With the rising popularity of electronic music, Progressive has been unwavering in its musical ethos and global following. Progressive as a genre is often seen in a different light by the casual observer, mostly due to genre classifications and being bastardized by charts and digital retail outlets. “Progressive” to some might initiate thoughts of generic EDM that runs rampant through festival mainstages, but the Progressive we know and love is a complex musical arrangement complete with intricate melodies and grooves that stand in a class of it’s own.
If there were a musical Olympics, Israel would have a strong presence in the games, with Guy Mantzur carrying the torch among his fellow musical colleagues. As a globetrotting DJ and winner of the 2013 XL Award for Israel’s Best Underground DJ, Guy has a tremendous amount of knowledge to share when discussing the current state of Progressive.
Hello Guy, thanks for taking the time with us! How was the beginning of 2016 for you?
Hey, thank you for having me!
I’m really happy with how 2016 started for me, I had a great release on Diynamic that was #1 on the Beatport charts, as well as a remix On Systematic and some very exciting gigs. I finished a beautiful month of touring in North America, now I have some time back at home to work on the next releases for this year.
How would you describe the current state of Progressive in 2016?
Progressive is something that will always be part of dance music. The listeners of Progressive treat this music as their way of life and religion, these days it has became even stronger and you can see the worlds top underground DJ’s playing melodies & progressive.
In what ways has the genre/industry changed throughout your career?
It’s like a circle…one time it’s up, and then down, but it’s still always there.
I feel that these days all genres totally blend into each other and there is not one genre. A lot of the most successful techno tracks are very melodic and lots of the deep house tracks have the progressive elements inside, so it comes to a point that its all about good music and that’s very good place to be.
When were you first exposed to electronic music? What were some of your influences when you first began the journey?
The first electronic music I was exposed to was different then dance music – it was trip hop, chill out, I always loved the combination of blending live elements into electronic. Music such as Massive Attack, Portishead, Tosca, Groove Armada, Moby and lots of others were the link into the electronic elements, and then I have fell in love with the more up tempo BPM such as Sasha, Digweed, Garnier etc.
When did you decide to pursue this as a career?
I have always worked in music. From movie and TV soundtracks to composing live shows and songwriting, this is what I have been doing since I was really young, but in my mid 20s I started to go and listen to DJs more and more. And then the dark hypnotic beat stole my heart away.
With the classification of genres, it seems that true “Progressive” almost gets lost in the mix. For those who aren’t familiar, just going on Beatport, for example, they might come across more big room/festival music as opposed to the deeper melodic side of things. – What are your thoughts on this?
It’s a very familiar issue mostly between DJ’s and label owners, but this issue is something that will have to be resolved somehow. In reality what happens is that the real Progressive is being release in Deep House, Techno and Electronica, and the DJ’s that are looking for this are already know where to find it.
Its something that the music lovers and home listeners are even aware of so it won’t make such a different.
I know there are many people like myself that are waiting for Beatport to finally make the move and open up 1 or 2 more genres for the EDM and Big Room style and give the progressive sound the respected place it should be.
Do you feel that the sound and genre is reaching a wider audience in 2016?
Totally yes! These days most of the DJ’s are playing melodic stuff and smashing it big time. I can see it also growing huge on the genre in the touring side of things.
Dance music is a universal language embraced all over the world. Progressive music seems to have an especially welcome response in your home of Israel and parts of South America. Would you agree?
I agree that in South America and Israel people really love it, and also don’t mind to say how much they connected to it. But it’s also popular in a lot of other places such as Netherlands, UK, Mexico, India, Ibiza, Moscow to name a few…
What makes these places so important for the genre?
Every artist has their own strong territory, usually it’s two or three [places], and then the rest. For each and every artist it’s like a safe place that will always accept them with open arms. Book them and in the end help them grow.
Strong territory for an artist, it’s like water and sun for a flower. If you have these two things, you will grow bigger into a beautiful creation.
What’s the dance community like in Israel? We’ve heard people share great stories and experiences from places like Cat & Dog Club or The Block.
The dance scene in Israel is very good and interesting; you can find parties almost every day and DJ’s from all over the world playing every weekend.
Cat & Dog is just an amazing place and it’s like a home to me. I can tell you for sure that I had some of my best nights in my career as a DJ there.
How are nights there different than when you play at other venues around the world?
For me it’s like playing at my home ground, with all the friends surrounding me. I’m now at point where I’m not playing a lot in Tel Aviv because of my weekend touring schedule, so every time I do it’s an amazing opportunity to see all of my friends, and that makes things really special.
Can you describe your ideal club/room for us?
I love when the room is dark, tight sound, and the DJ booth is really close to the audience. It makes everything super warm and cozy.
How did you become involved with Plattenbank?
I started it with Yaniv Tal from Germany. I’ve known him for a few years and was releasing on the other labels he had. I told him about the idea of creating my own label and he suggested for me to be part of Plattenbank and build it with him.
I did the first release for the label named “City Lights”. I remember it also had a vinyl release.
What do you look for when signing music to the label?
It’s very important for me that the music will be special and with heart. I’m playing most of the music that I’m signing before releasing it, too. I see Plattenbank as a small family that is getting bigger from year to year and it’s really important to me to have good people involved and not only good producers.
If you had a piece of advice to share with aspiring DJ’s and producers, what would you tell them?
Be yourself :)
Connect with Guy Mantzur: Facebook / Twitter / Soundcloud / Beatport / Resident Advisor