Sandwell District’ man-of-the-moment, Juan Mendez (aka Silent Servant) and a half of Ican, Santiago Salazar team up to set up a new record label, "Historia y Violencia" (History and Violence). Historia y Violencia’ sound sits somewhere in between Berlin and Detroit, with a large dose of futuristic funk and deepness. Electronic Directory talks both Silent Servant and Santiago Salazar to find out what we can expect from them.
Interview with Juan Mendez and Santiago Salazar by Kazuumi Ishii
Let’s start by talking about Historia y Violencia, a collaboration between Juan Mendez and Santiago Salazar. When did you decide to set up a label together ?
Santiago: I’ve always wanted to work with Juan and this was the perfect time.
So what is it like working with Juan ?
Santiago: Juan is a professional-humble type of dude.
So why did you call it "Historia y Violencia" ?
Juan: To sum it up latin cultures historicly have had a very violent past so is basically a project exploring the Hispanic roots of Santiago Salazar and I’s Latin upbringing and using it as a cinematic theme to create snapshots of the day-to-day blood and sweat that has shaped us as individuals. The sound takes cue from Detroit, Berlin and Chicago to create classic tracks.
Who does the artwork for the label and is there a hidden meaning behind an illustration ? i.e. first 12" used a deer.
Santiago: Juan did the artwork.
Juan: Aguila mecxicana y venado guatemalteco.
Juan, how did you first your relationship with Santiago ?
Juan: I saw him DJing at a small event in east LA about 12 years ago and was really impressed by what he was playing.
Santiago, with all the different projects you have, I wonder how you organise your time, especially since the release of your first Ican 12" single for Planet E ?
Santiago: I don’t have a set "production" schedule. I just work when ever I have free time. But since the release of H&V-001, I have been in crazy-production mode.
How would you describe the Historia y Violencia sound ? Historia y Violencia 001 reminds me somehow of minimal-dub, which really sounds decidedly moody, very Berlin.
Santiago: H y V is more of a deeper side of Juan and myself. I think it’s another outlet for us to be creative.
Juan: The sound takes cue from Detroit, New York, Berlin and Chicago.
Yeah, I’m really feeling some vibes on H&V-001. So how do those cities differ from your point of view, in terms of music ? They seem to feed off each other, but are quite different as well.
Santiago: Each city brings a unique sound to the table. Chicago has the JACK, Detroit’s got the SOUL, NY has got the GRIND and Berlin brings the COLD.
Juan, many refer to you as a minimal-dub artist, which isn’t incomprehensible. Dub is somehow sensible in your music, but I wonder how much there was. Tell us about your musical influences past and present.
Juan: Past; M and Basic Channel, Chain Reaction and Downwards. Now; Karl O’Conner, Throbbing Gristle, Robert Rental, Cabaret Voltair Suicide.
So minimalism is basically the essence of dub as well. Juan, you continued that basic idea with your own elements. How do you keep the Silent Servant sound original ?
Juan: Mixing the classic ideas of house and techno with the extremes of Karl O’Conner, Throbbing Gristle, Robert Rental, Cabaret Voltair Suicide.
How did you hook up with Sandwell District and where does the name Silent Servant come from ?
It was the doing of Karl O’Conner, Silent Servant would not exsist with out him.
If you could sign or release some work of anyone, who would it be ?
Santiago: I’m really feeling a dude called Disco Nihilist. His sound has got that old 303, 727, 626 sound to it. In a world of computer production, his sound stands out.
What does the future hold for Historia y Violencia ?
Santiago: More deep tracks from both of us.
Juan: Continuing the deep….
How do you guys feel about what’s going on politically around the world ? Especially as an American living abroad.
Santiago & Juan: Social change is needed. We are nothing and everything.
Do you guys have any other major plans for this year ?
Santiago: Just continue experimenting on new tracks.
Juan: Sandwell District and H&V are my only plans.
H&V-001 out now
Santiago Salazar / Silent Servant – Santuario / Lo Profundo [Historia y Violencia]
Santiago Salazar and Silent Servant have launched a brand new label, Historia y Violencia (History and Violence). This release in particular stuck out for me because of the Hard Wax-ish qualities and deep and dark atmosphere, which segues neatly into the Historia y Violencia signature track with its many influences worn lightly and blended successfully. Santiago drops a heavy minimal-techno with a twisted groove, which builds into pure electronic madness. Silent Servant brings a proper deep and dubby techno, which draws you right in from the start. Excellent.
- A. Santiago Salazar – Santuario
- B. Silent Servant – Lo Profundo
Get "Santuario / Lo Profundo" here: