The 270th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer Mindmusik.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
I am 35 years old, living in Mexico City and have been producing and DJing for around 15 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.”
It’s in my blood! My mother, she was a professional dancer and my aunt a recording singer. I’ve been flooded with music ever since I was very little. The first CD I ever bought was “Very” by the Pet Shop Boys though, so there’s some synths and influences there, and soon after I was introduced to proper Paul van Dyk with Seven Ways and his Vorsprung Dyk Technik. I clearly remember the moment when I bought that 3CD and something just switched on, demanding “this is it, this is what you must do, you start here”. From there I got to know BT and Sasha of course, John Digweed, and on I went.
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?
It was horrible and I had no one’s advice. Back in the day there were these tracker programs with absolutely no user-friendly interface whatsoever and Hex numbers all over. I wondered how on earth that remotely resembled actual synthesizers but that did not stop me. I learned on my own and learned to DJ too so I bought my turntables, mixer, and just kept on figuring it out all by myself until it was no longer a torture for my friends. They actually started to enjoy it!
I did study Audio Production later on but that did nothing for me really. I learned everything from my own research.
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?
Post production gets on my nerve. The actual music happens and flows out in two days, a week, but then little details you weren’t really paying attention to start to show and you have to move this, fix that, frequencies here, check levels there. Just for the mixdown. I am glad my friend Rafa Navarro “Puuc” who is an audio engineer and collaborator is around and always checks our tracks and sometimes does the master himself.
My creative blocks have disappeared thanks to the production duo I’ve formed with Stasik T. Our ideas mix and mingle and we just become one with what we’re doing, forget the world, encase ourselves in a music bubble and we just come out to do the human things that can’t be avoided. Like eating. Sleeping sometimes also. It’s intense, so after those sessions I tend to relax for a couple days completely without touching Ableton at all, which is my DAW of choice.
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 am a vampire and a gym rat of sorts which is kind of incompatible but meh. Wake up late, lift some weights, read a lot while at the gym doing cardio, mostly spirituality but not religion. I have a worldview most people would consider crazy so let’s not go there.
I’m kind of a geek and a gamer. I have a PS4 but I’m a lousy loser in competitive games. Interests: gadgets, computers, science, nature and the cosmos, philosophy, sci-fi, A.I., and plenty others of the sort.
I used to have a day job but recently it’s all coming back to music. I’m also interested in getting into the adult entertainment industry but I can’t tell you about that because then I’d have to kill you.
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 effect on your own productions?
Few come to mind really. I can appreciate a nice piece of music when I hear it, but not much aside from electronic music, maybe some pop, indie and alternative rock but rarely.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
First “Very” by the Pet Shop Boys. Last, wow I don’t even know. Perhaps one of those vinyls I bought when I started DJing. Probably something on Hooj Choons even.
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
I am an exhibitionist and urge people to not follow my Twitter account unless they are open minded individuals over 18 years of age.
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
Difficult question. I would say “us” not out of ego at all but because I don’t think that’s easily seen from an outside perspective. I mean, what I want is to share what we do with everyone and for me it’s been a slow process, getting it out there, being heard among all that musical bliss made by so many incredibly talented producers in the scene. Perhaps other up and coming artists can relate to that.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
Guy J is an alien. Seriously I don’t know how many light years ahead he is. Guy Mantzur, Khen and Sahar Z are putting out incredible music but there are so many others. Li-Polymer, Vlada D’Shake, Darin Epsilon, LOM, I could go on with the list for a long while, they all inspire me as an artist.
Inspiration can come from anywhere and at any given moment, sometimes while I’m playing a game, when I watch a movie, meet someone, go out on the street or hear an unfamiliar tune. Whenever an idea hits me I record it as a voice memo. I have many of those at all times in my iPhone. Did I tell you I love the thing? I could marry it. The iPhone, yes. Remixing tracks also inspires greatly!
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?
In my experience, creating “my own sound” happened trying to create a certain kind of groove I liked, mixing it with ambiences, melodies and elements I also dig from other artists. So for me it has been first recreating what I like most from different tracks and melding them into something new. And since you don’t want to carbon copy no one, you learn to move and tweak here and there so that creates something different. Some tweaks, effects and sounds you grow fond of, others you learn to discard. All of that marvelous process eventually ends in creating something that does not remotely resemble anything you could think of when you started, and then you infuse it with your own soul, your own touch, your own elements. You develop these on the way and suddenly it’s alive. So don’t get frustrated, listen to tons of music and keep going at those knobs!
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
That’s easy! It would definitely be “Worlds Burn Down (Vocal Mix)” with me singing live and playing three guitar notes. Stasik would play the synths and obviously autotune my voice since we’re not there to torture people. Pet Shop Boys style of course!
‘Worlds Burn Down’ is out now on Clinique Recordings, you can purchase the release: here