By Javier Blánquez and Álvaro García Montoliu.
1. Ancares DJ: the conspiracy theoryLast Thursday, the eBay auction closed for the DJ Pass, a 50-minute DJ slot at the SónarCar stage on the first night of Sónar Barcelona. As Sónar is on sale and being divided into several pieces, there was someone willing to pay the sweet sum of 6,099 euros for the opportunity to play some tunes to an audience for a couple of minutes. It looked like the auction was all a joke, but no, it was real and it happened. Or is it a publicity stunt, thought up by the festival so that everybody would be talking about it? After the auction, the name of the winner emerged: Ancares DJ, from the Portuguese village of Pedrafita Do Cebreiro, amateur and without a trace, so far, online or on flyers –we haven’t yet been able to access his town’s public registry, we’re on it, pulling strings.
All this would be perfectly natural if it weren’t for the strange aspects about that whole auction that have come to light and are calling the attention of the public. While there are some who accept the Ancares DJ thing, others frowned and suspect it might be another step on the promotional path, which began with publicising Mr Samaniego’s cell phone number so that people could call to make an offer on Sónar, continued with the TV ad and ended, for now, with the auctions of the DJ Pass and the two Ego Passes for A Coruña and Barcelona. So, there is a juicy conspiracy theory going around, which we will try to summarise here.
The first time this Ancares DJ spoke was during this short interview with our colleague Raül de Tena for Fantastic Plastic Magazine. He says he’s 19 years old, that his real name is Rubén Díez Fernández and that he hasn’t paid a penny: it was his family and friends who got together for a collective bid on eBay in order to get him the best gift ever, knowing how happy it would make him to get a shot at a DJ gig at Sónar. However, even a Russian oil baron would think twice about paying 6,099 euros for a thing like that. Even stranger is the fact that the Ancares DJ’s Facebook artist page, and his Soundcloud page, were created one day after winning the bid, as if he didn’t exist before that. He swears, however, he has nothing whatsoever to do with the festival organisation.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo informed in its online edition that the winner, or at least, the person who bid in his name –if we believe Ancares DJ’s version of the facts–, had an IP address fro the Madrid area, quoting sources from the Sónar organisation. However, Ancares DJ belongs to a small village in the province of Lugo (in the northern Spanish region of Galicia) and is quite proud of his brute and very close-knit family: that’s the first contradiction (possibly the first trick pulled by Sónar in its usual game with the media, remember that year with El Dioni (a famous Spanish robber slash cult hero) was on the line-up, when many of the so-called swindlers in the image campaign turned out to be family members of the team, photographed at weddings). And, after that, there was no explanation whatsoever from Sónar. If there really has been a clean auction, and the winner really has paid said price, the announcement shouldn’t have been necessary to spread. But Ancares and some of his friends went out of their way to get his name out there, on a strange Tumblr site, supposedly linked to Sónar –with only one entry and which, to add insult to injury, categorically denied the news item published by PlayGround last Thursday–, commenting on forums and, most of all, with a massive spam campaign from Ancares DJ’s Facebook page to all kinds of artists (performing at Sónar or not), presenting him as the winner of the auction.
Another suspicious fact might have been detected only by those who speak Catalan: if you take the Spanish pronunciation of Ancares DJ –never DJ Ancares!– and interpret it as a Catalan phrase, it would be written in that language as “Encara és DJ”, which means “He [or she] is still a DJ”–, which leads us to think this could all be a manoeuvre to have someone spin some tunes who is famous, retired but “still a DJ”. Ancares DJ’s style, summed up in two mini mixes on his SoundCloud page, includes eighties music –that Glenn Medeiros is funny: odd that a 19-year old kid would “remember” that well-groomed Latino idol of all the girls who are now mothers– bootlegged in the midst of a flood of basslines bigger than Carl Cox’s belly and a good dose of updated electro-house. Rather than a DJ, Ancares is a maker of extensive mash-ups, a cross between Tiga and Girl Talk.
More suspicion: on the two photos we have seen (one of them sent to us by the man himself), his face is unrecognisable. Having said all this, there are two options: one, to believe Ancares, to not go all Mourinho on the man, seeing conspiracies everywhere. His story is a bit all over the place, but it could be true after all. Or two, to keep thinking the worst and to believe something smells fishy. The fact that Sónar hasn’t seen fit to communicate anything about the story is suspicious enough –silence is consent, although the silence is understandable: he who excuses himself, accuses himself. It makes us think they’re having fun with all this, the Wise Men of Zion are rubbing their hands with all that free publicity they’re generating over the backs of the public. But whether the story is true or not, the goal has been reached: an intense and free of cost viral that maintains Sónar’s reputation as a surprising festival and which, take note, will make a lot of people go to the Sónar By Night venue early to see this mysterious Ancares DJ and see if he really is a clean-cut Galician boy or, for example, Tiga, Albert One, Nando Dixcontrol, Stainboy, DJ Shit or DJ Hamburger. Which means more bar revenues, more merchandising sold –we can see the T-shirts now: “Yo soy Ancares DJ”; and if they’re not made yet, we will claim the royalties afterwards– and more fun.
2. Ancares DJ: the interview
And as the work of every good journalist is to try to verify sources, we got in touch with Ancares DJ to ask him about all this. We sent him a personal message, he responded swiftly accepting our request for an interview (via email, of course), and here it is: our conversation with the man of the hour (in two parts). To keep things as pure as possible, we chose to not edit the answers, leaving all spelling and syntax as it was. And since we’re on a roll now, next week we’ll explain who really killed Bin Laden.
