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Santi Mossman & Rodrigo Mateo: Chasing Perfection

Santi Mossman & Rodrigo Mateo have been two of the most talked about new producers from the burgeoning progressive house scene in Argentina. Both Santi and Rodrigo have been firm favorites of Hernan Cattaneo this year with a long line of their productions earning club, radio, and chart support from the storied DJ. They’ve got a new single entitled ‘MicroCosmos’ out this week on Darin Epsilon’s Perspectives Digital which has been one of favourite tracks for many months now. We had a chance to chat with Santi and Rodrigo just prior to the release of “MicroCosmos’; a transcription of the interview is below and we hope you enjoy it.

PSDI024-6601. How old are you, where are you currently living and how long have you been producing / DJing?

Rodrigo: I’m 24 and been making music since 18. I’m from Buenos Aires and started djing this year.

Santi: I’m 22 and started mixing at 16, and 2 years late got interested in production. I’m actually living in Buenos Aires.

2. What was it that got you into electronic music? and what are your musical roots?

Rodrigo: It just happened… I guess Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk and Daft Punk were (and still are) my main influences.

Santi: Well, I got interested by watching some djs at the local club of my hometown. I like some bands such as Depeche Mode and Daft Punk among others.

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3. So you’ve got an amazing new single entitled ‘Microcosmos’ out on Darin Epsilon’s Perspectives Digital this week, it’s a very sombre, emotional sounding composition. Tell us a bit about the track. Is it your first production together and did you have an idea to produce such an amazingly deep and emotional track at the outset of the project? And what was the working process for this track? were you together in the studio or was it matter of passing files back and forth.

Santi: I worked on the first draft, including the entire groove, percussive and bassline arrangements and the chord progression, also some effects. At that moment the track was just fine, It was pleasant to listen but there was something missing. I showed it to Rodrigo and he loved it, so I asked him to work on the melodic content.

Rodrigo: Then I continued with some details and building the structure, but nothing remarkable happened for weeks. I kept it with me for a month, trying to find the perfect synth pad. It took me a lot of time of trial and error, but when I was finally getting the sound I envisioned, I saw its beauty and fell in love. It was complete now, a few more details by both of us and done.

4. ‘Microcosmos’ has already been played by Hernan Cattaneo on his Resident Delta FM radioshow, this is a huge honour for any producer. Hernan has been a big supporter of you both having played several of your productions both on the radio and live, it must give you great confidence in the studio to produce more amazing music. Talk about having the importance of such a big DJ playing your stuff?

Rodrigo + Santi: Both of us had the honour to see Hernan playing our tracks on his Radioshow, which is awesome! But the most beautiful moments we lived by Hernán was watching him playing our music at Moonpark, you see thousands of people dancing with your music and you don’t know what to do, it’s an experience out of this world… We find lots of inspiration in moments like that, not for getting ideas to later put into our music, but in a more motivational way, to continue no matter what.

5. The trend right now in progressive music is very deep, where do you see the sound progressing to in the coming years?

Rodrigo + Santi: We are both really into techno sound. Everything comes from there and that’s where Progressive has been heading for a while, we get closer some years, and not so much others. The last years, especially 2013 progressive house in Argentina found itself coloured by that awesome complexity, deepness and dynamic from Techno.

6. When you ask most big DJs where their favourite place to play is Argentina’ is generally their first choice particularly if you’re playing something remotely progressive sounding. What is it that makes Argentina so great and why do you think there is such high enthusiasm for electronic music there?

Rodrigo + Santi: Well, it’s in our genes, we can’t help it! Argentine people are very passionate about a lot of things, football, politics, and also music. Most people I know do not stop just at listening to some music style, following a club or a politician, they go deeper and deeper. Sometimes this passion turns into an unhealthy addiction. I think we all have been there, addicted to some artist in the past… That’s not a bad thing, but sadly is not unusual to see this passion turning into fanatism and confrontation…
Back to the question (sorry about that), as expected due to Hernan’s influence, this is some kind of holy land to progressive listeners and djs, or at least it was. We understand music is changing, and we have to keep an open mind to this. There is no more progressive house per-se out there, scene is full of progressive-influenced sounds, which is awesome! Great things turned out from people playing to break the schemas. If you listen to music every single day, you sure remember yourself thinking “what is this?” probably a few times during this week. Well, it might be pretty much everything you listened before, and at the same time nothing alike to that.

7. Many new producers seem to over produce, they start talking on a lot of remix projects and for most their production and creativity starts to suffer a bit. Both of you guys seem to chose your projects carefully and don’t over saturate the market with your music. Is this something you think about or do you just want to make sure every production is perfect?

