Out of all of the names on Comunité Festival’s lengthy lineup, Soos’ stands out the most. He has virtually no Internet presence, let alone any music you can listen to online. But if you live in Mexico City, you might actually know his work without even realizing it, since he has been part of the electronic scene for over 10 years.
Born Joshua Kracer, the Mexican artist has DJed both locally and internationally under various pseudonyms. But it has been through his partnership with fellow producer Emiliano Del Valle that he’s been able to explore original musical endeavors. Together, they record and perform as Century and Cintas de Cárdenas. He describes the former as “a gloomy and slow electronica project that samples folkloric Mexican tracks” and the latter as “a more classic-house format project where we explore our love for too many melodies and echo.”
Kracer and Del Valle founded Sueño Label as a home for their creations. Since 2016, the imprint has had three releases, including a two-track set of electronic reinterpretations of old Agustín Lara songs by Century, a shimmery house EP by Cintas de Cárdenas, as well as an EP by Venezuelan downtempo producer Arutani. Kracer says the label was created as a response to his dissatisfaction with local collectives and netlabels. “Don’t get me wrong, I believe Mexico City and the country is probably in one of its best times for independent producers,” he explains. “Yet, I’ve always had trouble dealing with creative approval for what I do with other people.”
Part of Sueño’s mission is to find ways to represent Latin American culture through each of its releases, beyond the usual cumbia–over-a-kick-drum approach. “What drives me the most about having a cultural presence in our music – be it in the records’ artwork, or even just as a reference in the track titles – is being able to tell our own weird story about what it means to have been born into a context we will never truly understand, but are not restricted to,” Kracer explains. He acknowledges the privilege he and Del Valle had, growing up with access to the Internet and other tools that exposed them to global sounds and subcultures from a young age.
A turning point for Kracer and Del Valle was playing Manana Festival, which billed itself as Cuba’s first electronic music festival. It took place on the island in 2016 and championed collaboration between local musicians and international acts, including the likes of Nicolas Jaar, Dengue Dengue Dengue, Uproot Andy, and Century. “That festival showed us how people in Cuba use the few tools they have available to create amazing, world-class art, and it was probably the reason we created the label,” he shares. “We were just tired of sending out demo e-mails to get signed by labels that we loved with no response, and realized we already had all the tools we needed to go full-on DIY. Everything just started making sense there.”
DIY has always been the way to go for Kracer, who got his early musical education from watching MTV as a kid, and subsequently learning how to play guitar and drums. “I remember saving up for ages to buy my own CD burner and pretending to own a record label,” he remembers. “I used to burn batches of CD-R mixtapes with all of the music that I liked and sold it to my uncles and aunts for 20 pesos a copy. I guess that’s where I kind of knew what I could do once I grew into a functional human being.” Still a teenager then, he discovered his affinity for both electronic music production and DJing.
“I guess that my musical background – from playing in pop punk cover bands to DJing at corporate events for 60-year-old bankers, inevitably growing up listening to Mexico’s music, or just being the impatient studio geek that I am – has crafted a very peculiar music universe in my head,” Kracer explains when asked about his incessant change of aliases. For now, he’s recurred to his high school nickname Soos to focus his production and DJ efforts. “It’s probably the name I’ve invested the most emotional energy in as a solo project, so it just feels right to start using it again for actual releases that end up on a record through our label,” he explains.
Apart from his upcoming performance at Tulum’s Comunité Festival, Kracer anticipates several new releases on Sueño next year, including the debut of Soos and Del Valle’s solo project. 2018 will be the year the veil will finally be lifted from Soos, and we can’t wait.
Stream an exclusive playlist from Soos above. It features Latino artists, global sounds, and tracks from his favorite Mexican producers. Soos plays Comunité Festival on January 5, 2018. Get your tickets here.