Outside of Todd Terje, there might not be a producer in dance music as consistently engaging, challenging, and funny as s**t as Mauricio Rebolledo. Except that Rebolledo would rather consider himself a DJ than a producer, and it might not even be totally accurate to call what he does dance music — it’s too hypnotic, too considered, too relaxed. The Mexican-born artist would likely prefer to be termed driving music: The real-life auto enthusiast crafts jams whose spaciousness and steadiness feel like passing mile markers on the open road.
And one area where Rebolledo outstrips even Terje is in sheer patience — both in the slow unfolding of his extended productions, and in the lax attitude he takes towards his release schedule. Since 2011 debut album Super Vato, the 37-year-old DJ has released material at his own pace, including 2012’s We Are Really Sorry full-length as one half of Pachanga Boys (along with fellow Kompakt family member Superpitcher), and 2014’s mix CD Momento Drive — which also included his titanic single “Windsurf, Sunburn & Dollar,” SPIN‘s No. 1 dance song of ’14.
Now five years later, Rebolledo is finally unveiling his sophomore solo LP Mondo Alterado, whose languid grooves develop infectiously over many minutes, occasionally spanning multiple tracks. It’s the kind of album that starts with an atmospheric, Mayan Warrior-inspired 15-minute song called “Here Comes the Warrior (Super Short Album Version),” and the subtitle is only half tongue-in-cheek. But the record’s driving pulse is still there, more exhilarating than ever for its stunning composure, and is winkingly reflected in the Porsche-lusting imagery of both the retro-tinted video for the explosive lead single “Pow Pow,” and the album’s cover art, which recreates the promotional poster for classic ’80s comedy Risky Business.
Listen to Mondo Alterado for the first time here, before its official release on Hippie Dance (distributed worldwide by Kompakt) this Friday, May 27. Also read on to find our recent Skype conversation with Rebolledo, who discussed his unusually laid-back attitude towards electronic music, his referencing a Tom Cruise flick he says he’d never seen, and his unexpected inspiration for the unforgettable “Windsurf” vocal.
Where are you talking to me from now?
In Cannes [France], at the Film Festival. Tonight, we have a show as the Pachanga Boys at one of the parties during the festival.
Are you working on stuff with the Pachanga Boys now?
We’re still putting down the ideas that we had, checking the stuff that we had already started before [Mondo Alterado]. We kind of pressed the pause button because I was doing the album, Superpitcher was doing his own stuff, so we put on standby some stuff we had already started. So we are again checking stuff and thinking what to do. We’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves, we want to take it easy and not force it.
What’s the story behind the car on the cover? That’s a Risky Business reference, right?
Yeah, I really like Porsches, so after having a 911, which was what I used for the [Wally Gonzalez-referencing] Momento Drive cover, I wanted to have some kind of continuity for the next release, which would be the album. So I said OK, I’m going to put [these two covers] under the same concept — remaking another artwork, and using a cool car in it. So when I decided to get this Porsche 928, I Googled other artworks, and that’s when I found out the artwork from Risky Business, which I really liked. So that’s when I decided to make the recreation of [the Risky Business poster.]
In both covers, [the cars] are both mine. The one from Momento Drive I have in Mexico, the red one from Mondo Alterado I have in Paris.
Did you envision your music as driving music when making Mondo Alterado?
Yeah, kind of. The driving, and the motion, is always kind of part of what I do — it’s always part of inspiration, part of how I like to listen to it. Maybe it’s not always the thing [for Mondo], because this album has so many moments that go different ways, that it’s not always this chase kind of feeling. But definitely for me, it has a little bit of the [driving] feeling.
And that sort of goes hand in hand with the “Pow Pow” video, right? Was that all new footage, or a combination of new and found footage?
It was a combination of both. Some shots were taken by us, and some were taken from some Porsche documentaries from the early ’80s. The “Pow Pow” video and the little fake documentary about the album that we released the day before [were made the same way].
How long is the non-“Super Short Version” of “Here Comes the Warrior”?
The original version was one long, 40-minute thing — a kind of journey basically — which I adapted for the album with this 15-minute version. But since I really liked the other one, and am still attached to the other one. I want to release it in the future, something just around that track, a little bit later. Detach it from the album and just make it about the track.
Was there ever a thought to putting “Windsurf, Sunburn & Dollar” on the final album?
Well, my first intention was to release the album way earlier, almost right after my mix CD. So the “Windsurf” track was part of the idea of the album. But I was working a little bit slower, and I was taking my time, and then at some point, it felt like it wouldn’t be a real surprise to see the track [on the album]. A friend of mine was telling me “Yeah, sometimes it’s nice to have an album where you listen to everything for the first time…” I kind of liked that idea, and realized that I had enough material to not use it.
What inspired the vocal on that original song?
It was taken from my understanding of Metallica when I was young. It was taken from part of one of the songs, that sounded in my ears a little like that. And once I remembered this little line, I was in the shower just singing it as a loop over and over one day, and I was like “Wow, I think I like it!” And the next thing I did, I went [to the studio], and I recorded the voice, then next the guitar, and then later that day I basically had the track done.
You seem to have a pretty good sense of humor in your music, which can be kind of rare in the dance world.
Yeah, my point isn’t to be too funny or whatever, I just like to be relaxed, not to take anything so seriously. Of course, I always try to be as professional as possible, but still, I don’t take the scene itself so seriously. There’s other things in my life than just being part of the music scene.