In depth with Cera Alba…

cera alba

Cera Alba applied his trade in the stalwart city of Leeds, club hopping in his Uni days he soon found a buzz for the house scene, following nights like The Dirty Disco and of course Back to Basics. Nurturing his own feel on the house culture, he caught the eye and ear of labels like Hot Creations, VIVa Music and Madtech. Now in 2015 the London based producer has performed in some of the most sort after venues on the roster. We chat to Cera about his huge date with Magna Carta in London this May and his events this summer in Ibiza.

How has your DJ style and production evolved as you have played more and more – are you still learning? Are you different now than when you first started?

I’m always learning, I think both have changed a lot since I first started back in 2005. My DJ sets have to be very diverse, sometimes I will be warming up for a bigger act so I will need to taylor my set to give them the right build up. On the occasions where I’m the headliner I have to increase the energy and keep the momentum. Production wise I feel I am only just touching on the level I want to be at, there is a long way to go yet.

Has it got easier or harder to produce over the years – do you have more skills and less ideas as you have done so much, or do you still struggle to get the sounds in your head down?

I understand my set up much better now than I ever have before and I think my understanding of mixing has improved greatly. The skills and development have just encouraged me to push my music to new more different levels, which is something I want to do over the next few years. I would say I can almost find any sound I have in my head and get it down pretty quickly but you still have those days where nothing quite works.

You have tons of EPs coming up – talk us through some of them – the Avotre EP or the Madtech EP for example…

I have my first release on Sante & Sidney Charles label Avotre in June and after I have an exclusive collaboration with Russ Yallop which will see us release an EP in the Autumn. July will see my first full on EP on MadTech which is something I’m excited about. I also have an EP on Lost Records out in June which should be a good selection for the summer months. I have various other bits in the pipeline but got to keep a them secret until everything is confirmed.

Do you make different sounds according to what label its for, or do you just do your do?

I try not to think about a label too much as it can stop you writing what you want and that can be detrimental to the overall creativity. I do bring maybe some label concepts in mind as I am getting to the arrangement as that can help give it a direction.

How did you hook up with these labels – did they approach you or vice versa?

A bit of both, I was approached by Sante to release on Avotre which was obviously great to hear he had even heard of my music, I hope to be working closely with Avotre in the future. I approached MadTech and it stemmed from there.

What kit do you use to produce and do you care about the how – analogue gear is all the rage right now…

I mainly use Maschine, Komplete 10, Omnisphere, Trilian, Diva and a variety of plug ins. I do have a few bits of hard wear like my TR8 and Microkorg. I am planning to buy a synth, I think it will probably be a Dave Smith Sequential, when I get the money that is.

What have you got planned for Ibiza this summer? Where will you be playing, do you know yet?

Yeah I have a few dates this year at Sankeys, playing for Magna Carta on Saturdays. I’m waiting to hear what dates I will be playing. I may have some dates at another club but its not confirmed yet. Also I will be at Hideout and Groovefest this summer.

You play Magna Carta in Ibiza this summer – what should people expect? How much do you plan for big shows like that?

Haha they should expect a solid selection of great house and techno, with sounds from the raw and dub styles. I will be preparing a lot for these gigs as its a great club and I want to showcase my sound to a new audience.

How different will you play as you are resident vs headliner? Do you prefer one of the other, does it allow you to try different things?

Its a different mind set and I think residents can sometimes out play the headliner but its about respecting each others set time and sound. A good resident will pay attention to the headliner and vide-versa.

What are you going to do next after this interview?

I’m off to meet Russ Yallop, to talk about Miami, our next release and if I should buy a new hat :) then back to this weird groovy techno track.

Cera Alba plays Magna Carta at o2 Academy Brixton on May 2nd – 

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