On The Road – Toni Varga (elrow Town London)

For our second interview on our ‘On The Road‘ series, we were invited to elrow Town a few weeks back and were lucky enough to catch up with Toni Varga just after he finished his performance.

So where have you flown in from today? 

I have just arrived in London about three hours ago, I was playing in Milan yesterday. So I’ve just had a shower in the hotel then Ive come to the festival.

Where are you playing tonight?

Have just played here today and then tonight I’m playing the official elrow afterparty at Koko. Ive never been there before, but everybody have told me it’s an amazing place. 

Then where are you playing after here?

Tomorrow I’m flying to Asia, I go to Thailand and Cambodia. I have like a little tour, for two weeks in Asia. Tomorrow I am flying, probably with a Hangover haha! 

What sort of set did you play today? What sort of vibe did you bring? 

Today I had to do the opening set. For me it was good because it was raining and within five minutes you can see the tent was super packed. You know, I didn’t expect that, but I really enjoyed it. I played in the techno area, which is not exactly my style because I play a lot more of a house style. But yeh, we are residents for elrow, so sometimes we have to play in the techno area, sometimes in the house area. But I play my music, so honestly, I did nothing different, just my music. 

Let’s go back to the start of your career. How did you first become a DJ?, 

It’s a long history because I have 22 years in my music career now. Yeah, I started in like like 2000, 2001, more or less. I was a promotor before and I was doing parties in my city La Corona. It’s the northwest of Spain. I don’t know if you know where it is.

One day I thought, how amazing would it be to start playing to the crowds, then I said, okay, so I’m going to try that and the rest is history.

When you was a child, what sort of music did you used to listen to? Like growing up as a kid?

At the beginning when I was a child, I used to listen to heavy metal, my brother was always listening to Metallica.

But then when I was around 15, 16 years old, I started to listen electronic music, but like Pink Floyd at first. I remember the first time I saw a DJ, it was Sven Vath. I saw a video on YouTube and I thought that’s amazing. It was Berlin techno from 2000, something super different. It was amazing for me this day. It changed my life.

What sort of DJs have influenced you to become who you are today?

The first one has to be Sven Vath. But not about the style of his music. Im talking about him as he was the first DJ I seen. But then after that was Richie Hawtin. But now if I have to say Jamie Jones. He has been my big influence because his style is so close to my style. And we are also friends, so I know him and he’s such a humble guy.

How did you first get involved in Elrow? 

I was working in Amnesia Ibiza before and I remember the owner of elrow Juan, you just met him, he invited me to Barcelona one day to play at his elrow party. Then they invited me another day, then another and then they asked me if I wanted to be an elrow resident!

At that moment, was looking for a change in my life because I was living in Ibiza for many years. I was working in the same club, Amnesia for many years. Now I’m there again, but performing!

Are you an elrow resident?

Yeah I’m one of them. 

Do you go around to all their performances?

Before we was doing like a 120 elrow parties a year. Now we are doing less parties, but each party is a lot bigger. We have three shows today, we have here, New York and Ibiza.

What new music do you have coming? Do you have any new releases of yourself?

Of course. I have one track coming on Steve Lawlers label, Viva Music. Steve has been a very good friend for many years. We even back to back sometimes, I have also released a lot of tracks on his label. I have another track coming on Moan Recordings too.

When you’re in the studio, what does your music production setup consist of? 

Now I’m working with Ableton Live, so everything is software and then working with the TR-8 and Machine for the drums. And then I use some synths like Jupiter, Diva for my synth and bass sounds.

Would you say your sound has changed over the years?

Of course, you have to change because the music is changing all the time. Everything now is a lot more minimal. The software has changed the sound of the of the production. It’s always rolling. It’s always changing, you know? So my style is more or less the same, but now it’s really a bit more minimal.

Do you have any remixes coming?. 

I have one coming on a label in America, It’s called Origin and I have some remixes coming in the next is 2 or 3 three months.

When you’re on the road, do you make music when you’re on the road or do you wait until you go home?

I like to make music because when you are flying for like ten hours to USA or Asia or wherever, you have a lot of time. Everyone is watching movies, so I prefer to go on my laptop and to make some music, or prepare my set. 

Ok, let’s do some quick fire questions. So just one answers. 

House or techno? – House

Favourite sport? – Football

Favourite food? – Japanese food, I love it!

Summer or winter holiday? – Winter holiday for me.. Because in the summer it gets quite busy working.

After party or do you go home? – Always after party.

Ibiza or Barcelona? – Thats a difficult question brother, I have to say Ibiza. But Barcelona is in my heart always, you know. It’s my favourite city. 

Favourite lesson at school? – Maths

Favourite car? – Porsche  

Favourite colour? – Green

August 16, 2023