Ahead of his appearance at this weekend's rather fine looking Kompakt records party at Corsica, we caught up with the German-Chilean to talk about influences, the Cologne / Chile axis African influences on South American music, live sets and keeping his childhood alive... and other.
I Don't Smoke was by far one of my favourite records of last year. Obviously the lead track I Don't... was the stand out (for me at least) - but the other tracks veered from almost bass led funk carioca synthed through with Todd Terje to stripped back linear rhythm tracks and almost flipped up old New York electro records. I'm interested to know where you draw your inspirations from because it's difficult to identify any direct influences in your music - although I realise I've drawn comparisons above!!
I think I have particular ways of music making that come even before an influence can be reflected, so obviously there is something like my own sound, I meani have been doing this before ever hearing of funk Carioca or things like that. But on the other hand the references you
mentioned are not so wrong, while doing travels and investigating about music the Brazilian interpretation of "Funk" was something that caught my attention a lot, and Old New York Electro records are definetly one of the strongest musical memories of my childhood. All
in all, through the fact of having lived in different countries, and been in touch with very different people, and having a lot of mixed background it is obviously quite natural that the references are not so concentrated in one genre but more in something like a musical vibe
Last thing I read you had bases in Buenos Aires and Paris. Are these still your two homes or have you moved on? Is there a reason these two places hold you and your attention.
No, I am nowadays more drawn between Germany and Chile again.
How do you feel the Chilean / Cologne axis shaped your musical evolution? I read that the now 'hobo' life you lead plays a massive part in the music you make.
Music is a very clear language, and it will speak always very honestly about the conditions under which it was made and so on... So I think you can hear the process of music making in the result. For example I had to get used to find ways of making music while traveling, with
reduced equipment, but also just the fact having to play music in contexts that were very unusual to may, like street parties in front of people you never met, these are all things that open very much your
music, I think. You have to communicate with very different people so you can't get stuck in a way of communication that only works in one genre...
"As soon as you love house and South American music and so many others, there’s obviously a lot of Africa in there." Discuss.
Did I say that? It's undeniable that the roots for many of the rhythms we love are to be found in Africa of course. You grow up with rhythms like the ones of salsa for example, like something that was there always in life, and so on, so these rhythms reappear in different ways
in most of the dance music you come across...
You play the Kompakt party at the wonderful Corsica Studios this weekend. Tell us about your relationship with the wonderful Kompakt family. Mr Mayer and his many Kompakt brothers and sisters have been responsible for distributing and putting out some of the most
incredible slices of actual black plastic.
Yes, it is definetly a wonderful family, I feel part of. I mean I know these people very long, much before there was Kompakt, and it has been always very relaxed and efficient at the same time to work with them. I always have felt very free to do whatever I like and they have
always been very supportive. And I am sure not to be the only artist to say so.
Leaving aside the inimitable argument of audio quality of digital music - I would assume that it has naturally helped your luggage allowance and indeed back when travelling - has it affected the way you play and consume music? Do you find yourself more creative with
these new tools or can it be overwhelming at times? Do you find digital music difficult to store, catalogue and access?
Yes it has become easier for me, in my case specially in the contex of djing, not having to travel with so heavy bags and not destroying my vinyls, but mainly the fact of being able to play new unfinished productions, or tracks that friends have just done etc... My way of consuming music has not been affected, but i have never seen it as a complete replacement of vinyl. It has added a lot of possibilities though, and when you ask me about consuming music obviously it has opened access to a lot of music that I never could have found before...
Do you still run the BumBumBox parties? Aguayo's legendary street parties he runs in Buenos Aires. How have they evolved? You mentioned that you couldn't play records there that you'd normally play in a club. Has this had an effect on the tracks you're producing?
Of course these parties had an important effect on the music I am doing nowadays. I think taking dance music out of the context of just "club" and taking it back into everyday life is one of the most inspiring things you can do for its results. In the end it is something like saving music from formats.
We are not running these parties anymore though, as I am also not living there anymore, but I am sure there will be new attempts on my side to take the dance to public spaces etc
Turning to your live sets. You're famed for taking the whole 'producer does live set' to far more exciting levels than your average producer can you talk us through your approach to this.
There is many things I could say here but I think one main thing is the fact that I am singing, and the other thing would maybe be the fact that I am not stuck with my eyes to a computer screen. I like to
do music in a way that I enjoy it as much as possible, that's the best way to create a contagious effect and to enter into something like a dialogue with the audience. These are the most joyful moments.
"For me, making music is a way of keeping my childhood alive." Would you stop making music if you thought that it was no longer keeping that childhood spirit alive through it?! Bit of a weird question I know.
Yes I would stop immediately and do whatever else could keep it alive.
You're not someone you can pigeonhole in terms of "yeah he's a techno DJ" or whatever. What do you think about the emergent bass scene and it's cross-polination and permutations with house, techno and the 4/4. I'd imagine it's something that just seems normal to you as we've heard it across your productions for years.
Yeah, for me house music does not necessarily mean an open hihat and 120 to 125 bpm, it was always about being able to play as many different dance music as you can and create a common vibe with it. Nowadays we have an easier access to a whole new different variations
of rhythms and it is quite natural that they start to interact. I wish this would happen more, I have the impression that leaving genre criteria aside seems to be the most subversive thing possible in music.
What next for Comeme?
We are about to start a whole new season with great new tracks, new and old artists. Next to come is a V.A. 12" with tracks by Christian S, Philipp Gorbachev, Barnt and Dany F from. Medellin, Colombia. also we are working on an Album by Daniel Maloso, who already released a
couple of 12 " on Cómeme, alone and alongside Rebolledo. I think the main issue is now an opening for new collaborators, such as Alejandro Paz who will start a series of podcasts and radio shows on our website
in the next months were we will open a view towards our musical and social context, beyond just the releases of our artists...
Please don't take this the wrong way but you're not 'on record' a hugely prolific producer. I mention it because I feel like I need some more Aguayo in my life. When can we expect something new from you?
Yes I have an irregular output! I am very much involved in one of the next Cómeme 12", it is called Isaac Johan and is a project alongside several other musicians I am very happy with. Then there will be some 12" by me alone soon. And I have already started to work on an album
again. But this will take a little time. If you want more of me then you should check the Cómeme website every now and then also, specially from next month on...
"My voice is my instrument." Is this something you'll always construct your records from as a jumping off point?
Not necessarily, but it is the most solid jumping off point I got...
Aguayo plays the Kompakt Records party at Corsica Studios this Friday.
Check Rollerskate directed by fellow R$N interviewee this week Trevor Jackson the interview for which you can read on this link like