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Hole Box [Interview]

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Hailing from Mexico, Queretaro resident Hole Box has emerged from his country's avant-garde electronic landscape with a distinctive organic sound. Noted for his attention to detail, arcane musicality and inventive drum arrangements, his craft shines through vividly, making each one of his creations an absorbing experience. Trendsetting imprints such as Akbal Music, Tale & Tone and TOR have been landing spots for his most sought after creations, while the genre's premiere DJs have been steadfast with support along the way. This week sees Hole Box making his debut on Musique de Lune with the 'Midway' EP, a track he co-produced with fellow countryman VITE and backed by a remix from Ilias Katelanos & Plecta.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Hole Box to learn more about the release of 'Midway', his studio process, DJing, future plans, and more. Enjoy.

Hi Ivan, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hey, hello everyone, thank you for the interview, I'm very well, my state is motivated and with many projects in mind, the last song I heard and I liked is a classic by Maceo Plex to the Insomnia track, Amazing Remix.

How was your summer? and what are your plans for the week?

Well, the truth is that it had been a while since I got into the studio and well, we are releasing some remixes and collaborations with my producer friends.

Do you consider yourself a DJ or producer first? And which do you enjoy more and why?

Well, I first started as a DJ, I really liked that stage because I was able to understand electronic music very well and know what style in particular I liked, but now I enjoy being a producer more, I like being in the studio, creating ideas, listening to new proposals for being able to innovate in my music.

There have been some great artists to emerge from Mexico’s electronic scene over the years, so tell us how did growing up there influence your music taste and direction? Or did it at all?

When I started in this world of electronic music, progressive house was in fashion and it was a very important part of my influence as a producer.

And to add to that, what Mexican producers or DJs first inspired you when you discovered electronic music?

I especially liked at that time how Betoko, Karlos Elizondo, Josta, Metrika, Tini Tun played and produced, they were important pieces when I started with the taste of DJ and producer.

If you were a tour-guide for nightlife in Mexico, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

Well, there are undoubtedly very good clubs in the country, like Bar Americas where we can listen to Balcazar, Hardpop from Ciudad Juarez with Josta, In Tulum we can go to Vagalume where my friend and colleague Vite plays, Elektrik in Playa del Carmen to Jesus Nava and Well, I imagine that there are other very good places that I have not had the opportunity to listen to their residents, but without a doubt there is a lot of potential in Mexico.

If you are not DJing or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

At the moment I'm in the studio, looking for new sounds in my music, I have several collaborations completed with friends like Eduardo McGregor, Vite, Jesus Nava, finishing remixes, when I'm focused on that I try not to have distractions to be able to do the job well , so you can find me on my social networks (Instagram, Spotify, Soundcloud, Facebook) as "holeboxmusic" where I publish everything that is coming out in my project, also innovating a new stage of my radio show "Sonoros", where I plan to spend it to parties,

When you were first getting started in production did you have someone help you or are you completely self-taught? And what would you recommend new producers do to help with the learning curve of production?

Well, when I started producing, it was a little difficult, since there were no social networks like YouTube where you can see thousands of tutorials that help you get an idea of how to start, what I did at that time, when they invited me to participate in a warm up from an international artist, I asked him for tips, I wrote them down and with that I was learning, obviously it took me a long time to understand many things, now it is easier, so my recommendation for new producers, first is to understand very Well, the management of your dawn, when you understand it very well you already know how to do what you have planned, that helps you a lot and there are many who do not want to learn that haha, that would be my first recommendation, it took me more than 10 years to understand Ableton Live, but now with YouTube it may be less.

You have a new EP ‘Midway’ written in conjunction with VITE out now via Musique de Lune. Tell us a bit about the release, who’s been playing it and what was it about the label which made it feel like a comfortable home for your music.

Ok, if it really is an EP that we were waiting for, Musique de Lune is a very good label that I met through JFR, when Eduardo Mcgregor invited us to participate in a remix of one of his songs "Tal Vez Soñar", and well Through that means I met this great label where it has supported us a lot in distribution with great artists like Hernan Cattaneo among other great producers who are fans of their sets and music, we hope to be in the top 100 of organic house with the EP.

Your sound is quite organic but also very thematic at times, what inspires your work and was there anything in particular that inspired ‘Midway’ or ‘Emotional Things’?