Rodrigo + Santi: When working together we strictly aim to quality instead of quantity. ‘Microcosmos’ is our only track that ever got to see the light. But we finished other tracks, we are just waiting for the right moment to release them. Some of our finished tracks have something in common: we’ve finished them in a couple of weeks, and the workflow was just beautiful, like if not a single music session was unnecessary. Everything is in its right place and there is no need to go back, no need to redo the mix… that’s why there is not much of our music out there, as those are exceptional situations :).

8. Both of your careers are in the early stages but you both have some amazing tracks already in your discography , are there any that standout for you and why?

Rodrigo: stereotypes, no doubt, lot of feelings and moments involved with the creation and results of this track. It’s my first original ever aired by Hernan, which I got to listen live under curious / unexpected circumstances haha. More importantly, I watched Hernan playing it at Moonpark, surrounded by my closest friends.

Santi: Pretty much the same, Hernan played my remix of Paul Kalkbrener In a ver special moment, I ran out of my hometown to attend to Moonpark, wasn’t expecting to Hear it at all… It was great.

Hernan Cattaneo playing Paul Kalkbrenner ‘Azure’ (Santi Mossman Unofficial Remix) @ Moonpark XXV

9. Many of our readers are probably curious about your current studio setup, what does it look like right now? and how different is it compared to 10 years ago? We assume you’re using much less hardware now?

Rodrigo: Actually I’m using more hardware than ever before! I’m also starting to build my own modular synthesizer. Through the past years I had tons of favorite software synthesizers, but the most remarkable ones are Spectrasonics Omnisphere and ImpOscar2 which I still use because the sound they generate can’t be easily done with analog gear. My studio right now consists of a Access Virus Ti2 and a Elektron Machinedrum and Monomachine. I’ve got some more equipment but I do not use it in my music, just for fun… Lately I’ve been exploring apps for iPad and some remarkable stuff showed up, as Animoog synthesizer from Moog and Nave from Waldorf, and some cool emulators of analog step sequencers as Phaedra.

Santi: At the moment I’m working with a arturia analog synth, which i really love, sounds amazing. I’ve also used a Virus Snow for a while and it’s also amazing, I am really considering to get one .

10. Your productions always have elements of deep house, tech house and progressive. There is also a magical harmonic element to them which really stands out. Where do you get your studio inspiration from? What producers consistently inspire you? Who are some of your favourites?

Santi: Yes MicroCosmos turned out very harmonic, It’s my most harmonic/melodic track to be honest. There are lots of them!, but naming a few, Guy J… His drum patterns and grooves are out of this world. Also Jamie Stevens is very inspiring. Their music is simply perfect.

Hernan Cattaneo playing Rodrigo Mateo ‘Stereotypes’ @ Moonpark XXIV, Buenos Aires

11. What do you like to do for fun outside of the music? and do you have a regular job? What is a typical day like for you guys?

Rodrigo: I like to drive my motorcycle, my best way to free my mind from the office routine and music making.

12. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? How big of an influence are other styles of music when it comes to composing your own tracks? Could you give any examples?

Santi: In my spare time I listen to bands like Radiohead and Atoms For Peace… I also like The XX a lot.

13. Santi Mossman & Rodrigo Mateo Current Favourites (you can list more than one per category if you like)

Drink: Rodrigo: Vodka on the rocks Santi: Vodka
TV Show: Rodrigo: Twin Peaks Santi: Breaking Bad
Movie: Rodrigo: Eraserhead Santi: Inception
Video Game: Rodrigo: I’m not much of a gamer (Though I can’t say I’ve never been one), but I love “Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis” from 1992 and the entire saga. I’ve replayed it a few weeks ago and recalled my first gaming moments :’). I also miss playing Commandos, and Diablo II.
Album: Rodrigo: Airdrawndagger
Producer / Band: Both: Radiohead
Record Label: Both: Bedrock
Nightclub: Rodrigo: Best nightclubs in buenos aires always find their way to be hated, or treating you like shit or filling the place to (beyond illegal) criminal levels, so… Nightclub? None of them. BUT, if i have to say a place, “Tres Aguas” where John Digweed’s live in cordoba took place, it’s impossible to explain in a few words how that night was, but none of the lucky ones who traveled to be there will ever forget it.
DJ: Both: Digweed

Santi & Rodrigo’s ‘MicroCosmos’ is out now on Darin Epsilon’s Perspectives Digital, you can purchase the release: here

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