Hello, kids. You like my new site? It’s a little plain, I know. But that’s because I’m not much of a webmaster/illustrator/designer. Still, I’m glad you’re on here because I’d like to tell you about P3CULIAR, my new music project.
Chances are you probably know me — if you do know me — as “that DJ guy from that party where they play music in Spanish,” or some other description along those words. I AM that guy and, although I’ve been a DJ for a long time, I’ve also been learning to produce music. But you should probably take a seat if you’re planning to read on because I’m about to bust out part of my life story *shrugs nervously* — sorry!
My interest in music started back when I was a teenager. I took piano and guitar lessons for beginners and, like any self-respecting punkster, had a shitty band:
(Note the T.Rex pin on my jean jacket. The photo was taken by a friend and then “modified” on Windows Paint — or whatever kind of Photoshop the kids where using back in 2002.)
Yes, my old band was awful. I only knew how to hold 3 chords on my cheap Squier guitar. Once an older older musician tried to make me feel better by saying the following: “If you really know how to play a guitar, then you’re not really punk.”
But there was a dark, underside to my interest in music: Besides rock n’ roll, I also liked electronic music. Specifically, DJ culture.
If you’re under 25 you’re probably reading this and saying to yourself “So? There’s nothing wrong with that! I can listen to Rihanna and Vampire Weekend side by side like it ain’t no thing!” Nowadays that sort of genre-mashing seems to be completely normal. But — take note, musical anthropologists — before the internet, before everyone had access to every kind of music all time, it was forbidden by the laws of music snobbery to be a metal head AND a raver, or a goth AND a hip hop head. (All you old people: I know you’re nodding your head in agreement.)
Luckily my mind had been warped way before I ever stepped on American soil. You see, I was born in Tepatitlán, Jalisco, Mexico, and I lived in a small nearby town along with 10,000 other souls — most of which were farm animals. Because there was very little to do, my weekends were spent going quinceañeras where cumbias, norteñas, rancheras, boleros, and Televisa-produced pop songs ruled the dance floor.
Then, when I was 5-years-old, my family moved to northern California. There my American friends took me to goth clubs, punk shows, and raves all over the Bay Area and Sacramento. My family moved back and fourth between both countries until my mid-teens — exposing me to both cultures at the same time — and it… well, sorta twisted my head. For example: Putting Selena Quintanilla next to Siouxsie & The Banshees in the same mixtape seemed completely legit. I probably did the same thing with Fey and Daft Punk, or La Sonora Dinamita and Missy Elliot (after all, Cumbia & Hip Hop have similar tempo).
(Here I stand trying to break one of my first piñatas. I’m not on some backyard but on the dirt-covered street our house sat on. And there’s a story behind my giant pacifier. I tell it to you some other day.)
Was my genre-mashing — which close friends would sometimes call “blasphemous” — ahead of the curve? Not really. I… just didn’t know any better.
After bumming around hippie California for many years, I moved to Manhattan in early 2006 and, along with Amylu Meneses, began promoting and performing DJ sets at Nacotheque, the dance party I mentioned above. Our playlists focused on alternative, kitschy, old, and rare Spanish-sung music. Because it was such a specific party, we were surprised when promoters from major American cities — Houston, LA, Miami, Las Vegas, Chicago, SF — began booking us for their events, and even more surprised when invitations from Barcelona, Madrid, Brussels, Mexico City, Puerto Rico, and Bogota began landing in our inbox.
Traveling was fun, and it was around 2008 I began messing around with digital audio workstations, or DAW’s, because I wanted to learn more about music production. Since then, I started writing silly pop songs. I shared some of my experiments with friends and social media buddies but shelved most of my creations. Through “the scene” I met Ulises Lozano, keyboard and accordion player for the Mexican alternative band Kinky, and in late 2011, after talking about the possibility of recording an EP together, I emailed him couple of mp3’s. Lozano produced music for Amandititita, Mexican Dubwiser, and Chico Sonido — projects/bands I happened to like — so I was excited to hear he wanted to collaborate on a project with me.
For all of 2012 and half of 2013 Uli and I had lot’s of email and Dropbox correspondence. We met twice in his studio to work on some of the songs, but I’d say most of work was done through the internet. While thinking of a single word to best describe the project, I came up with “peculiar,” but I needed the name to be a little more SEO friendly so I modified it to P3CULIAR.
Now, after working on music for so long — and after writing this long-ass post — we’re finally ready to show you the first song: “Menea” [gyrate]. The track, which features a collaboration with the awesome rapper Cakes Da Killa, is a funky party song. The video, shot in NYC at Fontana’s, was directed by Angelita Mendoza and Victor Capiz of Vidi Vici Films.
Here’s a picture of myself during the shooting:
(Photo taken by Laura Merz, one of the starlets of the video.)
“Menea” will be available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc., next Tuesday through Kin Kon Records. P3CULIAR’S full-length LP will be available very soon.
– Marcelo C. Baez