Interview: Sainte Vie started protecting his ears following his first ever gigs

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Mexican-born, NYC-residing Sainte Vie is a young producer - only 23 years old - beginning to make his mark on the electronic music scene. Through his live shows and his label Akumandra, he manages to blend a multitude of unique styles and influences into his work, from traditional instrumentation to modern-day synthesis. 

Following three years of releasing music for free, Sainte Vie is readying the first 12" for Akumandra. A three-track offering of dense, ritualistic dance music that is hard to categorise into any existing genre.

As an advocate for hearing protection, we got in touch with this exciting new producer to talk about his latest ventures and the importance of wearing earplugs.


Hey Sainte Vie, how are you?

Hey! I'm good! Thank you!

Congratulations on your debut EP, Estación Inmortal, that’s due very soon, it’s sounding great. The myriad of styles present is really intriguing. What was your inspiration behind it?

Thanks! I'm glad you like it. It's been a while I've waited for this EP to come out.  

I listen to a lot of different styles of music; I guess that gets reflected in my compositions. For this particular EP, I wasn't trying to improvise, I was trying to express exactly what I had in mind. I basically tried to combine different periods from my musical background into one. I had different versions of each song so I had to figure out a good way to merge them together. It was a very interesting part of the process.

I'd say I was inspired by the idea of compressing my past few years into a three song EP. Also, I've always been inspired by the combination of string instruments and synthesisers.

Tell us a bit about your label, Akumandra.

I founded the label in Mexico City almost four years ago as a free download platform to put out my music. Since then, Akumandra has served as a showcase for emerging Mexican and International electronic music artists. The label is currently based in Mexico City and Brooklyn where we do most of our events. We are a team of five people and I do art direction and curation.

Estación Inmortal will be our first time releasing on vinyl and distributing our music on platforms like Juno, Beatport, Itunes, Spotify, Pandora, etc... We are very much looking forward to it!

When did you realise you had to start protecting your ears and what triggered this?

I realised I had to start protecting my ears as soon as I started playing electronic music gigs. I was completely overwhelmed by the volume level at the venues, especially on stage! During my first gigs, my ears would hurt for hours after the show. I noticed electronic music concerts tend to be louder than any other type of music concert.

How often do you wear earplugs? Do you wear them during your live sets?

Honestly I had a hard time wearing earplugs at the beginning - I didn't like how it sounded, the mids and highs sounded completely out of balance and the low end became super muddy to me. That being said, I forced myself to use them and now I wear them most of the time.

I don't wear them during my live sets though, I use in-ear monitors instead and it helps a lot!

What’s the reception been like from other artists when you wear them?

Most of the artists I know wear earplugs.

Having grown up in Mexico City and moved to New York City, do you see a difference in the amount of artists and fans wearing earplugs between each place?

Interesting question. Yes, I definitely see more people wearing earplugs in New York than in Mexico City. I think the electronic music scene in New York is exposed to bigger soundsystems in clubs and warehouse events. This, in my opinion, creates some kind of consciousness when it comes to protecting your ears. I'm not saying that just because it is not as loud in Mexico City as it is in New York you shouldn't wear them, but it might be harder for you to realise how much you actually need them. It's just an idea…

If there’s one piece of advice you could give to artists and/or fans with regard to protecting their ears, what would it be?

My piece of advice would be to make an effort and try to wear earplugs, especially when the venue is too loud. I know it initially doesn't sound that good when you're wearing them but you'll eventually get used to and your ears will highly appreciate it.

Besides Estación Inmortal, What’s next for you?

Besides Estación Inmortal, I'm releasing my remix for Acid Pauli's BLD album on Ouie and have a few more releases coming out soon on Akumandra, True Colors and Ancient Future Now. I will also be presenting a sound installation in New York next month called "Clepsydra".

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