This week we welcome Sergio Parrado from Spain and Jee Bear who hails from the Dominican Republic. Separately these two have been developing their careers over the years and have come together as the A&R heads for one of our favorite labels yet! Records. Sergio has a healthy catalog of music spanning several years and with some great labels such as Trapez, Go Deeva, Lapsus and many more. Jee Bear has also been working hard in his home the Dominican Republic with some recent releases that have garnered much attention while also helping to provide a platform for artist from his home to gain stronger voices in the dance community worldwide. They put together a solid mix for us this week and we will also have a little Q & A session that we will share with you all on the website later this week. Check out www.losangelesmusicproject.com for that probably tomorrow.
PZB: Hi Guys and welcome to the LAMP weekly mix series. We appreciate you taking the time to put together a mix for us this week and for answering a few questions for our readers. Let’s get started with what you have prepared for us this week. What can we expect?
Segrio Parrado & Jee Bear: Thanks so much for the invitation, it is never a trouble to show our music, further we feel really grateful. What we will listen today is especially music of YET! Records, releases that are already out and some others that will be out.
PZB: Individually you both come from diverse backgrounds. Your workings with music have brought you together as cohorts for a record label I have a great deal of respect for, yet! Records. As the heads of A & R for that label much of that lies on your ears to determine which tracks make it to our ears. What are some important criteria you look for when sifting through songs for the label?
S & J: The label has a really plain philosophy and it is that we don’t accept demos, so in this way we don’t listen the lots of music that may come, because sometimes is exhausting, and it can sound arrogant but if you stop to think, what we do is speak to the artists whom we admire and we send them the release plan and we take care of every detail. The sound, the image and promotion of the brand is something essential so in this way the music reaches where we want among so many jungle releases. This makes that being a young label, big names decide to release with us.
PZB: You both have have had long musical backgrounds that have led you both to where you are today. Jee Bear growing up in the Dominican Republic and Sergio in Spain and Mexico. How have the cultures in which you were raised had an influence on your music today and who were some of the people that inspired you to follow a career in music?
JEE BEAR : In the 90s in the Dominica Republic we saw the arrive of MTV, sooo… Things changed a lot back then for us, everything was new and so full of possibilities. It was also perfect timing since there where really no radio stations playing this music in the Dominican Republic and local acts where limited to the traditional latin music that has been played in the islands of the caribbean’s since the 1800’s. In many ways this was a culture shock, specially for the older generations who treated this new music as heresy. I remember I was just a kid in front of the television listening for the first time ever to artists like: Fatboy Slim, Beastie Boys, Radiohead, Daft Punk, The Verve and The Chemical Brothers. This was THE moment when me and a bunch of my childhood friends said “This is what I want to be when I grow up.” *laughs*
SERGIO PARRADO : I started at the end of the 90’s. In Spain, the electronic music was in a great moment, a lot of clubs were opening and to be more concrete the “Hard Techno” was above of styles like House, Break Beat, Drum & Bass and even over Techno itself. I was one of the resident djs of “Camarote” which was one of the first clubs in the country and the music you heard there was pretty hard haha. I really liked it but at some point it was too loud for me and start experimenting with warmer textures in my sets, yet the techno soul was there and it also had a “House” essence. Artists like Circulation, Peace Division ,Oxia; and labels such as Soma, Goodlife , Finger Lickin Superbra or Primevil were big influences along with bands like Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, Daft Punk or Basement Jaxx. Actually my influences come from a lot of places.
PZB: Individually you both make music as well. Sergio, you have been at it on the releasing game for a little while longer than you friend Jee Bear (Side-note: Jee Bear has been at it for a long time but is just starting to release under this alias) who is just getting his catalog started. What do you find have been some of the challenges for you early on in your carrier as producers and getting your music out there for others to hear?
SERGIO PARRADO : Everything was different before, the scene wasn’t so globalized and if you wanted the labels listen to your music, you needed to send the demo directly to the offices and in a lot of cases you had to wait for months. I lived in a small town, I was much more younger and i didn’t have the access to the artists as I have now, so it was pretty hard that someone looked at me. Over the years, I finally built my first label (Minijack) not without working a lot to achieve a distribution contract, you know, I just wanted to share my passion to the world.
PZB: Speaking of that little side note Jee Bear, I am curious to know more about your efforts to grow your career and provide a platform in your native Dominican Republic for other upcoming artists?
