1 - Can you tell us a little about your background? Where did you grow up, and where are you based now?
I was born in San Borja, Perú which is one of the nicer part of Lima, then when I was about to turn 12 I moved to South Florida and I've been here ever since. Now in the process of moving to Tallahassee, and I'm quite excited about it.
2 - How did you choose your name - is there a meaning behind it?
A lot of people have asked me if it has to do with Space Invaders or Invader Zim, but it actually goes back to the fact that I'm foreign. The exclamation mark came from the fact that someone else was already using the name plus bands like Hadouken! and Panic! At the Disco. I just always loved the exclamation mark in their names haha.
3 - How did you get into making music?
It was when I was back in 9th grade in '03-'04. This one guy that lived near me went up to me and asked me to check out his band. I was fascinated with the fact that he would just make music in his room. After high school, I planned on building a studio to record bands and make my own music, but then I started getting into remixing because of bands like Nine Inch Nails, Innerpartysystem and Bloc Party which would have remixes done of their song. In the mean time, I was doing remixes for a while until I landed a remix spot on The Anix's debut album. That's when I came up with the name and stared making original tracks.
I should also mention that I was a big fan of Sonny (Skrillex) through out most of this time. I was fascinated with his music and I always wanted to do something similar. When he started remixing tracks as Skrillex, I felt like I was in the right path. Around that time, I became a lot more interested in Electro house, but it wasn't until Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites EP that I really became interested in Dubstep. I had been hearing it around but never with that in-your-face type of high energy.
4 - How would you describe your music?
Edgy, energetic, fun, etc.
5 - When did you first feel that you had finally discovered your own specific sound?
Around the time I came up with my first original track "WTF", it was quite an specific sound, somewhat in the middle of Deadmau5 and Feed Me, which is what I was aiming for in terms of big drums and bouncy distorted synth lines.
6 - When you sit down to make a track, what’s the first thing you typically do? How long does a track typically take you to make?
I usually open up a project which it somewhat related to what I'm going for. I look through the drum sounds and synths, trash the ones unrelated and give myself a bit of a backbone. I usually end up changing my drum sounds to fit whatever specific style I'm going for, but I like to keep it somewhat consistent in term of punchiness. I just love that big fat low snare I came up with while working on WTF so I keep trying to improve it over time.
It really depends on how inspired I'm feeling at the moment and how much time I spend on sound design. Sometimes I can let a track sit for weeks up to a few months, sometimes I can bust out a song in a couple of days or even just a single day. I don't really use presets unless I'm using a sampler or ROMpler, so when I go create new sounds it can take a while for me to be happy with them. I usually take sounds I had made before to make new ones but I do also reuse sounds when I feel appropriate.
7 - Do you play any instruments?
Yeah, I started playing bass guitar near the end of 8th grade and electric guitar not long after that. I'm pretty decent at playing and recording both and would love to record them for some tracks in the future. I also play a bit of piano, keyboards and drums. I used to own a few analog synths so I would play around with those a lot. I can't really go and bust out a solo with any of the instruments I play, but I still pick them up and practice from time to time.
8 - What does your current production setup consist of?
In terms of hardware, it's pretty much just a MacBook Pro, a small interface and headphones. Software wise, I use Live for producing and playing out. Got a handful of 3rd party plug-ins on top of that like Komplete 8, ACE, Sylenth, SoundToys bundle, some PSP stuff, etc.
9 - How and where do you record?
With my laptop at home, or anywhere really.
10 - Which one record do you wish you had made?
That's a hard question haha, I couldn't really decide on one.
11 - Do you DJ, play live, or both? How would you describe your sets?
I pretty much just do some DJing with Live. My main goal is to just play my tracks out plus some of my favorites by other producers.
12 - Where’s your favorite place to DJ?
I haven't really played out much, so pretty much anywhere that has a good crowd that likes what I'm playing.
13 - A little playlist of your favorite records these days?
Savant - Overworld LP
South Central - Weapons of Mass Dubstortion EP
Never Say Die (UKF compilation album)
Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials LP
14 - When you’re not making or playing/making music, what’s your preferred pastime?
I really just like hanging out with friends, my girlfriend especially because she's the best! I guess my other hobbie would be graphic design. I pretty much do all my logos and artwork. Something I really want to get into though is Cafe Racers. I'd love to build my own and ride around with my girl looking like a boss!
15 - Are you morning people or night owls?
A bit of both really, I love waking up early but I also love staying out late. Can't really do both at the same time though so it goes back and forth.
16 - What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I can't go to sleep unless I'm listening to bands like M83, Florence and the Machine, Radiohead or Mute Math.
17 - Where do you think you will be musically in the next few years?
Hopefully just living 100% off my own music and only remixing tracks I want to remix.
18 – A last word…
Thanks for the interview! I really appreciate the support!