Chile. A country many of us know very little about, and yet, time and again it produces some of the most interesting music and artists. Flying the flag these days is Arturo Hevia who brings an exciting sound concept that straddles electronica, house and techno with the ease and gracefulness of a bird in flight. Such is the power of his sound, that in a few short years Arturo has garnered the attention of world class peers. He’s performed at international festivals ranging from Creamfields and Mysteryland to Danceland in Chile, and he also used to host a radio show on one of Chile’s top FM stations (Zero).
Arturo’s music has been making a splash on the world stage since midway through 2011; firstly with Parquet Recordings by remixing Solee’s single Jule earning him widespread support from the progressive elite, and then his first original material ‘The Secret’ saw the light on Chilean label Fulgurita some months later. Since then a slew of releases have quietly kept him in the minds of those that know, and recently he has had two tracks licensed to the new Global Underground compilation series Afterhours.
UK Editor Simon Huxtable caught up with the young Chilean producer to discuss his career, the South American scene and his plans for the future.
Hi Arturo, its great to talk to you. Thanks for finding the time to chat with us at Decoded Magazine. How are you today?
Against time, sincerely hahaha. Right now I’m finishing the live mix I have for you and now I took a little break to answer this interview, which took me by surprise but I’m really happy to do it.
Tell us about growing up in Chile. What music were you exposed to as a young man, and where did you hear dance music for the first time?
This is a tough one, I think many things influenced me, early 90s radio dance music, michael jackson, new age, a large group of 80s Anglo and Latin bands, but I think what dragged me the most into this world was paying attention to the soundtracks of many films, where I found a very large range of musicians like Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Mike Oldfield and a big etcetera.
Which came first for you? the DJing or the production?
Music production at 15, with a very basic PS1 software (game) but amazing for those times called “Music Creation 2000”. I think I still have the memory cards with that music, hahaha.
Life for you changed in mid 2011 with the release of your remix of Solee – Jule. Pretty impressive achievement to be asked to remix on such a well known label, can you tell us the back story?
For sure, it was one of the first steps for me. It was at the time I decided to go back to production, I recently finished my studies and my ascending DJ career felt incomplete if I didn’t go back to my real passion, making my own music.
I was in a remix contest Solee did for this single. At that time I played much of his music and the contest excited me a lot because I was in an inspirational crisis where I had left several original projects unfinished and tried my luck and well, finally I won second place. It was one of my first official releases and was published in the EP along with other very good remixers.
Now of course, you have two tracks on the new Global Underground album Afterhours. How did the tracks make it on to the album?
My tracks were signed in GU from 2015, before Andy was planning a new edition of Afterhours and as the release of the EP became delayed by this CD, Andy contacted me telling me he would like to add them to the latest Afterhours album.
Looks like Atacama Dream is being championed by El Maestro himself. Does the recognition of artists you respect make the hard times worth it for you?
Absolutely, the recognition of my music from big names like Hernan Cattaneo is almost as satisfying as applause, and certainly that is a balm to every bad night and day I had on this long journey that has certainly been as bitter and as sweet as life itself. Although I must add that I’ve never worked thinking about who can play my tracks, now or before, and more, I work almost every time thinking whether I’ll get to play them myself, hahaha.
Now riding the crest of a wave, what other music do you have planned for 2016?
I don’t think at all that I am on the crest of the wave, there is still a lot for that, I think I’m taking steps and I hope there is not a last one because truth be told, I plan to keep on progressing in this forever. As for musical plans, I can say that I signed a 2nd EP with GU without release date yet but are already looking for a remixer, who will be a big name. I’m also preparing some special versions for Atacama Dream and Verano De San Juan GU has in mind for TV and film, I’m really excited about it.
How do you approach a new track? Do you like to work a certain way, or does each idea begin differently?
I aboard differently every idea, I try to let myself go and in general almost never follow a “stylistic” pattern if we could call it that, I think that is reflected in my every published work till now, because the truth is I’m not very fond of labels at this point, I rather try maintain a more personal sound that evokes a story along the track, independent of the rhythm.
What’s been the biggest learning curve for you in the studio?
Learn that there is no limit when it comes to produce, knowing that you can play or maneuver around without fear, and from there to stimulate the error because often that mistake can bring the best of our work.
How about the best tip you’ve ever been shown?
One of the biggest tips was given to me by a good friend, Jorge Lueyza. Do rhythms and bass with the mouth, transfer them into Ableton and then turn them into notes and percussions.
We talked briefly at the beginning about life in South America, and I wanted to ask about the tragic events at Timewarp in Argentina. Firstly, has the actions of the Argentinian government affected the rest of South America at all, and in follow up, what should they do to ensure that sort of thing does not happen again?
You can have all kinds of security at an event but you will never be able to interfere with what someone wants to get in their body, that’s for sure. Starting from this basis, to discuss how it can be avoided becomes almost utopian, as to Sudamerica, fortunately has not affected all countries.
In Argentina they want to ban electronic music and that simply lets you see that they are unwilling to address the underlying topic – to educate kids. They just want to cut the thread. Unfortunately the business of drugs moves the world therefore they will not cut “the business”. Sadly for my friends in Argentina that’s how things are.
Its been lovely to meet you Arturo, we wish you every success for the future. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes, I met with Mauricio Figueroa, who is an amazing producer and sound engineer of many great bands of my country. He really took a shine to the sound of my tracks from my EP which is released this week (27th May). GU gave me complete freedom to choose the remixers, and among them were fellow Chileans Simply City, who I knew would share my passion working on my material and they did a phenomenal job!! Qbeck I knew would find a dark side to Atacama Dream, so the EP has a very wide sound which has support from Hernan Cattaneo to Gabriel Ananda.
I’m also presenting my live set soon in Europe, during June and July which is being organised by Daniel, my right hand man, who is handling all my live bookings. Thank you very much for your interest in my work and I hope you like this live mix which I made especially for you.
*denotes live editing by Arturo with drum machine and piano.
01// Unknown #009 + Live Sounds
02// My Favourite Robot – For Ever More (Marvin & Guy)*
03// ZK Bucket – Let Your Body Cntrl The Beat (The Drifter Rmx)*
04// No Mad Ronin Vs Jeremy Sydenham – Super Sunday*
05// Rampa – Human*
06// Tennis – Chirality*
07// Rockets & Ponnies – Chinesse Massage*
08// Atoms For Peace – Before Your Very Eyes*
09// WhoMadeWho – Traces (Agents Of Time Rmx)*
10// Sven Brauer – Brave (Arturo Hevia Rmx)
11// Reference – Ghetto Nebula*
12// Arturo Hevia – Atacama Dream