JEE BEAR : I got started in the music really young, joined my first band at 14, by the time I was 18 we were ready to start performing but we had no gigs because no gigs existed, so I started producing our own concerts at 18. After a few years the idea of a band wasn’t really working since many of the band members went their own way and that is when I picked up DJing. It was really liberating to me, the fact I could do this alone and not having to depend of anybody else, but when I was ready to perform the same thing happened again, few to no gigs. So again I began to produce my own events and started by booking one international guest with many local acts, and it was working and the local scene really took off. Many of the same DJs that I was booking locally were also new producers and most of them had a really hard time getting their music out there, so thats when me and a couple of fellow DJs decided to have a record label to help get all this music out there.
PZB: Sergio you to have had quite the career so far spanning two continents and traveling across the globe. Your music catalog has seen you release on some great labels such as Bedrock, Lapsus, Kinetika and several others we have great respect for here at LAMP, including your own label My Little Dog. You wear a few other hats as well being a label owner and former Club owner, a writer for DJ Mag and was we mentioned before A&R for Yet! Records. What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic career?
SERGIO PARRADO: There are several,but to summarize I can say it is Chile, Camarote Club, My Little Dog, Ibiza, Cuzco (Peru), Mexico City and now YET! Records
PZB: Connecting with your audience and building up a room is an important aspect of performing. What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig? What are some key elements you always try to bring to a set to help build that relationship.
SERGIO PARRADO : Drawing from the premise that this job is awesome since you have the freedom of improvise in a set, I can create an atmosphere from an A to a B point. I’m a music lover and I don’t like to stay with one style, whereby the range in direct is really wide. What I have always in consideration is the country where I play and its people and try to make a mental plan to show a good work so the people can enjoy, however if I know the crowd I like to experiment and make the journey more special.
JEE BEAR : I think that connecting with the audience is probably THE most important aspect of being a performer of any type, second only to being genuine. When I am in the booth I feel that its my job to connect with the audience, that said I would never play something I don’t like myself just to connect with the audience. I think that is where the magic is, looking for a track that makes sense at that time and place and creates that connection that I’m looking for. What lets me know I have been able to get this connection is that I begin to feel more as part of the audience than the performer, my state of mind becomes the same as it is when I am just dancing in the dance floor and I forget that I am in the booth or that people are even looking at me. Some of my favorite tracks take me there immediately when I listen to them, I always try to include at least one of them in every set, guaranteed to help me connect.
PZB: What can we be on the look out for coming from the both of you. Anything you guys working on together or individually at the moment we should be keeping an eye out for?
SERGIO PARRADO: We work daily both in YET! Records and a few months ago for MEET!, which is a festival that the label is organizing in Punta Cana from April 19 to 21. Getting together is pretty complicated and when we finally see each other we see more things about the label than making music. This doesn’t mean that we take out some time to make music haha. The next EP that we are going to release will be on the label ” Smiley Fingers” with a remix of Basti Grub and we are really happy with the result. It is possible that on summer we have a tour together over Europe.
PZB: Thank you again for taking the time to answer our questions. Please keep us posted on what your up to and when we can expect you out here in LA.
S & J: Thanks so much. We really didn’t know about LAMP but now we are huge fans! We hope to be really soon in L.A for a show 🙂
Sergio Parrado & Chinonegro “La Siesta” – Brise Records
Jee Bear & Lucian Le Grub “Uhh Yeah” -Smiley Fingers
Christian Burkhardt & Daniel Roth “Wrong Bed” (Mathias Kaden´S Reduce Down Remix) – Yet! Records (Promo)
Christian Burkhardt & Daniel Roth “ Kehrhaus” – Yet! Records (Promo)
Sergio Parrado & Chinonegro “Equality” – Unreleased
Adapter “Five Nana” (Hector Couto Remix) – Yet! Records
Sergio Parrado & Chinonegro “ The Choses One” Unreleased
Jee Bear “Driver” – Yet! Records (Promo)
Joey Daniel & Eder Alvarez “Late Nights” (Sascha Dive Remix) Yet! Records
Ray Okpara “Violong” (Jee Bear Remix) – Yet! Records
Sascha Dive “String Theory” (Sergio Parrado & Chinonegro Remix) – Yet! Records
Archilla – Cdz