Thursday, 31 March 2011
Ana Helder Mix
Very excited to post the latest in the Wunderkind Mix series, this time from Ana Helder, a vastly talented Argentinian producer who recently released her debut on Cómeme, Matías Aguayo's label. The eponymous record mixed classic Detroit and Chicago jackers with hallucinatory, often mind-warping disco funeral dirges. In short, a truly staggering debut. Ana's mix features lots of new material from a host of South American underground names including Mamacita, Isaac, and Daniel Maloso, sitting ever so comfortably alongside Right Said Fred and Dee-Lite. Thanks so much to the lovely Ana for this great mix, and let's hope we will see her in Europe soon. Interview and tracklist below.
Could you tell me a bit about your musical influences? What did you listen to as a kid?
As a kid I listened to a lot of Otis Redding, Bob Marley, Madonna, Sumo, “El tortelín y el canelón”, Spice Girls, Prodigy, Nirvana, Massive Attack, Actitud Maria Marta, TLC, Los Illya Kuryaki.
You are from Argentina. Could you tell me a little bit about the music scene there?
The music scene in Argentina is very varied and in clubs you hear reggaeton, cumbia, electropop, minimal, techhouse, dubstep and lots more. I’m not so into the larger clubs which tend to be, I don’t know, not my scene. A bit excessive. January was pretty cool though. Cómeme took over a a small parador in Buenos Aires where you could dance all afternoon. Gary Rock was there and over the course of the afternoon, lots of other DJs popped over and we all played together. Diegors came from Chile just for the show and whilst there, I got to know Dani Nijensohn, Mascarpone, Ceci y Fer and lots of other BA DJs, like the DJs Pareja. Everyone came and brought their music on CD or MP3 or whatever and played. It was special because there aren’t many places here where people can come and play music and dance and have a drink during the afternoon. Then there’s also the Bumbumbox parties which are with a soundsystem on batteries.
In your EP you can hear clear house and techno influences from Chicago and Detroit. Were these important influences for you? How did you get into this music?
Well I feel I grew up with this music. It was always around. Not so much in Argentina, but I got into it through the “New dance show of Detroit” clips on Youtube. In my house, we listened to a lot of rock, reggae, classical, experimental, pop, you name it. At about 12 I started going out and there I heard electronic music, but I was never so into it. I really started getting into it a few years ago via the “Youtube revival” (in quotation marks because it never really went away). That and ripped vinyls. I think those were my main influences.
How did you meet Matías Aguayo and how did the release come about?
I got to know Matías via Myspace. I liked what they were doing with Bumbumbox and the Cómeme label. I wrote to them to tell them that, and they always replied with really positive vibes. One day they wrote to tell me that they wanted to have a copy of the ‘Complicado’ MP3 which I had on my Myspace. They said they had been playing it at a few parties and that they wanted to edit it. Later I met with Gary and Euge in BA, we went out, had a great time, and that night I also met Pablo Castoldi, who drew the image for the cover of my release. I first met Matías last summer in Santiago where we played at a few parties. Whilst there we did the mix of Next Club, at Diegors’ house. We also made ‘Camuchi’ there. The rest of the tracks I made at my house in Rosario, and I passed them to them via Soundcloud.
You use your voice in your music. Is this important for you? do you think you will continue to use it in future releases?
Yeah I definitely want to keep using voices and mine as well. I find that one’s voice is the best tool for getting ideas out of my head. When I have a melody, first I sing it, then put it on MIDI, and go from there.
I like your music a lot, but it is also very strange, very unique, and i mean that in a good way. How did you come to this bizarre, weird sound?
Mainly through trying different things, listening to the track thousands of times, to see which arrangements are ok, which I should leave out, which structure works best, and so on, all according to my slightly madcap ideas. Styles are already very defined I find, and to adhere to one style, you have to leave lots of other arrangements behind that you might also like. So I struggle between going with what I like, and what I think works, but then also whether or not something works stylistically. Cómeme have helped me a lot with this. To be honest, my record is very varied. One track is disco, the next techno, and so on. I think that no track on there could easily be pidgeon-holed though. But as Witold Grombrowicz says, there is no real form, only immaturity.
I also notice lots of other non-electronic influences from South America, like cumbia, and champeta. Which Latin American styles are important to you? Have any particularly influenced you?
Haha. I imagine this comes from listening to Matias and Diegors play so much champeta. I’m not so sure there are latin rhythms per se in my music though. I can understand what you mean, but I don’t know if they are specifically latin, more universal.
What music have you been listening to recently that you have been enjoying?
I’ve been listening to some new tracks by Mamacita. She is a Chilean artist who has just moved to BA, and luckily, I went to hear her play for a recording on the www.enlaterraza.com show. I’ve also been listening to a band, Isaac, that is from Russia and a guy called Rony Douglas. That and lots of other things ranging from the Hotmix blog, to European and Chilean radio stations, to the music friends play me at home and at parties.
Have you got any plans afoot for developing your sound, any goals in mind, long or short term?
I have no plans at the moment. I would say that I now have more experience in how to organise myself before making a new track. I’ve also been loaned some new equipment, I bought a controller, and my state of mind is now more positive, which helps me develop new material.
What does the future hold in store for you? Are you going to release more music via Comeme?
At the moment, nothing is certain. Soon I will head back home to Rosario as I am in Santiago at the moment. Once there I will start working on some new staff, or continue with ones i have already started.
Do you have any plans for visiting Europe or any other countries?
I would love to go to Europe but I need something that could take me there. Now I am in Chile where they always seem to welcome me with open arms, and I would like to go to Brazil too. To be honest, I’d be happy to go anywhere!
What equipment do you use to make your music?
Fruity loops, Ableton and lots of plug ins.
When did you start making music?
In 2003 I started making music with a guitar and programming with fruity Loops. Later I got more into techno, electro and disco.
How long does it take you to make a track? is it quick or do you take your time?
“Mugre” and “Buena puntería” were really quick, like half a day. The rest took a bit longer but I went over them hundreds of times trying to see how I could make them better, what was missing and so on: about a month with each. If after a month I still wasn’t tired of them then I decided there must be something in there that was alright.
K- Alexi - Don't you know (Chicago feel mix) - Dopewax
Matias Aguayo - Naranja - Total/Kompakt
Right Said Fred - I'm Too Sexy (Betty's Mix) - Control
Matias Aguayo - Naranja - Total/Kompakt
Daniel Maloso - Caracol - Cómeme
Diegors - Marcup Mipp - Cómeme
Mamacita - Mi Corazon
Angelique Kidjo - Batonga (Jungle Stomp Instrumental) - Great Jones
Gesloten Cirkel - Yamagic - Moustache
Ana Helder - el groove de tu corazón - Cómeme
Isaac - One - Cómeme
Ana Helder & Diegors - Camuchi - Cómeme
Olivia Newton - John - I need love (A Deep Need For Love Mix) - Geffen
Deee-Lite - Pussycat Meow (Murk Boys Miami Mix) - Elektra
Erotic Drum Band - Plug me to death - Prism reocrds
Ana Helder - Complicado -Cómeme
Daniel Maloso - No doy nada - Cómeme