Blurring the lines between techno and house has always been his specialty. His newest single ‘Aguila’ does just that. Teaming up with Gerald Mitchell they make up Los Hermanos. The Los Hermanos imprint has 3 solid releases out and is looking to be yet another successful outlet for Rolando’s music. ‘Quetzal’ which was on the second release has received support from techno DJs to Danny Howells, who closed a recent night in Orlando, FL with it. With such a strong history and a new single and mix CD for NRK (Nite:Life 016). Where will Rolando take us next? I try to answer that and more with my interview with the Aztec Mystic himself Rolando Rocha.
It has taken nearly 4 years to follow up the massive anthem Knights of the Jaguar. What did you think about when producing ‘Aguila’ and do you think it will have the same crossover success as ‘Jaguar’?
Nothing in particular came to mind while making Aguila, no big mystery or in depth concept to it. We just wanted to focus on making some good quality dance music. So it was pretty much a- go with the flow feel to it. I think it has potential to a certain degree, to have crossover success as jaguar did. Based on the reactions I've had so far, this is one of those records that goes down very well regardless of whether I'm playing full on techno or straight up house. I just seems to lie somewhere in the middle. Not really techno or house... very similar to Jaguar. I think what really helped to push jaguar to another level was that it was also embraced by the trance community. This introduced our music to a massive following that normally would never hear any of our records. We'll just have to wait and see if Aguila has the same effect on people.
Aguila comes in both the traditional 12” and a limited 7” release. What was the reasoning behind doing a 7” release as well as the 12” and will this trend continue in order to get more music out there.
Yeah this is one of banks' ideas. We (Gerald and I) were approached by mike with the idea of doing a 7" based around the 12". It's basically taking the original a-side of the 12" and doing a 3 to 3 1/2 minute mix for the a-side of the 7" but for the b-side we would use a different track altogether than what was featured on the b-side of the 12". As for the trend continuing, that all depends on what type of reaction we get from these 7".
The Los Hermanos project with Gerald Mitchell has proven to be quite a successful one with 3 solid releases so far, where do you expect to take ‘Los Hermanos’ next and do you or Gerald plan to work with anyone else or feature any remixes on future releases.
Basically we just want to be consistent release wise with the pace that we've set so far and if that means only 2 or 3 records a year than so be it. We would be much more satisfied putting out 2 quality records a year than flooding the market with a bunch of mediocre releases. We'd take quality over quantity any day... as for working with other artists- yeah this is something we definitely would like to do. Our main goal was to get the label going and established, then once we felt that was achieved we could move onto other projects - i.e. remixes, releases from other artists, collaborations. etc. etc. keep eye open for future projects.
You have mixed the next Nite:Life album for NRK. How did that come about and how did you go about selecting the tracks for the album.
This has been a project I've wanted to do for quite some time. NRK got in touch with my manager about this project. I saw it as a good opportunity so I went with it. The mix CDs I've done in the past were all submerge related projects. This gave me a chance to use tracks from all over the place. Selecting the tracks - that was the hard part. I gathered about 30 - 35 tracks that got my attention and from that point I just fiddled with them until I was able to narrow it down to the tracks that I felt comfortable with to put in the mix.
The Detroit Electronic Music Festival has been a few years in the making. How do you think it has played a role in getting your music out there and what can we expect from it in the years to come as both a promotional medium for dj/producers and as well as an event for consumers and fans all around the world.
This event has played a big role in getting our (Detroit) music out there... especially in our own backyard. It's a shame that techno never got any recognition here. It's pretty amazing, prior to this event most detroiters didn't have a clue about techno music originating in their hometown or the impact it had on the whole dance community worldwide. This was our chance to finally introduce them to this music. and judging by the reaction from each event, they certainly seem to be embracing it with open arms. i think it is now getting the recognition that's been way overdue... as for what to expect from it. Well I'm not to sure what the status is for next year. I'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope that there's a movement 2004...
The internet has become such a powerful medium to get information out there. Do you think we are taking full advantage of it yet or is there still work to be done?
Some do, some don't. Some can't (take advantage) it's now got to the point of being able to do all sorts without even having to leave your own home. You can buy groceries, order a pizza, pay bills, buy clothes, airline tickets. etc. etc. you know what i'm sayin'??? I think it all comes down to the individual and how he or she feels about the internet (or if they even have access to it). Some swear by it - some are a bit wary of it - some can't afford it...
Technology is playing a very different role in music these days. I have noticed that ‘Los Hermanos’ featured a clip of its 3rd release on their website in mp3 format. What are you feelings on using technology to promote your releases and to give consumers clips of what’s coming up?
I think this is a great way to promote releases. If you choose to buy records on line this gives you the opportunity to actually here the product before making a purchase. i don't buy records on line myself but I do visit record shops on line frequently and take advantage of listening to releases on mp3 format. This saves me loads of time not having to wait in that long line at the record shop. When I already know what the record sounds like from hearing it on mp3 format.
How did you first get involved with production was it before or after DJing? Was there one single moment that you said this is what I want to do?
I started producing music in 96, a couple of years after joining UR. Initially I was just a DJ for UR. It was mike banks who persuaded me to start making music. He's the one who showed me the ropes, he gave me the crash course on making techno music. Not a bad teacher huh.... I don't think there was ever a single moment that made me say, this is what I want to do. Don't get me wrong. I do love to make music. But for me - I still prefer to DJ, it just seems to be more natural to me.
What exactly is the Underground Resistance (UR)? Can you share with us how it came about and how you got involved and who is involved?
You'll probably hate me for this but the best answer for what is UR and how it came about would be on the UR website. (creed) I didn't get involved with UR till well after it was established, around 94. I was introduced to banks through Ruben Gonzalez who is a DJ from my hood. Mike who was in need of a DJ was trying to persuade him to join UR but he had to many things on his plate. So he took the liberty of introducing us and basically the rest is history. Good lookin' out Ruben..... for those who don't understand - thanks Ruben....
Was the Nite:Life Mixed Live?
I mixed straight to dat, and then had to put into pro tools to do a couple of edits. I hope this doesn't make anyone think less of me as a DJ but I wanted to make it as tight as I possibly could.
Is there anyone at the moment that you want to work with in a production environment if so who and why?
Nah, I'm pretty happy with the group of people I work with in the submerge camp.
Thanks for your time and for the interview I wish you the best with Los Hermanos / Underground Resistance and your Nite:Life mix for NRK.
You catch Rolando at the following locations:
Oct 04 - Technique in Leeds, UK
Oct 11 - Fabric in London, UK
Oct 31 - Nov 5th at Red Bull Music Academy in Capetown, South Africa
Nov 07 - Fusion @ the best in Zagreb, Croatia
Nov 08 - Aurora in Primosten, Croatia
Nov 15 - Firefly @ The Bomb in Nottingham, UK
Nov 21 - Model One @ Traffic in Dublin, Ireland
Nov 22 - Groovecity @ Brussels Kart Expo in Brussels, Belgium
Nov 29 - La Tirana @ Versalles in Mexico City, Mexico
For more information on NRK you can check the label listing here;