This is an interview exploring the identity of an up-and-coming house producer Adam Guitart, stage-name ‘Zurra’, who has recently moved to Bristol, a place he describes as a “beautiful city.” Upon asking him a series of questions about his musical background, he has delivered some intriguing answers that I am going to share with you. To understand Zurra, you must first understand his music style; house, a music genre that exploits computer technology to produce an artistic output. These processes of computer technology, and mixing sounds, Zurra is deeply familiar with as he was a student of Electronic Music Production at The Academy of Contemporary Music. He has risen up the ranks and gained himself notoriety amongst industry professionals, having incorporated his own productions into his live performances in various venues in the United Kingdom, and abroad.
When discussing Zurra’s identity as a musician, the foremost question has to be where he derived his unique stage-name. It turns out that the name Zurra wasn’t just plucked out of thin air, and instead has a special meaning to him, and his family; “Well, Zurra is taken from my father’s family name; “Amechazurra”. I’ve been through so many names as a producer and none of them ever felt right, mainly because they were all awful and cringeworthy. But of course this name is in my DNA, so I instantly knew this was the one.” Revealing to us that he didn’t get his stage-name right the first time, but in the end has founda meaningful identity, tells us that you aren’t always going to get things perfect the first time around, hence the mantra; ‘if at first you don’t succeed try, and try again’. Arguably a quality that has allowed his music to develop into what it is today, by testing and mixing sounds in his laptop laboratory, figuring out what works for him and what doesn’t.
So, where did the house influence come from, and what gave Zurra the direction of following a path in producing music electronically? Surely, this is a career move that had been premeditated long before? “To be honest, I actually enrolled onto the wrong course when I first started at university. At that time I was a rapper first and foremost, and I thought I’d got offered a place on the song-writing course. You could call it a happy accident” You would think that someone who is creating a career from a niche music genre would have been following this particular style for some time. Zurra has only been producing for around 3 years and in that time has diverged drastically from the pathway he initially envisaged for himself, from a rapper to a producer. With a little tenacity, going with the flow and embracing change, the positive outcomes for Zurra have been considerable if you note that his music had made regular radio appearances.
When talking about his future in the music industry, Zurra is advantageous in his motivations to gain credibility for his work, and there are some music professionals and journalists that predict Zurra could break through into the mainstream if he keeps up the momentum. Perhaps it might be his love of Sushi that propels him into his next adventure; “My music’s going to take me all over the world, that’s the plan. It’s already taken me to some fascinating places, but Japan would be the one for me… My favourite food, another tough question, but it’s got to be Sushi though. Any Japanese food ticks the box for me.” But hopefully, we in the United Kingdom won’t loose him for long, as we are in need of good quality, home-grown producers, and there will be a few upset club managers where Zurra has made regular appearances, and has drawn in large crowds of partygoers.
When asked about his favourite venues that Zurra has performed in, and has expressed his admiration and love for two places in particular that he felt was important to show his affinity for; “Thirty3Hz in Guildford is small, intimate, loud and lively. I’ve been lucky enough to hold a residency there for over two years. I love that place. Lightbox in London feels like a slightly bigger Thirty3Hz, and I love it for all the same reasons.” These are the places where Zurra has been able to hone his live performances and overcome the fears of live audiences, but thanks to his parents he says, his performing arts background has prepared him for the spotlight; “… it always used to freak me out until I got on stage. Now it’s second nature, and I love every second of it.” Zurra has exported his learned skills and his music into other venues across the UK and abroad. I wonder if he will make it to Japan, or will his ‘embrace change’ attitude towards life take him on another uncharted course?
Words Oly Hamilton