Jorge Balarezo grew up tuned-in to metal and the tropical soundscape of his Costa Rica home, while his parents listened to Peruvian folk singers like Susana Baca, Eva Ayllón and Chabuca Granda. Today, the New York-based producer is inspired by the likes of Burial and Nicolas Jaar. Despite his wide range of influences, he's carved out a sound that's all his own. Balarezo's music is spacious and technical, and, while rooted in house, borrows from post-garage, downtempo and South American percussion.
“Influence,” Jorge's first EP, just dropped from Safer at Night, a collective devoted to promoting and elevating New York's house and techno scene.
For this week's Heavy Set, Jorge brought Allday an exclusive house mix along with a tracklist and Q&A. Catch it all below.
Can you tell us a little about the inspiration and process behind your latest EP, “INFLUENCE?”
This EP was a result of years trying to uncover my own sound. I have been through so many weird musical stages, and have learned to appreciate many different kinds of music—but in a way these three tracks really finalize that chapter of discovery. It sounds cheesy, but I truly feel like this EP belongs to me. I can finally own something that is purely my own creative output. I have been exposed to so much culture, art and sound, but it all melds together in “influence.” All the facets of life that have defined my identity. Specifically you will hear a mix of found field recordings of traditional andean chants, nature, and latin percussion.
What is it that draws you to the underlying dark, ominous themes found in your music influence?
When I sit down to make music I usually don’t have anything in particular in mind, but for some reason it always ends up sounding “dark.”I think being a creative person and having deeply rooted emotions has a lot to do with it. I might just be projecting certain feelings unconsciously. When I make music I just embrace that melancholia, because that’s when I’m the most inspired, when I can look at a really shit moment or situation and make something beautiful out of it.
“When I make music I just embrace that melancholia, because that’s when I’m the most inspired.”
What’s your take on the current techno and house scene in NY? Are there any particular parties or venues you can recommend?
NY is learning and is becoming more and more aware and receptive of techno and house, but it’s been a slow process. It’s not like in Europe where it almost seems embedded into the culture. In New York there are a only few places that I have felt like the scene is legit, but we’re getting there. I’ve been to this party called SPECTRUM in Bushwick, that was truly so raw and good. I really love Verboten and Output, they are doing a great job at bringing good international acts to the city. My good friend TOTAL FITNESS DJ’s at Le Baron in Chinatown on Saturdays, and that can get pretty good too, but that starts late, around midnight. CITYFOX and SHADE are two other parties that have been doing good as well, they highlight some really great talent and the venues always have proper sound.
Can you tell me a little about Safer at Night and how it came to be?
SAFER AT NIGHT was started by my good friend CURSES, along with TOTAL FITNESS, and CRANKS. Curses could probably elaborate on this question so much more, but basically they all felt like there was a true need of enforcing the techno and house scene in New York. Recently they have also taken me on as their official art director & designer so I am now in charge of overseeing all visual aspects of the Safer at Night “brand.”
Do you have any nights coming up? And how do we stay in the loop with your upcoming projects?
Currently I am mostly focused on making music and getting my sound out into the world, but I DJ every once in a while at Le Baron with Total Fitness on Saturday nights. I normally post any info regarding DJ gigs on my Instagram and Facebook so watch that space for updates.
1. Star Shaft - Specialivery
2. Bermuda - Hunter_Game
3. Trials - Cranks
4. Zeus - Rubini
5. Eden at Night (Too Far Remix) - Total Fitness
6. Like That - Seff
7. Primary K290 - Dubspeeka
8. Is this Insanity? feat Spaceape (Ben Clock Mix) - Martin
9. Vultura - DNGLS
10. Activation - Gabriel Slick, RoboCrafting Material
11. Stupid Things I Do (New School Mix) - Randomer
12. Holle - Colefields
13. Pushcan (Danny Daze Dust Mix) - Chmara Winter