Baldo Gallego lives an exciting dual life on the Barcelona club scene. As Baldo, he has chalked up a plethora of releases over the last decade, while steadily building his profile as one of the city’s most versatile residents, at ease soundtracking the enormous halls of the city’s vast Razzmatazz club, alongside some of the world’s biggest and best-loved DJs.
In recent years, he has also spent more and more of his creative time investing in his BLD alias. Only self-releasing, with no support from a major label and previously sometimes only available on vinyl, his tracks as BLD have caused a notable stir, creating serious rave echoes with those in the know. Halycon tributes to the golden era concerning techno, electro and breaks, BLD’s tracks have a timeless sheen that feels not so much nostalgic as a continuation and understanding of a timeless rave continuum.
As well as building the world of BLD, Baldo has also recently launched a reissue label, Physical Education, which recently dug up two incredible slabs of sublime tech-house form Lee Lewis and Len Renacre, and works as part of the Subwax Distribution network, plugging him into a vast network of underground talent, informing his selections.
The latest contributor to #PHANTASYMIX, we caught up with BLD to discuss life as a multi-faceted artist amid the dancefloors of one of the world’s top party cities.
You are well known on the Barcelona scene, with a reputation for diversity and the ability to genre hop. Your productions as BLD are more focused on a specific, techno-oriented style. Was it important for you to create this new alias?
I always liked techno and acid and there was a moment when I felt the need to create this kind of music. Before, my productions were more deep house oriented and released under my all-time moniker “Baldo” so thought that it was important to create a new artist project for this material, because the styles were too different. So for the moment, I will keep both aliases active releasing music and playing gigs and this way people will have more clear what to expect depending on the name.
Do you think sometimes, in this social media age, having a less specific style can even be a disadvantage?
This is a really good question that affects me personally. Unfortunately, many people these days, especially the new generations dedicate less time and attention to everything on social media than ever. This is happening because every day there is more and more information but also because people are getting lazier with the time, so answering your question: Yes! it can be a big disadvantage.
It seems that right now as an artist you must give the information clear to everyone so they can easily tag your style quickly without too much effort and associate you with certain clubs circuit, festivals, artists… And then they can keep scrolling down dedicating some new seconds to the next Instagram, Facebook or Twitter post.
If you don’t provide the info that clearly and since they are not able to dedicate time and energy to understand that you’re a multifaceted artist they can get confused and even disappointed in some cases when for instance, they only know you as a Deep House artist and then see you making a post promoting a forthcoming new Acid Techno record. Unfortunately this can be the main disadvantage because not everyone is willing to follow a less specific style artist these days.
So while my decision of having two different names with different styles is not the smartest business-wise for the reasons above mentioned but this is how I am and what I like to do so I will keep doing my thing hoping that my supporters are following my music because they understand and like that I’m a versatile artist.
You are a resident at Razzmatazz? “Razz” as we call it in the UK is a big club, and something of a rite of passage from visiting British clubbers. What was it like learning to control rooms that size? And which is your favourite?
Probably my multifaceted artist personality comes from this residency as I always tend to adapt a little my warm up sets to the guest DJ which causes me to make the effort to keep searching different styles of music constantly. I play normally at the rooms called The Loft and Lolita which are the ones that have House and Techno guest DJ's and apart of playing for big different crowds every time, what I like most is the challenge of searching different styles between my music collection for every different night. In the last months I have shared a booth with Volvox, Third Son, Gerd Janson, 808 State, Move D… so I couldn’t do the same selection of tunes for all these nights as you can imagine.
Tell us a little more about the Barcelona club scene now, and how you fit into the landscape?
I think it’s a good moment for the clubbing scene in Barcelona. I just feel that a few more small-medium clubs in the city would be a positive thing. There are different options depending which style you want to listen to every night, new promoters and crowds interested on different types of music. Then in summer we have a few big festivals and good daytime events. Of course we’re light-years away from cities like Berlin or London where the range of styles is wider but I don’t think we can complain about what we have here. I moved to Barcelona in 2009 (I’m originally from the South) and it took me a while to connect, before having the opportunity to play at small clubs like Macarena or BeCool, then got the residency in Razz in 2012 and I’m a regular in other local clubs too nowadays.
You’ve started your own label, BLD Tape Recordings for your output as BLD. What are the advantages to that as an independent artist? Despite your own name being on it, are you planning to expand to other artists, ala, Marcell Dettmann Records or BNR?
I love having 100% control and decision of the artwork concept, release date, format, which studio will do the mastering, promotion strategy… So I would say that these are the main advantages, but on the other hand I have full responsibility of creating the label profile from zero and it is much more difficult than releasing on an established record label with a solid fan base. I have had a few records out on my own label for a while now so I find it is the right moment to expand and release in other labels yes! as Baldo I have an EP coming around April on Alinka’s label Twirl which is a collaboration with Paranoid London’s singer Josh Caffé and includes remixes by Hannah Holland and The Checkup.
It was recorded at my place and includes some favourite tracks, from friends' labels, some unreleased, another new ones and one unreleased from me... mixing Breaks, Acid, Techno, Electro and a touch of Industrial. This could be a good preview of what people can hear on a BLD DJ gig in a club.
John Thorp, February 2020.