10 Ecuadorian Electronic Artists You Need to Know
Music from the equator, so you know it's hot.
Along with giant active volcanoes and a controversial clown named Tiko Tiko, Ecuador is home to some really good electronic music. With a recent uptick in on-the-ground booking agencies, avant-garde labels, event production companies, and clubs with high-tech sound systems, there's almost too many good up-and-coming producers to count—along with a loyal local audience ready to cheer on everyone involved in the perpetual zapateo, a key slice of Ecuadorian slang that means nothing else besides a damn good party.
Below, in no particular order, we bring you 10 of the country's most exciting electronic artists. From the mountainous capital of Quito to the crowded metropolis of Guayaquil, and from ghetto tech to ambient music inspired by the rolling green hills of the Andes, this is music bubbling up from the equator, so you know it's hot.
1. Nicolá Cruz (Quito)
Nicolá Cruz's sounds call upon the rituals and natural spaces from his homeland—a country intersected not only by the sprawling Andes, but also the Amazon jungle. Nicolá's tracks draw inspiration from all over Ecuador's rich culture, including religious rituals, native rhythms, and a passion for the region's topographic landscapes. After a recent EP on Multi Culti, the artist's debut album, Prender el Alma, drops October 30 on ZZK recordings, and promises to be another showcase of traditional root rhythms interlaced with slick, modern electronic sounds. "I call my music 'Andes Step,' Nicolá tells THUMP. "I think these words sound good together—I don't want to create another sub-genre. The idea of categorizing my music is mocking the age we live in—I simply find my inspiration from traditional root rhythms and work from there."
2. Bastien (Guayaquil)
Roberto Bastidas, aka Bastien, is a producer, DJ, mastering engineer, and one-time music publicist. He started mixing originals into his live sets while playing in countries all across South America—Chile, Argentina, Peru, and his native Ecuador among them—and many of his tracks have since climbed the Beatport charts. "I'm constantly discovering and evolving as an artist because I can't stick to only one genre—I even enjoy bachata!" says Bastien.
3. Daniela Albán (Guayaquil)
A key fixture in Ecuador's underground, Daniela can rock out on everything from the guitar to a synthesizer. In 2009, she started throwing her tracks down at parties around the city of Guayaquil. Her Departycule Hyena project encapsulates her affinity for downtempo sounds, while many of her other tracks are straight-up house jams.
4. Pancho Piedra (Cuenca)
Pancho's family has been in the radio business for four generations, and he's known how to control and program music on the airwaves since the age of ten. These days, he produces tracks, runs his own radio show, and manages his own label Prestige Worldwide [Editor's note: please tells us this is a Stepbrothers reference] with his good friend José Wated. This year, he's celebrating the 12th anniversary of Tripy Tripy fest, his own mini-festival. "I'm always trying to tell a story through my music, and make it a trip of an experience for those who listen," says Pancho of his music.
5. Raúl García (Guayaquil)
After falling in love with the local scene at the ripe age of 16, Garcia opened Inhouse in 2010 with Joshua Gutiérrez, a promotions collective specializing in a new generation of regional artists from his city of Guayacil. As a DJ and producer, Raúl created Sava Park Records in 2012. "After getting together with our producer friends, we felt ready to share our final product with the world," he says of the label's mission.
6. Sir David (Guayaquil)
Formerly a bass player in local band Bejin de Kabuto, David now mines a sound drawing from IDM, breakbeat, ambient, and the sort of music you might hear in an anime video game. "My music defines an exact space and time from the point of view two thousand years beyond the present," says Sir David. "It will never be the exact future seen in video games, but could be like becoming a character with no extra lives, fighting battles to get into new adventures." Trippy, man.
7. Andre Salmon (Guayaquil)
The founder of two different labels—Anima Somnis, which specializes in dub techno mixed with minimal textures, and Maniacs, a home for everything from deep house to indie-rock—Andre Salmon is something of a musical Renaissance man. "I produce a bit of everything, from ambient abstract melodies to pop-house found in the clubs," Salmon tells THUMP. "When I play I like to make girls dance—I'll drop techno, micro house, tech-house—it all depends on the vibe of the night."
8. Quixosis (Quito)
Born in the Andes, Quixosis grew up in the villages and mountains around Quito, but has spent some time living in California, most recently in Oakland. After learning viola at a young age, he graduated to guitars and keyboards, and staked out a home for himself in the world of analog-electronic music. "I try to capture sensations and knit them together and let them shred," says Quixosis, real name Daniel Lofredo Rota. "Raw creativity is what I'm interested in. The musical process is always in movement and recordings are like pictures of that process." Many of Quixosis' projects are made using only analog machines and magnetic tapes, with tracks that mix a variety of modern rhythms with sounds from the Andes. Call it Andean retro-futurism, call it synth-folk, whatever—just listen to it.
9. Dr. Ratón (Quito)
"My essence will be delivered through my music," says producer Dr. Ratón. Dr. Ratón's music spans a variety of sounds, from psytrance to drum-n-bass versions of Daft Punk tracks. "I'm not looking to identify myself within a certain style—I think what I'm looking for is to create my own genre," he tells THUMP. Currently, Dr Ratón is traveling throughout Ecuador to promote his latest album, Abstraction.
10. Mirror Touch (Quito)
Gabriel Andrade, aka Mirror Touch, makes music that experiments with the senses. "I find inspiration in the melancholy and merge it with techno," the producer tells us. "This process has led me to experiment with something I call 'hypnotic romanticism,' where I try to merge repetition with the melodic characters that I find in the melancholy to build my own musical manifestation."