Fusion is the name of the game in Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound) and Toy Selectah’s new powerhouse collaboration record, Compass. The eclectic brainchild of the Mexican DJ/producer duo has been in the works for over a year and will feature unlikely but nonetheless iconic guest performances by artists from all over the world including Boy George, MC Lyte, Eugene Hutz (Gogol Bordello) and Nina Sky – just to name a few. Seriously, there are over 90 incredible collaborations on this album, making it a possible candidate for one of the best dance albums to have come along in a while.
Check out our interview with Camilo below!
Vinyl Mag: What was the inspiration behind this project?
Camilo Lara: Friendship…’compass’ means buddies in Spanish. I always wanted to create an album with Toy [Selectah]. This was a good chance to make it happen.
VM: How many artists were collaborating at one time?
CL: It all depends. There are songs that have nine, and there are others that have two or three. We created the songs before the collaborations, so we just looked for the perfect match for each.
VM: How did so many artists get involved?
CL: We’ve been producing and working with all sorts of artists for many, many years. So when the project was happening either we knew them, or they knew about the project. We sent some emails, made some calls, and suddenly we had 90 collaborators.
VM: What was the hardest trial in making this project?
CL: Well, everything has been a challenge. First, we had to contact the artists and set up recording sessions. There were long days of mixing and editing. Then, there was the legal side. It has been a lot of work. Toy and I (as well as the whole team) experienced a real-life Master’s degree in music business.
VM: What should fans expect when listening to this album?
CL: I guess it has the flavor of Toy and I, with some other spices. We tried to create a truly global album. The dance floor is the same for reggae, cumbia, punk rock, or hip hop.
VM: How many songs are going to be featured?
CL: I guess the album will end up with 15 or so.
VM: What was your favorite city to work in?
CL: We enjoyed LA a lot; it was like recording at home. Tons of people we know live there. Overall, I guess we really loved traveling to Jamaica and recording there. It’s crazy—we have lived with Jamaican music all of our lives, but when you’re actually there, it’s unbelievable.
VM: Could you go siteseeing in between working?
CL: Not really, but we knew most of the cities already.
VM: After seeing so many cultures, what would you say would be one common denominator you noticed across humanity?
CL: Rhythm… it’s in our hearts, and we all live for it. It’s universal, and it does not need explanation.
VM: I saw in the teaser that the artists have to come up with ideas on the spot. How do you guys help each artist behind the creative process?
CL: We have been producers for a long time. Actually, one of our latest productions is the best-selling album in the Mexican market for the last 15 years (Los Angeles Azules, Como te Voy a Olvidar). So we are pretty experienced in that area.
VM: What was the weirdest meal you had on your travels?
CL: Toy is vegetarian, so I guess he didn’t have very many surprises. I would have to say that some of the food in China was pretty wild.
VM: Who are you excited to see at South By?
CL: I really really want to see Centavrvs, which is a band from Mexico City, and Clubz from Monterey—both are kick-ass bands.
VM: Where should fans expect to go in order to purchase this insane album?
CL: We are still figuring that out. All I can say is that the vinyl is beautiful. We teamed up with well-known Mexican artist, Gabriel Kuri, and the fantastic, legendary designer Antonio Chavarin to do the artwork.
VM: What is next for this collaboration? Will you continue working together or keep finding new artists?
CL: Always! This is an ongoing initiative. As soon as we are done with the tour, we will work on volume 2.
Check out Compass at SX!
3/18 SXSW DayTrotter- Session (Compass Full Band)
3/19 SXSW Rhapsody- Do Media ShowCase (Compass Full Band) 6:30PM
3/19 SXSW Remezcla House Party (DJ Set Compass) 10:00
3/19 SXSW SBS- Half Step (Compass Full Band) 12:40AM
3/20 SXSW Latinworks Party (Compass Full Band) 4pm
3/20 SXSW QuantumCollective@Whole Foods (Compass Full Band) 7pm
3/20 SXSW Mad Decent – Iheartxomix Dj Set Compass) 10:00 PM
3/21 SXSW Official Latin Showcase at Lady Bird Lake (Compass Full Band) 6pm