#107 - Lagartijeando
Lagartijeando is synonymous with pushing the contemporary Alt-Latin electronic scene forwards along with his contemporaries Nicola Cruz, Cancha Via Circuito and El Buho. Strongly influenced by his travels through Latin America, Mati’s signature psychedelic electronic tracks blend everything from traditional folk from the Bolivian alti-plano to the jungle beats of Brazil.
Since signing to ZZK records (Nicola Cruz, Cancha Via Circuito) in 2009 he has gone on to release on Waxploitation (Gnarles Barkley, Dangermouse) and Wonderwheel Recordings (Nickodemus, El Buho) where his latest album entered the Bandcamp top 100 albums of 2017. Renowned for beautiful textures and layers in his production work, Mati has garnered support from the likes of The Fader, Remezcla, KCRW, NPR and many others.
Having just finished a European Tour that took in Melt Festival in Germany, Latin Root Session in Lisbon, Le Mellotron in Paris, Earthly Measures ion London and more he now continues his collaboration with Bogota-Berlin based Big In Japan (a label setup by former Ninja Tune employees Seb Jenkins and Liam Nolan). He will soon follow up his recently released and well received Caboclo EP with an album of music recorded with Qom ethnic group ‘Chelaalapi’.
In the meantime, soak up the sun and drink in the beautiful music…
The Caboclo EP is out now on Big in Japan.
Q&A with Lagartijeando
- How did you approach this mix as opposed to a normal DJ club set?
I really just use the electronic music that I like to listen to. Maybe that is because of my age haha, I do not know, but I'm very fond of quiet music or something with ethnic elements and danceable introspective. I find it very interesting what is happening in this scene and there are certain artists (like the ones I chose later on), that have a particular brightness and I find them completely original in their productions.
- You grew up in still live in the town of Dolores close to Buenos Aires. What makes this place so special to you?
Dolores is a special place for me and my loved ones, it is an easy and peaceful place to live, very connected to nature. I have a house with a large yard, where I can have my garden and my dogs. I live outside the town, so all day long I can see the path of the sun completely overhead. Many friends work in the fields, so my places of recreation is to go with them to help them work, use the shovel, put gates up, wires, etc. I love being out in the countryside, I really enjoy it a lot. The city on the other hand, has wonderful things as well, but in the end I start to feel a little confined. Luckily I live only 3 hours from Buenos Aires and the music work I do takes me on travels through different countries, so it really generates a balance that makes me happy. Because also living in a small town at times feels very monotonous and cultural movement is almost nothing. Thank God for the internet!
- Your music is influenced by your travels throughout South America. Which parts of your travels had the biggest musical influence?
I’d say that Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil are my greatest influences. I feel very close to the sounds that are experienced in these countries, which incorporate very complex origins through the cultural ethnic crossovers that these countries have. I like to find similarities in the music of these countries, then reinterpret or rescue rhythms and sounds from ancient times and a long way from the sounds of the cities, to combine them with the modernity of the electronic machines, but without losing the root and the primitive essence.
- At what age did you start learning to play instruments? What do you play?
I started at 14 playing the bass, different styles of folk music, jazz, rock, cumbia, then at 20 I started with the guitar and electronic music programming. Then I bought more instruments, such as the charango and flutes. I also like playing a lot of reggae music, bossa nova, Latin American folk and some classical pieces.
- How did you end up working with the label Big In Japan for your release earlier in the year?
A mutual friend with whom both Seb (from Big in Japan) and I worked together with, presented my music to the label. We had a first talk together and I got a very good impression of him from his previous work in Colombia and connections back in Europe. I noticed his enthusiasm and his knowledge about the music industry, in turn he transmitted me a sincerity and a feeling that he is a very good person (something difficult in the world of music nowadays!) That's why I agreed to work with Big in Japan and it really was a pleasant surprise for all that they achieved with the EP. I am very happy with the work they have done and also EPM, I see a great future for the label.
- You described your second album ‘CardosRedondo’ (Waxploitation) as an imaginary sound map of Latin America. What do you mean by that?
I feel that in my career so far, Cardos Rodando was a transitional album, because my first two albums were more focused on the cumbia style, and then the digital cumbia sound aesthetic. I was already wanting to open my compositions towards other rhythms. I had the idea of creating a sound that was understood by all Latin Americans so I included more Afro Brazilian music, funk, bagualas, bailecito, alongside the cumbia classics. Chacarera also compliments these styles with the electronic format, which in the following album ‘El gran poder’ it was the opposite.
- In 2017 you released ‘El GranPoder’ (Wonderwheel) - named after a festival that takes place in Bolivia and Peru, purely to celebrate family. Please tell us about this festival.
One day I was in Cochabamba, in the house of a friend, sitting looking out the window. It was night and suddenly you start to see fireworks and music playing at full volume. I asked my friend what was going on and he told me the time of The Great Power began. For several weeks these celebrations were repeating, changing from neighborhood to neighborhood. The Great Power is a syncretic celebration between the Catolisimo and the Andean culture. Generally a family in the community spends a fortune to entertain the rest of the community. The bigger the party, the better the food, the better the music and the best decorations they offer to their closest friends, then the more esteem and social reputation they achieve. It is a way to give all your work to others. It was this ideal that I felt I was creating on this album.
- What would be a perfect weekend?
Arrive Friday night at a place of magical nature, be at a small beach or a forest with tents, drums, beer and friends. Then enjoy the day exploring and at night put together a big fire, play music, tell stories and rave a bit.
- Which artists do you feel are pushing the sound of Latin America forward?
Ohxala, Inti Che, Barda, Barrio Lindo, Quioxosis, Klik and frik, Javier Arce, Kaleema, Ife, Rodrigo gallardo, and a lot of knowledge.
- What’s next for 2018?
We have a release of a new vinyl that will be released by Big in Japan, with an indigenous group of the Qom ethnic group called Chelaalapi. It really is something exciting for me, because we have created a live show with the choir where they sing and share part of their culture and I have great rhythm and electronic sound accompanying this. It is a project that enthuses me a lot since I find the choir has a very magical sound, something very personal and unique for the world of contemporary music. Many of them are wise older people of 70 years or more, who only speak their own indigenous language and do not understand Spanish very much at all. Being able to bring them together for this musical adventure is something very special for me.
EPM Podcast 107 Tracklist – Lagartijeando
01 Tibetan Throat Music - Unknown Artist
02 J'ecris - a Macaca y Gama
03 Mañana en Tepoztlan - El Buho
04 El malon del Gaucho Renegado Molina - Lagartijeando
05 Huanaco - Barrio Lindo
06 Costa Tranquila - Paisadoom
07 Encanto - Carrot Green
08 Sol de los Andes - Los Kjarkas (Barda Edit)
09 Amalaya - Klik and Frik
10 Rio Japuna na Pauliceira - Spaniol
11 Seremei Bugaya - The Garifuna (Dandara Edit)
12 Balderrama - Mercedes Sosa (Kermesse Edit)
13 Poncho Acido - Quixosis
Wonderwheel Remix Album: https://open.spotify.com/album/2cgJE6FVzLCNXBNY6z3znb?si=B30E_eOWQu-GZHXj7LFHUw
New Release with Javier Ace: https://open.spotify.com/album/42JFc0p98eqQhRP9Askuxw?si=7pIz2bksTJS8OL1yO7cUcw
Big In Japan Release: https://open.spotify.com/album/1EKrkSbE3rzGkt6sB0lBdx?si=qIMhpT7rSfe1wKMi4OzQsw