Interview: Five Minutes with Harry Romero

Image Credit: Kseniia Voitseshchuk

Label head and respected musician Harry Romero was hard at work last year as he developed his empire within the music scene. The producer became a “go-to” remixer as well as ensured the best quality of music coming from his own label, Bombossa Records. The latest release from Robb Swinga is a perfect example of this as it folds jazz music into an unstoppable house beat. 

Stream / Download Beautiful Jazz

Harry Romero’s latest release was the stunning single, ‘Use Me’ with Lex Luca. Released late last year, we’re hoping the single is just a small hint of what to expect this year. Learn more about the New Jersey-based producer in the interview below. 

Tell us about some of the highlights of running your own label

The highlights really are sharing with the world my artistic vision of what I feel is great music. The good times are when you know you are contributing to this culture and leaving a mark on the industry, which I feel I have done not only in my productions but also with the music I’ve released on Bambossa. It’s been a true honour.

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

It’s always based around an idea and the foundation is always the drums. The drums really set the tone for the feel and vibe of the overall track. I’ll then do a very rough sketch of the arrangement and then I take my time with the transitional elements, bells and whistles. It’s a labour of love.

Does your upcoming material on Bambossa feature any collaborations?

I have some really cool collabs with artists that I truly respect. On deck I have Joeski, Guti and Louie Vega collaborating with me on releases this year. So to say i’m excited would be an understatement. 

What’s on your current playlist? 

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

First off I love my fans. I realise and understand it would be impossible to create great music without that instant feedback I get from the crowds. So for that, I am very thankful.  I feel it’s my duty to send as many people home with a smile as I possibly can. At the end of the day, it’s our job as Djs to entertain those that have paid good money to experience our music. It’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly.

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

That’s a question I am not sure how to answer. I am just being me when I make music. It’s my interpretation of reality and I guess that’s my unique fingerprint.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

The first thing is I try to handle the business side of things like emails, top 10 charts, approving artwork, masters, merch etc. Then I get to work for 3 or 4 hours. I don’t work in long sessions anymore. I Found that short, intense bursts are the way to go for me. I feel like I am more productive and more creative that way.

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

There was never really a moment where a conscious decision was made like this. It was more about just really buckling down and learning my craft. I have such a passion for making music that there was never really a plan B for me. It just seemed to be an organic process that brought me to where I am I suppose.

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

My USB sticks. I have such a phobia that I’m going to lose them or that someone is going to steal them. So I am a bit neurotic about keeping them near me at all times.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Kassian, Aladdin, Felipe Gordon, Cici and obviously Robb Swinga

What gets your creative juices flowing? 

I am always listening for samples. I come from a sampling background so when I hear something I want to grab and expand on my juices really start to flow.

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

I run all my outboard drum machines and synths through the Electrix Filter Factory. Along with high, low and band pass filters It also has a buzz feature which really makes the drums come alive by adding some harmonic distortion. You can be as subtle or as heavy-handed as you like. It’s like hot-rodding a stock car. I always like to give my sounds, especially drums, an extra bit of personality and this does the trick quite well. I have a few proper analog pieces but with the Studio Electronics ATC-X & SE-1 I can create just about any sound. The ATC-X has so much personality and I have yet to turn it on and not be inspired. Actually, that’s my motto for anything in my rack. It has to inspire or else it gets sold or donated. The SE-1 is my go-to for bass. The bass is unreal, and I actually have to sweep some of it out as sometimes it’s over the top in the low frequencies. But these two are a match made in heaven from a great company. Yamaha NS-10M & Genelec 1031APM. I use the Yamaha NS-10M in tandem. The Yamahas I use for a general idea of balance. Sometimes when working on a track for a while I tend to think the mix is rocking. Then I turn on the Yamahas and realize the levels weren’t as good as I thought. They don’t lie. But that’s all part of my process. The Genelec’s is what I use to create. Throw in the Genelec 7070A subwoofer and you are smack in the middle of the dance floor with all the right frequencies. These two sets of monitors are a killer combo that I’ve been using for almost two decades. I use Coleman Audio MBP2 Stereo Meters to basically just to make sure I’m staying close to where I was when I was vibing and creating the track.  Normally when I’m close to being finished with a project I’ll begin bussing similar elements together. A quick example would be putting all my percussion elements, excluding kick drum, on a buss and adding compression, width and EQ. The meters give me a visual as to whether I’ve gone to loud or not loud enough. Again, it gets to a point where your ears will feel fatigued and I want to make sure my sound is close to where it was when I was creating and vibing. These meters help me do that and I rely on them very much.

Any side projects you’re working on? 

What’s a side project? Everything I do is front and center.

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

I’ve learned that spending time in the chair is very important. Slow and steady. I am always trying to learn new ways and methods of doing things. I have so much more to learn and do and that’s what really excites me. 

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

Expect everything from early Chicago sounding vibes to proper deep house. I love it all.

Famous last words?

The comfort zone is where creativity goes to die.

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