I’m just going to say it. El G is the man, and if you don’t know who he is, you wanna. El G is a DJ, but not only is he a damn fine mixer of beats, he’s also the founder of WhatsUpBuenosAires.com and the head behind Club Zizek and ZZK Records out of Buenos Aries, a spot and a crew that are doing just the absolute freshest things with electronic beats and traditional Latin American music out there today. The blends El G and his friends create are as unique as a bespoke snowflake, blending sounds from all corners of music, and best of all, it’s music that’s hell of a lot of fun to listen to (not to mention dance ya ass off).
When one of these guys rolls through town, it’s a show you want to get yourself front and center for, and lucky for us beat-addicted ne’er-do-wells in Austin, El G is wrapping up an international tour that went all over Europe and coast-to-coast in the US with an ATX show. The music goes down Friday, August 30, at Holy Mountain, where El G is gonna bring his tables and his immense knowledge as a musicologist and curator to us Texan heathens, and he’s gonna do it alongside two of our best local dance crews, Table Manners and some of the fellas from Peligrosa. From what we’ve heard, an El G show has the man acting like a musical curator taking the crowd on a personal guided tour through the best and rarest parts of the South American scene and ZZK records, and to say that you’re gonna hear some shit you never heard is entirely redundant.
El G was kind enough to lend Red River Noise some time to ask him some questions before the show to getcha guys all riled up, so put your peepers on this interview with El G himself below and find out what this impresario of South American electronic music has knockin’ around in his head these days:
Welcome back to Texas, El G. I heard you’re originally from around these parts, that true?
El G: Yep, born and raised in Texas. Grew up in San Antonio Texas. Have a real strong love for South and Central Texas. Love to come home, the food, the people, my family and friends, the weather, the nature and water.
Your show on the 30th in Austin is the last of the tour, was that on purpose or did it just end up that way?
It kinda just ended up that way, from my traveling logistics and what not. I always want to roll through Austin when I’m in Texas and on tour. This was a double up, Austin show with my friends at Peligrosa and an Austin visit to soak up the good summer vibes.
How’s the rest of the tour been? Any good stories?
The tour has been amazing. I got to visit a couple new destinations this time, which makes it all the more sweeter. I had a lot of down time too, so I got to spend a month in Portugal, and 3 weeks in Istanbul. I did La Yegros‘ first tour in Europe, which was really amazing. We’re producing a documentary about that tour, should be out sometime soon!
What’s your touring style, nice hotels and guest rooms or more the grimey vans and endless fast food route?
Dude, whatever I can get. Sometimes the bigger festivals and gigs will give us pretty swank hotels and drive us around. But if not, it’s pretty DIY, staying at friends places, seeing who has an extra bed, anybody need us to water your plants while you’re out of town? Depending on where I’m at and who I’m with, it’s either rent – a – van or car or trains or buses or planes or road trips with my friends and other DJs/promoters. It’s all over the place.
Austin’s a pretty small town in comparison to some of the spots you’ve just played in, does playing here feel different from other cities in any way?
Austin always brings out the good vibes. People love to dance here and that’s the best. Plus it’s kinda my home turf, so I can connect with the crowd on that local level as well.
What’s the music scene like in Buenos Aires right now?
Pretty poppin’. Anything you want, nearly every night of the week. If you you want, you could just live night to night in Buenos Aires, hopping from gig to party to after-party. A lot of people actually do.
This year we dropped some pretty awesome albums. Frikstailers debut album En Son de Paz dropped. El Remolón’s Boxeo Constitucion came out. La Yegros Viene de Mi. ZZK Sound Vol. 3 got released just this summer. We’ve got some new beats and ideas in the pipes, and all the ZZK artists are working on new albums, so expect a ton of music soon.
You guys just had a big anniversary, how’d that feel? Any celebrations go down?
Yeah, ZZK Records turned 5. We toured our way through the celebrations. We’re too small an operation to organize a proper celebration, so we just announced it online and kept touring around Europe and playing shows back home.
The internet is always coming up with new terms for the music you guys make, but do the folks of ZZK actually call their music by any particular name? Are there any terms you’ve heard the press use that you particularly like or dislike?
It’s just contemporary electronic music when it all comes down to it. A lot of it is unclassifiable, but we’ve given it some monikers over the years. Digital Cumbia, Digital Folklorico are some of the spur of the moment ideas. But in the end, it’s just contemporary music from a really interesting and cultural place like Buenos Aires and Argentina. Digital South America sums it up quite nicely.
I’ve heard you talk about how the internet has changed music; do you have any thoughts on where things will go from here for electronic music, say in the next 5-10 years?
ZZK is definitely a product of the internet. We wouldn’t have been able to do this 10 pr 20 years ago. It would have taken 10 times longer. I’m not sure what will happen for the next 5 to 10 years but if the current trend continues everybody who wants to make music can and will, some very exciting ideas will be born, from all corners of the globe, at all ages.
What about cumbia in particular? Will it be around for a good long time?
Cumbia will never die. It’s an essential part of Latin America culture and slowly but surely, the world. Stuff like that will be around forever.
What’s catching your attention musically right now outside of ZZK?
I saw the band Za! play in a festival I played at in Portugal and they were pretty mind blowing. I got into some of the Turkish beats while I was in Istanbul. Flying Lotus meets the Ottoman Empire Tower type stuff. It was rad. I like a lot of the newer slowed down electronica too, soulful stuff like XXYYXX, Nico Jaar, etc.
Anything you guys haven’t gotten to do yet that you’d like to?
I’m starting to think I’m pretty happy with what we’ve done. The future right now is a complete mystery.
And finally, what can folks in the 512 expect from your show here at Holy Mountain on the 30 with Table Manners and Peligrosa?
Lots and lots of dancing. Smiles. Good times. Good music. New beats.
El G is bringin’ his barrage of South American flavor to Holy Mountain this Friday August 30 to play with two of Austin’s finest and most original beat crews, Table Manners and Peligrosa. FB event page here, $5 cover until midnight. $7 cover after midnight 21+ welcome. Event presented by Austin Vida.