We’re extremely excited to share a very special guest mix from a world-renowned hit-making producer and one of the finest DJs to ever come out of The Netherlands. The Flexican rose to international prominence back in 2013 when his track “Bumaye” was readapted by Major Lazer in one of their biggest hits “Watch Out For This (Bumaye)”. After a two-year hiatus from touring and releasing as a solo artist, the Flexican made a triumphant return back in September with the release of his stellar new single “Come to Me.” Since then the Flexican has been back in rare form tearing up dance floors across Europe and Asia, hosting his radio show called “High Fidelity”, and preparing for a headlining set at ADE next week. Today he was gracious enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to deliver us an absolute banger of a mix. The track list spans a diverse range of styles blending classic and contemporary hip hop, Latin, rhythms, experimental beats, and dance music from around the world, all blended together seamlessly by the hand of a true master. Check out his mix below and keep reading for the full track list and an exclusive indepth interview between The Flexican and LAMP artist and editor Damon steele.
Damon Steele: You have a diverse upbringing being born in Mexico City and then educated in Amsterdam at a young age. How has this background come to shape who you are as a producer and DJ?
The Flexican: When I was young, there was always music at all the birthday parties of my friends or family in Mexico. It was always an excuse to have a good gathering, for people to play music and start dancing. When I grew older I began to select the music and soundtrack the parties myself, and I developed a love for it; to be the tastemaker of those parties. The funny thing is that it didn’t matter, young or old, everyone came together. There was a lot of food and a lot of drinking. Those moments were really inspiring for me as a young child. But coming to Amsterdam and living in Holland, those birthday parties were totally boring; no good food, no music, it was a big contrast haha. But on the other hand, I learned the whole DJ culture here in Amsterdam. The DJ scene has been here for quite a while and I think Holland is one of the countries where the entire scene is really mature and well developed, with all the agencies, promoters and all the festivals. We really have a good history of electronic music, which is what helped me to become a DJ. There were a lot of big DJs when I just started, and that made it easier to tell the people around you that your aiming to be DJ, because there were already people that had made it. So that was really motivating and inspiring. Also, what really helped me in Amsterdam was that there are a lot of good DJs. It made for healthy competition but also a high standard in the technique of the DJs. I think the DJs here became popular, not because they had thousands of followers, but because they were good DJ’s, their sets and their techniques were good, so you really had to develop your craft as a DJ.
DS: You recently took an extended break from releasing music and working as a touring artist. Can you tell me a little bit about how you spent that time away from the spotlight and how it’s impacted the music you are starting to release now?
F: I think that, for everybody, it’s important to take a break every once in a while. Even in your daily life, having a break can help you reflect and ease your brain to develop something new, and to develop something better than you did before. For me taking a break from the spotlight helped me to be a little bit more relaxed, and live more in the moment and see what life’s all about, without the pressure to succeed or to work. I think you really have to enjoy life and have some good experiences to be able to create something new, because that can really translate into your art. That really helped me. I just became a father so that also really put me in a more devoted, peaceful way of living my life as well. It also gave me a lot of new energy to start working on new music and do the things you love to have something nice for the future.
DS: Now that you’ve returned to releasing new music, do you have anything special planned in terms of a project or touring?
F: Not yet, I think to finish more music. I’m working on a lot of things that are still in the making, so I cannot tell you anything about that just yet. I also made a lot of DJ edits in the past, and I haven’t released them yet. People are still asking for them so I think I want to finish them first.
DS: We enjoyed featuring your new single “Come to Me” on our site a few weeks back. Can you tell us a little bit about the process of making that record and your inspiration behind it?
F: First of all, I want to thank you for your support! The making of ‘Come to Me’ all started about a year ago. Before that I already made a beat together with a keyboard player. Then last year I had a studio session with Feliciana, and I played her some music and told her about the project I’ve been working on and how I was sampling a lot of 70’s Latin Music. I played the song .. and actually the first beat she heard was the beat of ‘Come to Me’ and she said ‘ah I really like this one’. She started singing and literally after a couple of hours she had the basic idea for the song, she worked really quick and I was amazed by that. It was a really nice summer day here in Amsterdam. We went outside, had some lunch in the park and talked about life and music under a three in the parc and after a couple of hours, we had the basic idea. The next session we had we finished the song quite easily. It took me a couple of months to finish it and to release it, but I am very happy about the results.
DS: You mentioned that you took samples from the Fania Records catalogue to create “Come to Me.” Can you tell us a little about why that catalogue in particular is special to you?
F: Fania Records emailed me like two years ago, and they said ‘Hey do you want to remix from our catalogue?’ and I said ‘Of course!’. I’ve been a big fan of Fania Records since I was young. Over the last 10 years I really dove into their music, their releases and discography because they released so much music in the 70’s and the 80’s. It has that profound 70’s vibe to it, which I really love. Everything is really this New York kinda funk, like a complete fusion with a lot of different genres. They were cultivating there in the ghettos of New York; you could really feel the soul in their music and also the passion for what they were playing. So for me, I’ve been a big fan and also the greatest artists released there. I’ve been a big fan of Willie Colon, Ruben Blades is one of the best songwriters of Latin music. When I was a kid I listened a lot to their music, it was only until I became a DJ and I started digging deep into the music and started seeing who recorded it and where it was recorded. So to get that email was really something special for me and I really took my time to dig deep into their catalogue.
DS: Speaking of collaborations, as someone who played a huge role in one of their biggest hits ever, were you sad to hear about the upcoming disbandment of Major Lazer?
