SXSW Entry #6: Matias Aguayo - LA ENTREVISTA

(OK, I know these entries are bordering on becoming Matias Aguayo's personal PR blog, but in my defense: A) he's a crazy awesome musician, B) his show schedule just ended up syncing with me, and C) he's a very gracious man who made the time to give us this insightful interview. I want to thank him and the guys at Kompakt and Cómeme for making this happen.)

Q: Over the last couple of years, your reputation critically has gotten bigger and bigger. Do you feel that you’re not being judged as honestly as you used to be when you weren’t so well-known and well-reviewed?

A: Obviously that happens, but it’s something that I really don’t consider so important for myself. It’s more a part of the job. What’s more important for me is that I can help my friends and network in South America and enjoy new possibilities. Sure, it’s challenging in a way, but it’s more encouraging and keeps me unafraid of things. I think my friends and I have a lot of stories to tell and stuff and we’re really looking forward to, new gigs, new productions. So I feel quite easy about it.

Q: You were mentioning South America, Chile is not Germany, or Bristol, New York, or Detroit, that has a lot of techno artists come out of it. What’s the stuff that got you in the techno scene?

A: All of my music history and roots are reflected in what I do today and nowadays I also think that for me, places like Santiago, Buenos Aires and all of Latin America are even more interesting than many think because I think the freshest stuff, the stuff that interests me most and makes me dance most, comes from there at the moment. It’s certainly stuff with its own possibilities and its own roots.

Q: Then do you feel like an outsider in the scene? I think of “Minimal,” it was kinda of a defiant/challenging song ("got no groove, got no balls")--you’re challenging the peers who you feel are lacking. Are you an outsider, or do you just feel like you’re part of everything, but with your own aesthetic?

A: I think sometimes that I might be an outsider. But on the other hand, I think that the techno scene is a place for outsiders, so I feel very free, especially in the past few years, when I've gotten the impression that people are more open to music and I can feel more free when playing music, and I feel that people don’t know what they want to hear, so it’s a very good moment to play the new, fresh stuff and stuff that comes from places that maybe were in the cultural periphery.

Q: Where do you get much of the stuff you’re into? Europe—connected to the scene? Or is seeking out music just a part of your daily life?

A: I have a sort of parallel life in the sense that I grew up in Germany, Cologne specifically, and I’m proud of the music there. On the other hand, there was always a very strong link to South America, so what I do is produce stuff that’s atypical, like coming from somewhere else. Not having a “hometown” now has become an advantage in the sense that I can combine things, musical and racial, and my friendships of South America with a very good infrastructure and administration from Germany, considering Kompakt is here and encourages this sort of thing.

Q: Have you ever given thought to doing a full-length album with professional singers, or do you not comfortable with this aspect of the collaborative process?

A: I consider myself a singer. It’s my main instrument. My way of singing has a special relationship to the music I make, but on the other hand, I’m very open to collaborations and I think that’s going to be the next step, like Cómeme [Aguayo's Kompakt spin-off label] is already a collaboration with a lot of people and inviting people to sing and put their vocals on other people’s tracks so I think something like that is the logical next step. I’m not afraid of the challenge because I enjoy music-making so much that this is the most important for me.

♫♫♫ "Rollerskate" (Radio Edit)