Techno Tuesday: Coyu on Suara, BPM, and his obsession with cats
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
In the seven years since it’s operated, Spanish label Suara has evolved into an important pillar of the techno and house scene, reaching number one spots on both Resident Advisor and Beatport’s charts. It’s hosted a plethora of dance music’s key acts, recently signing tracks by the likes of Pete Tong, Jeremy Olander, and Lane 8.
Musicality aside, when thinking about Suara, there’s one mental image that comes to mind: cats. Domestic felines of all types dominate album artwork, with its various DJ residents often paying homage to the link by including cat-related song titles in their releases. The label’s homepage even reads: “All About Music…and Cats!” As a result, the label has not only earned a soft-spot in the hearts of those with high production standards, but with cat lovers as well. Suara’s affinity for cats is carefully maintained by its owner, accomplished DJ and “Big Cat” himself, Coyu. As he prepared for his closing weekend performance at BPM, we thought it only natural to sit down with him to have a quick Q&A about all things cat, and Suara-related.
DA: Where does your affinity for cats come from?
Coyu: Actually, that comes from my my girlfriend – she’s a feline vet and works with cats so I fell in love with them because of her.
DA: Why do you think cats are the best?
Coyu: They are very independent. I like them because they are very different than other pets. You see look at dogs and they all have the same kind of attitude and feelings, but cats all have their unique personalities. I have 3 cats now at home – one of them for example is really attached to me. She follows me all day long, looking at me, sleeping with me, etc. But she doesn’t like the other cats or even my girlfriend – she hardly interacts with her. But the other two are totally different! That’s why I like them, because they have different ways of expressing themselves and their emotions.
DA: How did Suara come to be associated with cats?
Coyu: You know what’s funny is at first it really had nothing to do with cats. The first ten albums in it didn’t even have cat artwork on it. By release number 11, there had been no cats of ours, but then we changed the designer and asked him to make a cat logo just to try and see what would happen. Then everybody ended up loving it so we decided to put cats on every album cover. After that, people started calling it the “Cat Label” and so we decided that cats should be our main theme.
DA: Suara is now considered to be one of the biggest labels in techno and tech house, with over 200 releases. How does it feel to have built all this success in a relatively short amount of time?
Coyu: To me, it’s like watching your baby grow up. It’s like my child! We’re doing so many things – not just releases, but now bestsellers on Beatport and being one of the highest charting labels in RA; we’re grateful to be able to expand to places like BPM, or ADE, or Sonar. We’re even bringing showcases to places like South Korea or Peru, everywhere! It’s really a great feeling to see so many people supporting what we do with both the cats and the music. Truly great.
DA: This is your second annual showcase at BPM — do you notice any major differences in say the crowd, or overall atmosphere in comparison to last year?
Coyu: I definitely noticed a way bigger crowd this year. Our first year we were at Tabu, which is quite small and very intimate – around a 400-person capacity. This year there it was extremely full, like 900 people or so turned up. As for the energy, last year it was very good due to the event being so small. We created it. As for this year it was very big, and so the energy was electrifying. The crowd in both years was dancing and having fun the whole time. I’m very happy with BPM; the showcase was unbelievable and we’re very happy to do things like this at a festival like this, in a country like Mexico or Latin America. Looking at the crowd we had this year as well, there were a lot of Canadians and Americans. I’m in those places often, so it’s great to see them bring support all the way down here.