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Ican Biography

Esteban Adame and Santiago Salazar are Ican (short for Mexican). Two chicano’s from Los Angeles.

Esteban Adame started his musical career at age 15, Djing at local house parties in and around Los Angeles. He would soon be introduced to underground music. There he was turned on to the house and techno sounds that intrigued him at the time. Soon he found himself producing his own beats and would eventually be inspired by the keyboard solos that he heard on several of his records and wanted to do the same. He began his formal training in music at the age of 19 and took a hiatus from DJ’ing and producing. At 21 he just focused on his instrument, the Piano. Since the age of 23 Esteban has played with and accompanied some of the top Latin, Jazz and Soul acts in Los Angeles and abroad.

Santiago Salazar started dj’ing in 1992. Being sparked by mix tapes his brother was bringing back from the Gay underground scene in Los Angeles. Santiago got his first break at a afterhours club called ‘The Beverly Room’ dj’ing from Midnight til’ 5:00am where he credits the gay scene for making him the DJ he is today. Since then, he has played around the world giving dance floors his signature style of mixing house and techno, the way he use to do it since day one.

Santiago has released EP’s on Underground Resistance, Aztech Sol, Los Hermanos and Tunnel 7. In 2003 he remixed DJ Rolando’s "Aguila" and 2004, he was resposible for the Los Hermanos remix of UR’s "Return of the Dragon". In 2005, Santiago and Jeff Mills edited the Galaxy 2 Galaxy album "Hi Tech Jazz Compilation". Also in 2005, under his alias DJ S2, was featured on UR’s Interstellar Fugitive 2: The Destruction of Order, where he had 4 original productions on the cd’s and 1 production with long time friend/mentor Mad Mike Banks. He is credited as doing all edits for the ISF2 album.

In 2005 both Esteban and Santiago joined the UR’s Galaxy 2 Galaxy and Los Hermanos live bands. Esteban for his keyboard skills and Santiago for his DJ skills. Both played along side veteran Detroit musicians Mike Banks and Gerald Mitchell. In late 2005 Esteban and Santiago decided to join forces and ICAN was born. Their idea was to bring electronic dance music back to the dance floor with a huge dose of Latin roots. As Santiago put it one time "Esteban and I have come full circle. Esteban went to school to learn music formally and I went to school in Detroit with the UR crew."

Interview with Santiago Salazar by Kazuumi Ishii

How long has it been since you were last here in Japan ? You come here quite a bit.

I was in Japan, last year at this same time. Well, I hope to come here as often as possible. As long as there is a need, I will be here.

This time you’re going to play in Kobe, Osaka and Kumamoto. Have you ever played there ? If yes, did you find any difference from the crowds in Tokyo ?

Well, I have played in Kobe and Osaka before. Kumamoto was my first time and I really enjoyed my time there. To me, there is not that much difference in each city. However, I must say Kobe is my favorite. The owners of the venue Sparks are really good friends of mine. Tommy and his wife Yasuko are really great people.

How were the gigs in Kobe, Osaka and Kumamoto ?

The gigs went down really well. Small crowds, banging sound system and great people, I could not ask for anything better.

Many DJs from overseas say Japanese club scene is not only interesting but quite unique in comparing with the scene in other countries. Do you agree with that ? And if yes, what do you think is the most unique point ?

Yes, I feel that the scene here is very different. Different in the way that the people who are there at my shows know what to expect and expect the unexpected. I feel that most Japanese peep’s know good music. I find myself being more experimental here than I do in any other country.

In a couple of articles about techno music, some say the techno scene in the USA is not as big as the scene in Europe and Japan, but do you agree with that ? And can you describe how the scene is like in LA ?

Yes, I can agree with this and with the style of Techno/House I play. It might be different for others, but I feel that I can get away with many more experimental type playing than I can with the U.S. scene.

L.A. is really good with the techno scene right now, you got many organizations such as Droid Behavior, Modularz, Compression and many smaller groups dedicated to Techno and all it’s genres who are pushing the limits with the L.A. underground, sometimes taking it to a level unseen in a LONG time.

Do you find any difference playing for the audiences in Japan or in LA ?

Well, not really, the type of venues I play in L.A. right now are in the same line of Japanese venues. They just want flat-out good dance music, weather it be minimal to banging house or techno.

In terms of the attitude of the audiences, what do you think have changed in the last fifteen years ?

I haven’t been around both audiences to see a change. For the last ten or so years, I’ve been locked down in the studio or working for Submerge. So, my take on this question is not valuable.

What kind of message do you want to sent out by DJing ?

dance, Dance, DANCE ! If I can’t make you dance, then what is the point ?

Can you tell us the story behind how you met and teamed up with the other members of Underground Resistance ?

A simple phone call to Submerge 2030 in 1995 made this all happen. The phone call I made was answered by Mike Banks and now, we are here.

When you produce either alone or with other members of Underground Resistance (Los Hermanos and Ican), what is the artistic process ? What goes into composing when you are working with other people ?

I’d say that 98% of the time, it’s never about my artistic view point, it’s more about the dancer and the over all dance floor.

Since moving back to L.A. from Detroit, it has been difficult to work with UR/Los. Sometimes the internet comes in handy.

As for Ican, Esteban and I work on many different levels. Sometimes I will start a track and send it his way or vice versa. Other times, we are both in the studio working from scratch. Lately, due to our work schedules, it has been difficult to have a sit down session.

