Matías Aguayo was born in Chile, but it’s been a few years now since Germany adopted him, a country where he has developed a very personal electronic music laden with congas and sensuality. Since 2000, Aguayo is one of the leading figures of the German label Kompakt—first as Closer Musik alongisde Dirk Leyers and then as Matías Aguayo—in which he provides a gust of fresh air with her usual Latin rhythms with vocals and lots of percussion. He is, together with Rebolledo and Maloso, his partners in crime, the founder of the label and collective Cómeme. Tonight he will be performing at Sala Razzmatazz to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the venue with the #lode2manydjs party, an entire weekend curated by the Deawale brothers. We have taken advantage of this to interview Aguayo and it seems like we are not the only ones. Our friends from Playmoss have just released an essential Good Fridays playlist with the ten songs he would listen to at home on any day. Press play and continue reading…
Throughout the years you’ve steered away from the electronic DJ scene due to your sessions. We’ve seen you grabbing the micro without complexes or improvising percussion on a base. Do you think the figure of the Dj is too often taken too seriously?
I can’t judge the stance of other DJs. From my point of view, the vocal and instrumental part stems from my own passion for playing. I’m a musician and for me it’s logical to introduce more improvised parts. When I have a gig, I want to have fun and I want the audience to have fun, too. Celebrating the show with the people who come to see you is always more inspiring than stay in the margin. DJs are in the booth are in a position of power, but I think it’s best to communicate with the other side. DJs have to make people dance, but also create a community atmosphere.
You’re a Chilean based in Germany. Where does your passion for congas, percussion and Latin rhythms come from?
It has to do with my love of music in a very open way. In my compositions you can guess Latin rhythms, but also many other influences, such as the music my parents listened to: Victor Jara, salsa and tropical music. After soaking in Chilean sounds, I moved to Peru, where I went to concerts of Peruvian black music. Add to this the fact that I’ve always liked to dance. Percussion and rhythms make you dance right away; it makes you move your shoulders, your waist, your entire body. It’s something that also happens with house music, a genre with strong Latin influences. What fascinates me is to write songs that create that dialogue between music and dance.
How would you define dance music?
Dance music is empty of information. There’s space to fill it, but that’s the dancer’s duty. I like music in which the rhythm section tells you something and you have to finish creating the content by dancing.
Aside from the wave of successful Chilean DJs in Europe of which you’re a part of alongside Villalobos and Luciano, you follow a pretty independent career, not only as a DJ but also with the Kompact label, is it because of a love-hate relationship with the industry?
I think it’s due to the fact that I have lived in many places: Chile, Germany, Peru… I’ve always been in contexts where I didn’t belong. I have a background of immigration that doesn’t allow me to be in a place 100 percent. For example, I don’t feel entirely German, but when I return to Chile I’m not there at all. When I came to Germany I was a freak. I would listen to music that others wouldn’t and I realized I didn’t care much about what others would say. It’s a different position than many others would take, but being true to what you liked is a nice way of retaining the aura of childhood.
So could we say that Matias Aguayo as a boy was similar to the Matías we are interviewing now?
We could say I kept on doing the same thing since I was 12. I used to record strange music with gadgets, but now I do it more advanced tools.
How did you alliance with Maloso and Rebolledo emerge to create Cómeme?
It’s something magical. Music enables the creation constellations with people you have something in common with. What unites us is not a genre, but a spirit, a common wave, wanting to be part of the same. Cómeme was born from dance’s music spirit of libertinism in dance music. Maloso, Rebolledo and I like risky dance music. We all have tracks that if you don’t play them at the right time, then you’re screwed, but if you hit the tempo, it will become something unforgettable for the rest of your life.
Dance music is empty of information, no space to fill and that is the duty of the Dancer
Your collaborations are very famous, especially because they are atypical, from several remixes to putting vocals to a Battles song. How do you decide who you work with and how do you approach the subject? Your way of working is quite particular…
When it comes to collaborations, I always look for challenges and new experiences. In the case of Battles, for example, I liked the fact of putting vocals to a non-electronic instrumental track. Putting vocals to techno is too easy, I’m not interested. In general, when it comes to working, I like to use an open language; I don’t like to speak a language or a dialect that only certain people can understand. One must be open to communicate. Likewise, I think it’s very important to be around different people of different ages and tastes. The result is brutal: you reach people who have nothing to do with you, I don’t want to reach only those who go to raves to listen to 123-127 bpm electronic music. I have a mixed audience.
Do you prefer working alone or with others? There are no collaborations in your last EP…
Everything has its time. My last EP is more personal and introspective. But even in this case, I seek the advice of others. The truth is that I couldn’t live without collaborating with other people, that’s what I like. I see it in Cómeme, where I get involved in the music of other artists. I lock myself with them in the studio and help them make their music. I’m present in a lot of music in which I don’t appear. I recently went on tour with Los Monstruos, a Chilean band, and I had a blast with them. It is important to be surrounded by people because music comes into existence when others listen to it.
Music makes constellations with people you have something in common they think
Musically speaking, I’d ban nothing.
You never thought you’d end up…
Doing everything I’m doing. When I started making music I never thought I’d make a living with it. It wasn’t something that I wanted, anyway. I never thought I’d be asked to perform in clubs. It’s crazy but nice at the same time.
Good2b es means…
Being able to be in bed once in a while.