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Big Up Podcast 77 ~ Mock The Zuma [pReconstrvct mix II]

Big Up Podcast 77 ~ Mock The Zuma [pReconstrvct mix II]

Photo by Carlos Muñiz

Photo by Carlos Muñiz

Somewhere deep in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, young Kevin Santana (Mock The Zuma) plays video games, samples ghostly voices from old movies, and produces electronic music, influenced by UK’s deep bass (or post-dubstep if you will) movement. But the sound of Mock The Zuma cannot be discarded as yet another post-dubstep producer. His unique background of growing up in the most violent zone in the world outside of declared war zones might be to blame. He attributes the ghostly sound of his music and much of his productivity to the atmosphere of the city. But just like young MTZ himself, we are optimistic about his future, upcoming gigs and releases, which he talks about with a sweet humbleness in the following interview.

[toggle title=”Track List”]MOCK THE ZUMA – UNTITLED
A$AP FERG – 4:02 (BOMBÉ BOOTLEG)
DEN5HION – CICLO (EL BÚHO REMIX)
ARTIFACT – WHITE SPACE CONFLICT
DEADBOY – IF U WANT ME (WHEEZ-IE REMIX)
HYBU – DUCK HUNT (PLOT TWIST REMIX)
DEN5HION – PIEL DE LEOPARDO
LEE BANNON – 216
JAY OSKULATA + NESSTRAK – THE SKY
CROCAT – CLANGING
SINES – BIG MONEY
BOMBÉ – A$$ UP (IN THE AIR)
KINGTHING – INDUCED HYPNOSIS
UNKNOWN – UNTITLED
GRAPHICS – D TRANSITION (ZOLTAN REMIX)
HGLDT – FIGHT FLIGHT
MOCK THE ZUMA – YONKE SOUNDS
PAUL MARMOTA – COLAPSO
DALEDURO – DRIVER
CLUELESS – SERENGETI
NICOLE WRAY – I’M LOOKING (SUBMERSE REMIX)
J-ONE – THE WAY YOU
LOS MACUANOS – MAR NEGRO FEAT. MAY ROOSEVELT
ARCHIE PELAGO – JOYCE DROP
MARCO POLO GUTIERREZ + MOCK THE ZUMA – UNTITLED
MEKHA – COMA FEAT. SNOWFLAKE
EL REMOLÓN – ARTIME
DANIEL KLAUSER – TIME[/toggle]


interview by Rob Lindo

What’s the story behind your name “Mock the Zuma”. I know it has something to do with the last Aztec emperor. Is it paying homage to him? Or is there more to it?

The name arose by simply being something folkloric and a play on words that my friend Nesstrak suggested. When I started the project, and was choosing the name, I mainly wanted to appeal to listeners in the UK, because they were more related to this type of sound. Thus I wanted to show my nationality to these international listeners, so they can just read my alias and figure it out. Also I think it’s easy to remember, if you think of it as a verb.

I think you would be a great social studies teacher. I say that because there are so many cultural references in your act, from your name, the title of your tunes, album cover art etc… How important is it to you to communicate these ideas that are native to Mexico’s past and present?

[quote_left]After all it’s understandable only to me, but looks like people find their own significance in it, in their own way. [/quote_left]I just try to make sharp observations, but I will always consider myself a complete amateur in that topic. Years of study would help me get the whole view of society one day, then I will communicate these ideas in some form. But not now. Titles and themes arise because of personal experiences and relationships that I got the chance and luck to experience. That’s when I think it deserves an honest observation from me, executed with sound dimensions. After all it’s understandable only to me, but looks like people find their own significance in it, in their own way.

A question I ask all the producers I befriend is how do you make your music. What equipment and software do you use?

I use two softwares: FL Studio and Reaper to finish my tracks. As for hardware, I only use a simple controller pad KORG, and Playstation joysticks I use to control the other parameters that help sequence things later for the track. But I think the most important part happens at sequencing with the mouse on the biggest screen I can find. So I get panoramic view of the whole thing when sequencing and mastering on these softwares with the help of virtual instruments and sample libraries.

What types of sounds do you like to sample? I hear many ghostly sounding voices in some of your tunes.

[quote_left]I always try to look for raw sounds, like lo-definition and ‘wasted’ sounds, trashy vintage synths and vocals without lyrics or meaning from video footage.[/quote_left]I get excited when I hear dope videogame samples. Other sections of samples are made of jamms I record with my friends. But I always try to look for raw sounds, like lo-definition and ‘wasted’ sounds, trashy vintage synths and vocals without lyrics or meaning from video footage. Also I like the sounds in advertisements, when they try to grab your attention. Or sound that is bound to a certain phenomenon, event or concept.

Speaking of the ‘wasted’ ghostly sounds, is this something reminecent of your hometown Ciudad Juárez? How has growing up in that particular city influence your sound?

Definitely the city went through bad times, in which it really was a ghost town. Now it’s in recovery and I am happy to be growing up here. It was great to lock yourself in at home and listen to music, when there wasn’t anything going on outside. The current sound may be explained by this type of sheltered existence.

Does the current situation in your hometown make it hard to organize a party or throw an event? I read that you have Feds always on patrol? You’re a pretty young guy, so I guess that your family dosen’t want you out too late at night?

[quote_left]I feel lucky if I get a public gig once a year in Juárez.[/quote_left]I’m not interested in throwing an event here yet, not because of police busting it, but because of people not caring to attend. I love playing to my friends, and I like it just that way for now. I feel lucky if I get a public gig once a year in Juárez.

What is the bass scene in your hometown like and in other cities like Mexico City, Puebla and Guadalajara? Are there things more popular in some areas? What are some things you love and hate about the scene in your country?

I wish I could get to know most of the important scenes, where electronic music is developing. Mexico City is the most teeming, perhaps because of all the existing genres. In Cholula (Puebla) it’s a lot different, but equally important, where college students convene to make their “lock-downs”, that resemble underground scenes and last until 6 in the morning. The third to be mentioned, Tijuana, has a very unique nightlife, very reminiscent of the border-town style and has the finest house music. But in terms of global-bass-music, I think Mexico City is the most friendly.

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You are scheduled to play Reconstrvct in December in NYC. Is there anything in particular you want to do while you’re in the States?

I’m ultra excited! I’ll try to do as many things I can, and looking forward to share some thoughts with the people and DJ’s of that night. Also I hope I can get to trade some music with the musicians I’ve been following for such a long time that live there. Friends I work with are also very excited, as this is gonna be my first gig in the States.

I also know you make music with some other guys in Mexico. Who are the people you usually collaborate with? And what other artists should the readers keep track of, if they are feeling the Mock the Zuma sound.

If you dig my sound, be aware of bombs by Nesstrak, Den5hion, and Crocat – people who I had the luck to collaborate with. Sebastian Vorhaus knows what’s up with house tunes, and Kryone rules the deal on downtempo vibes. Lao and Paul Marmota created their own style, one of the deepest sounds in hardware electronic music in the capital.

What would you be doing or like to be doing, if you were not producing music?

I’d probably be in college or working, and then playing video games and watching movies. That’s stuff I love doing.

What’s next for Mock? Another Ep? Full album? What’s your next focus?

New stuff coming right now, some physical releases coming soon on record labels like NAAFI and Fullfridge, and digital releases on netlabels that I planned this year.

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