Jan 14, 2022
5 min read
SOEL's music reflects a rich sonic palate informed by a lifetime absorbing a multi-colored patchwork of sounds. Equally refined, emotional, dark, and cinematic. He is a master of twisting synths into gorgeous wavering layers of beauty. His moody, melodic techno has wowed acclaimed producers like Adriatique, Tale Of Us, and Recondite. And the list of labels he's released on is remarkable, including Afterlife, Siamese, Mobilee, TAU and Plangent.
He often draws from his Arabic roots and the rich cosmopolitan culture of Milan for inspiration. He grew up a stone's throw from the temple of opera, La Scala. As a result, classical music influences his music heavily as well. Yet, his father had the most profound impact on his musical DNA. "My father was collecting vinyl and cassette tapes and listening to a lot of blues and a lot of jazz. Louis Armstrong, Myles Davis, and Ry Cooder. So a lot of black music, a lot of soulful music."
Milan's proximity to so many iconic dance music cities meant that by the time he was old enough to go to the club, he rarely spent a weekend or holiday at home. "Every single time I had a break from school, or a weekend off or something like that me and my friends would just jump on a train or a low fare airplane and then just go."
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He was obsessed with club culture and techno. "I did over 15 Time Warps. Festivals in Germany, Italy, and then Holland. University festivals during the summers. There were huge enormous festivals in Spain. Even small clubs. My favorite was a Cocoon club in Frankfurt, which was owned by Sven Vath." He was all about the club, his friends and, "just having fun during the weekends. That's it."
Cocoon Club's DJ Booth
His move from the dancefloor to the decks was gradual, he says. Fascinated by dance music's culture of playing exclusive music, he spent hours digging for and collecting tracks. So before he even touched the turntables, he was already an expert curator. The biggest draw to create has always been the peak dance floor experience. He still lives for the moments when you lose yourself in the beat. When the world seems to fade from view, all that remains is you, the music, and the lights. It's almost visceral when he reflects on one of those moments during a Time Warp pre-party at Robert Johnson in Frankfurt.
"At 3 or 4 am, Ricardo Villalobos played this random singer from Iraq or Syria. And I knew that I know this kind of music. It was such a random thing, but such a surprise in a positive way. Because my friends and the people that were in that in the club back then, they didn't know what it is, but just went crazy. That's the power of the artist and the DJ." He chases that feeling with every set he plays. The transcendence of his music is built for it. And as SOEL continues to build a massive library of music, he drifts further away from providing those moments as a DJ. Instead, he believes that those moments are more impactful when he's playing his music.
"I produce so much music. So much music, that I think the only way to really express myself is by playing only live. I think it's the creative point of view, honestly. And sometimes DJ sets are not, something that satisfies me."
His catalog is tremendous, forty hours of unreleased genre-spanning music from ambient electronic to peak hour techno. His decision to play more live sets allows him to stretch, build a vibe, and build a narrative. Performing dance music in a live environment is an act of storytelling. SOEL wishes to enter himself into that legacy of artists who are our raconteurs.
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SOEL intends to make sure all of his work is out in the world for people to appreciate. His imprint Oracolo is part of that mission. Described as "A label where musical concepts and aesthetic boundaries are seen as a way to unify - not separate." Oracolo is the antithesis of his ethos. Despite having no formal training, SOEL has established a unique musical footprint. The consummate creative, he says that he's been training for this his whole life. Creativity blossoms naturally when fed exposure to creative endeavors. "Honestly, I think our brain is really a sponge. When you get exposed a lot simply because you're curious and you like something, I think this will come naturally. Nobody [can] actually teach you to be creative. So, think simply, let it come on naturally."