Meet the winner of Mixmag and Edmwarrior’s Make It: Techno competition, Daniel Rifaterra - Features - Mixmag

Meet the winner of Mixmag and Edmwarrior’s Make It: Techno competition, Daniel Rifaterra

We sat down with the winner of Make It: Techno, the second round of our production competition challenging emerging artists to showcase their prowess in the studio

  • In association with Edmwarriors
  • 4 July 2024

We’re challenging dance music producers and emerging artists from all over the world to showcase their creativity and production prowess by entering our brand new series of competitions in collaboration with the world's largest EDM ghost production marketplace, Edmwarriors.

In June, we asked aspiring producers to take part in the second round of our production competition, Make It: Techno. The rules were simple: create an original track with no limitations, and most importantly, get creative. All tracks submitted had to fit in the techno genre, or any of its sub-genres.

After submissions closed, we had plenty of tracks to choose from with original cuts ranging from industrial to minimal techno, including a chilling techno track from Skahigan, an industrial cut from M9WD, a dark techno number from Dvn Bvtistv, a thumping cut from Cenzo, and a melodic techno track from Daniel Rifaterra. Each of these artists made our shortlist, which you can listen to below.

After a difficult decision, we crowned one winner: Daniel Rifaterra. The selection process was made by the teams at both Mixmag and Edmwarriors, who searched for the most dynamic and creative techno track making use of the stems provided in a dynamic way.

Daniel Rifaterra is a new-to-the-scene DJ and producer hailing from Spain, with an ear for the “dark and different”. His approach to production pulls from Mogwai's post rock, Deftones' nu metal, and Chet Baker's jazz wrapped together with influence from ‘90s hip hop and jungle, creating a seamless brand of techno that he describes as both “personal and disruptive”. He’s gained support from the likes of Richie Hawtin and Truncate over the years, while his releases have earned plays in some of dance music’s most revered spots, including Awakenings Festival and a BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix.

Listen to Daniel Rifaterra’s winning track below, and check out a Q&A with him to find out about his journey as a producer.

Can you introduce yourself and describe your journey as a music producer and artist?

I should be a redneck given where I’m from, or so they say, but I failed at that. I should be a DJ with tons of gigs because of my music, they also say, but I’m failing at that too.

I don’t know if either of those things would make me happier, but I do know that I haven’t failed at being the artist I’ve always wanted to be. I think I’ve managed to develop my own sound, that one I call ‘Sober Techno’, and that lets me express myself even better than talking. This personal style has led me to release my best work on my all-time favourite label ARTS, have my tracks played by legends in places like Awakenings and fabric, and even do an official remix for one of my favourite artists. My younger self wouldn’t believe any of this.

I might not have put enough effort into my TikTok or moved to Berlin, but if it weren’t for my introversion and wanting to keep my studio in my village surrounded by forests, fields, and mountains, my organic techno for EMOs probably wouldn’t exist.

What sparked your interest in music production, and how did you begin?

Being almost literally alone in my village of eight people during my teenage years. A sparse but sufficient internet connection allowed me to discover music styles I couldn’t hear on the radio or TV, and that became my best friend. What started as an interest in podcasts like Hospital Records and Soul:r turned into a passion for DJing, and later on, I even started writing for Spanish electronic music magazines.

But it was my move to Barcelona during my university years that threw me into the techno scene. Before I knew it, I had an urge to express myself in those terms, so I learned the basics of production, put in the hours, experimented, and had patience. Many years later, this is the result: maybe not the most technically proficient producer, but one who takes creative risks that apparently work.

Where do you find your inspiration, and who or what has influenced your music style?

Artistically, as clichéd as it sounds, first and foremost in nature, given that I grew up there. In terms of musical influences, the structures of Mogwai’s post-rock, the elegance of Chet Baker’s jazz, and Johnny Cash’s attitude affect me too much not to mention.

As for sound, I don’t have much knowledge of synthesis, mainly because I like to sample whatever meme or video has stuck in my head lately, and then I torture and experiment with it until I create something completely new.

What message do you hope your music conveys to your audience?

I want to be to techno what Deftones are to metal. I want to be hard and relentless, but at the same time, I want to make you cry.

There are already plenty of artists making music for you to dance to, and I’m the first to play their tracks. But I want some of mine to come on at some point in the set and be the highlight of the night for you. That moment that made you feel something different, maybe gave you chills or brought a tear to your eye, that surprise you didn’t expect, that moment of vulnerability that makes you feel alive.

What are your plans as a producer? Can you give us a sneak peek at your upcoming releases?

I have a few tracks and remixes already signed for this year on some really good labels, but I’ve got buckets more that I’m trying to find the right place for. I’m also thinking about starting my own label; it’s no secret. Do you think people would be interested in a home for ‘sad techno’?

And yes! I played at Code in Fabrik Madrid this past February, and I decided to play only my own tracks, most of them unreleased. That set is up on my SoundCloud if anyone wants to know what to expect from me in the upcoming months, or is just curious about the sound I’ve been bragging about here.

Want to get involved in the next competition? We’re launching the next round, Make It: Bass, very soon, so keep your eyes peeled on both Mixmag and Edmwarriors' socials to find out more information. Keep up to date on all the ongoing competition here.

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