Hello, Ancares. First of all, we would like to congratulate you on your win. But we would also like to know if you understand the suspicion raised around your appearance. For example, we think it’s odd that, now that Sónar has a Galician leg, the winner should be from that region. It all fits really well with the festival’s philosophy.
I can tell you it’s a complete coincidence, I’ll be deejaying in barcelona, not in Galicia, so your conspirational theory is neutralised, heheheh, the truth is I didn’t expect all this expectation, I’m a bit overwhelmed and surprised. I’m a pretty humble guy and have no experience with this interview thing and everything.
How do you explain how someone who lives in a village of less than 1,000 inhabitants ends up being interested in avant-garde electronica?
I think it’s very wrong to judge someone based on the amount of inhabitants of his hometown, even someone living on a desert island with an internet connection could be interested in anything, how ever underground it may be, so a boy from Pedrafita do Cebreiro might even teach something about culture to many of the big city people, who have it all right under their noses yet don’t see it.
Our apologies, we expressed ourselves in the wrong way, we realise our question might have been offensive and we definitely didn’t mean it like that. What we wanted to ask you is if the fact that you live in a village of less than 1,000 inhabitants has been an obstacle for you when developing your career as a DJ.
Of course, the opportunities you can have in a small village aren’t the same as those in a big city, but, at the same time it offers you a different way of enjoying the music, you have more time to think about it and I’m sure that the level of concentration when you’re somewhere in the mountains is higher, unfortunately you don’t get the feedback from other people who share your taste in music.
When did you start getting interested in electronica?
I started to get interested in electronica when I heard my uncle’s Kraftwerk albums.
It seems you took your DJ name from the school where you studied. Is it a nod to John Talabot?
My name comes from the Mountains where I live, they’re called La sierra dos Ancares [Ancares Mountains]. The John Talabot thing, I honestly don’t know what you mean... hahaha.
As a present, it’s fantastic, but doesn’t it seem rather incredible that your family and friends would pay 6,000 euros for you to deejay at Sónar?
Well, here in galicia we sometimes are quite rough, I recommend you come to a wedding some time here in this area, it might blow your mind what the people spend on the food and the party afterwards, everybody does with their money what they want and I didn’t decide to enter the auction.
Are you scared of what the crowd will react like?
Mmmmmm, honestly I hope I will shut many people up with an impeccable set, but I am worried if someone might throw something at the DJ booth, let’s pray for some reinforced security, heheheheh.
Do you think Sónar will be a good platform for your career as a DJ?
Have you deejayed before?
I’ve been doing sets for two years now and I try to stay up-to-date looking for present styles and good sub-basses. As a curiosity I can tell you I started spinning in an empty room in my uncle’s house, he had a couple of 1,000w speakers and it sounded like a club almost... heheheh.
On the web there are people who believe your first set could be a Turbo promo, as there are many tunes in it from the “Turbo Omnidance” compilation. Is that a coincidence?
I’m a big fan of turbo recordings, the first set is only a little piece of what I’m capable of, every set reflects a bit what I like to play, I never prepare anything, I improvise and go ahead, in 13 minutes that set could sound like a Turbo Recordings Sample or something like that. I recommend you also listen to the other BLASTING PALLOZA BASS, which is more varied...
We see you’re also interested in bass music. Which are the artists from that recent style you like the most?
I didn’t know there was a style called BASS MUSIC, I know the mythical MIAMI BASS from a thousand years ago and everything, but okay, I quite like Fidget, Dubstep, electro, cosmic disco with the sub-bass well-defined.
We think it’s odd that a 19-year old has specialised media, collectives, promoters etc. as Facebook friends. Did they befriend you or were you already in touch with them?
Right now I’m very confused because I’m so overwhelmed with all that tweeter facebook soundcloud and all to tell you the truth, I have no idea, basically I use soundcloud.
How come you started your Facebook page after winning the DJ Pass?
The facebook page was made by some friends.
You didn’t have one before?
I have a personal facebook page but I prefer to keep that private, I don’t think you’d be interested in seeing me and my family among the cows or the pallozas.
Why don’t you show your face on your Facebook and SoundCloud pages?
Because I think uploading my photo to facebook and soundcloud after all this, it wouldn’t benefit me a whole lot, my face will appear when all this media stuff quiets down a bit... heheheh.
Have you deejayed in public? If so, what was it like?
Yes, I did, but to be honest, that’s where I’m most inexperienced, I haven’t got that easy connection with the audience, but I hope to compensate for that with my skills and eagerness to learn.
From the moment you heard Kraftwerk for the first time, how did your style develop?
The truth is listening to Kraftwerk when I was little was incredible, I remember those sounds and I get goosebumps... my style develops with time, I like to play very new tracks, the newest.
So how did your family and friends participate? Could you tell us who paid how much?
The truth is I don’t know and it wouldn’t be appropriate to go into detail.
Overnight, you’ve become the Cristiano Ronaldo of electronica. Do you now feel a huge responsibility because of the money paid for you to be at Sónar?
I don’t feel any responsibility apart from having to please the demanding Sonar audience, I’m not afraid because I know very well what I’m doing and god only knows about my set on that Friday, let’s just see how it goes. Ancares DJ will be appearing at Sónar 2011. The Festival will take place from 16 th to 18th June at the CCCB in Barcelona, the Fira Gran Via in L’Hospitalet, L’Auditori in Barcelona and the Teatre Grec in Barcelona. Tickets are on sale here.
A DJ paid 6,099 euros to play at Sónar. His name is Ancares DJ, he lives in a village in Lugo, Galicia, is 19 years old, an amateur and he loves bass music. But is Ancares DJ a real artist or a publicity stunt by Sónar? We spoke to the man via email.