John Tejada Interview

Prolific electronic artist and DJ John Tejada has a new album out on Plug Research in Los Angeles. He's also running his own label, Palette Recordings, and actively travelling worldwide to do DJ sets. We were able to set up an email interview. John's replies came back in all lowercase- classic dot com chic- and we left his replies in that style, as he originally wrote them.

Better Propaganda Editor Terbo Ted talks to John Tejada

betterPropaganda: If you were to explain what you do to someone completely outside of the dance music community, what would you tell them?

John Tejada: i usually just say it's dance music made with computers and synthesizers. it's hard to describe to someone unfamiliar with this music because that description usually springs to mind an ugly image. i guess it's a hard thing to describe without playing it for someone.

bP: Tell us about your new album Logic Memory Center.

JT: i'm quite happy with it. the idea behind it (although i keep my music pretty concept free) is to focus much more on sound design and to stay away from my usual synth stacking and melody stacking. so i spent much more time on the sound design and editing.

bP: How has it been working with the Plug Research label in Los Angeles? You're one of their marquee names, on a roster with artists like Milosh, Camping and Headset.

JT: allen who runs the label is one of my best friends. we go back 10 years now. i've done 3 mr. hazeltine singles for them as well as the daydreams album.

bP: Looking at the long list of labels you've worked with is like walking into a gas station shop and trying to pick out a soft drink, lots to choose from. Would you be, or are you, into any sort of exclusive label arrangements?

JT: i am much more exclusive to my own label these days, only recording for others in a very special circumstance. you will not see much label hopping from me anymore.

bP: And then you run you own label, Palette Recordings, what's that like, and what are it's current releases?

JT: just released now is a new single by me titled "mono on mono." next is another collaboration with me and justin maxwell titled "madness." me and arian leviste are also working on an album now for next year. running the label is great. it's my own and i'm the boss.

bP: Outside of your own body of work, what labels are your favorites for 12" vinyl?

JT: it changes all the time. i hate giving answers to this because by the time i read them i feel differently. i mostly like lots of the music my close friends are making.

bP: How much of your own music do you incorporate into your DJ sets?

JT: i usually play about 5 or so of my own tracks in my set.

bP: Who was the first DJ you ever saw beatmatching dance tracks live?

JT: hmm, hard question. i grew up listening and learning from djs on the radio but i can't remember who i actually saw live first.

bP: If you were going out yourself to go cut the rug, or to have a dance, what genres, DJs or venues would you gravitate towards in L.A.?

JT: when i'm home i usually don't go out that much, but i'll  usually come out to watch a friend play when they come in from out of town or just some events thrown by friends. i also will go watch a good band play.

bP: Recently there's been this growing sense of dance music being dead and the culture returning to more of its underground roots. What's you're take on this sentiment? Obviously, you're still very active in the dance community with a successful career in progress...

JT: it really seems like there is more of a scene happening everywhere else in the world but here. from talking to friends across the country it seems that it's just much much harder these days to put together a night or a regular event. spaces are harder to find in each city and more expensive. it leaves only mega clubs and really small nights with not much budget behind them.

bP: How often are you flying out of town for shows? Are you planning on any traditional touring, or still mostly doing shows all over as they happen?

JT: i'm flying out of the country an average of every 6 weeks i guess. i try to plan it so i have time at home as well. most trips are small mini tours that go for about 11 days.

bP: You come from a musical family, and yet your musical path is far removed from your parents' classical framework. Do they understand what you're doing? Have they ever danced at one of your shows, or were they into disco or stuff like that back in the day when they were younger?

JT: yeah, both my parents get it. my mom gets it a bit more as i've also recorded some stuff with her. my father is still in austria and he gets it also. i'm not sure what they were into but my mother goes on about stockhausen sometimes.

bP: What was the first instrument you learned to play?

JT: piano

bP: Your work is commonly associated with the Detroit Techno scene, yet you're thousands of miles away from there. What do you think is the connection that people see there? Do you make a conscious connection with your work and the Detroit sound?

JT: i knew this would be in here somewhere. i don't know. i was influenced by the early stuff as everyone else, but also equally from music from the rest of the world. i'm not from there and don't live there so i have never claimed to make detroit techno.

bP: What's your favorite computer software or plugin at the moment?

JT: live 4

bP: What's your favorite piece of dedicated musical hardware right now?

JT: my elektron monomachine and machinedrum

bP: Do you collect mp3s? Do you have an iPod or similar player, and if so, can you tell us what is on yours right now?

JT: yeah, of course. i listen to all sorts of stuff. i'm really enjoying sketch show and other japanese electronic artists and fennesz at the moment.

bP: How far in advance are you planning out your next moves? Are you already planning more John Tejada releases, or focusing on your label and shows? What can we expect from you in the coming seasons?

JT: i'm planning all of the above all the time i guess. new things to expect are tours, new releases on palette.

bP: What are you going to be doing on New Years? Are you booked for a show yet?

JT: no booking and no plans yet. i sort of enjoy a quiet new years eve anyway.

Related Downloads
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John Tejada
song:Alone With You
album:Logic Memory Center (Plug Rese…
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