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Charlie: As kids, most of us dream with playing guitar, drums, or sing, what have you… How was it that you decided to go for the mixing consoles and production work?

Christian: Well, I always loved music, but I think I decided to go into production because of my other love, that of computers. Also, I was interested from early on in sound design. And I finished high school right at a time when electronic music was exploding in Mexico – with international DJ acts visiting weekly, Sasha, Paul Van Dyke, Digweed – Mexico had become a center of dance music. So right out of school, you combine all of this happening, my love of computers, and I decided to study production. I was fortunate to be able to study in the US. My first instrument, in fact, is guitar – which I’ve been playing since forever – and specialization was in sound design.

Charlie: So does guitar came before computers?

Christian: Guitar came first. However, it was when I started with sound design that everything became more serious. 

Charlie: Leaving aside your commercial work with advertising, film and the like – which artist was the most enjoyable for you to work with, or you feel that your work came out the greatest?

Christian: That’s so hard… Look, I love to collaborate. Because you learn from everyone – and hopefully I’ve been able to instill some wisdom here and there too. But let me answer in a slightly different way – the artist from which I was most hesitant about my expectations to work together and something wonderful came out of it, was Nortec Collective. I was having conversations with Roberto Mendoza and I really didn’t know what was going to come out of it, because they have a style that is very unique, very personal, very regional Mexican, and I am a little darker, a little more depressive – if you allow me the term -, and without sound that is particularly Mexican, truly. So I didn’t know what was going to come out of that mix – but it turned out to be something very interesting, and I really enjoyed the process. 

Because electronic music, if you think about it, was something pretty experimental, something that moved in the underground. Yes, you can argue that the 80s were using a lot of electronic instruments and sampling, but that was nothing like what we know as electronic music.

Charlie: And what about artists that you would like to experiment with their sounds?

Christian: Well, I think that it’s the role of the producer in general – not just with this or that artist, but with any act that comes your way. I listen to a track and I can help by imagine how I would work it. For instance, I’m working with this band from Mexico now that – in and of themselves – have a sound that we can say it’s rather obvious; however, they are impressive musicians and their compositions are amazing – so since I’ve heard them I’ve imagined how to replace some sounds, work with the vocals, adjust some parts, and now the final work it’s bigger than the sum of the parts, if I may say that. But that’s the work of the producer, right? I sometimes hear someone on the radio and I can realize there’s a great voice, a good melody, but an overall result that is quite predictable and I think how I would’ve taken it on a different direction. Then again, probably my version wouldn’t have sold nearly as much!

Charlie: Now let me take you away from your role as a producer. How do you write for your own project? Is it from a sound, a melody, a drum pattern, a mood?

Christian: Each song has its own way of growing. Most of the time – for me – it starts with a guitar part. Sometimes I start with a rhythm, but in my experience, those tracks tend to not work that well. It’s rare, but it has also happened that I have a vocal melody – and I start dressing around it. I don’t have a formula – but I would say that 60% of the time I start with a guitar.

Charlie: Going back to the producer; which albums can you recall that have changed the standard of sound for a genre or an era?

Christian: What could it be? One of the albums that have affected me the most has to be ‘Nevermind’ from Nirvana. Although it was rock – or ‘grunge’ – it still pretty much put the final lid on the 80s. Also ‘Violator’ from Depeche Mode, I think that album took electronic music mainstream. Because electronic music, if you think about it, was something pretty experimental, something that moved in the underground. Yes, you can argue that the 80s were using a lot of electronic instruments and sampling, but that was nothing like what we know as electronic music. Also ‘Ambient Sounds’ by Apex Twins, whom I follow very closely. 

Charlie: Last one – how much would you say is the influence of the producer on the final product? 

Christian: I think it depends on the genre. There are some genres – take Jazz, for instance – that don’t need a whole lot of tweaking. But in the ‘commercial’ world, I would say that production is very important. Not long ago I was listening to some demo tapes from Amy Winehouse, just her voice with a guitar that sounded awful. You can here that it’s all there – the power, the charisma, the voice – but once those songs were properly produced, they become what the world came to know.

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