Born the son of a Biologist and a Biochemist, 31-year-old Mexico City, Mexico native, Vlind compares the topical nature of the electronic music he produces to what his idol, Michael Jackson did back in the 1980s. “Michael has been a fan of mine since I first heard him at age 4,” Vlind soundly remembers. “His lyrics touched on political and social issues of the time, and it wasn’t the same ‘love’ bullshit you hear over and over. That struck a chord with me.”
His father listened to a lot of new-age material including Dead Can Dance, Enigma, and John Williams that evolved into more dance music groups like Skatman. “I think, looking back, those were the two genres my dad listened to that got me into the electronic scene,” said Vlind.
The defining moment came in late 2001 when a friend let Vlind borrow the first “Politics of Dancing” compilation CD of Paul van Dyk’s. “I really enjoyed it,” said Vlilnd “And, without knowing anything about the music or the business, I began to explore more artists and began to understand that electronic music was this unified, underground scene without commercialism.”
At age 13, Vlind started to learn how to DJ with vinyl through dance music documentaries. “I would watch these tutorials that would be included in the film over and over again, and I began to memorize how to do it.” The key word here is ‘memorize’ because Vlind didn’t own any vinyl nor the turntables to play them on. This changed a year later when he enrolled at a school that specialized in music production. “I wasn’t that interested in producing,” remembered Vlind. “I was just focused on learning how to DJ.”
Feeling comfortable with vinyl, Vlind was soon introduced to personal computers and Digital Audio Workstation software and began working with the early go-to software, Reason. “I hated Reason,” Vlind laughingly said. “It got me started, but I didn’t like the sounds.” It wasn’t until 2000 when the German-based company, Albeton introduced itself into the DAW market that Vlind started feeling comfortable producing. “I made my first track and thought it was good,” recalls Vlind. Although, in hindsight, Vlind admits that he may have overestimated the track which led to putting more time and effort into this second track.
This was also a time when the accessibility of people, believe it or not, was easier than it is now. Everyone was using Hotmail Messenger to communicate, and it was the best thing at the time, since sliced bread. This method of communication was standard practice for people to chat one on one without email and it led to Vlind accessing some of today’s top dance music artists with a simple, “Hey, I make electronic music, too!”
Reaching out to artists like Bryan Kearney, Sean Tyas, and Armin van Buuren was a click away, and Vlind took full advantage of this. “I began to chat with these guys and started sending them tracks to listen to,” said a smiling Vlind. “And, before I knew it, Kuffdam & Plant began to play my second track around at gigs.” It is these early contacts that would solidify Vlind’s presence in the electronic music scene to this day.
2009, though, was an interesting year for Vlind as his career began to throttle up with two Solarstone remixes that were sure to catapult him to the next level. Then, enter the girlfriend. “She wanted me to stop producing and live a normal life,” said a dejected Vlind. “I even enrolled in culinary school to become a chef, but although I enjoy cooking, it wasn’t what I wanted to do.” The three-year relationship put a damper on what was a pivotal time in the dance music scene and brought Vlind back to ground zero after their breakup in 2011.
Not forgetting who his contacts were, he reached back out to them, this time on Facebook Messenger, and credits now VII owner, and good friend, John Askew along with Mark Sherry, now the owner of Outburst Records, for helping him get back on track. During this time, the two also introduced Vlind to James Hyatt, now Armada Music’s A&R and now VII producer, Simon Patterson. “Mark and John were good to me and kept asking for music,” said a grateful Vlind. “One of my tracks ended up on a Paul Oakenfold compilation CD, and it went from there.”
In the years since Vlind has grown fond of Mark and his Outburst label for their willingness to sign varying styles and admits to making tracks in the past to satisfy the signature sound that many labels subscribe. “I used think that if I wanted a label to sign my track that I had to make it a certain way,” confessed Vlind. “But, today I make the music I want, and a lot of the times it’s not the typical uplifting sound of today’s Trance.”
“As an artist of Trance music, I’ve noticed that there’s a threshold to how high you can achieve with the limited ways of producing the uplifting sound. It’s important to venture out to Techno and even Psy-Trance where artists making a name for themselves that many people who follow Trance have never heard of.”
“When I attended Luminosity last year (2018) it was great to see so many people enjoying different types of music,” said a proud Vlind. “But, that was the only time where I saw that. There seems to be a disconnect with some Trance followers with their inability to follow anything else.” And, he’s not wrong, the continued blinder-wearing majority of Trance enthusiasts carries over into what is presented to them at local club nights, and Mexico is no exception.
According to Spotify, Mexico has one of the largest markets for listeners of electronic music, yet the public barely frequents Trance events. “It’s weird,” said a concerned Vlilnd.”There’s a preconceived notion that Trance events are a concert-type format and it’s boring compared to say, a Techno party.” This, in turn, has led to club owners not allowing promoters to showcase Trance events in their venues for fear of not turning a profit.
Vlind is hoping to change the opinion of the club-goers by working with promoters and venue owners in hosting events. His latest was this weekend’s AVA Recordings night in Mexico City that hosted Somna, Haliene, Sheridan Grout, Lumina, Also Henrycho, Obie Fernandez and himself. He hopes to grow the confidence of the public continually and encourages promoters to look to Mexico and bring talent to a potentially profitable Trance market.
Vlind’s music goals this year are to continue working at Mexico City’s Empo Academy where he teaches young people music production. He also has his sights set high when he collaborates with an unrevealed artist on Mark Sherry’s much anticipated, full-length effort, “Confirm Humanity” this summer. “I’ve brought in a male vocalist for this collaboration,” announced Vlind. “For me, making music is my chance to explore different avenues of talking about political and social issues here at home, and to live each moment to the fullest.”