Plastik Funk, the stage name of Spain's Rafael Ximenez-Carrillo, has been crafting dancefloor ready big room house for nearly 20 years now. Touring non-stop all over the globe (when such things are allowed), he is a mainstay on the club and festival international circuits.
The hard work and dedication paid off when he made DJ Mag's illustrious Top 100 DJs list last year. With hits like 'WHO' and 'Dare Me' under his belt he puts together an electrifying live show. He is finally getting back out on the road after a dormant year, touring Asia on the back of his recent Tribute To Asia EP.
With all this going on we caught up him to see where his head's at.
Your latest EP is called Tribute To Asia and you play in Asia often. What is it about Asia that you connect with?
Asia is one of my favourite places to tour, for me it is the openness of Asian culture and the sense that they celebrate dance music, in all forms, so much. Asia has always had a special place in my heart, from the energy of the people, over to the amazing welcomes I’ve always received, the EP was my chance to say thanks and celebrate that through music.
The closing track on the EP, 'What You Want,' features a great trill drum sound that comes in just after the 2:30 minute mark. Take me through the process of how you created that sound.
To work with Triple M and Blanee was brilliant, especially as artists so fresh in the scene, the collaboration was something we were collectively, completely on the same page with. In terms of the sound, it was a situation where we really wanted to build suspense pre-drop, something that will work in a live setting as well as the listener feeling it through the speakers at home.
We would be remise if we didn’t talk about music festivals. Do you have a favourite festival memory you can share?
I couldn't simply choose one! For me, Tomorrowland is always brilliant every time I play. A great memory I have was playing on the Robin Schulz and Friends stage back in 2019, so back pre-COVID. An amazing energy from the crowd, brilliant production from the crew and great Summer vibes – I'm so excited to return!
How do you approach a music festival set vs a club set? Do you prefer one over the other?
With festival sets, I feel like I can play a lot more "overground" as the big hits are wanted to really bring the party, but with club sets, I can road test new tracks, edits and get a little bit more experimental as the crowds are attending with my set being the headlining one. I enjoy both equally as they are so different – I am so excited for us to be able to dance together again!
Looking through your discography you clearly love to collaborate with a wide range of artists. What do you like about collaborating?
With collaboration, the best part is getting out of your comfort zone and being able to go back and forth with ideas and elements that, as an artist working solo, you may never have thought of.
How has finally playing shows again been? How have audiences reacted?
It has been amazing! I feel so lucky to be the first international, Top 100 DJ to be granted permission to travel. I think everyone has just been so excited to let their hair down and enjoy the positivity and unity of music, it’s been so great and is something I will never take for granted, and I imagine my audiences feel the same.
Lockdown has obviously been tough on everyone but were there any positives in taking time away from your busy schedule?
I have been working out, focusing on my mental and physical fitness. In such a time of uncertainty, that has really been a focus for me away from working in the studio.
By my calculations your 20th anniversary is next year. Any plans you can let us in on to celebrate that massive milestone?
Wow, you’re correct – time flies when you're having fun! I will for sure be looking to plan something such as a tour to celebrate what an amazing ride my career has been already – let's see what the future will hold!
What does the rest of 2021 look like for you?
A lot of exciting productions and for me, the most exciting thing has been hopefully being able to tour again and share my music with the world. We all need to ensure we are safe, take precautions and only open up when fully ready – there is nothing like live music and once we can dance, it's going to be better than ever! I also have another edition of my Tribute To Asia EP coming very soon via Revealed Recordings and more fresh music dropping via Mixmash, let's make it a Summer to remember!