For this week’s mix, we have something special – a live set from our good friend Julian Montenegro. Julian is a Costa Rican prodigy who has been rocking shows and releasing quality tunes for years already, through outlets like House Of Hustle, House of Bangerz, and Drop Low. We linked up with him on one of his numerous visits to Los Angeles, when he came to town to attend Desert Hearts and collaborate with a variety of producers (including LAMP’s own Keyspan). Julian lives and works in Costa Rica, where he co-runs and teaches at production / DJ school Beatmatch Academy (www.beatmatchcr.com/), and contributes to Beats Radio Online (beatsradioonline.com/). Just last weekend, he performed an exceptional set at Costa Rica’s Chepe Joven festival, which hosted 25,000 attendees.
For his debut LAMP mix, Julian graced us with a really exceptional live set, weaving together a tapestry of diverse sounds. Take a listen on SoundCloud, or watch the set live via YouTube below. Julian was also kind enough to sit down virtually with Keyspan from our team for an interview – check out his answers below as well.
Keyspan: Hi Julian and welcome to the LAMP weekly mix series. We appreciate you taking the time to put together some sounds 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, we hear it’s something special. What can we expect?
Julian Montenegro: Well, for this session I prepared something very special indeed, finally I managed to position my live set using Ableton live, added to this, I added some original tracks, remixes and some tracks of friends. In short, a very special and delicately curated selection where I feel that I can capture the sound with which I feel very identified right now. You can expect sounds from the jungle, loud basses, crazy synthesizers and lots of percussion.
K: Let’s go back in time for a minute – how did you get into music, and can you walk us through your path thus far?
JM: It has been a long way, I was always very close to music since I was a kid, I learned to play drums when I was little and then the piano. My uncle got me involved in music production and djing around 2010, he used Reason and he had a Numark controller which he taught me to use, since then people have appreciated the technique that I have developed, and then I was taking music production classes at Pyramid in SF time later, I started releasing music with some labels and began DJing in several important festivals here in Costa Rica, part of that helped me met a lot of important DJs from the industry. Recently I started travelling to the United States where they received me with a lot of love, I played in places like PHX, NYC and LA. We started Beatmatch Academy, our own academy to inspire new talent and share the love of music together with Beats Radio, the first exclusive radio of electronic music in Costa Rica.
K: What are your current dreams and/or goals with regards to music?
JM: Definitely continue to inspire young people, travel more to share my music, produce more music in innovative ways, continue working in search of a record label that becomes my home, and be part of more festivals, I think those are incredible opportunities to connect with people.
K: How has Costa Rica and the culture there influenced your music? And/or elsewhere that has had an influence?
JM: I think I center the influence of my music on several pillars, first it is inevitable for the people of Central America and the Caribbean the love for percussion and drums, besides wind instruments. that’s coupled with my love for synthesizers, at this time for labels like dirtybird that take those synths to create more evolutionary sounds, in addition to festivals like Envision and Bamboo that always inspire me.
K: Who is one artist who you are inspired by right now, and what inspires you about them and their work?
JM: Uh that’s hard, I can definitely say that some artists that influence me a lot are Kyle Watson, Justin Martin and Chus + Ceballos, this is due to the development of their synthesis, sound, techniques and the way they have always developed their career from a very professional environment. Although more than them also my friends and their productions of which I always learn a lot too.
K: Who have been your mentors or people who have had an influence on you in your music career, and life?
JM: My uncle Carlos Montenegro, he has been a vital piece in this way, Djs like Dr. Leo, Meli Rodriguez, Mikey Lion, Stef of Nomadic Collector, friends like Sebas Quiros, and good many more friends who have contributed their part.
K: What is the best guidance you have received regarding your work with music? [and/or] If you think about someone first starting out as a producer/DJ, what guidance would you give them?
JM: I think it’s vital to believe in your music first, be humble, follow your heart when you need to trust people, find people who know more and compile as many tips and then evaluate and contrast them. Finally, faithfully follow your goals, do not give up and bekind (even to yourself).
Regarding the industry, create music and lots, share it in the most creative ways you find and someone will find you.
K: You have some incredible remixes out – what do you think makes a remix really great?
JM: Oh thank you very much, I try to give them my touch, this is how I usually do a remix, I find songs that are already incredible, I think I can give them another beautiful perspective and that’s where the magic happens.
K: Know you are a big fan of cartoons : ) tell us a bit about that, what do you love about them? Current favorites?
JM: Oh yeah! indeed, they bring me memories, I had a beautiful childhood, in my time the internet was beginning so I did not have that kind of childhood, I also lived in the countryside. they also make me think about the creative process so that I can observe them, it is difficult and it takes a long time to create a cartoon, finally they make me laugh (vital to be happy)
I love classics like the Flintstones, but now Rick and Morty, Final Space, Regular Show, Adventure Time, The Simpsons.