Born and raised in Mexico, Hector’s life was consumed by music coming not only from his mother country but from overseas too. The lure of beat drew him to seek pastures new in London, where a job at the iconic Phonica record shop was to prove a pivotal moment in his career. It was here that Hector met Anja Schneider and Loco Dice, both of whom would later give him jobs on their esteemed imprints Mobilee and Desolat respectively. Being at the centre of the action is a trait that has helped Hector become one of the most respected names in the underground house and techno scene. He’s the man with every key player on speed dial but he uses these hard won connections with ease and it’s this relaxed manner that has won him friends and supporters worldwide.
What is in your music and personality the most Mexican about you?
I try to keep my Mexican roots strong and present through my Vatos Locos concept. From the way, I brand the clothing and merchandise, the décor at the parties with the traditional Mayan skulls, the artwork for the releases and events, and of course the vibe and family spirit within the crew. My mother and grandmother taught me to have a strong work ethic, to work hard for the things you want to succeed in. Hard work really does pay off! I also still drink tequila every time I play.
What excites you the most nowadays when it comes to travelling the world and spreading your music?
What excites me the most now is putting on the Vatos Locos showcases at different locations around the world. To watch how far we have come from a modest party on the beach at BPM. We get to present the party the way we want to present it, curate the lineups and showcase incredible DJs in the crew and beyond. Showing people what we are all about musically, and as a vibe. It’s still great to catch up with old friends and DJs that I used to play with regularly when I performed large events and festivals. I’ve also built up strong relationships with promoters that have booked me since my early days, they became good friends, and so I love playing for their parties.
Vatos Locos: what was the proudest, craziest or just out of ordinary moment of you joining forces with your friends spreading your music and vibe?
At Sunwaves festival in Romania last year Vatos Locos ran unexpectedly for 24 hours. The vibe we created was so bombing, that they just let us play on and on. It was great to see friends, old and new, who had come to party with us after they had finished their sets, promoters we have worked with and even our friends at BPM who helped us launch the concept 4 years previously. We were surrounded by amazing people on the dancefloor and behind the decks. It was a very special moment for us.
Is there a specific Vatos Locos style?
No specific style. I want to put out music that I enjoy playing. I recently made a mix out of the 10 tracks from the first release and I had so much fun doing it. It´s 10 people, 10 different personalities, but when they make the music, it´s bomb. We don´t have any rules and that´s the good thing about VL Recordings.
You’ve been DJing since you were 16 years old, what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on the way?
The best lessons I’ve learned throughout my career is that you have to be willing to learn, and then apply this by working hard. My years at Phonica taught me so much, but I showed an interest and wanted to learn about more than just the basics when I was working there. I learned a lot about labels during this time – distribution, pressing plants, the creation of artwork etc. Having this knowledge has helped me further down the line with my own label. Back then the hustle was real too! You really had to go door knocking! From handing out flyers for events, to watching DJ/producers and independent labels come through the record store to sell their music. I’m glad I came through this generation because it taught me those core values of hard work and persistence.
Most exciting emerging techno artist right now in your opinion?
I recently came across this young guy from El Paso called Raul Facio. He’s had a couple of standout releases, one of which on Sci-Tec and I’ve been playing his music for a while. I played Sun City festival in El Paso recently and he came and introduced himself to me, and has since sent me more music. He has a great head start as he is so young (I think 19 / 20 years old) and is producing such great music at this age already. He is definitely my favourite upcoming DJs and producer right now.
How did you first get involved with BPM?
I was invited to the 2nd year of the festival because they didn’t have any Mexican DJs playing. Nitin and Craig, the guys who run all the bookings, contacted me. At that time I was living in Berlin and working for Desolat. I was not really expecting anything from the festival but I came down and the guys really, really, took care of me. At the end, I became part of the BPM family. I missed 3 flights, because they wanted me to play the after party of the after party, and since that day I will never forget how I became part of the family.
Last year was the first time they offered me to do my own thing. It was a complete success and this is the anniversary of that. It’s a really nice development as this is my hometown, my house, my friends, my everything. Now, doing my own thing is something that means a lot to me and I have all the family from BPM to support. The Vatos Locos crew – these are my friends who we’ve hung out with in Ibiza and Berlin so it’s not necessarily that Vatos Locos means Mexican people, it´s just platforms for me to get all my friends involved and have fun.
BPM doesn´t seem to have a focus on headliners.
It should be like that. The headliner to me is irrelevant; it’s about the music that is playing and the vibe – you’re in the Caribbean! You are in venues that transmit being with your friends and having fun, the Jungle, the beach parties, the hotel rooftops… That´s what is important! You´re just enjoying it with your friends – that´s it. Last year I saw parties go until 1 PM. They were great: Innervisions, Desolat, Paradise…
What have you seen regarding the growth of BPM and Playa del Carmen?
A lot! Places like this (Palm Hotel) were never here before. This to how Tulum is now, Playa del Carmen was really like a hippie place. There were never hotels, big clubs just like Tulum.
Playa has got more business, more hotels, and it´s getting ready for a different type of tourist. We have a motorway now. The same thing happened to Ibiza. I was there 15 years ago and they didn’t have a motorway. BPM is bringing more people every year, so of course adapt. It’s also good for the Mexican tourism economy.