Words by Antonio, photos provided by Javier Estrada.
Mexican DJ Javier Estrada has been producing some of the most exciting bass music, from moombahton to tribal guarachero (a youth-dominated, electronic re-imagining of regional sounds). Over the span of almost a decade, he has produced close to a thousand songs, many of which you can hunt down on Soundcloud, YouTube, and other file-hosting services. That is, as long as the links are still active.
His most recent release Prehispánico, is as much as a journey into the future of dance music, as it is a look into Mexico’s indingeous music. Prodigious Mexican label NAAFI included the project as part of a series called “Tribal,” shows just how much tribal has been de-constructed and then re-constructed again. Estrada frames alarming flutes, staccato-synth patterns and brooding drums in recognizable cumbia, dubstep and dembow rhythms.
I exchanged messages with Javier via Twitter to get an insight into his musical beginnings, the importance of tribal, and future collaborations. The conversation was originally conducted in Spanish, and was translated into English with some help with Julie Jimenez.
Q: What are your earliest memories of music?
JAVIER: remember when I was very young, listening to my father’s vinyl records of Norteña music. As a matter of fact, I got tired of listening to that type of music and began exploring other genres. Honestly, I was musically poor during my childhood, but my teen years were very rich in finding different genres and styles of music that led me to want to innovate.
At the same time, I began mixing with a program called ATOMIX. My interest in all of this was very high because I wanted to know how to record my own music. I recorded some sounds from my guitar directly to my computer in a very rudimentary form using basic cables because my knowledge about the hardware and applications was not great. Later, after a lot of resarch, I began to get more familiar. A friend of mine showed me the program Fruity Loops now called FL Studio, which then launched my musical creation.
Q: Mexico has a very rich history in electronic music. Where do you see yourself fitting?
JAVIER: I feel very comfortable in this scene and have meet and have many friends from big stars like Ezekiel, Noizekid, Polybious and Skaay, Billion Dollars, Teen Flirt, just to name a few. I think that this scene is recognized more and more every day and is reaching an incredible level.
Q: What was it like playing for your first party?
JAVIER: The very first time I played for an audience that came solely to see “Javier Estrada” as the headliner was incredible and one of the best nights of my life! This interaction between the audience and I was special, and the people enjoyed my set and I enjoyed them as well.
Q: Does the political climate affect your music at all?
JAVIER: The political climate doesn’t actually affect my music, and I think everyone feels the same way.
What was the process of conceptualizing the “Prehispanico” project released through NAAFI?
JAVIER: The concept with NAAFI was easy. They approached me and asked me to collaborate for this incredible project.
Q: Why do you think tribal and music released by labels like NAAFI are gaining popularity?
JAVIER: Tribal Guarachero is seeing an unexpected resurgence, and I see a future in the genre. People are look for different things in the moment and the musical styles are brutally rhythmic.
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Q: What are you working on currently?
I’m working on a project with Mao Skaay and Polybiu$, overall with Imperior Inmortal, a collective that will make a lot of noise. Ezekiel is a one of the biggest names in the game.