Something pretty special is happening in Mexico at the moment. While most of the globe readily associates the Spanish-speaking arm of North America with nothing but burritos and body bags, thanks to BPM Festival and the influence of US club-culture, Mexico is fast putting itself on the map as one of the world’s most vociferous consumers of electronic music. Hailing from the border town of Mexicali, DJ and production duo Climbers have found themselves at the forefront of this sonic drive, notching up releases on Culprit, Get Physical and Moodmusic, to name but a few. MEOKO caught up with JB and KD to discuss their beloved nation’s newfound obsession with 4/4 and the role they have to play in all of it.
Hey guys, thanks for talking to us. First off, I have to ask you. How the hell was BPM? I’ve heard nothing but amazing things.
KD:Well what can I say about BPM … it was sick! This year was our second time there and it was really amazing, the people, the music, the weather, the parties and the vibe were all perfect! We saw a lot of friends we met on our travels from different parts of the world and we had the opportunity to share good moments with all of them at the festival.
There seems to be something really exciting happening electronic music-wise in Mexico at the moment. Why now do you think? What’s changed?
JB: Right now electronic music is growing really fast in our country. We have to admit the fact that electronic music is now popular on radio stations, TV shows, movies has contributed considerably. Now all the mainstream artists are “electronic”. By that I mean the sound they have is electro, progressive, dubstep or some other type mixed with the pop sound, so that’s making all the new generations know more about this type of music and they are searching the internet for more of the same, which is the interesting part. Because that way they find more music, different artists and DJs and producers that are doing other things, not just what the media are offering.
KD: Last month we had the opportunity to play with Miguel Campbell in our home town Mexicali and there were like 8000 people there! The majority were kids between 15 and 18 years old. The first time Miguel played here there were like 300 people, and that was like 2 years ago. I guess that’s a good example to show the levels of popularity the music has reached.
Climbers exclusive mix – Click here
Could you tell us about the music scenes in Mexico, and specifically in Mexicali, when you were growing up? Did electronic music have much of a place?
KD: Well there’s a lot of scenes in Mexico: rock, pop, hip hop, house and many more types of music, but if you wanna know which one is the biggest I guess I’m gonna choose the regional music, that’s definitely the biggest scene in our country.
JB: Yeah regional music is the bigger one in Mexico and it’s the same in Mexicali. The house scene in our town has always existed, but obviously before it was underground, there were parties and everything but you need to be really into that to know where or when there’s gonna be a rave. Now its different, we have festivals and you can see the whole city holding flyers of the new event or the DJ that is coming.
A lot of the artists that have come through have strong ties to this modern Hot Creations/Crosstown Rebels/No.19 house sound. Do you think this style captured the imagination of Mexicans in a way previously unseen?
JB: Well I guess I can’t speak for the whole country but at least for me these guys bring something to our country that has changed the whole vibe of electronic music. Before that we just heard techno or tech house, but I remember the first time we saw Lee Foss here, my friends and I were like what is this? We connected with the sound and after that the whole scene changed and we started looking for more of this new ‘thing’.
You grew up in Mexicali right on the border. Is the scene in Mexico regional or is it very concentrated in Mexico city?
JB: Well Mexico City is the capital of our country, and is one of the biggest cities in the whole continent so of course there’s a bigger movement there than elsewhere, but that doesn’t mean it’s better than other parts. It depends what you’re looking for. In some places they get bigger crowds, in others they have small crowds but the people are just as educated and really into the music.
KD: The USA has a big influence over us because as you said before, we live on the border, but I guess that doesn’t define if we can have good music or not. I mean we have good music in our town, like what the Mexa guys are doing now, but that came from the culture of the person, not from the area they live in.
Do you see any relationship between the burgeoning electronic scene and the recent full-on crackdown on violent, drug-related crime in the country? Has that made Mexico and Mexicans more secure and free to explore and enjoy music?
JB: I think even though the violence in our country is undoubtedly an issue, it has also brought the best out of the youth because we see so many positive movements all around the country. Kids are painting, making music and engaging with so many others disciplines of art.
KD: I think the scene is growing now because people are desperate to enjoy themselves and have a good time while there is a lot of pain and suffering around them. Mexican people are particularly honest about that, which I love.
You’ve put together a mix for MEOKO. Could you tell us a bit about it and the approach you used?
Jb: Well we just put in some new tracks we’re feeling, some of our upcoming work and bound it all together with love.
Finally, what exactly does 2013 hold for Climbers? It must be shaping up to be one hell of a year for you both.
JB: Well yeah we’ve got a lot of new ventures on the horizon. We start touring in 2 weeks: we’re going to Canada, Europe, Australia, Brasil and some other countries. We’ve got 2 EPs to release with our great family label Get Physical, including one in the company of our girls Blondish and also a new EP on Culprit, which will feature the vocals from our new talent Yasmine Asaiez. We also have an EP with the great German label OFF Recordings, where we’re collaborating with Barber and Silky and the Price of Power EP on Electronique with a great remix, but I can’t say too much about that one.
KD: Another big thing for us to look forward to is the release of our label Faceless Recordings alongside our homies Barber and Silky which is going to be a real step up for us in our careers.