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Terminal V Podcast 009 || Rolando

 

To some the notion that Edinburgh houses one of the most influential techno artists of our generation might sound like a bold claim. These people have clearly never heard of Rolando aka Rolando Rocha aka The Aztec Mystic, we could go on and on but Roland is the real deal. An integral part of Techno activists Underground Resistance Rolando is a bona fide Detroit OG and given he done his own thing when UR were at the height of their powers shows a true sense of self and mega set of…morals.

Having a resident D Town legend in our nation’s capital only strengthened our Techno scene and this is not something we take for granted. . What was Detroit’s loss is most definitely Scotland’s gain and this mix is just one of the many reasons why…

 

Rolando, very nice to meet you, how has things been going so far this year?

The beginning of this year has pretty much been the same as the last year in that the future of the dance floor has been in serious jeopardy. And has required a degree of introspection musically. With new plans developing the label, looking at taking music in a new direction. It’s taken a minute to find my feet when you are unsure what the future has to hold. The dance floor is a unique environment which has been part of my life for the past 30 plus years. I saw a good quote from friend Nic Fanciulli, “A stranger in life is a neighbour on the dance floor” and I certainly feel that the camaraderie of the scene is sorely missed and the fellowship of the dance floor.

This week going forward there is a lot to be optimistic about. I am very much looking forward to getting my headphones on and looking across the dance floor and playing my first track.

What is the latest coming out of your studio and when can we expect to hear it?

Musically the last year has inspired a new direction, a new label, new music and new tracks. And working on an album. Ambient, dance floor, electronic ambient. A crossover between Jazz and Techno. Jean Luc-Ponty, Kamasi Washington, Flying Lotus, Pat Metheny, Theo Croker – huge influences. Music you can’t really categorize but experimental to me. Obviously, I’m still making dance floor music. I’ve got ten new tracks ready for release that I can’t describe yet – but I never do anyway. Meditative, calm, essence of 90’s Techno. New release on my label coming in April.

What is your relationship with classic UR tracks like ‘Jaguar’ and ‘Timeline’? Are they more like an estranged wife or are you still in love with them?

Jaguar is mine. Always has been, always will be part of me. It’s part of my journey as a DJ and a musician. No self-hate here.

Does this sentiment extended to Detroit as a whole or is that a different chapter now?

Detroit is where I grew up. You can take the man out of Detroit but you can’t take Detroit out the man. Lol…

I’ve always been myself musically. My family is in Detroit, friends, people I grew up with.

The obvious question needs to be asked, how did your move to Scotland (especially Edinburgh) come about? What prompted the move?

My manager, booking agent also wife lived in Edinburgh. It was a natural choice after she spent a short spell in Detroit. Europe is where everything happened. Besides, Edinburgh and Scotland are beautiful and it was easy to settle in. Certainly, in the last few years couldn’t have been happier to be in Scotland, with the politics of the far right rampant, divisive and polarizing in the USA, people like me could easily be scooped up and detained on appearance alone until you can prove citizenship or status. It certainly destroyed some family relationships and friendships. Scotland isn’t like that.

You have been here for a while now so you have seen the country’s’ scene grow, what is your take on the scene here?

Scotland’s scene has grown on a par with Berlin. My first gig in Paisley with Alan, Wilba and Martin at Club 69 with people who truly embraced Techno music be it Detroit or London (Alex Knight- Andrew Weatherall). Scotland has an eclectic scene, they know what they like and the best of the best have played here. The scene now truly reflects that and stands equal amongst the best.

We are not sure if it has another meaning but your track ‘Wheesht’ sure sounds like more than a decade in Scotland has influenced even your track titles? How else has Scotland influenced you? Do you see yourself as a Scottish citizen?

Mother–in-law. “With all due respect“– my wife’s mother is a native of The Isle Of Lewis and when there is a gathering they take off into Gaelic at a hundred miles an hour. What has been discernible amongst the hoots of laughter and intermittent English is “Och Wheesht” – also a good friend Willie Robertson from Angus was often heard to say Wheesht. It grew on me.

I now love haggis, white pudding, Stornoway black pudding and the sense of humour. Scotland has a warmth that is unique. Tried a deep-fried mars bar – didn’t work out. Lol…

Scotland is a country of ambition and a distinct identity. You can see that with the growth of the last twenty-five years and a willingness and curiosity to embrace other cultures too. Food is a feature travelling as a DJ and Scotland particularly Edinburgh and Glasgow have amazing places to eat all sorts of interesting things from all over the globe.

My family, my wife and son are Scottish, I’m Mexican – American with a touch of Hebrides and Edinburgh.

Walk us through your mix Roland, would you say this is true to the Detroit Techno sound or have you far progressed from that label?

Detroit Techno was laid to rest at the end of the millennium. The more we travelled the more our influences grew. I don’t think you can pin a particular sound on any of the cats from Detroit now – each and every one of us has developed our own sound. Put Carl Craig next to Seth Troxler and Marc Kinchen – all Detroit, all distinctly different, all great at their craft. That’s a good thing.

The mix is a contemporary techno mix with artists from Italy, Holland, Scotland, USA – it’s global. I think this is where it’s at now. Nobody can claim it anymore, it should really only be about the music.

There are quite a few highlights in your mix, what tracks should we looking out for and why?

My friends Giuseppe and Salvatore from Subradeon are worth looking out for, clearly my good pal Stephen Brown who has been around from the beginning working with artists from the States for years. My good friend Orlando Voorn and Shlomi Aber, my Vato Loco Truncate and Rob Strobe on Motech is a good one./p>

Interview by  Stu Todd