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Interview: John Tejada
by beema: 12-22-2008

How did you go about selecting tracks for this mix?  Was there anything you had in mind when creating it -- any sort of overall sound or feeling you wanted it to achieve or represent?

For this mix I wanted to choose a variety of songs from old favorites to new favorites. The idea was to combine them all to work as a single piece of music.

What did you use to create this mix, and what are you primarily using to DJ with these days?  What are the reasons for your choice?

When I dj out I am still using vinyl and some cd. Cd mostly for things I’ve made and friends of mine have made. To create this mix I started with vinyl in places as I didn’t have digital versions of many of the songs. I then used Ableton Live to edit and arrange the tracks. Each track then went out into my SPL Mixdream summing amp and then into my SSL Bus Compressor for just a tiny bit of glue when the transitions were happening. This proved to be much more high resolution than using Ableton’s summing engine.

How is your record label, Palette, handling things in regards to vinyl vs. digital releases -- specifically, have you noticed any trends in sales or other new issues that are influencing how you now operate your label?

Things at Palette are still running pretty much the same as ever except now we take digital sales into account when thinking about sales. It’s still something I’m getting used to.

Over the past year or so, a lot of techno seems to have been progressing towards warmer, deeper, housier sounds -- which have a presence on your Fabric mix as well -- and steering away from the darker minimal aesthetic that has dominated it in recent history.  Are you welcoming this shift, and is it influencing your own sound much?  What changes have you noticed in the techno scene recently, and where do you see it going?

I’ve been playing this way for years. I’ve never done the minimal thing as I prefer more of a classic sound. I really don’t know what the scene is doing or pay attention to the trends. I just play what makes me happy.

Are there any producers or DJ's out there now who you think are really pushing things forward, and shaping the sound of modern techno -- or if they aren't in the limelight, ones we should look out for?

I always kind of draw a blank with this question. I regard my personal taste as private. Having said that I am always on the lookout for a new favorite record. I love music, especially a new inspiring piece of music. One thing that comes to mind is the last couple years of releases on Raster Noton.

Is there any advice you would give to relative amateurs who would like to pursue careers as an electronic musician... you know, aside from "Don't quit your day job."

That’s a difficult and long answer. I suppose one thing that comes to mind is don’t listen to anyone and do your own thing. Anything out of the norm will always be criticized and will leave you second guessing yourself.

How important was the local scene to you when you started out as a DJ, and how did it influence your music?

The local scene here in LA was very strange for me in the early 90s. I was very influenced by all the new techno sounds happening but it was very very hard to find. It didn’t really exist out here. There were lots of raves, trance and breaks and whatever and I just wasn’t into it at all. I never really played locally except small gigs once in a while. That’s changed a bit more recently, but the 90s was quite a lonely music experience out here.

Throughout this interview, I've been referring to you in the context of "techno."  I've found that a lot of people are bothered by genre labeling such as this, as they feel it is too restrictive, or doesn't describe them well enough.  I am frankly finding it pretty difficult these days to pin any particular track to one genre even.  It remains a necessity for ease of communication, however, so would you label yourself as "techno" currently, and what has the term "techno" come to mean to you lately?

I find it easier to refer to my music as techno. It depends on the meaning. I see it as a way of describing the technology and electronic aspects of the music. Weather the music is slower or faster I think techno is a fair term most times. It’s the sub genres that I find ridiculous. I find techno seems to have a different definition everywhere you go. I think of techno as classic melodic Detroit music, but most these days see it as a cold rigid form. It just depends who you ask I suppose.

Finally, what are your plans for the foreseeable future:  Any new projects you are working on?  Is there anything that you'd still like to accomplish?

At the moment I’m looking forward to working on some new ideas. I have a new ep planned for January on Palette titled “Fractals.” This will also include the song “The Open” which is on the Fabric 44 mix. I’m planning on more new work with Arian Leviste and Justin Maxwell. As far as things left to accomplish I don’t feel like I have even begun yet. I’m working towards something I suppose.

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