LA techno at its finest.
With the inception and subsequent rise of his Modularz imprint during 2011, you'll perhaps forgive us for thinking that Developer was a newly emergent talent from LA's burgeoning stable of techno producers. The truth is that Adrian Sandoval is about to mark his 20th anniversary as a DJ. Taking on all manner of odd (DJing) jobs and industry positions down the years, Sandoval began rudimentary experiments with loops at the end of the '90s, but shelved his aspirations until he eventually picked things back up again in earnest within the last couple of years. It was worth the effort. Edificio, the maiden release on his Modularz label, suggested an artist that despite a solitary digital release two years previous, was nearing full formation. His dusky, tunnel-like techno evokes the grounds explored by fellow LA practitioner Silent Servant, although it feels as though Sandoval is just as comfortable to slow things down a touch and play with the off-beat. We suggest diving into his Entrada, Programma and Variations EP—all released through Modularz—for a better understanding of his standout approach.
Interestingly, Sandoval calls on just a handful of producers on his hour-long mix for us, imbuing RA.302 with a marked sense of coherence to go with his brilliantly restrained selections.
What have you been up to recently?
I'm in Berlin at the moment at the end of my third DJ tour in a year, establishing my label Modularz and recording as much as possible.
How and where was the mix recorded?
Two Technics turntables, Allen and Heath Xone 92 mixer, CDJ, Red Sound sampler and laptop with Traktor.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
Well, I rarely make mixes. I usually make one a year and use it for promotional purposes so the timing was great. I was approached by RA for a podcast and thought I'd like to do something different than my usual pounding 40 tracks per hour aggressive techno style. I wanted to make something much deeper than my norm, and incorporate turntables and vinyl-only tracks, as well as some unreleased material. I guess the mix is best described as something you would hear during my third hour in a five or six hour set.
You've been DJing since the early '90s but are just gaining real international recognition. What do you put this down to?
It's safe to say that it's because of my music getting out. Period. This year marks my 20 year anniversary as a DJ. I have been around a long time and have gained a lot of unique experiences over the years. I have done the backyard DJ thing, the resident college radio gig, the record store clerk, the vinyl distribution job, the promoter, the event organizer and even the flyer designer. It's evident that I have dedicated a large part of my life to the culture and I've defiantly paid my dues, even though I may have taken the long route to get here.
In the '90s I only wanted to be a DJ and rock buildings. I never thought about producing because it was too expensive to buy all the analogue gear so I bought records instead. At the end of the '90s I messed with loops and computers but some of my friends who had real analogue gear laughed at the idea so I just kept DJing instead. Over the last ten years I messed with loops and synths and it wasn't until the last couple of years when I finally quit doing events, ended my day job, and stopped talking about what I wanted to do and instead started doing what I wanted to do!
Also being completely focused and driven as well as cutting distractions out. Easier said is that I just stopped listening to what the larger and more popular labels were doing and what is considered new these days and started listening to my favorite '90s techno records, influencing myself and deciding to make my own version of where techno would be today, on my terms and my influences. So spending a lot of time finding my musical identity in my studio was the biggest and most important thing.
How would you asses the health of the LA techno scene at the moment?
The techno scene in Los Angeles is alive and well. It's always been here since at least 1990—well, that's when I found out about it. I have been lucky enough to see the techno scene change, evolve and re-invented quite a few times over the years by many groups and promoters, most of whom are no longer active. LA has had a long history of electronic music, starting with the electro scene in the mid-'80s with DJs like Egyptian Lover who was putting out music at same time as Detroit artist Juan Atkins' Model 500 project. As well as the Latin freestyle or Latin disco scene, this eventually evolved into an acid house scene and eventually into deep house and techno.
It's a solid reality on how the culture has become what it is today and that LA has had a real evolution of electronic dance music. Nowadays I feel the Droid family are doing most of the respectable techno events in LA, and the city has a wealth of active producers like Silent Servant, Truncate, Fanon Flowers, Drumcell, Santiago Salazar, as well as John Tejada and Raiz to name a few. The LA techno scene will continue to thrive and in my opinion, as someone who has traveled to many international cities, we have a huge music culture in general, solid art scene, great weather, amazing food and the city generates some of the most responsive and educated techno crowds in the world.
What are you up to next?
Currently I'm finishing up the next round of releases on Modularz, as well as my second release on my solo label Developer Archive. I have a film project in the works, as well as a release coming out this month on Semantica and later in the year I plan on touring in Europe again, as well as a tour in South America and Asia.