Exclusive Interview: Hector (Desolat)

One of the key members of Loco Dice’s Desolat family, Hector brings that dark, edgy side to his music which verges between techno and house yet maintains a deep sound ethic. The Mexican artist is constantly on tour, squeezing in studio sessions and the occasional social meet with friends when he can. Off the back of a hectic summer he’s just relocated to Los Angeles in the United States, where he’ll be touring extensively for the next few months. With all this in mind, we caught up with him for a little chat about his lifestyle…

So you’ve recently been to Tokyo, how was that?
I keep saying this on repeat, but it’s my favourite city. The people there are incredible, I have no words to describe how kind these people are, seriously.

It’s one of my dream places to go.
You need to go there! It was quite funny, Richie Hawtin was there at the same time, to receive an award from the Sake Samurai Organisation – he’s been supporting a lot of sake brewers from Kyoto, so he was in town. Also the Red Bull Music Academy was taking place, they had people like Kerri Chandler, Matthew Jonson, Carl Craig, Goldie was there… so it was pretty cool. I played at a new club called Origami, which was nice and intimate and I also played at a small club in Osaka called Circus, nice underground vibes. Just a dark, black box, that’s it – with one strobe, it was really cool.

What’s going on with you now the summer is over?
Well, we’ve finished the summer tour and now it’s on to the autumn/winter tour! We’re doing it in the US and South America, so I’m moving to LA for the next few months – from there I’ll be traveling everywhere; Output in New York, Spybar in Chicago… I did it last year as well, so I’m looking forward to hitting all my favourite clubs in America. We’re booked up all the way until February…

And did you live in Los Angeles last year, too, or elsewhere in America?
I lived in Brooklyn, in New York. It was pretty intense because the tour was really hectic, I was playing gigs four times a week and, with the winter over there, one the heaviest on record, there were a lot of flight delays and I couldn’t get out of my house much either. It was tough, but the last week of my tour I went to Los Angeles and I really really liked it. The thing is, when you’re doing these tours and they’re so hectic, the quality of living you have outside of that is crucial. LA is really chilled, I should have time to work on my music – winter is when I make the most music, so I’m looking forward to it.

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Do you know where you’ll be living when you’re there?
Yes, in Hollywood. Close to Mulholland Drive and the Hollywood sign actually, so it should be nice.

What do you like about LA the most, are there any spots you’re particularly fond of?
There are a lot of cool restaurants, shopping areas and bars too – you get to meet a lot of people because, as you know, in Hollywood everyone wants to be an actor or an actress so it’s funny to see and meet interesting people. Like going to clubs around that area and seeing C-list celebrities, it’s funny to watch them all – the life there is so different compared to London or Berlin. It’s not like here everyone dresses in black and goes to Berghain, you know. What impresses me the most is all these big billboards with people like Tiesto, Avicci… once I saw a big hotel with Ingrosso on one side and Axwell on the other, so they’re really into the EDM sound at the moment. Within that there are pockets of ‘underground’ stuff, I’m looking forward to investigating the scene there.

Yeah, because they’ve got a strong warehouse scene happening over there.
I would like to explore their warehouse scene, I love warehouses so that’s a very good point – I want to go and experience all of those parties.

Would you be happy to have a huge billboard with just your face on it?
[Laughs] I could say to you, ‘Oh, I’m underground I would never like to have something like this’ but come on man, everyone’s got their own game – I’m not saying it’s good or bad, it just is what it is. The Americans like to do it, some DJs like to be exposed in that way so I’m happy for everyone to have a little piece of fame if that’s what you’re comfortable with.

How are you feeling about leaving Berlin?
It’s still like my second home, it’s easy to travel from here, it’s very easy-going, obviously if you want to go out there are plenty of places to go – Berghain, Club De Visionaire, Kater Holzig is gone now but I’ve been discovering a lot of other newer places recently too; Sisyphos, Kater Blau.. places I didn’t know about until recently. BUT, I try not to go out – I have the weekends for touring, sometimes 12 flights in three days, with all the connections, so I get to see friends over dinner and so on. When I see my DJ friends we don’t want to meet in a club, we usually do something more like that. There’s so much on offer here; arts, fashion, film – I went to the last two Berlin Film Festivals actually and saw a lot of independent underground films there, I even bumped into George Clooney in a Japanese restaurant.

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Do you have a regular crew of people you hang out with in Berlin?
It’s very difficult. I’ve lived here for four years, and for the last three years my life has been flights, hotels, and not spending much time in Berlin. I haven’t seen much of my crew in the last two years, it’s really difficult – I don’t get to see many of my friends anymore.

Does that get you down much? Or do you just accept it as the sacrifice you have to make for the sake of your career?
It’s a sacrifice of course because you lose the day-to-day friendships you had with your crew, you don’t see them anymore. At the same time you’ll be touring and you might party too much, you travel a lot, you’re alone in the airport, your flight got cancelled, you have to spend one night in a hotel where you didn’t want to stay in a city where the only person you know is the promoter – you take it as it is, but it’s not as fashionable or glamorous as people may think; ‘You’re a jetsetter,’ they think, but it’s a job you know. I have a professional responsibility to maintain, people are paying for me to stay in their city and to perform at their clubs, so there is a responsibility that I have to uphold. At the same, I just got back from Tokyo where I spent some great times with good people in a wonderful city, so there’s that aspect too. There are pros and cons, but this is kind of job we do. It’s very different to working in an office.

As you’ll be living in LA soon, do you have many plans to go back to your home nation, Mexico?
Yes, actually I’m playing there during Dia De Los Muertos (Day Of The Dead) – I’m playing with Nicole Moudaber, Marco Carola, Format B and some others, it should be great. I always go back to my hometown Guadalajara to play at Bra Americas and then BPM, so I go home quite a lot nowadays.

I guess you must miss it a lot?
Of course! Food, friends, family… every little chance I get to go and see them I always do it. My mum looks after me, I see my little homies, it’s always good, I always enjoy that.

Are there any big plans for 2015 underway?
Yes, my new party ‘Vatos Locos’, which I’m starting in the US while I’m there. I won’t be doing any in Europe yet. It’s going to be a warehouse-based party, which will start at BPM – I want to take it to Detroit, Chicago, LA – that’s my new project, I’m really excited about it.

Catch Hector at fabric this Saturday with the Desolat gang, more info here. And Hector’s latest EP ‘H.P.I.C’ is out now on Serkal Music ((Digitally 24th November) – go here to pick it up.