F: I think it’s understandable that they’re having a period to do their own things. They have been touring together for a couple of years so I can understand that it could feel like its time to do new things and also to get some new energy out of something else. I think for Major Lazer, to stop at their peak is the best way to do it. Maybe in a couple of years, they can do a reuniting tour.
DS: You’re known for being a very eclectic producer and DJ, and I think “Come to Me” does a great job of speaking to that ethos. Is the new music you’re working on similarly eclectic, or are their specific styles or sub-genres you’re turning your focus to more in your new work?
F: I think the music that I’m working on will always stay eclectic. It’s in my nature – laughs – not to stick to one thing or create one certain kind of sound. I’m really open to new genres and fresh sounds. If I play only one genre, I can get a little bit bored. So I really like to combine everything that I know and that I feel blend in my sets. The music that I make is also music I want to play in my sets. It’s also really challenging for me to develop new ways of creating subgenres or to try to combine genres together and to see what comes out of it. I’m always looking to sound different then the match the sound that’s really popular at the moment. So I think what I’m working on now, it still has a lot of Latin influences because I still sample a lot from the Fania catalogue, but I’m also doing some dark, electronic hip-hop stuff. I’m working on some house, techno hip-hop stuff and also just electronic beats. There’s not really a way to pin me down, so the term eclectic really suits The Flexican – laughs –.
DS: I understand that you’ve recently been doing a live radio show at Operator Radio in Rotterdam called High Fidelity. Can you tell us a little about the show and the unique sounds that you are spinning?
F: Yeah, so my new radio show is called High Fidelity. I had the idea to do a radio show within a format. So I was thinking about how I could tell the story that I wanted to tell. I came up with a movie that I really like, High Fedelity, because I love to use samples and snippets from movies for my mixtapes. So I thought, I can sample the movie or because a lot of movies are based on books, I can dig for an audiobook. So then I thought, maybe I could sample for the audiobook and tell a story by using snippets of the audiobook every episode. The result is a radio format that is chapter based. The first half hour is the first chapter and here I play new music that I found, that’s newly released or new songs that I’m spinning in the club, just so that the listener can discover new music. The second chapter is always a special about an artist that I love or an artist that has just passed away. In my last episode, I did a half hour medley of all the songs that I love from Mack Miller because I really want to pay homage to him. The third chapter features a different producer every episode, this time I chose to research how producers sample and what kind of music they sample. I decided to go with Armand van Helden for this episode, he is a legend house producer. It is really nice to play all the samples they used because a lot of the times the original songs are great as well. I like to dig deep into their way of sampling because I learn a lot from that. The last chapter is dedicated to the world if music, music from across the globe that I discovered when I was touring. In my first episode, I did a special about Colombian music, but really that funk soul kinda Colombian music that I found when I was touring there. For me it is a way to tell a story and to be challenged as a DJ to discover and find out new music. To just create an interesting mix of music and also a well prepared, fluid mix.
DS: We heard you’re going to be performing at ADE next week alongside some of your label-mates at Studio KOTO. Can you tell us a little bit about the show and what you’re planning on bringing to the stage at ADE?
F: Yes! I’m so excited about ADE next week. It’s in my hometown, Amsterdam. I’ve been doing this for a few years, and each year it gets bigger and bigger. DJing but also meeting old friends and meeting other artists that come here that I want to check out and see what they are doing. Especially the Studio Koto night is going to be great with all my labelmates, and we have some special artists coming. I will DJ B2B with Jengi, so that is going to be fun. I want to test a lot of new music and new edits that I created. It’s going to be fun; it’s on a Wednesday, which is the beginning of ADE so I feel like it’s a good start of the rest of the week. I’m really looking forward to it. To everyone out there, if you see me just come to me and talk to me! I’m always open to connecting with new artists so just feel free to come up to me. That’s what ADE is all about, just connecting with artists and performers, we are all colleagues of each other.
– Fania All-Stars introduces The Flexican
– The Flexican – Come To Me ft. Feliciana
– Donny Hathaway – Love Love Love (Jengi Club Edit)
– Miguel – Tradorn (Flexican Edit)
– D’Angelo – Feels Like Brown Sugar (Flexican Edit) ft. Full Crate & Lee Milah
– Popcaan – Silence (Flexican Edit)
– Big Pun & Fat Joe – Twinz 2018 (Flexican Edit)
– Noiz x Ethan Morris – Body Riddim
– Kanye West – Yikes
– The Flexican – I Cruise I Rake It Up
– ASAP Rocky & Skepta – Praise The Lord
– Outkast – So Fresh So Clean Before the Night Is Over (Flexican Edit)
– Thundercat – Them Changes (Midas Hutch Live Edit)
– Smooth Operator 3000 – Amazonas
– Radical One – MITB (Feat. Rilla Force)
– Wuki – Go Deep (feat. Nicky Da B)
– Ciara – Level Up
– yaeji – Raingurl (Daaliah Edit)
– IAMDDB – Shade (Wantigga Club Remix)
– August Mae – La Bendiction
– Usher – Nice & Slow (FS Green & Jaël Remix)
– Wildchild – Renegade (Jeftuz Remix)
– XXXTENTACION – Moonlight (Flexican Edit)
– DJ Master-D – Bucky Done Gone
– Kansado – Una Pa Celia
– The Flexican & Jaël – Akiko Piano (Flexican Club Edit)
– Tera-Kora – Sambalatento
– The Flexican & Wantigga x Populous – Get Out Umi(Edit)
– Chaka Khan – Like Sugar (Flexican Edit)
– Christian Rich – Tender Love
– Jungle – Happy Man
– El Gran Sid Outro