Cristian Varela: “Family not happy”

Marceline & Cristian Varela at the Dancefair 2019
In 2015 I interviewed Cristian Varela. He was very young at the time of his first gig. His parents weren't really happy about that.

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cristian varela 2015 - Cristian Varela: “Family not happy"

In 2015 I interviewed the Spanish DJ/producer Cristian Varela. “My family wasn’t particularly happy that, at that age, I was playing in a bar."

“My first real gig was in a small bar called La Tortuga (The Turtle). It was situated in a village near Madrid. I was very young, only fifteen years old.”

“You have no idea how nervous I was. It was terrible! The audience existed of people between thirty and forty years old who liked rock music, but could also appreciate house and funky tunes.”

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“Did I prepare my set into detail on beforehand, at home? Nope. I just started and went along with the vibe that unfolded during the evening. I still work that way. I never plan my sets.”


“My family wasn’t particularly happy that I was playing in a bar at that age. Luckily, I got a lot of support of my friends. They were all present that evening.”

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Brother Luis

“One family member totally supported me though. That was my brother Luis. He also was my mentor, so of course he was present during my debut.”

Very old turntables

“I remember very well how that first gig went. The memory still makes me laugh. It was a very funny experience because I made my first mix on the spot with an old Ecleer mixer and very old Lenco turntables. I mixed a Snap track in with Afrika Bambaataa and the result was amazing!”

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“After the set I was not only satisfied but very happy, because this debut in La Tortuga led to a recidency in the Porsche Discotheque in Villalba, which is a village near Madrid. Okay, I admit that I made some mistakes, that first time. Some were even horrible (laughs). But that didn’t change the great experience.“

“I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this evening, nor all others that followed. There’s nothing better than becoming more experienced – every time again.”

This interview with Cristian Varela is originally published on on Thursday July 9th 2015.

Who is Cristian Varela?

Cristian Varela is acknowledged as one of Spain’s pioneering techno producers and promoters. When he started his career over two decades ago, he was one of the first Spanish DJ’s to receive international bookings.

Originally gaining DJ fame for playing standout techno sets on four vinyl turntables, many do not realise Cristian Varela is also a successful composer scoring soundtracks for film, theatre and television. He has even recorded a symphonic album at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London.

Techno is always evolving and like the genre, Cristian Varela has moved with the times. In 2018 he relaunched his “Black Codes Experiments” project, which originally started in 2003. It’s a return to his roots with a series of gigs and vinyl only releases featuring artists such as Regis, Mark Broom, Shufflemaster, Tensal, Abstract Division, Exium and Arnaud Le Texier, amongst others.

When talking about Cristian Varela’s roots, longstanding fans of the techno genre will need little introduction for his seminal remixes of artists such as Ben Sims and Speedy J, and although he has spent many years leaving in London, he has never forgotten his humble roots. Cristian Varela often returns to Spain to give guest talks at many of the country’s leading music schools and colleges.

More than just a remix artist, Cristian Varela has released numerous solo EP’s on labels ranging from Carl Cox’s Intec to his own Pornographic Recordings, and although the relaunch of his Black Codes Experiments imprint will draw some of attention from Pornographic Recordings, it will not stop the label from continuing to feature new music from the likes of The Advent, Ken Ishii, Gary Beck, UMEK, and many more. In 2018 special documentary film celebrating Cristian Varela’s 25 year career in music was realized, which features testimonials and commentary from friends and colleagues including Carl Cox, Chris Liebing and Joseph Capriati, plus numerous others who have been instrumental in his career.

With a gig schedule that takes him all over the world, for those who are patient, you should be able to catch Cristian Varela in your home city or country. For those who need a more regular dose of his music selections, you can catch his weekly radio show that’s syndicated in Europe, USA, South America and Asia via more than 100 specialised techno stations in more than 50 countries.

Taking into account all of the above, it comes as no surprise Cristian Varela has won more than 40 awards including “Best Worldwide Techno DJ” at the DJ Awards in 2007 and again in 2013.

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