Interview: Point Loma, Analogue Temazcal [MEX]

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Twitter: @Kiddieriot

Nortec Collective needs no introduction. Since starting in the late eighties, the project has built an identity of its own by fusing electronic beats with northern Mexico’s popular music, and in turn has become an ambassador of the country in most of the world. But, like most musicians, Ramón Amezcua (sometimes known as Bostich) needs an outlet to express other sides of his personality through his craft– thus Point Loma was born.

While Point Loma has been an on and off project for the past 10 years or so, it began taking a definite form last year thanks to Amezcua exhuming his collection of vintage synths and sound modules to make some fine techno. We talked to him about the project to preview his upcoming center stage appearance at All My Friends Music Festival in his native Tijuana.

How did Point Loma start?

I have been with this project for a long time, it’s a side project thing. Last year, I had the opportunity to play the Mutek festival and I have been doing this ever since, playing live with analog gear, without a computer. Very old school.

Why this approach?

I started playing electronic music in 1988 with this gear– drum machines, synthesizers and sequencers. I didn’t use a computer back then. I’m going back to the old school and it has been really fun. I also missed the “error” factor when syncing the machines, or maybe you had to improvise live because a track would get erased by accident. It’s a very different dynamic from what we have with computers, when we just press play or we do mashups. This is completely different; we have to pay attention to the rhythms, the sequences, the frequencies. It’s very fun and it’s also something very different for the new generations because they don’t know what it was like back then.

Some tracks like “Flor” have a very distinctive sound that can be traced back to your other projects.

That track I did with a computer. [Point Loma] gives me a chance to mess with other sounds that I don’t get a chance to with Nortec, which is very much based on norteño and banda. I like other genres of typical Mexican music. What I did with Forneo [Point Loma’s first record] was take them and manipulate them with the computer. The Boombox project [which I presented on last year’s Mutek festival] was when Point Loma became completely analog.

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How was the recording of the first album?

I did that one when I had a little time. Nortec became very very time-consuming and I wanted to do a side project where I did different electronic music from Nortec. It’s really what I like, it’s really…not “minimal” in the techno genre sense. I wanted to do things in a really simple way. Playing with a drum machine, using very low frequencies, slow tempos. It’s very hypnotic. Maybe you don’t hear a lot of changes in the songs. I was really happy when it first came out.

What about future material?

We’re recording many tracks live. In fact, we are recording the All My Friends appearance, because we want to put out a record. I have done tracks that have surfaced in compilations, but now that Nortec has finished our latest record, I have plenty of time to do this. In fact, right at this moment I’m programming the machines and synths.

What have been the audiences’ reactions to your project?

Something funny happened at Mutek. Nortec started 15 years ago and some people think it’s only about norteño and banda music, and computers; but the truth is we love all kinds of rhythms. Mutek gave me this opportunity to present this other side of my music, something I love and feel passionate about. Some people were really excited to see us because they didn’t know we could work with such old technology [laughs] but that’s the gear we started working with. After the festival, I started getting some more recognition as an electronic musician, not just as a member of Nortec.

You’re playing All My Friends Fest this year. How do you feel about it?

It’s one of the few if not the only one of these types of events in the city. If someone here wants to attend a festival like this, they have to cross the border to San Diego or Los Angeles. Something that I really like about this festival is that it attracts new generations; a ton of young people attend it looking for new things. It is an honor and a surprise to be invited [laughs] because I consider myself a member of the old school. It’s also a chance for the crowd to look at old technology because I’m bringing all my gear with me. It’s going to be like a small museum [of ancient equipment] within the festival [laughs].

One last question. You were featured on the “Variación De Voltaje” book released last year. What do you think of the finished product?

This book is really important. Carlos Prieto is making a titanic effort compiling so much information. It’s an enormous honor that he invited me to participate on this book along with many friends like Fernando Corona with all his various projects. What’s coming next is really interesting– the future volumes of the series will feature many people, friends like Antiguo Autómata Mexicano and Pepe [Mogt “Fussible,” Nortec cofounder]. It’s a very important book; everyone who likes contemporary or electronic music should own it because there has never been something like this before in Mexico.


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