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12.10.2016 | Words by: Ruben Leter.

All the songs Daniel Maloso has ever made make you want to dance. Sadly, it has been a few years since he’s released anything of his own. Beside that, it's not that easy to see his live performance, with him living in Mexico and this being the first time he’ll perform in Amsterdam. Fortunately, the releases that he does have perfectly provide solace; they never grow old. Last week Daniel and I had a Skype conversation, as a preliminary for this upcoming Friday in De School.

Hi Daniel, nice to meet you. I’ve recently Googled your name and saw that malos or malo means bad or evil. Is it Daniel the evil? Makes you sound like a medieval legend.
"Nobody ever mentioned the evil part. Maloso is a verb. I would translate it to being a badass. But I do like Daniel Evil."

How did you think of the name?
"It was very spontaneous. I made some tracks with Rebolledo in 2008, which were for his Guerrero EP. The music was there and the label (Cómeme, red.) was ready to release it, but I didn’t have a project name. I’ve been making music since forever, though at that time I wasn’t doing much dance music. They gave me two days to come up with a name. My original last name is Gutierrez, which I think is pretty boring for a music project. I wanted something that has a Mexican identity. Malo is universal Spanish, but maloso is very Mexican. Several names were mentioned, but Rebolledo and I really laughed when this came up. He said, man it’s supercool, now you’re this super evil badass guy."

You live in Monterrey - an industrial city. What's the nightlife like there?
"I've lived in San Francisco and Barcelona for ten years before returning to Monterrey four years ago. When I came back, nightlife was sort of stuck with pressure from violence that was happening around. Before that, it was really taking off. There were a couple of good clubs that brought the heads together. They had good curators, good line-ups, cool projects coming in to play. But then, violence started to pick up and a lot of the clubs closed. Monterrey is getting much better, especially if you compare the current situation to what it was like when I arrived. I think Mexico is great in general. There are so many places that are doing collectives and organising parties or events. You can notice there’s a lot of passion and excitement behind it."

I’ve heard you work for a big family company. What kind of work do you do and what does your daily life look like?
"It’s a steel company, started by my grandfather in the fifties. I’m responsible for research and technology development. The work is cool and creative, but it’s a super high demand job. I try to balance one thing with the other. During a weekday I arrive at work around 9am and around 5pm, when I’m done, I go to my home studio. I also move around a lot, visiting plants and doing onsite jobs. Fortunately my studio is at home, which makes it easy to switch and focus on music. During weekends I sometimes travel to play. I’m not doing that many gigs at the moment. To be honest, the format of intensive gigging doesn’t do much for me. Maybe that’s why I’ve searched for an alternative source of income."

Do you often go out?
"No, not really. I only really party when I’m on tour or when I go out for a show. But here in Monterrey, I mostly go to TOPAZdeluxe. All my friends are there and cool people come to play. When I’m not travelling in the weekend, I try to dedicate my time to the studio."

What’s the difference between clubbing in Mexico and in Europe?
"If you go to good clubs that have a similar style of music being played, very often it feels like you can be anywhere else in the world. Of course this doesn´t happen everywhere, but it is amazing when it does. I guess the biggest difference is that in Mexico, there is a scene but it’s kind of alternative. In Europe the dance scene is far more established and there’s a bigger heritage to clubbing, DJ’ing and producing dance music. For example, when I play in Cologne, people always understand what’s happening with the music. They notice every change of bassline or filter movement. That can be cool because there is already a connection. In Mexico, sometimes you have to try harder to make people get it, but that also makes it exciting. 

The Pachanga Boys once sang: "Missing your home? Go to Cologne."
"Yeah, and 'Feeling the blues? Go to Bela Cruz’, right? I know a lot of cool people in Cologne, but I’ve never lived there. So I’m not brave enough to call it my home."

How about dancing, are Mexicans better dancers in clubs?
"I don’t want to make enemies, but maybe… I would say that, in my humble opinion, people with Latin descendent have more sense of rhythm and perhaps more fluent body mechanics. But you have amazing dancers everywhere."

About Cómeme: personally I find that the music on the label is very thrilling and fun at the same time. Do you find a humoristic element in music important?
"When the concept of Cómeme began, I was instantly in love with it. The label takes a different approach to dance music. Back then, there was a lot of sophistication in electronic music. That’s fine, but it was kind of overwhelming. Everything had to be perfectly sculpted and arranged. Matias Aguayo thought - and I agree - that making music should always be enjoyed, and if you take it too seriously all the time, it can’t be fun. I guess that goes for everything. This element of lightness or rawness that you can often find in Cómeme releases, I can identify with that. Maybe it’s a Latin or punk approach to making music, but it’s my point of view."

And how about the thrilling aspect? The music can be very exciting, maybe that’s why it’s used in so many fashion shows.
"That’s not in every Cómeme project, but some of the releases do have that. And it’s definitely in Rebolledo’s or mine. They can have this element of action and adventure to them. It’s theatrical in a way, to build suspense. But there are also songs that are super straight forward: rhythm, beats. Just massaging the body to dance."
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