Suara bossman Coyu returned to India last weekend for a 3-city tour. Suara is not just a music label but has been setting new fashion standards in the electronic music industry. Actively involved in charity and animal rights, they have been doing some great work. The man behind this success is Ivan Ramos better known to his fans as Coyu. Ivan has been setting new standards for record labels with his versatile music choice which has allowed Suara Music to release music by a lot of quality producers. Having released a series of EPs on Saved Records, Diynamic Music, Noir Music, Drumcode, 100% Pure, Cocoon, Bedrock and his own imprint Suara, the Catalan native has also proven his mastery in the studio time and time again. Apart from some brilliant productions of his own, every now and then he also delivers a stunning remix. He has remixed artists like Green Velvet, Joseph Capriati, Stephan Bodzin, Fatboy Slim and Riva Starr in the past and does not show any signs of stopping. We invited the Big Cat to have a small chat with us after his gig at Beats Per Minute, Hyderabad. Read the full interview below.
Hello Ivan, welcome back to India. It’s been a couple of years since your last trip. How does it feel to be back?
I feel pretty good. The last time I played here was in 2014 and I am very happy to be here. I feel great to play in a land where I get so much love.
It’s been an upward journey for Suara over the last few years. Could you tell us what is that you guys have been doing differently in your opinion to achieve this success?
The success of Suara primarily comes from the quality of the music. Suara is a very eclectic label releasing deep house, tech house, techno and off late we are releasing more Techno and Underground than in the past. I personally am not into Tech House anymore, for me the genre has become very formulaic where you listen to the Top Beatport tracks and you feel you are listening to the same track over and over. So I got bored and hence we stopped releasing Tech House but we will continue to release the occasional House tracks. At Suara we want to maintain the versatality by not having our own sound but instead promoting a wide range of sounds.
Why Coyu? What is the story behind this moniker?
I first heard the name Coyuco back in Amnesia, Ibiza when I was 15 years old. It was in a track that I heard and soon I started using Coyuco as my name on the internet, on messengers and music forums. My friends started calling me as Coyu from then. When I was around 17-18 years old, I started working as a music journalist and used my real name Ivan Ramos to sign all the articles, reviews and interviews that I did. I did not want to mix my real name and DJ name and hence I thought Coyu would be the perfect moniker.
Apart from putting out some fabulous records, your label Suara has been building up quite the fashion statement in the electronic music world. Who is the brains behind this art?
Well, it all started with this guy called Gaz who makes all the covers for the label, the brand and the store. We met about 10 years ago and we are very good friends. He is now working along with another guy and together they are making some amazing artwork for the brand. A lot of people think that we use cat images from Google or other stock websites, but actually all these images are hand painted and done manually every time. We have been doing this for last 10 years to maintain the essence of the visual aspect of our label. We are one of the first labels that have 2 full time designers working on getting us new album covers for each release than only changing the colors on old artworks.
Tell us about how your love for cats started. You’ve been actively doing charitable work as a part of the Suara Foundation. Could you tell us more about your mission?
It all started when I met my girlfriend and she introduced me to the whole new world of cats. I love their attitude, their way of thinking and I fell in love with them. Where we live there was a colony of feral cats and we started to take care of them, feed them, vaccinate them. That is how the Suara Foundation was born, from taking care of cats to having a dedicated cat cafe now where cat and music lovers can come together and spend time with these amazing creatures. I am very passionate and a crazy cat lover and I feel it is great to have that kind of a connection between electronic music labels and animals, it is something different.
You have produced some stellar remixes that have helped put you on the map. Which has been your absolute favourite remix to work on?
Oh it is difficult to select just one but let me try. I would say one of my favourites is my remix for Fatboy Slim's Right Here Right Now. It was one of my favourite tracks back then and when they asked me to remix it I was super happy. It was one of the biggest tracks ever and I was extremely happy with the result. But my all time favourite remix is the one I did for Moby's Natural Blues. It is special not just because of the way it came out but more because I respect Moby a lot. He is not only an amazing musician but also an active animal activist. He is all the time working towards the betterment of the animal society. I follow all his work via his social media accounts. One of my favourite album 'Play' was made by him and my favourite track ever is Natural Blues and hence it was a great pleasure for me to work on it.
Suara has signed some really talented artists over the years. What is the A&R process at Suara like? How much of a role do you play in it?
We are constantly in touch with different artists, browsing through Beatport and other charts, constantly on the lookout for the next big artist to get onto the label. I think it is important to maintain that balance between big names and new names. You can find amazing producers all over the world, for eg, we are releasing an EP by Arjun Vagale on Suara. He is a great guy and a great producer and a big inspiration for a lot of Indian Producers. He is one of the pioneers in the Techno scene in India and I pay my respect by releasing this EP. The EP is going to be really great and we are certain fans will love it.
Tell us about the teenage Coyu. What were you into when you were growing up? How did you become a part of the music industry? We’ve read on your instagram that you were once driving John Digweed around, and now you play alongside him. How did this turnabout happen?
I used to drive around DJ's when I was younger to get more involved in the electronic music scene of Spain. I also worked as a music journalist, driver for DJs, a booking agent, I even started promoting gigs by handing out flyers on the streets. I did everything I could to get involved and fuel my passion for the music scene. I started pretty young and I had my first label when I was around 22 years and then a year later Suara happened. I got to know a lot of these people from the industry due to my active participation when I was young and that has surely helped me in the long run.
Your sets are pretty versatile ranging from Techno to Tech House while as a label Suara has a signature house sound. How would you define your sound? Is this versatility something you enjoy?
I think that my sound is evolving all the time. Currently I am more into a Techno mood but sometimes it is more acid, sometimes indie with vocals. Everyday it is different. Last night in Mumbai, I played more a powerful techno set and today it was pretty dfferent and melodic. It depends on my mood, the crowd, the setting of the party and many such factors.
What can we expect from Coyu in 2018?
I plan to release my first album in 2018. I released the first single 'One Plus One' in August and will be releasing another one in February. It's taken me a while to finish this one and and release the album at the earliest so looks to be a busy year ahead.
Today was the last leg of your India Tour. How was the tour?
It was a great tour. Mumbai was amazing last night. I had so much fun. Even today, Hyderabad was fantastic and the crowd enjoyed the journey that I tried to create woth my set. I hope to come back soon and play here once again.