Interview: Five Minutes with Dennis Cruz

Image credit: ​​Jake Price

Join us as we venture into the mind of Dennis Cruz, the legendary tech-house Spaniard who is embracing his heritage with his latest release. ‘Los Tamales’, is a double A-side that’s taken from his upcoming album, which will be released via Damian Lazarus‘ flagship label. The release follows ‘Ahora Todo Va’, which is the first single to be taken from the album and featured well-known producer Josh Butler and was accompanied by a remix from Gorgon City. Dennis Cruz is well adorned with recognition, having received awards from the likes of Beatport, RA, Vicious Magazine, as well as several DJ Awards (including Best Tech House 2018, Best Deep Tech 2019 and winner of Best Producer in 2017)

Naturally, we were curious about the producer and his unique connections but in reality, who doesn’t need a little salsa-inspired magic in their life right now? Catch all you need to know about the lively single and the award-winning producer behind it, below.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts? 

I’ve always had a passion for music and being creative, and luckily enough for me, I have been able to make this my career. My creative inspiration comes from all areas, from music to art, but also beyond that with nature and more. 

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea? 

The idea comes first, but this is, of course, always accompanied by my sound and my own take on that idea.

Does your material feature any collaborations? 

I collaborate with artists regularly, both vocalists but also fellow producers. My next album scheduled later this year features a host of collaborations with the likes of Mousse T, Lee Scratch Perry, Josh Butler, Leo Wood, Ian Ludvig and Iuliano Mambo.

What’s on your current playlist? 

‘Take Off Baby’ from Ronald Christop is currently on loop!

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage. 

I always have a great time when I’m playing live at clubs and festivals. Most of the time I’m playing, you can find me smiling, and I think it’s contagious for the people around me and hopefully the crowd too.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound? 

My sound is mainly focused on the groove and also the bass frequencies within my tracks. While I produce a range of musical styles, I think both of these elements combine to make what you could call the ‘Dennis Cruz sound’.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

Every day in the studio is different. Some days I can make a track in 30 minutes, and some days, I can be in there all day long and only work on a kick drum. It’s not always easy to get inspiration, but sometimes it flows naturally, and all comes together exactly how I’d like!

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”? 

I’ve known that I wanted to be a DJ ever since the first time I went to a rave, and so that’s the moment when the journey began for me.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set? 

The tequila! haha.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Some names to watch would be Bizen López, Ian Ludvig, Gruuve and Roja Beat…

What gets your creative juices flowing? 

I always get ideas listening to a range of different music, both electronic and non-electronic, but also things such as walking my dog in amongst nature. A massive thing, though, will always be playing at parties with people dancing, especially now we’re able to do it again. Every set and event always inspires me, and the energy you feel is magic.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression. 

I love Ableton for producing; it’s so easy and fast to work with, which perfectly suits how I like to produce. In terms of my gear, I also have Native Instruments’ Machine and Komplete, a Roland SH-201, a Roland MC909, a TR-8, a Microkorg and a Waldorf Micro Q. I then also have a range of compressors, pre-amps and limiters such as the Avalon, Manley, Drawmer and Focusrite, and for speakers, I use Dynaudio BM15A’s, Adam A7’s and also some from Quested too.

Any side projects you’re working on? 

Yes, I’m always working on new music for Golfos – my duo project with PAWSA.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry? 

During this break, I’ve had time to re-organise my music, and I now have a selection of tracks that have defined my sound. I feel like my ability to show this through my productions and DJ sets is something that I’ve been able to refine over the years, and even more so now. I’m excited to get back behind the decks to showcase this.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year? *

Later this year, I’ll release my very first album ‘Roots’ on Crosstown Rebels – stay tuned for more information on that coming over the next few months!

Follow Dennis Cruz:

Facebook / Soundcloud / Instagram / Spotify

By Sarah Britton