Well, now in these productions, we enter a new stage, where we seek to connect with the people who listen to it through the dancefloor, we seek for the sound to be hypnotic, but at the same time pleasant where the DJs can put it in the middle of their set.

Midway seeks to be the stepping stone to the set for people to start dancing, with a hypnotic vocal, and its atmospheric melodies that take you to the dancefloor without losing our organic essentials.

The Emotional Things aims to be the emotional part of dancefloor, connecting with an emotional melody that transports you to the things that give you that nostalgia in life.

Let our readers inside your studio for a moment, what is your current setup and what studio tools are featured heavily in your recent productions and more specifically on your Musique de Lune EP.

Ok, well, first in my studio you will find two Krk monitors, a Scarlett interface, an MPK Mini plus midi controller from Akai, I really like the Volca Korg (Module, Sampler, Keys), on my computer I use Ableton Live, I really like Max for live's creations, On behalf of Native Instruments, Kontakt, Absynth, I love Reaktor, it is a very good vst to experiment with, for organic sounds I use Omnisphere, For vocals I really like to watch bits of movies where I can take out some vowels and experiment.

You’ve worked with VITE before on a track for Akbal Music, so how did you guys meet and then eventually decide to work on music together?

Ok, the friendship I have with Vite arose more than 15 years ago, we both started at the same time in the field of electronic music and well, we have always worked together, our first success was on an EP by Tale & Tone, then Telematique, Akbal, the truth is we have realized that we both work very well in the studio, even though we are in different cities we have been able to be united in music, and well not only in Akbal, there are several releases coming where we collaborate together.

Collaborating with another artist is always interesting, how would you say these productions for Musique de Lune differ from something you would have produced in solo capacity?

Ok, I think you realize in the two songs, Midway has that serious, groovy part that Vite provides, and well Emotional Things shows how emotional I like to be in my songs haha

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

I really like doing the melodic part and experimenting with sounds, enjoy that, but it is very difficult for me and that is what the other part does: the topic of percussions, drum machines, drums, hit hats, sfx , I always leave that to the other party when we collaborate.

Now let’s talk about DJing for a moment, it’s a unique discipline at the border between presenting great music and creating something new with it, between composition and improvisation to an extent. How would you describe your approach to it?

That's right, being a DJ is a culture, I respect that a lot, I have had to listen to good producers who are not good DJs, and vice versa, That's why I respect it, in my DJ stage, I learned that, to have respect and Knowing how to do it, connecting with people, emotionally, is a challenge every night.

How much prep do you put into the tracks you choose to play? Or are your sets totally spontaneous?

If when you are downloading promos and listening to music, your head already begins to put together the set, but in the end everything moves since each night and city or club that you perform is different, then if you make a fusion of the spontaneous with what you already have prepared in songs.

Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks and perhaps also, your work as a producer?

For me it was very important, since first I realized the style that I really liked and understood how it was structured, it was a part that helped me a lot at the production stage, because you know at what time of the night your song.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

Well, to begin with it would be a party of my radio show "Sonoros" haha, and well as stellar I would put Lee Burridge, Rodriguez JR, Tim Green, Sebastien Leger, Gorje Hewek, Hernan Cattaneo and then the emerging artists that I am really liking like Dulus , Eduardo Mcgregor, Molac, Plecta & Ilias Katelanos, Pandhora, Lucas Zarate, JFR among others.

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life?

Amm, since I really like music, I would be a good sound engineer or making music for movies.

Current top five tracks?

Very good question, I have many but ps these could be for now:
1.- Volen Sentir, Makebo - Alchemist Original Mix
2.- Meera - Telefon
3.- Luciano - The Amazing Lilou Lee Burridge Revibe
4.- Vite, Hole Box - Midway
5.- Hole Box - Emotional Things (Plecta & Ilias Katelanos remix)

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

I really like the movies created by Christopher Nolan, especially "Interstellar", which I really liked. His music and what it is about a metaverse is impressive and at the same time with the doubt that time travel really exists.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

I like to travel to small towns, enjoy the tranquility and Mexican cuisine.

What does the remainder of 2023 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

Amm, the truth is that 2023 was a lot of studying, learning more about music, I dedicated it to finding my sound more and trying to experiment, I have something very good planned that I hope can be fulfilled at the end of the year, I will give you any news know through my social networks hehe (holeboxmusic)

'Midway' is available now via Musique de Lune: https://shorturl.at/jlW14

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