a delicious mix of vibes straight away Aad, I look forward to listening to that new work (blatant fan comment :))
DP Can you tell us some more about how your career in music began & developed?
AAM Well in 1983, 84 I started playing guitar in several new-wave bands based in Amsterdam and from there, I jumped into my first 4 track recorder & several other electronic dance devices, such as the Roland TR606, TR707 and the Korg MS10.
DP In-terms of the current operating environment for a producer & specifically the mixture of music, self-brand building and social-media, how relevant do you feel record-labels are in achieving a level of success & a viable income in today’s music industry?
AAM If the record-label can bring a relevant & viable database of music partners to the table & has licensing partners, promotion channels as well as a depth of experience in distribution and promotion then yes, I think a record-label can be valuable still.
DP Have you licensed your music/signed your artists internationally?
AAM Yes, many times, all over the world.
DP Which country have you found the ‘best’ to licence music & for what reasons?
AAM The Netherlands; because of trustworthy business partners, as other countries within the European Union. It’s better as business is straightforward overall, payment is made per the terms of the contract in-hand. But of course, other parts of the world are or can be potentially bigger markets (e.g. the united states) but even in America, things are already more complicated from a legal viewpoint. Payments are harder to enforce as PRO’s work differently and there are, of course, many different agreements regarding music in that region.
DP Can you tell us about some of the notable projects you’ve completed historically?
AAM D-Shake (techno /multiple 12” singles and one album), Paradise 3001 (ambient dub techno / multiple 12” singles and albums), Timewarp (Leftfield techno/multiple 12” singles), Flygang (disco/album Disco Machine), Hallucination Generation (techno/multiple 12” singles and an album), Cat Scanner (techno/various 12” singles), Alex Cortiz (13 albums). This is to name just a few as there are much more. *
DP *On that point, I thought it would be useful for our readers to get a flavour of this artists book of work to-date under just one of his production personas, Alex Cortiz. The list is both substantial & each album consistently contains good tracks, a rare feat in my world of music.
Volume 1 (1998) Moodfood (2000)
Make Believe (2001) Mesmerising (2002)
Magnifico! (2004) Phoenix (2005)
Lo Tek (2007) Camera 707 (2011)
See Me Flowin (2012) Magnifico! Vol.2 (2014)
New Works Vol.1 (2014) Deep Deluxe (2015)
Oddities (2016) Zooming In (2017)
DP So if for example, you were to partner with another party to license their music or indeed even sign artists for your label & region, what sort of music would you be seeking and why?
AAM I would look for progressive downtempo and quality house music because this is where my interests lie and I think there is still much to win there if you have the time, money and insights to create a solid base & brand for that niche in music.
DP I understand that there is new work in your production pipeline, are you able to give us a flavour of your next project Aad?
AAM Alex Cortiz (2 new albums pending release early & late 2018 respectively)
Groove Gecko (1 new album released Sept.’17)
D-Shake (4 new techno 12”s are pending release this year)
DP What would you say is the biggest single problem faced by the music industry today and how can it be resolved?
AAM How to generate a decent and fair income/royalties from downloads and streams. This goes for both record labels as well as private artists/producers.
DP At what point did you observe that you could make this a reality for yourself and indeed, make a living from your production work?
AAM When the 2nd D-Shake release ‘Yaaah’ became a worldwide club hit.
DP With regard to creativity vs, the business aspects of the Music business, what are your views on this important area? **
AAM They are both as important and in the end, you will see it takes 50/50 of your time. If you neglect the business aspect (marketing/promotion / good contracts / solid administration) you will not be able to live off it.
**Asked as yours truly has met artists with an (IMHO) unrealistic mindset reflecting the following attitude; ‘I don’t do the business side, I’m the creative one’. I just find this unrealistic as the two areas go together and even more so in an age when a manager is arguably not even required to achieve a level of standing.
DP What have been your best & worst experiences in music Aad?
AAM Best; being in several hit charts worldwide. Worst; several bankruptcies of record labels and licensing partners, meaning I ended up not getting paid the royalties/income that was due to me.
DP with regards to social media, how do you project yourself as well as share your work?
AAM I try to share work at regular intervals on social media and I consider how old or new a piece of work is as well as which as the time of year & which social media platforms to post on.
DP Do you ever see yourself playing outside of a studio?
AAM Hmm, although I think it can be very useful, I’m fortunate in that I manage to produce sufficient income without live work.
DP Can you give us a flavour of the background to the creation of your forthcoming Alex Cortiz album?
AAM The next Alex Cortiz album will take off where Deep Deluxe ended. (a response which btw prompted a big grin from myself dear reader, as I really dig the Deep Deluxe album, dope)
DP Per your now 27-year career on the underground-scene, it seems that this is a big album as it will take your music to a wider ‘general’ audience, how does that make you feel?
AAM Well it’s not a big album in the way you’ve described it as frankly, I keep it simple & always hope the next album (under any guise) will take me to a wider audience. Therefore I try out several new ideas for every album. For instance, my last album’ Zoomin In’ is quite different from its predecessor ‘Oddities’. I use glitches and bass sounds not everybody will like. Also, I added more vocal touches than usual.
DP Clearly you have established a fine reputation on the underground down-tempo scene & in other genres also Aad so what are your current ambitions for the future?
AAM To buy a yacht! Ha-ha! J but seriously, it’s my plan to try to develop myself as a DJ. I’m hoping to create some mixes that matter. I’m curious to see if I will be able to add new music samples & use the music of others in a fresh & even daring way.
DP A very interesting last response above and most intriguing to me too, must listen out for that new work-string from Aad, variety is life after all and the same applies in music-land.
For now, at the top are relevant web links to Aad’s book of work to-date as well as direct album links below. I highly recommend a listen and do feel free to add thoughts & comments below post listening dear reader, I’ll be reading all with interest.
Magnifico! (bonus tracks) https://open.spotify.com/album/6Fn3id5NMMIuVPCkLDBhs1
See Me Flowin https://open.spotify.com/album/13xpdoCJBB4bljMRQdHvEo
Magnifico! Vol.2 https://open.spotify.com/album/2FeOho9J6nQLrgNJuqHDJh
Magnifico! Vol.2 bonus tracks https://open.spotify.com/album/5t75KjlCPxwuBFpim9ITCC
Magnifico! (bonus tracks) https://itunes.apple.com/nl/album/magnifico-bonus-tracks/id1213268136
DP Ok, I’ll conclude this interview with a big shout out and much appreciation to Aad de Mooy for his time & on-going musical offerings, I’m always glad we crossed paths Mr Cortiz, my ears tell me so! 😊
AAM I would like to thank Darren for his interest in my music and to the pointed questions. I think M2D can be a valuable platform where musicians, producers, record labels and managers from the music industry can interact with each other with the prospect of good deals for everyone.
Thank you Aad and peace & music dear reader, forever!
Darren Pearson, Music2Deal UK
Reference: Guido van der Meulen, DJ & web broadcaster and the man behind ‘Guido’s Lounge Café’, a global & highly popular downtempo weekly show & musical brand. Listen and more here;