Beatport Hype Release of the Month: Lis Sarroca — "Spaze X"

Lis Sarroca’s debut EP for her new Maai Records imprint comes in as Beatport’s HYPE Release of the Month.

8 min
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Jul 29, 2021
Cameron Holbrook

Mega-talented Barcelona resident Lis Sarroca has been unstoppable this year. Following a hotly-tipped six-track No Wait EP on Shall Not Fade, and releases on DJ Haus’s Hot Haus Recs and Anja Schneider’s Mobilee, she has worked her way into the hearts and flash drives of underground DJs worldwide. Some of her most keen supporters include Cinthie, The Blessed Madonna, Disclosure, Ian Pooley, Jimpster and Demuja.

It’s hard to put your finger on Sarroca’s sound, which takes in classic house, disco updates, acid breaks and techy, late-night rollers with ease. She has been DJing for over a decade, honing her craft through time spent in the world’s best record stores, and has been producing since 2016. Her reputation for creating classy dance music with her own stamp is catching up with her name as a DJ, as the two sides continue to influence and inform each other.

Lis Sarroca has just taken the next great leap forward, establishing her new Maai Records label. For Beatport’s Hype Release of the Month, we dig into her imprint’s debut Spaze X EP to better understand its toothsome sound and the direction she plans to take this exciting new label.

We also hear how her time in isolation has helped her better define her productions, the story behind her new EP, and Maai Records, and where she hopes to perform as her star continues to rise.

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Thanks for joining us, Lis! How has 2021 been treating you so far?

Thanks for having me. It is my pleasure! 2021 has been good! I wouldn’t complain much about this year so far. I had a fantastic chance to travel and play at the beginning of the year. I had some very nice shows in Mexico; the parties were small but nicely curated by the promoters. It was so good that I got to spend tons of time with friends and family, and I got a lot to connect there with myself and with my relatives. It’s been a good, busy year, and I’ve been putting out music, and thankfully, I feel great about that.

Tell us about how you first got your start DJing in Mexico before moving back to your birthplace of Barcelona. What inspired the move, and what are some of your favorite things about Barcelona’s dance music scene?

I started DJing in Mexico with friends and got really into it just for fun, and then after spending a few years playing, I started to think I really wanted to stay on that path and look for more horizons.

As a kid, I was always spending Christmas holidays in Barcelona and always felt like I wanted to come back to experience the way of living here. Music was definitely my best excuse to come back and start from zero. It’s been more than five years with the project in Europe, with all kinds of experiences, all enriching me.

Barcelona has a lot to offer. I honestly love the record shops in town. There are plenty and have some really good people behind them. I enjoy all the various events, and summer day parties are one of my favorite things in town.

Since 2020, you’ve released records on Hot Haus Recs, House Cookin Records, Vicario Musique, Aterral, and an epic six-track EP on Shall Not Fade. Would you say that your time in isolation has helped you hone your sound and dig into defining your production style?

Yes, definitely lockdown and isolation made me think more about my direction and musical value. I mostly spent my time at home digging on sounds and listening to music from the past and present. Having that covered, going to the studio with a clear idea [helped my confidence].

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Spaze X is the debut release for your new record label, Maai Records. What are your plans for the imprint moving forward?

The idea is to start releasing music from my catalog, combined with inviting producers I like and admire into the project. I have some really nice relationships and connections that will help me put it together and identify a sound as we go, but I’m also open to receiving demos and building a nice tribe! I am curious to see what it is like being on the other side of releasing music as a label manager. I want to curate music differently and create a concept that encourages all music lovers.

Can you give us some insight into the name behind the label?

Maai is a Japanese martial arts term referring to the space between two opponents in combat; formally, the “engagement distance.” So a lot of it is about timing, which I think is the key to everything in terms of an artist’s life projects. I also love the name “Maai” as if I was saying or pronouncing it differently — “my records.”

What is it about this two-tracker that makes it the proper record to introduce your new label? How does it capture the “essence” of Lis Sarroca?

I think both tracks are very compatible and show the sounds I am into lately. The essence is creative energy for the dance floor through the use of melodies, groove, and deep house music.

“Kobie” is a track I’ve been playing a lot and thinking about where to put it. I thought the best place was Maai Records, and I thought it was a perfect fit, so hopefully, you can feel the effect. “Spaze X” brings up a nowadays trend — futuristic funk weighed down by a nostalgic electro arrangement.

As an enthusiastic traveler, what are the places where you hope to perform as travel restrictions begin to ease up?

The UK is one of my dreams! Also, I would love to visit Australia at some point.

And any new place really, it is always interesting to discover things you never thought about going to, most of the time unexpected places are the best ones.

Cameron Holbrook is the Junior Editor at Beatportal. Find him on Twitter.

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