The hectic summer schedule of 2015 for Victor Ramos signals just how far he has come with his Harvard Bass alias. Over the coming weeks the Mexican DJ / producer will relocate from his San Diego base to make the move to Europe, will be releasing EPs for Saved Records and Tuskegee, will be remixing Loco Dice and Tiga tracks and will be performing at key events at Sonar, London and Ibiza. Any ordinary man may not be up to the challenge, but Ramos, a man who has consistently made and played music bursting with energy and vigor, is undoubtedly thriving on the increased workload that is proving his place as a true purveyor of the addictive, groovy and techy sound that he has mastered. I Voice caught up with the man himself to discuss the upcoming summer of upheaval and the context in which he has arrived at this point.
Tijuana is going through a kind of rebirth. The tourism has picked up thanks to its rich art and culinary culture and it’s like a fresh start. People are going out, the streets are becoming full of life again...Do you identify with underground Mexican electronic music more than US house, or do you feel somewhere in-between?
I think more with the Bay Area and Chicago house scenes - they were my first introduction to house music - guys like Miguel Migs and Mark Farina. That’s what I listened to growing up and it definitely helped shape the music I make today.
What was the electronic music scene in Tijuana like when you were growing up? What were your early experiences there?
The electronic music scene in Tijuana was strong; it still is. I remember going to my first show there. It was Mark Farina, and such a surreal experience. I think that’s when my soul said “here you go Victor, this is what I like.” It was love at first sight. Tijuana was also the first place I had my first party - it was very electro-driven. Capacity was probably around 100 people and it was a sweatbox - every Friday the place would be full. I don’t remember making any money, but I had the best times there.
How has the scene changed there since then?
It’s changed so much. It kind of had a fallout during the drug wars in 2009 though. Tijuana in general emptied out I think - everyone was living in constant fear and afraid to go out. For around 4 years there was nothing in the city, everything had closed down. Fast forward to 2015 and the drug wars have really calmed down, Tijuana is going through a kind of rebirth. The tourism has picked up thanks to its rich art and culinary culture and it’s like a fresh start. People are going out, the streets are becoming full of life again and the music scene is back and even better than ever - loads of new clubs opening with great DJ’s playing every weekend - it’s great to see.
The scene here is bigger than I have ever seen - it’s great. There are lots of new parties and festivals that are keeping the underground scene alive...How long have you lived in San Diego? What is great about the scene there, and how has it changed since the explosion of EDM in the US?
I’ve actually lived her pretty much all of my life - we moved from Tijuana when I was a little cute kid. The scene here is bigger than I have ever seen - it’s great. There are lots of new parties and festivals that are keeping the underground scene alive. The EDM culture has given the underground a great boost and opened people up to a lot of new sounds and better music.
Do you see Sonar as an effective business tool or more of a party week, and why?
I’ve actually never been, this is my first year! I’m excited to see what it’s about, but it definitely looks like it’s going to be a big party week!
You’ll be at Pacha for Nic Fanciulli & Friends as part of OFF SONAR. Are you looking forward to playing alongside the likes of NicFanciulli and Robert Dietz? In what ways do you look up to guys like that?
I really feel like every time I play with DJ’s like Nic, Robert and people like Seth, and the [Martinez] bros, it’s a blessing. I look up to them like they’re mister Miyagi, and I’m the karate kid - know what I mean? I’m actually playing b2b with Robert at the event, which is going to be dope!
Staying with Nic, why do you think your ‘Relocation EP’ has a great home with Fanciulli’s Saved Records? What is your relationship with the guys there like?
I think the EP fits really well with the Saved sound. When I finished it, which was the first label that came to mind and luckily they agreed! I have a great relationship with those guys, and although it developed fairly recently, it’s like I’ve known them for ages - really great people; really great label.
I’m going to be playing for the Hyte guys at Amnesia, as well as Nic & Joris’ La Familia residency at Ushuaia.... How would you describe the music on the EP in your own words?
Damn, just straight forward club beaters!
Going back to Spain, which nights will you be playing for throughout this year’s Ibiza season?
I’m not sure what I’m allowed to announce right now to be honest. I’m going to be playing for the Hyte guys at Amnesia, as well as Nic & Joris’ La Familia residency at Ushuaia. There are a few other things that we’ll be announcing soon as well!
Will you get much time off between gigs whilst you are on the island? What are your favourite places to relax and get away from music whilst there?
I will actually be in and out of the Island since I’m relocating (get it?) to Barcelona this summer. It’s close by, so I can go whenever I need to. I haven’t explored the Island much as it was my first time last year and I mainly spent time in clubs. If I get some time this year I’d love to see some new places, I’ve heard it’s amazing.
Moving onto the UK, you have two standout gigs this summer here; Seth Troxler’s Acid Future Party in London on August 8th, and Nic Fanciulli’s The Social Festival on Sept 12th - that’s going to be quite a few days for you, what are you looking forward to most about those shows?
Looking forward to seeing a lot of acts I’ve never seen, as the lineups are great - also looking forward to trying out some new music!
What new music are you working on now, and when/where can we expect to hear it?
As you know the ‘Relocation EP’ is up on Saved on May 25th, then I’m working on a remix for Loco Dice, and one for Tiga’s new record on Turbo. Plus an EP for Tuskegee, which I think should be out during the summer.
Catch Harvard Bass at:
Sunday 21st, June 2015 - Nic Fanciulli and Friends at Pacha Barcelona
Saturday 08th, August 2015- Seth Troxler's Acid Future at Tobacco Dock
Saturday 12th, September 2015 - The Social Festival 2015 at Mote Park
Wednesday 19th, September 2015 - Hyte @ Amnesia Ibiza
Wednesday, 23rd September 2015 @ La Familia Closing Party @ Ushuaïa Ibiza