The 228th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer Amezquita.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
– I am 26 years old, I live in Bogotá, Colombia, where I was born. I don´t dj but I am currently working on a live act. I have been producing music for 5 years now.
2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”
– My main instrument is guitar,I play both electric and acoustic. I started playing guitar like almost 14 years ago and since then music has been my biggest passion and now my profession. As a musician I listen to a lot of different types of music, but my first memory with electronic music was with the album “Fat of the Land” from The Prodigy! I remember it felt so different from what I was used to hear at that time, and the music videos from tracks like “Breath” were like so disturbing and amazing at the same time. I felt the same way watching for the first time Aphex Twin´s video of his track “Come to Daddy”, which was way ahead of his time, that was definitely a huge discovery for me that changed the way I listen to electronic music.
Then I got really obsessed with bands like Depeche Mode, Massive attack, Portishead, Chemical Brothers and when I was like 17 I started going to electronic parties with my big brother and slowly got more into raves and the electronic music culture. All this opened my mind and ears.
Although I´ve always felt the guitar like my main instrument, there were too many electronic sounds and textures that I wanted to produce and couldn´t get out of a guitar, that’s when I decided to learn more about music production and got more into softwares like Reason and Ableton live. And since then I don´t think there has been a moment when I say “from today I am going to take this seriously”, but instead, I became every time more and more obsessed with creating and producing new music, I just enjoy it a lot, and I think that´s the key to make good music.
For particular productions that made me think “this is what I wanna do”; the album “furious angels” from Rob Dougan , the classic track “Moan” from Trentemøller , and my favorite band Depeche Mode.
3. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?
At the beginning I started messing around with Reason , then I met Fernando Olaya and Castiblanco, great producers and teachers from Bogotá that taught me a lot of new stuff of music production, DAWs, and VSTs. At that time I was finishing a music career in the university.
4. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
The most difficult may be to tell a good story with your track, make a track that doesn´t sound so repetitive from the beginning to the end, to keep it interesting for the listener. Also is always hard for me to make the final touches on the mix because you never feel like is completely done…there is always something you want to improve, but you have to let it go. The easiest may be messing around with drum machines and percussions in general, some good ideas usually come out fast. When I have a creative block I get out of my studio and play some acoustic guitar or just go and eat something or watch some TV.
5. What’s a normal day like for you? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?
I work full time on music. Besides producing electronic music I compose original music and do sound design for audiovisual media. I have worked on several short films, commercial advertising, and on one colombian movie called “Las Malas Lenguas” (Sweet & Vicious) which recently premiered in Los Angeles at the L.A Film fest. I also sometimes teach guitar and music production.
6. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effort on your own productions?
I listen to a whole range of music genres from rock to classical music.I have always been a huge fan of film music and my favourite composers are John Williams, Phillip Glass, Michael Nyman, Hans Zimmer, Alexandre Desplat, Gustavo Santaolalla, Ennio Morricone, Max Richter, between many others. I also listen to a lot of rock bands like Royal Blood, Alice in chains, Rolling Stones, Nine Inch Nails, Deftones… I also love genres like Jazz, funk, and latin music.
I do think all the music I listen to has a direct influence on my own productions, some friends of mine and label owners who have released my music have told me that in some of my tracks you can listen the film music influence because of the intriguing soundscapes, instrumentaion and melodies I use.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
My first cd I think it was a “Strange Beautiful music” from guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani and my last was the original soundtrack from the movie Interstellar by Hans Zimmer.
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
I composed the music for a Colombian film called “Las Malas Lenguas” (Sweet & Vicious) which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Fest in June and in July and August will be shown in movie theaters in Bogotá.
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
Of the people I know personally in the local scene, it would be Fernando Olaya. he produces great melodic and progressive techno, and also Castiblanco, he produces tech-house with great groove. They are both great producers from Bogotá and friends that definitely helped me in one way or another to improve my sounds.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
Max Cooper, John Hopkins, Maceo Plex, Trent Reznor, Trentemøller, Stephan Bodzin, Henrik Schwarz, Andy Stott, Daniel Avery between many others are producers that always inspire me.
My inspiration comes not only from music but also from different experiences in my life, it can be from a walk in the city or nature, an art gallery, architecture, a good movie or a book… it´s hard to say.
11. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?
I think I am still part of that group…you may find a lot of similarities in the sound of my tracks but I am still searching for something even more original. There is a quote from Miles Davis I like that says, “When you’re creating your own shit, man, even the sky ain’t the limit…” That means keep on searching new sounds, never settle.
I think the hardest part of producing music is to find your own sound and try to be unique, so my advice will be to try to stay away from presets and the usual overused samples and spend more time creating your own samples, beats, and sounds on VSTs. It is a good way to start knowing yourself.
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
On a live set I think it could be my track “Symmetry”.
segment collected by Suffused
‘Rise/Symmetry EP’ is out now on System Recordings, you can purchase the release: here