Esteban Adame has been working away making a name for himself in the music world. With releases out on Carl Craigs Planet E and his own ICAN Productions, he is the next wave of L.A techno! And enjoy Esteban's exclusive guest mix for CGNY!
CGNY: Hi Esteban! Thanks for chatting with us. I love the way the internet/universe works! I just happened upon your soundcloud randomly and loved your sets and then find you’re on a promo list from EPM Music that I get! So tell us a little bit about yourself – where you come from?
Esteban: Thanks for having me it’s a real pleasure. I hope you and your readers enjoy the interview and the mix.
I am originally from LA, born and raised. East LA to be exact. I started DJing at about 15 and playing keys and making beats at about 18. I had the opportunity to work with Underground Resistance where I got a lot of my training in techno/ house. And so here we are.
CGNY: What’s your earliest recollection of hearing any piece of music and where did you hear it?
Esteban: Wow, that's a ruff one. Let me see...
It would have to be with my mother. She would play a mix of Latin music and disco when I was growing up. For some weird reason, Funky Town reminds me of her. I remember she had an 8 track tape in an old Chevy she used to have; I would always play it over and over. Wow, you took me back with that one.
CGNY: How did you end up first releasing on Planet E – Carl Craig’s label? That’s a pretty big label to get a release on!
Esteban: Well, what had happened was my partner in the label, Santiago Salazar, was living in Detroit and he did a gig with Carl. He gave him a Cd of tracks we had been working on and he signed us to our first two EPs. After that we started own label label in 2006, ICAN
CGNY: You are one of a group of emerging artists from LA – not typically known for techno that city, but certainly what’s coming from there is very hot!
Esteban: Yes, producers like Silent Servant and John Tejada. They really have paved the way for us in a lot of ways.
People did not really look to LA for techno, but like you mentioned, the output is of a high quality. I am definitely humbled to thought of as peer with these talented artists.
CGNY: When and how did you get into djing? What was your first piece of professional gear? What was your first gig like?
Esteban: I had a buddy in high school who had Dj'ed since he was really young. His uncle was a big hip hop DJ at a radio station called KDAY. My buddy Jimmy, thought me how to beat match as well some basic turntablist tricks. It was not until I started going to raves in the 90's that I got introduced to house and techno. I thought it was the coolest thing to see all those DJ work the way they did. I started buying records and so on. You know, like so many others have done.
I did not end up buying turntables until after high school. I had bought a pair of beat up 1200's and a cheap Gemini mixer. My first Gigs where in high school, playing mostly mobile gigs for sweet 16/15 parties, as well as school dances. Those gigs where so much fun. I remember them fondly.
CGNY: What do you look for in a track or artist that you want to release or work with? Tell us a little about your own Label – ICAN – what are you striving to put out in the musical universe with this label?
Esteban: We look for someone that is trust worthy. No flakes or phonies. That's really important to us.
As far as what we look for in a track, we just listen for something that speaks to us. Something that does not sound like presets and something that has got a bit of an edge to it.
The ethos behind ICAN is just to put out music for the dance floor. Our first catch phrase was "No politics on the dance floor." Santiago came up with that one.
We really believe that. Like with anything else that involves money, politics somehow always gets in the way. As of late, conceptually and aesthetically, I want to focus on showing a side of LA that a lot of folks outside of LA don't really see.
I want to show all of it, the good the bad and the ugly (sorry for the cliché), both with the label art and the names of the tracks. Sonically it's pretty much anything that makes folks move.
On a little side note, I started a side project with some fellow musicians from LA. It will be on a sub label called Bodega House Records. The project is called Thee AfterDark and it’s a 5 piece group that plays a mixture of disco and house. We covered Gil Scott-Herons "The Bottle" on our first release.
CGNY: What or who would say most influences your sound or frames your productions when you go to work in the studio?
Esteban: I like to listen to my contemporaries a lot. I like to see what they are up to and sometimes go into the studio with those concepts. Often times I go in the studio and start with sequence and build a track without any real concept. A lot of real cool stuff has come from that.
Often times I’ll try to imitate a track that I like and it never comes out the same. It takes on a shape of its own.
CGNY: Where have been some of your favorite places to play both here and abroad? Have you ever played NYC?
Esteban: The old club Eleven in Tokyo was amazing, the sound of the place and the vibe it was awesome. The Edge is São Paulo is also an awesome club with a killer sound system, the LED lights all around the club that move with the EQ. And yes my first and only gig in New York was at Output this year for a UQ label night. It was a great night, the only problem was that there was a huge snow storm and only about. 200 people showed up. It was like the first week Output opened. I hope to play in New York more often. I love that town.
CGNY: What is one of your pet peeves (if you have any!) about the industry you work in?
Esteban: Yes, don't like it when guys get clicky. That bugs me. But I realize that guys get that way a lot of times because they want to protect what they worked to build up. So when I have approached certain guys in the past they may have been a little standoffish since they think I may be a knuckle head. I get it, but it still bugs me.
CGNY: What do you like to do in your down time away from the music business?
Esteban: I love spending time with my wife and daughter. Going to the beach. We just moved to a town blocks from the beach and we walk there all the time.
I love running and working out but with a one year old it’s a bit of a challenge. Lately I've been getting into electronics. Learning how solder and building DIY kits. And I also am a huge fan of the great American pass time...Baseball, for those that don't know what the national pastime is. I love going to the games here in town. I played a lot a as kid and been wanting to start it up again. But with my time being so limited, it's either get in the studio or goes play Baseball.
CGNY: You can give one piece of music to a visitor from another galaxy that summarizes your taste… what might that be?
Esteban: Haha, I love this question. It is probably Robert Glapers version of Smells Like Teen Spirit. It's got a little bit of electronics, Jazz, Funk, Soul, Gospel, and Rock all rolled into one. It's so hard to pick, but gun to my head, that's the one.
For more information visit : http://www.estebanadame.com/
Esteban's exclusive CGNY guest mix- tracklisting on soundcloud