Your Mix Fix: M.I.S. (Camilo Lara)

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The word mixtape has plenty of different interpretations. It used to be that mixtapes were actually DJ sets recorded on cassette tapes, but with the coming of the digital music age, the name remained the same, but the definition expanded. Nowadays, people call mixtapes many different things, some of which are not necessarily mixed and most of which were never taped. Here we try to cover them all. In this column, Juan Data gives you a worthy one every week.

DJ: M.I.S. (Camilo Lara)

MIXTAPE: Mexican Institute of Sound (KCRW Guest DJ Set)

Camilo Lara is not a DJ. He’s the genius producer behind Mexican Institute of Sound, and sometimes when he’s not performing with his live band, he does DJ. And his DJ sets are full of surprises, because, obviously, he’s not only the brain of M.I.S., he’s also an avid record collector, a walking encyclopedia of obscure and bizarre old Latin music. And on top of that, working as a record label executive granted him access to tons of new music too. So yeah, if you happen to see him DJing don’t expect him to just play his own tracks.

But don’t expect to hear super elaborate mixes, smooth transitions and all that stuff that experienced DJs are known for either, because well, as we anticipated he is not really a DJ. Yes, he can rock a party with his undeniable contagious energy and engage people with his selections, but his transitions from track to track are rather abrupt and that will turn some people off, specially if they’re turntablism nerds.

Still, mad props for Camilo for this recent DJ set recorded live at KCRW in Santa Monica, California during Raul Campos’ show. It’s short (just about 20 minutes) and easy to digest, full of crowd-pleasing hits and of course some random surprises.

Mexican Institute of Sound (KCRW Guest DJ Set) by Nacional Records