When talking house music, Mexico is not the first place that comes to mind. But Guadalajara's Balcazar & Sordo might be single-handedly changing that perception. Or at the very least, they're at the top of a rapidly growing new wave of Mexican producers.
The DJ-production duo has exploded practically overnight, with releases on some of this year's most hotly-tipped underground labels, like Hot Waves, Leftroom, No.19 Music, and Dirt Crew. And there's no denying that the pair's overwhelming hype can be directly attributed to the exuberance of their sound, a blend of classic house and electro-funk with a modern, polished sheen.
Ahead of their debut Miami performance with LINK and Miami Rebels at Treehouse this Saturday, Crossfade caught up with the sensational twosome to talk about parties, pointy boots, breakthrough success, the scene in Mexico, and their creative process.
Crossfade: How did growing up in Guadalajara shape you as artists? Is there a solid electronic dance music scene there, or did you have to look to other cities for influence and inspiration?
Balcazar & Sordo: Guadalajara is a musical city -- perhaps it's the city with the most musical people anywhere in Mexico. We are also very lucky to receive international electronic dance artists to perform at such world-renowned places like Bar Americas. We definitely think that it is essential to search all over the world for influences to create our own personal taste in music.
So what are your thoughts on homegrown Mexican electronic music styles like "tribal" and the pointy boots scene?
We like to respect the expressions of others. This kind music has had a good response in some parts of the population, perhaps by the folklore that it has, but it's just not our style. We just think the boots are funny [Laughs]
How did your creative partnership first come about? And what is the dynamic like between the two of you in the studio?
Gabriel has been a DJ for many years. He has traveled to many different countries to play, so he is a very experienced DJ. Marco is a solid producer who has also been playing for several years. One day we just decided to join forces and experiment. Sincerely, we didn't expect great results. We were working honestly and just letting our tastes flow. In the studio we just get to work on ideas and music just flows.
There is classic funk and soul infused in your productions, yet they sound modern. How did you develop this sound? Which artists or records do you consider most influential, and what is the creative process like in the studio for you?
We have listened to and played electronic music for such a long time now, so we have lived through major sound changes. We think that this music transcends boundaries. We are not new in this business, but recently we have had more exposure and more people are listening to us. In addition to the influences of other genres and artists, we like Orbital and the Future Sound of London, to Portishead, Pink Floyd, and Morrissey. Our tastes in music complement each other because we have similar tastes but we're also different in many other ways.
In the studio, we start with an idea one of us had, and then we develop it. Sometimes Gabriel starts with some rhythmic base, and then I will search the harmonies and melodic parts or vice versa. Having several concrete ideas, we begin to build and destroy the ideas until we are both satisfied.
Things have been happening very quickly for you this year. How does it feel to be so hyped all of a sudden? How have your personal lives changed now that you're globetrotting DJs?
It's very exciting to have more people listening to our music, and to have the support and credibility that comes with having such important record labels. We are very lucky to have people that believe in us and in our work and that motivate us to continue giving the best we can.
As people, we remain the same, nothing changes except all the amazing opportunities that allow us to show what we always wanted, what we do with passion. It feels really nice to have the recognition of people. It's also something that we manage with responsibility and commitment, but we can always offer something better.
Do you plan to remain in Guadalajara permanently, or do you see yourselves to eventually relocating to a bigger dance music capital in the US or Europe?
We believe that the geographical situation, for the moment, is not a barrier. It's easier to have contact with the world, and the best proof of it is that Mexico has given a lot of interesting music to the world. Today people of northern Mexico are doing a very good job: Louie Fresco with his label MEXA, Climbers, Teruel, Miguel Puente, to name a few. Cesar Coronado and Mario Armanino are also doing amazing music.
Here in Guadalajara, the Midnight Perverts have already released several things on major labels. Also Pinto, partners with Balcazar on his label Neim Records, Metrika and Bastard Love from Mexico City, and a lot of people that would make this a very long list -- people who have everything to succeed and who have not had the opportunity they deserve. So for now, we are working well here.
So what do you guys have in store for fans next?
We will keep working hard in the studio, and continue to seek opportunities and take advantage of existing ones. Help our people as well. Travel to where we are invited and give the best we can. We would love to do some collaborations and learn from people we admire. Through our music, we have been able to meet a lot of great people -- there is always something new to learn and to teach. That is what we think makes music truly spectacular. We have several new releases on very interesting labels that we hope that you will all love! So keep waiting for honest music from us.
Balcazar & Sordo, presented by LINK and Miami Rebels. Saturday, July 28. Treehouse, 323 23rd St., Miami Beach. The party starts at 11 p.m. Call 305-674-4478 or visit treehousemiami.com.
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