A name that you will likely hear a lot this year is Nico Mendez. This latest addition to the SNOE family is getting a lot of recognition for his versatile and groovy style, which drew our attention right from the beginning. His track “Gear” on the new SNOEflakes was released last week. Working with slightly loungy elements and a smooth groove, this is the perfect after-hour and festival tune setting the scene for blissful dancing. We caught up with the Scotland based artist to talk inspiration, everyday life and party mode.
Hei Nico. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Your track “Gear” was released yesterday, are you ready to see it out?
Hei guys, Thank you for the opportunity to sit and chat with you! Ah Yes, I am more than ready, I have been chomping at the bit to release this record with you guys at Snoe for a while now and I’m just both humbled and blown away to finally see it released along with a host of other great talent as well!
It is such a great tune, what was your inspiration behind it?
Thank you, it really means a lot to hear that! Well… I stumbled across a sample featuring a woman going into depth on the affects of taking cocaine or “Gear” as we call it around my parts haha! So, I rather serendipitously started building the idea around that sample and tried to interpret what it’s like to take cocaine in the track. I knew I wanted to create a track with body, something that stuck its elbows out with energy, something that moved a lot of air! I also HAD to use Witney Houston’s sample from “So Emotional” which I tweaked to make it sound like its saying “I am hearing the heartbeat inside of me” which I think perfectly describes how you feel when you take Gear haha!
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
I hear the term funky a lot when people talk about my music. I like to think I go against the grain a little. You can’t really put your finger on my sound. It’s neither here nor there. Ive also hear people describe my sound as the “Dirty Bird” sound, which is flattering I guess! But I reckon my catalogue covers a wide spectrum from house & electronic to more techno!
And can you tell us a bit about your musical background?
I’ve always had a general interest in electronic music, my background consisted of quite a wide range of things, if it was good to me I was listening to it most likely of Rock, Metal, Hip Hop and Punk. My tastes have always been very open and eclectic throughout my years. Off the top of my head from the likes of Sigur Ros, Depeche Mode, Pantera, Led Zeppelin, The Cure, Kraftwerk, Talk Talk, Talking Heads, to Wutang, Tribe Called Quest, Soulwax, I mean I could go on and on, but it was all staple growing up!
How much time do you spend in the studio?
As much time as I can, I work full time as well as run my own record label called Johnny Johnny, So I tend to try to break my weeks down and allocate days for studio time solely! This can also be subject to how inspired or creative I am feeling at the time, sometimes I can sit for hours and get nowhere so I tend to step away from the studio until things creatively start feeling a bit more lubricated again!
What is your favourite toy for making music?
There’s quite a lot I really enjoy using my Maschine Mikro a lot for rhythms and grooves! My go to plug ins and VST’s are anything from Sound Toys, NI’s Massive, and I am really enjoying Korgs M1 at the moment! The Korg Monotron is a wicked little gadget as well, you get some really cool noise from it! My studio is very small, so I need to think about that when it comes to synths and hardware, I love my Roland boutique collection as well!
With whom would you like to spend time in the studio?
This is a really tough one, as there are so many great artists out there that inspire me! I reckon my realistic top picks would be Luca Lozano, Kris Wadsworth, Kevin Over, DJ Haus, Mr. Oizo, Andreas Henneberg & Dense & Pika. But I could go on and on. In my opinion these guys are all doing stuff that goes against the grain of your more conventional sounds, they’re always interesting to me. My fantasy league picks would be Bowie, Soulwax, Impulsion, Depeche Mode & Frankie Goes To Hollywood!
What is the one thing you can’t be without in the studio?
Apart from my go to tools which are the Klganghelm VUMT the Waves Paz Analyzer & Massive, I’d have to say my little ghetto panel heater because my studio is literally an icebox most of the time!
And what is the one thing you do not want in your studio?
My phone for sure, I always find myself scrolling aimlessly through social media wasting time or swiping through Tinder trying to find “love”…
What are your guilty pleasures?
Kids hurting themselves is something I watch on the regular (not seriously obviously) harmless stuff like running into a door, or watching them eat wasabi, kids are robust so its all good hahaha.
Deep conversations, you know the kind you have at after parties under the influence of everything you get your hands on. The kind you never admit to or speak about in general day to day pitter patter.
Googling myself… Sorry not sorry.
How would you describe the scene where you live?
Glasgow’s scene is pretty booming. I would say Techno is our staple here, but there is definitely something for everyone. The legendary Subclub never disappoints as well as the infamous SWG3 warehouse. You always hear international heavy hitters talk about how they play all over the world, but nothing compares to Glasgow crowds. Theres is a lot of love and passion for electronic music here, though it’s a tough love for sure.
Any place you would like to play that you haven’t been yet?
ANYWHERE, I don’t get gigs… Just kidding. Yeah, I would love to play obvious ones. Like my hometowns Subclub, Would love to tick that off my list. To travel over to Berlin and get a taste if the scene over there as a DJ and not a punter would be wicked! Clubs like Concrete in Paris or Robert Johnson In Frankfurt would be mega cool to play in!
What do you drink when you play?
I’ll drink anything thats wet. But if I’m feeling a little fruity my poison of choice is either Hendricks Gin or Rum in particular Sailor Jerry or Kraken hits the spot.
How do you balance music and everyday life?
I think this one is subjective. For some people music IS their life and for others music is a great passion, but balancing it with other passions, responsibilities and necessities isn’t easy at times. It took me a while to settle into routines. If found that a daily or weekly planner helps a lot, that way when it’s time to focus on things like my music or day to day doings, then there is nothing else on my agenda.
Or what happens is I can’t get a kick and bass working quite right so, I just quit music, have a little cry into my pillow for a few days, come out of retirement and repeat the process.
What’s in store for you over the next few months?
I have been keeping my head down, working away on my new projects like my new pseudonym “Modat” which is focuses on more dub minimal & techno sounds. Modats first vinyl release dropped a few weeks ago on my label Johnny Johnny.
JJ has a number of releases and showcases planned in the coming months featuring artists like myself, Jacque Saravanté and a whole host of guests and JJ roster regulars. We have a JJ showcase in May at Glasgow’s Stereo Cafe basement that aims to raise money for LGBT Scotland. As well as an After Hours party series in the pipe line which I am really excited to get going! Release wise you can expect to see more from me coming out on JJ as well as a few others that I cant reveal just yet. I am really looking forward to the rest of the year, thats for sure!
What is your favourite Norwegian word? 😉
This question had me sitting for literally hours typing words I like into google translate some of which I cant really mention but there was some great results! But I think it would only be fitting that we go with “Utstyr” for my track Gear coming out with you guys on SNOE Woop Woop!