Can you introduce yourself, who are you and where are you from? What are you doing in your day-to-day life?
My name is Juan Manuel Mesa, I’m from Bogotá, Colombia. I work in sound design, audio postproduction and on-location sound recording for audiovisual content. I have a small audio postproduction studio in my city. Sometimes I make music for films and advertising, but when I have a bit of time left, I work here on my music. It’s difficult to find the time to produce my own music, but my dream is to someday have enough time for my own musical project.
What is the current situation with the pandemic in your country?
In my country we had 3 months of quarantine in 2020. This gave me time to work on personal projects and to search for the sound of JMesa. The situation is totally uncertain, but in music I found in a way to be optimistic. You know, “keep moving … music is the answer”!
What have been some of your favorite tracks over the quarantine period and why?
They’re many tracks that I found in the quarantine period. I started a playlist of new talents. Engelbert from Amsterdam, Tyler Mesa from Canada and Pangal from Chile are some of my favorite artist in my playlist.
Latest release ‘Bitter Dream’
We would love to know about the production process of “Bitter Dream”, can you tell us how the track came about? What was your source of inspiration for the track? How much did it cost from start to finish? What issues did you run into?
Bitter Drams has the power and darkness of music that I like, but I was trying to explore more melodic lines. So, in the end I just tried to make a good tune. I just make melodies on my hardware and record one when I found something I like. I like working with hardware synths, I have a harder time finding the sounds and inspiration than with software synths.
I like to interact with the actual knobs and feel the timbre of the sounds change as you move and dance in front of your synth. Sound design is all about small details.
What ingredients make up a top techno song for you?
I used to listen to loud and dark techno, but now I’m more interested in nice melodies and progressions. Music that you can feel in more ways than just dark and hard beats! At this moment I am looking for music not only to dance, but also to listen to and enjoy. We don’t have big raves in my city right now because of the pandemic, so I’m interested in techno music that you can listen to while you work or drink and relax at home.
When did you start producing? How did you discover music production? And what made you decide to start producing techno?
I started producing electronic music 12 or more years ago. I tried to produce electro, hard techno and D&B. The styles of music I produced have been changing over the course of my life. I have many influences from different styles and I enjoy many different styles of music. The last productions were tracks that just never made it off my hard drive. I released a track with a label for the first time in 2020 and now I don’t want to stop. I try to make my sound with all this musical experience. Music can be a revelation and an X-ray of your life. I did not decide to produce techno until I was in front of my equipment is this was the music that flowed to me.
What does your set-up like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of ‘Bitter Dream’?
I prefer hardware to digital. I am working mainly with Behringer’s Model D, Roland’s SH01Y TR8A and Moog’s subharmonic. For Bitter Dream, the Model D was the main synthesizer. Everything was recorded in Ableton Live where I mix and finish my tracks.
What’s a piece of gear or software that you always use when you’re writing a track?
Voxengo SPAN is very important for me to get a nice sound and mix.
What more can we expect from you this year? Any releases or special events you can tell us about?
I hope to have more time to make music and have new releases, maybe with Black Mirror, who knows! I’m trying to get some modular synth equipment to add different textures in my music. I also want to try different styles of music, softer and less dark.