We had a chat with Mexico City born Saint Vie ahead of his forthcoming EP….
Hey Sainte Vie, how are you, how is your year so far?
Hey! Thanks for having me! I’m good thank you! It’s been a really exciting year so far. I graduated from music college last year so I’m now finally able to dedicate 100% of my time to my projects such as Sainte Vie and my label Akumandra.
Tell us about your label – it is referred to as Avant-garde in the press releases – why is that do you think?
That’s a nice compliment.. To be honest I don’t know if the label could be considered Avant-garde or not and it doesn’t really matter to me. The most important thing for us at Akumandra is to support emerging talent, and, in many occasions upcoming artists happen to be the ones who bring something actually new, unique and different to the table in all kinds of art. That might be the reason why they relate the label to the term Avant-garde. Ever since the label started we’ve put all our focus in finding emerging artists from around the globe.
You have done the latest ‘From Desolate Places and Forgotten Times’ EP on the label – what’s the influences, inspirations and aims of it?
Indeed! I believe the aim of my music in general has always been to communicate and express certain feelings that catch my attention during specific periods of time.
As for the influences on this particular EP, I honestly felt like I didn’t had many.. Which actually felt amazing! My mind felt pretty much free while composing this EP. Of course I have big influences from musicians I admire and styles I like such as Soda Stereo, Nicolas Jaar, David August, James Holden, Interpol, etc… But it just felt different this time, like I wasn’t thinking of any other music while I was composing, I was completely focused on trying to describe with different musical elements all the landscapes I had in my mind and the feelings I felt in my body.
The inspiration behind this EP came from an immediate and profound connection I have with certain desolate places I find in the open sea, nature, abandoned buildings, vast inhabitable places and foggy landscapes amongst other desolate places. Every time I’m in one of these places or simply see one of these places a feeling emerges deep within me. Other triggers of this feeling are documentaries and movies like Planet Earth and Donnie Darko. My ultimate goal with this EP was once again to describe and express this feeling with music. The arpeggios coming out of my Nord synthesizer played a key role on this EP.
Another big inspiration on this new EP was my live set. I really wanted to compose and release something I could play live, something that had the same energy as my live set. To me, that’s High Seas and Whale.
You play a live show – what gear do you use, how does it work?
As a producer I believe I can always improve my live set, I’m constantly adding and changing stuff so the exact way it works changes from time to time. For the past year I’ve been mainly using the computer with Ableton, a Livid Instruments controller and a Nord rack synth. I basically make live versions of all my tracks + all my unreleased edits and put them together in the most cohesive way. Most of the times on my live sets, the transitions between a track and the next one end up being a track on its own adding a layer of excitement and bringing the live improvisation feeling on stage.
How live is it, are you making sounds on the fly or trigger loops or what?
I’m doing a little bit of everything, I basically play my compositions while tweaking them live and improvise the exact way they will be performed depending on the energy of the show. At the same time, I’m making sounds on the fly with the Nord synthesizer. I also run most of the synths of my tracks through the Nord as I feel like the analog sound coming out of that synth live it’s so much better than the sound of a recorded synth. Most of the tracks on my live set are divided in stems and appear in the form of Ableton clips I then trigger and use as loops to build the transitions between a track and the next one. I also have an entire section in my live set dedicated to loops and samples ready to be triggered anytime I feel like adding something more to my tracks.
You play Storytellers in Barcelona soon at Sonar – what should people expect, how are you prepping for the gig?
Yes! I’m super excited for this show! I think people should expect to hear Sainte Vie’s sound with an extra amount of intensity and energy I’ll be adding to my live set. I’ve also been working on some new Spanish vocal edits for this one. I’m excited to finally play them live!
What else have you got coming up/are you working on?
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 audio visual live show I’ve been working on for a while now.
What is life in Mexico like right now, socially and politically? Do you reflect the situation in your music?
I left Mexico almost 9 years ago and I don’t follow the news closely enough to give you a proper answer about the country’s current social and political situation but I can tell you it’s still a very dangerous country unfortunately. I constantly hear horrifying stories from people I know… It’s very sad…
On the other hand, Mexico’s culture and nature has always been a huge source of inspiration to me and I think that definitely gets reflected in my music. I’ve just never felt inspired enough by Mexico’s social and political situation to make a song about it. Who knows, maybe one day..
Whereabouts in Mexico are you? Is there a music scene?
I’m from Mexico City, but I moved to France when I was 16 so I didn’t really get a chance to experience the electronic music scene properly I guess.. In my opinion, before I left there was definitely a scene but it was small and pretty closed in the sense that there was basically one big promoter who had some kind of monopoly of the scene so the electronic music producers would always be the same and they would always push for the same style of electronic music.. Nowadays I feel like that scene is finally opening up and there’s a lot of new stuff happening in Mexico electronic music wise. There are more and more festivals and there’s more and more support towards upcoming artists and new electronic music styles. I definitely think the scene in Mexico is growing in a positive direction. That being said, I also love rock music and I can say Mexico’s rock scene is huge and one of the best ones for sure!