The Mix 015: DJ Sueño

today29/05/2024 1

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What inspired you to start your career as a DJ and music producer?

I am from the outskirts of Mexico City, in what is called the state of Mexico, from Tlalnepantla, one of the municipalities of the state. This area is known for being unsafe and marred by conflict, there were not even basic services for the most part. The musical tastes there were from the “barrio”, neighbourhood, and is what affected the musical selection that I now have.

It is very strange how I started because my first approach to music was through my parents. I am 33 years old, my dad is 78 and my mom is 72, they were already 40 years older than me, and listened to The Beatles and bolero music, from there I started to be more interested in Cuban music, and I was always drawn to the percussions — it is something that characterises my sets, I add percussions through timbales (drums), etc. I always listened to them since I was a child, then my dad played guitar, as an amateur, never professionally, he just grabbed the guitar and played music of The Beatles and The Doors and bolero music mainly. My brother had a connection to the rock culture here in Mexico with a group from Tlalnepantla. The band would sing stories of criminals robbing a store and policemen becoming heroes by killing the robbers and all that kind of thing! So I grew up listening to all that.

I liked the drums, my brother had one in his room and since I was little I used to play them. My family became Christian and I would go to church, but I didn’t pay attention to any of it because I was focused on all the cables, horns, equalisers, all that. I later met some friends who were writing rap, and we started to rap. Since we didn’t have a DJ, I became a DJ when I was 12, or 13 years old. When I was 14 years old, we did our first show, that’s how my journey started.

How did your music career start?

My start has to do 100% with reggaeton, in terms of production because I did remixes. I tried to make my versions of underground songs since then, and that’s how I started to produce. I later started by giving beats to artists to collaborate, especially with international artists, mainly because I’ve always liked the accents. So the work I have as a producer is about 8–9 years old now, but the DJ career has been more or less almost 20 years. I started very young, so doing it professionally is about 10 years, having plans and strategies and everything.

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What differences do you find between the underground reggaeton scene in Mexico and in other countries where you have performed?

Here in Mexico, we are still searching for our sound, but I think we are finding it and it sounds very local. It is perhaps still very primitive, but it is still nice to be able to hear how we are adapting the culture to this movement and this genre that we like so much, at least here in Mexico. Compared to other countries for example, I see that they like it, but from what I see, they are not so immersed. For instance, in various countries such as Spain (particularly Madrid and Barcelona), Colombia (specifically Medellín), and Mexico, I’ve noticed different reggaeton styles. In Madrid and Barcelona, it’s more melodic, in Medellín, it has a commercial sound, and in Mexico, it’s minimalist yet gritty. However, regardless of the style, what matters most is how people enjoy it. Luckily, wherever I perform, people dance to it just like they do here. I’m always fascinated to see how it’s represented in different places, especially the cumbiatón part, which is what characterises Mexico the most.

In Spain, the audience is familiar with the songs I play, while in Mexico, they are not. In Mexico, the focus is less on my style of playing and more on the songs themselves, resulting in slightly different audiences. Luckily, the current sound in Mexico, characterised by cumbiatón and the emerging genre of reggaeton mexa, appeals to people with its raw, gritty vibe. During my last visit to Spain in September last year, I noticed that local DJs were already playing tracks by Mexican artists from nearby neighbourhoods, which was very exciting to see. I prefer underground music over commercial reggaeton, and I enjoy playing in venues where lesser-known music is appreciated, encouraging listeners to explore and discover new artists and sounds.

You had your first set at Boiler Room last year, tell me about the experience.

Yes, I liked it a lot! I played last year with Rosita [Rosa Pistola] and it was an unforgettable experience, I liked it. I didn’t expect so much support for me, fortunately, I can say that they love me a lot here so it was great to have the public screaming. I think I got a little bit too excited, and it showed a little bit in my show, but I enjoyed it to the fullest.

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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