Signal Deluxe - Art Is Our Weapon

Words by: Sean-Michael Yoder
Posted: 20/9/12 7:59

Signal Deluxe – Art Is Our WeaponProduction duos seem to have the upper hand in this game and in North America, few are harder working or more connected that Signal Deluxe partners Jerga and Valeria – partners in real life as well. They run their own label Blaq, as well as manage the long-running imprint Pantamuzik, and produce forward thinking tracks at a prolific rate.

The Signal Deluxe sound is chameleon like – the only common threads seem to be darkness and a unique, left of center quality – they have tackled dubstep, techno, house, rock, and ambient with equal skill. It’s no wonder the two teach at the recently opened SAE school in Mexico City, they are skilled studio producers – using gear and working with live artists, something they also continue to blur the boundaries with in their spare time.

These two are passionate and speak their mind as we sat down with Jerga recently to find out what drives them, which is a total commitment to art. For them art is a weapon against the ongoing oppression that is life in Mexico.

It’s rare and perhaps even naïve, especially if we allow ourselves to become hardened and cynical by politics instead of creating that human connection. This is something they excel at as human beings and probably explains the warm organic vibe that emanates from even their darkest tracks.

With a huge new release on superstar label Get The Curse and the ambitious pan-Mexican compilation Catalogo MX, the duo now seems to be set to make a big impact internationally.

Time is not really an issue for us, we live for our art & our labels are truly a privilege for us, we are honored to receive so much good music from many artists around the world, so making all this come together is just magic for us...You have been busy recently – tell us about the latest release you have out.
Our latest release was for Get The Curse and this was a very special release for us, one of the highlights of our careers so far, this is one of our favorite labels in the world. We have been playing all their releases from day one, so releasing our music on their label is something very important for us, we love the music from Clement [Meyer], Darabi [Philippe Hallais and Dang Khoa Chau], and Tomas More - the guys behind this amazing label - so this keeps us inspired and makes us truly believe in what we do, no matter how weird it is.

The response for this EP was amazing too, many of our heroes charting it and dropping it on their sets, the support from Get The Curse for this release was also beautiful, we look forward to many good things happening around this release. It was good to find a home where darkness is good.

You also run your own record label – Blaq – plus help with Pantamuzik and have day jobs as well. How do you find time to juggle all of these things?
Well time is not really an issue for us, we live for our art and our labels are truly a privilege for us, we are honored to receive so much good music from many artists around the world, so making all this come together is just magic for us, Blaq is almost running by itself after all these years, we have a nice team behind it.  Indigo is our main partner for this label and he takes care of many things to make it possible for us to only focus on the music and the artists.

Valeria takes care of Pantamuzik, it is her baby now, and we have three dear friends that are amazing photographers and all of the artwork comes from their side. We have a couple of mastering studios that we work with as well. And our day jobs are also beautiful!

I work at SAE teaching the electronic music production course so it is super fun to teach kids about music, and it is a learning experience as well, we have access to amazing studios and gear here so it only compliments our love for music and they are totally supportive with our projects. Valeria teaches in our own studio so it is also something relaxed and fun, teaching has been a wonderful experience as well for both of us.

There are plans for a new full length? Will this be your fourth album and have you decided on a label yet?
Yes, we always have the need to do other things than just releasing house and techno EPs and remixes. We love doing one full album every year, this will be our fourth one and it is almost finished. Once again there are many collaborations with amazing musicians, singers, and MCs.

We are finishing this record in the next weeks and will start shopping around, we have some labels in mind, let’s see what happens, this record revolves around BASS, lots of broken post-dubstep grooves as well as a lots of future garage and weird new beats, it is necessary for us to do this kind of records so that we can stay inspired with other styles while being able to always experiment with real musicians in a full studio environment.

Tell me about the Catalogo MX project and how that came about?
This is a project we have been working on for a while now, it started just as a simple idea to bring the [Mexican] electronic music scene together and then it just turned into something more ambitious but still roots oriented. The whole project involves many areas of local art. We started by launching the site and giving away one first compilation including 33 Mexican labels. This is a great window for people outside of Mexico to dive into the music scene here, the variety of styles is amazing and everyone has been very supportive with this project. The meetings have been super fun too, with lots of musicians that we only had contact via Internet. There are many beautiful projects developing around this one and it all has been a super creative experience and people coming together from all parts of the country is something really special, especially while the situation in this country is so bad in other aspects.
Catalogo MX - Read more...

Will there be any plans to tour this year?
We are touring in 2013 around Europe once again!

It is great to see that now Mexican artists are playing all over the world & top DJs from all over the planet are playing our music, so this is something really good, no matter what happens in this country art will always be our escape...This has been a rough year for Mexico with the presidential election really dividing the country. Instead of focusing on the negativity, what is something positive you want to tell the world about Mexico right now – art and culture seems to be thriving there, for example.
Mexico has always been a country with insane corruption; our governments are real criminals and greedy people run by big corporations, the media, and the drug lords. But I guess all the bad things happening push us artists to be alert, on our toes and using art as our weapon, it is great to see that now Mexican artists are playing all over the world and top DJs from all over the planet are playing our music, so this is something really good, no matter what happens in this country art will always be our escape and our way to show some goodness and loving when everything else is so wrong, as we say art is our weapon!

Signal Deluxe makes diverse music, is there a specific Signal Deluxe sound or does it change frequently?
We are very eclectic both in our productions and our DJ sets. We love all kinds of music and I guess this shows in our own productions. We need to be versatile to stay inspired; we love dark, hypnotic, subliminal grooves no matter what style or BPM. We always like to keep things obscure with lots of deepness, I guess you can say we are very unpredictable but darkness is a constant in our sound.

What else can we expect from you this year?
We have many things coming out in the next months on some of our favorite labels - some remixes, one EP, and a compilation on Adjunct Audio - one of our favorite labels. Also some nice collaborations with Designforms Research Lab also out of Los Angeles and we have some releases on our labels Blaq and Pantamuzik, too. Plus a bunch of remixes for many friends around the world,

We also just finished working on our live set so we are ready to rock some dance floors live! We have  two new projects we have been working on and recording ideas, one called “Bala Fria” that is abstract hip hop and the first album with our rock band Jenny Dirt vs. Suicide Johnny, but these two projects won’t see the light of day in 2013.

Signal Deluxe - I Voice Exclusive Podcast Here
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