Sainte Vie, leaving his mark on the electronic music scene
Through his live shows and his label Akumandra, he manages to blend a multitude of unique styles and influences into his work, from traditional instrumentation to modern-day synthesis. We’ve invited Mexican-born, NYC-residing Sainte Vie for an interview and talk about how he is leaving his mark on the electronic music scene.
How has your year been so far, what’s been good and bad?
Thanks for having me! It’s been a really good year so far, a lot of exciting stuff happening, new EP, new live set and some really cool shows. Can’t really think of any bad experiences so far this year. I feel grateful, happy and healthy.
Tell us about how you first got into electronic music, wheres, when and how?
During my teenage years in Mexico City, I had a rock band called Polar, I was completely immersed in Rock ‘n Roll music. As soon as I turned 16, I moved to France in order to finish high school and joined this super strict boarding school in a small town called Becon-Les-Granits. I had no access to any musical instruments and was only allowed to use my computer during the weekends. After a few months disconnected from music, I decided to download this music software called Fruit Loop studio and started playing around with virtual synths and drum machines. That could be considered my first introduction to electronic music. I was amazed by the number of possibilities and I loved being a one-man-band. I then started listening, exploring, learning and focussing more and more in electronic music. I also discovered Nicolas Jaar’s music during that particular period of time, I felt super inspired by his compositions and his approach to electronic music.
I was amazed by the number of possibilities and I loved being a one-man-band. I also discovered Nicolas Jaar’s music during that particular period of time, I felt super inspired by his compositions and his approach to electronic music.
How healthy is the Mexican scene right now? Is it in a good state, with good parties, young talent and so on?
I left Mexico City almost 9 years ago so I’m not the best person to give you an accurate answer but I think the scene has been growing a lot. I see all these new festivals with very interesting bookings and hear all these wonderful upcoming artists from Mexico. This year I had the opportunity to play in Guadalajara and Cholula and I really enjoyed it! I’ll be back in December for Tropico Festival in Acapulco, I’m looking forward to it.
Where do the ideas for your tunes come from? Do you make tunes to play in your DJ sets or do they start with a melody or drum loop you hear in your head or?
It’s hard to describe. I kind of get an idea in my head of what I want to do and then try to make it happen. It can be a melody, a tempo, a feeling, an instrument, a musical key, etc, etc.. For example, for my new EP From Desolate Places and Forgotten Times the first thing I knew in my head, before actually starting the composition process, is that I wanted to do something with a lot of arpeggios that had the same energy as my live set (I don’t play DJ sets) and that could represent the emotions I was going through during that specific period of time. After I had a clear idea of those 3 elements I wanted to have on the EP I then started composing it.
Desolate Places and Forgotten Times is out on digital stores. Check it out: stream or buy »
Do you think there is something about your music that is uniquely Mexican? Like Detroit and Berlin have their own styles, do you like someone from Mexico?
I like to think my music has its own particular style with certain colours from different cultures. Some of my compositions have a lot of distinctive and unique sounds from Mexico like my track Alhua for example that was made entirely out of Mexican instruments and sounds. On the other hand, I also have tracks that have no relation to Mexico whatsoever.
I like to think my music has its own particular style with certain colours from different cultures.
How did you get into exploring non-western musical traditions? When did it first start?
I first got into exploring non-western musical traditions during Akumandra’s early beginnings. I remember some artists were sending us all these tracks full of amazing instruments that instantly got my attention. I then started extensive research on middle eastern and oriental instruments and started incorporating the sound of these incredible instruments in my music.
Do you use samples or record these found sounds or play them yourself or?
I rarely use samples nowadays. I only use them for my live set when there’s a vocal or a groove or a sound I really want to remix and add to my set. Otherwise, I try to play everything myself, record my own samples and create my own sounds.
Is there an important line when it comes to appropriating other cultures that you need to be sensitive and respectful?
If by appropriating other cultures you mean using vocals and samples from different cultures in my music, yes definitely. I always look for the translation and make sure it’s ok to use it. I’m very respectful and careful about it.
What else have you got coming up this summer?
I’m currently on tour for the next few months presenting the new EP in some exciting places including WooMoon in Ibiza, Mayan Warrior at Burning Man, Kater Blau in Berlin, The Brooklyn Mirage in New York, Off Sónar Barcelona, The Monastery Festival in Goch, Horde Cruise in Paris, Akumandra x Metanoia Showcase in Istanbul and Souq Festival in Cesme to name a few (you can check out the full summer tour calendar on my social media). In addition to this, I’m finishing another EP that will hopefully come out this year on Akumandra with remixes from Coss and Arutani. I’m also working on this years Akumandra’s upcoming releases and finally, towards the end of the year, I’ll be announcing a new Sainte Vie audiovisual live show I’ve been working on for a while now.
Towards the end of the year, I’ll be announcing a new Sainte Vie audiovisual live show I’ve been working on for a while now
What will the outlook of your label be – just your music or will you work with others? Big names or new talents or?
The label has been running for almost 5 years now. We’ve so far released music from many different artists. Ever since we started the label, our main focus has been to promote and support upcoming artists from around the globe.