What’s the concept behind Ican’s new label Ican Productions ? How will the music differ from the stuff you guys are producing on Planet E for example ?

Well, not a whole lot. We aim to give Carl the best dance music we got. Ican Productions is basically the rest of it. Ican Productions is us (Esteban Adame and Santiago Salazar) and WE never know what we are going to put out. You can be sure that what ever we put out is STRICTLY for the dance floor.

Why didn’t you just approach other people to put the stuff out why did you create a separate label for it ?

We felt the time was right with the release coming out on Planet E. Also, a big part in this label happening was Aaron-Carl. He took it upon himself to do a remix for "Si Se Puede" and told us that we can do what we wanted with that remix. So, we decided to do a label for it, first release being "Si Se Puede". Although, many people told us that we shouldn’t do this and we were better off doing it with a bigger label.

I heard that Ican’s debut album will be out soon. When is the release date, and what can we expect from the album ?

Sorry to say, but there is no scheduled release date or finished tracks for a Ican album. We would like to do one, but we feel we should be in the studio more to give the listener their moneys worth.

Talking about Los Hermanos stuff, on your debut album "On Another Level" there is a track, "Welcome To Los Hermanos" with vocals by your wife Isela Salazar. How did you work with her, how were you introduced to her ?

I’ve know Isela since 1991. Isela and I were in the same high school class. One day, while sitting at my desk, she walked pass me and marked me with a black marker on my arm. Isela also handles all my booking for Japan.

Working with her is like working with a really GOOD friend. Actually, the idea to feature Isela on vocals for the first Los Hermanos album came from Mike Banks and Gerald Mitchell. We did the vocals in Ade Mainor’s studio. More vocals will be featured soon on up coming projects from Isela……

What’s it like working with family ?

Working with family is great. It’s like working with really good friends who understand you and know what you want.

How did you feel when recording your "Analog Prayer" memorial tribute to Robert Moog ? Do you have any special memories relating to him ?

No, I had no special memories relating to him, but I feel without him, a lot of the early sounds we all heard back in the day, would not be there. So, that was the first song I really did that I seriously thought about and created a image of what the song should sound like before I created it.

Recent new technologies enable easier productions, and easier DJing, but on the other side of the coin, there’re so many emotionless music discharged by many easy-going producers. What is your view on this ?

I really have no view on this. All I can say there is BAD music out there and GOOD music.

Now that you have become a part of such a legendary icon – Underground Resistance, how do you want to integrate yourself into this long-running label as a leader of the new generation ?

Well, I never consider myself a "leader". I am more of a student. I will always be out on the dancefloor listening. I am very happy to be part of UR. It has been one of my goals in life to do so. I hope my music to be a selection in every DJ’s record box or CD CASE.

Do you have any messages to your Japanese fans ?

yes, dance….Dance….DANCE !

Thank you to Atsushi/G.I.O.N. HRN, KZA, X-Tro crew & Wedge, Compufunk & Club Clapper, Tommy and Yasuko at Sparks, and the Kumamoto crew for bringing me down. A big thanks to the Underground Gallery crew and UR090 (the real UR090). Keiko for being my personal ‘sound sculptress’, Disk Union for the CD case (thanks Ume !) and Rie and Maria.

Santiago Salazar Discography

own releases

as DJ S2 aka Santiago Salazar

  • PH-001, 12"
    Phases (2001)
  • Papa Slide, 7"
    Underground Resistance (2005)
  • Tzolkin, 7"
    Los Hermanos (2005)

as Ican

  • A Quien, 12"
    Planet E (2006)
  • Si Se Puede – E.P., 12"
    Ican Productions (2006)
  • Echo Park – E.P., 12"
    Ican Productions (2007)

remixes

  • The Aztec Mystic – Aguila (S2 remix)
    Aguila, Underground Resistance (2003)
  • Galaxy 2 Galaxy – Afro’s, Arps And Minimoogs (DJ S2 edit)
    A Hitech Jazz Compilation, Submerge (2005)
  • Raiders Of The Lost ARP – Beyond The Dark (DJ S2/Los Hermanos mix)
    Beyond The Dark, Nature (2007)
  • DJ 3000 – Gjeloshaj 1862 (Santiago Salazar mix)
    Gjeloshaj 1862, Motech (2007)

contributions

  • Forever 2 Return
    Minority EP, Tunnel 7 (2004)
  • Eclipse Solar
    Primer Sol, Aztech Sol (2005)
  • Fugitive Style (Let Me See Your Technique)
    Interstellar Fugitives 2 (Destruction Of Order), Underground Resistance (2006)
  • Kamasutra
    Interstellar Fugitives 2 (Destruction Of Order), Underground Resistance (2006)
  • Nasty
    Interstellar Fugitives 2 (Destruction Of Order), Underground Resistance (2006)
  • Post Emanicipation Psychosis
    Interstellar Fugitives 2 (Destruction Of Order), Underground Resistance (2006)
  • Sucio Beat #1
    Echo Park – E.P., Ican Productions (2007)

Ican Productions Discography

  • Si Se Puede – E.P., 12" / Digital
    ICAN-001 (2007)
  • Echo Park – E.P., 12" / Digital
    ICAN-002 (2007)

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Written by Kazuumi

September 29th, 2007 at 1:00 am

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