You may be surprised about this episode of “focus on” because I have so far only asked artists of my label Affin. I recently decided to expand the circle of people. From time to time I also want to feature people who I think are pursuing interesting projects. Alfonso Pomeda is one of these people. But read for yourself …
J: You’re a busy person by running a record shop, being the owner of the “Alpenglühen” label as well as working for the labels Downbeat, Memories on Wax and Eleve. Moreover you’re a DJ, event promoter, and not to forget also involved in the Calma concept. When do you find sleep ?
A: Yes, everyone tells me the same thing. I think if you make things with passion, you find time to do everything. Anyways, the last year was very hard for me. Due to health issues (luckily are a thing of the past), I’m seeing things different now.I’m going to close my physical store, and I’m going to go on at home with Discogs and virtually. I think I’m going to have more time for myself (and my wife), and also I want to start making music again, one thing that I love, and which I had put aside due to lack of time. I want to focus in my labels, specially in Alpenglühen. The 4rd release by Edit select is almost out, and the 5th by Citty is already finished. I would like go on with my events (Alpenglühen, Prima Materia, Isolation, downtimes), but on the very calm and efficient way.
About Calma, this is the event I’ve always wanted to do. I’m carrying it out with Josephine, Diskoan and Vrika and although it takes really hard work, people are responding and the most important thing, the music that you can listen there is something outstanding. What happens there is magic. You know what I’m talking about.
J: Can you explain a bit how it all started for you to get in touch with electronic music and where it took you in the last years?
A: I started to listen to electronic music in late 80´s, beginning of 90´s. Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode and Omd were my first favorite bands. After that, groups like Clock DVA, Front line Assembly and over all, Lassigue Bendthaus went always with my in my walkman. Years after, I listened to the Klf´s Chill out, Aphex´s selected ambient works, Global Communication’s 76:14 and FSOL´s Life forms. That marked a turning point in my life. I discovered Brian Eno, Harold Budd and Warp. Everything came together from there: Detroit Techno, Chicago House and, my main influences, Basic Channel and Chain Reaction. I always buy all kind of music: Jazz, Funk, Techno, ambient … If I really like something, I buy the vinyl. No matter the musical style. I always played all kind of styles.
I specially love all the house music made in Detroit in the last two decades. Theo Parrish, Marcellus Pittman, Scott Ferguson, Kai Alce, Moodymann, Reggie Dokes… I have tons of those records. Also Larry Heard and Ron Trent. And, of course I love techno, specially the deeper and atmospheric one. Things like Yagya, DeepChord, Pellarin, Vladislav Delay, Fluxion, Porter Ricks, Monolake have came always with me in my bag. Another turning point in my life was when I discovered Prologue, and that wonderful Voices From the lake’s album there. That was exactly what I had been waiting for years. Then there is my other passion: ambient and experimental music. I’m running a small experimental music festival, Sonikas which I am very proud. This year will take place its 18th edition.
J: Alpenglühen is a “vinyl only” label. Can you explain a bit the idea behind the label itself.
A: I started 5 years ago my own monthly night, Alpenglühen. The idea came from the film Dogville . The Ben Gazzara character is going blind, and says:” …the only thing I’m going to miss is the Alpenglühen over the mountains…“ I had to investigate that. Alpenglühen is german word which designs the last light ray over the mountains (Alps) before nightfall. Just the last moment before the darkness. It was perfect for what I had in mind. I wanted to start my own night where I could play ambient and techno. An Atmospheric concept with music not too bright, not too dark, like the “Alpenglühen” concept. Alpenglühen sessions is one of my most treasured projects where I can play what I want, with total freedom and where I can invite other djs with a similar vision. It doesn’t matter if he is a well-known artist or if the guy simply buys records for himself to be heard at home. I record all nights from the beginning. The label came after. I’m involved in a lot of labels, but i have partners in all of them. It’s really rewarding to work with people, but sometimes it’s hard. I wanted my own label. A platform where I could take my own decisions only by myself. The kind of music was clear and the Alpenglühen concept fit perfectly there. “Exploring the thin line between light and darkness”. This is the motto. About the format, I’m a vinyl lover and I can’t see it from a different perspective. In addition, the vinyl is not exactly going through its finest moment, so I’m going to do my best to support it.
J: You live in Madrid. How would you describe the city regarding the cultural environment, the quality of life and for sure also the nightlife there?
A: One of the big problems here is that everything is very centralized if you compare with other cities like Berlin, Paris or London. It’s not necessary to go so far. Spanish cities like Barcelona or Valencia are less centralized than Madrid. If there is an exhibition or a night happening out of the downtown is really difficult to make people move.
In the last years everything is changing slowly. New contemporary art centres out of the city and clubs outside have emerged. It’s being hard, but people are responding. About nightlife, Madrid was city of reference in 90s. A lot of clubs with incredible djs and wonderful music. You could listen Jungle, Techno, House, ambient … Everything changed in the next decade. A lot of clubs closed and everything turned ugly. Ugly music. Everything was electroclash and minimal, and the big crisis came and smoke-free laws. The right gets the power with the restrictive policies affecting the clubs. Opening hours are reduced, there are raids. Neighbors protested because clubbers now smoke outside make noise, (It is not allowed now inside the clubs and bars). And it’s easier to impose fines and close clubs than try to find another solution. More clubs closed and people preferred to stay at home to go party.
It seems that the city is waking up now. After several dark ages, the city is starting to see the light. There are young agents and collectives doing interesting things. Fresh concepts and people collaborating with each other; day events at cultural spaces; new cultural associations and private spaces outside the city where doing events. Anyways there is still a long way ahead, and a big problem to be solved. There is an absence of clubs. Only a few for too many ideas.
More infos about Alfonso Pomeda on