12 Questions Episode 346: Isaak Escamilla

The 346th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer Isaak Escamilla.

Isaak Escamilla

1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?

I’m 34, I live in Mexico City. I started on DJing around 1999, at the beginning it was a hobbie, but then in 2005 after playing in a few parties I took it seriously and got my first residency. I’ve been making music for 9 years.

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.”

I remember seeing some rap music DJs on a tv show when I was a child, I was surprised of how they manipulate the records, they were really good and I guess since that day I got interested on Djing. Making music was for me an evolution, after few years of Djing I had the need of playing my own music.

When I started on Djing I was into trance music so my first memories of electronic music are tracks and DJ sets from Paul Oakenfold, Paul Van Dyk, Three Drive on a Vinyl, and so many more. Also I had good memories of the first compilations of Global Underground from Sasha, Digweed and Warren.

I can’t say there is only one artist or production that made me think this is what I want to do, I guess the music it self from some many artists and all the feelings of being behind a Dj booth and being in the studio making music are the main reasons.

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 difficult in the beginning, when I started there was no information or tutorials on the web as nowadays are, now you log in on google or youtube and you can find almost everything about any existing DAW, so I’m pretty much a self taught. Few years later I got an Ableton Live Certification by SAE Institute and also a Synthesis & Sound Design certification by SAE Institute.

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?

Building the arrangement is one of the most difficult process for me, the order on how an instrument fades in or fades out in the track makes me think a lot and I always end changing something so many times, also mixing is a difficult process cause it’s very important to get a good sound on you music and you have to pay attention on every detail.

The easiest part for me is the creative process, writing the notes on every instrument and programming drums is a part that I really enjoy, also the sound design process, probably is not that easy but I always have fun patching synths.

Those creative block moments happen a lot what I do is rest and continue the next day, I try not to push things, sometimes is difficult cause you have deadlines specially with remixes.

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?

– A normal day for me I guess is like everyone else’s, but I spend some time of my day in the studio making music. I have a job but its related with music I teach Ableton Live courses and Djing courses. When I’m not working on music, I spend time with my family, I like to play tennis and also video games.

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 mainly listen different genres of electronic music all the time, chill out, experimental and other stuff that you may won’t listen on one of my sets. Out of electronic music I listen Depeche Mode and The Cure and yes definitely they are a big influence for me.  

7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc)  piece of music you bought?

My first physical CD was Depeche Mode’s “Violator” wich is one of my favourite albums, and the last one was Depeche Mode’s “Playing the Angel”.

8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?

I don’t like a fruit that so many people like, pawpaw. Also I have acrophobia.

9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?

– It obviously happens a lot in the underground scene and there are so many producers making great music out there that they don’t get the attention they deserve, but it’s about being constant and being patient, at the end if you make good music people will know about you.

10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?

– I get inspired by the music itself that I listen everyday, by emotions, by things that are around me or things that happen to me. Talking about producers, I really like what Franky & Sandrino, Stephan Bodzin, Dixon & Âme are doing in the last years.

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?

– Be constant, be patient. Don’t force yourself to make music that everybody likes cause that doesn’t even exist, people have different tastes, so, just be you and make the music that you really like with no limitations or thinking if people its going to like what you are doing, just follow your taste, you will be happy at end. Its good to have musical influences but don’t try to emulate them, just be yourself.

12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?

–  That’s a tough one! But probably would be “Sasha – Xpander”

‘Untold Stories’ Shornhelm’ (Isaak Escamilla Remix), you can purchase the release: here


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