In Paris last September, César Urbina alias Cubenx juste released his first album on the lovely Infiné label. Far away from what he did on his previous EPs, "On Your Own Again" is made of acoustic sonorities, sometimes ambient, sometimes psychedelic, never hazardous.
- How did the story begin with Agoria and Infiné ? I was sending music to a mexican label called Static Disco which is the biggest indie label record in Mexico, and they liked my music especially the track "Glandula" and the owner of this label came to Paris and met Alex Cassac. I think at this time Alex and Agoria were planning to setup a record label which was Infiné. They called me to invite me, the label did not have a name and it was simply a project. So that's a nice thing because I'm with them from the very very beginning. At some point i found out that Agoria was involved in the project, almost 1 year after, by reading a magazine. It was amazing becasue I was a big fan of Agoria since 2003 and I have been the 3rd reference to sign on Infiné in 2007.
- So why did you wait such a long time to release your album ? It is a crazy story ! We met in 2005 by telephone and then I released my EP in 2007. At this time I was planning to live in Berlin and by then I signed a contract with Infiné to release 3 albums. They told me "Can you give us the record soon ?" and I said "Yes of course, in 6 months". But my studio in Berlin was very small and I was moving a lot. I came back to Mexico, I had a girlfriend and it was a mess all the time. I did not really have the time and the mind to compose and I didn't want to do something that was bad. So it took me a long time to establish myself in a proper house with a proper studio to work. Then I started to compose the album, 3 years ago. It took me 2 years to make the songs and to find the sound. I wanted the tracks to sound like an album and not like different tracks put together. It's been a long process but at the end I prefer because the songs are more natural than if I force myself for a deadline.
- This album sounds really different from all the tracks you did before. Did you compose it for listening or for dancefloors ? It is absolutely more for listening. Actually, the idea was to make an album with sounds that you can sing and memorize or also relate to something that happened to you. Because at home I don't really listen to electronic music. And when I do it is something I can relate to moments in my life. I am a Mexican, I am really intense you know. We are all very romantic in many ways, not just with girls but we love to sing and to put music or songs to moments and I wanted to do something like that. When you remember a moment you can sing something that brings you to this moment. So I listen to music like new order at home or Johny Cash because these songs never get old. If one day I can make an album which sounds never old it is perfect. Maybe I don't do it in this album because it is very difficult and it is also my first try. There is a song called "these days" that I made with a friend who collaborates with Telefon Tel Aviv and we tried to do it like a good old pop song that you can sing and remember. I really love techno and I play this music since i'm 16 years old, such as rock. I love machines and sound design. For me there is one side for clubs and parties, playing for hours and there is the other side when you are in your room and I cannot leave any of these two sides. I think this is something from my generation, we are becoming old and we grew up listening to rock and now we want to something like that. We already did electronic music so we want to change.
- You said you like machines, did you already try to create your own instrument ? Yes I tried but i'm very lazy because when I make music the most important part for me is the musical content. I love technology but when I tried to create my own synthesizer it takes days to read and understand everything and I think I'm missing the point. The point is music and if it separates me from making music, I prefer to leave that to someone who is really good at that and I just make the music. I love using machines but most of my sound are synthesized, i don't use any samples. But I don't think i will go into programming and creating my own stuff.. I leave to Germans, they are better !
- How would you define electronic music today ? Made for the sould or for the body ? We are in a very nice moment. I think the best one. I feel lucky to live at this moment because you can go to a club and listen to Mont Kimbie or James Blake. Before, if you were not playing something that was banging techno or for dancefloors you would have to go on the stage. Now you can play music like Nicolas Jaar or Disco music which is really slow sometimes, 80 or 100 bpm, and I think now most people want something for the mind, the spirit or the heart. I think we also grew up listening to radio station with very melodic music, disco music, 80's music which has a very strong emotional content and I think we are now putting them in electronic music. You're getting this kind of dubstep music with a lot of melodies, guitars and voices which is for me the result of all the old school music revolution. I think it is also years and years of raves and drugs and parties and at some point you become tired and you want something that is more quiet.
- If you had to play your music in another place than a club, where would it be ? I don't know, I think it depends if it is just a concert. The album would be for a place where people can sit because few tracks are ambient or electro acoustic tracks, and people could see the execution of the track instead of a place where people are waiting to dance and drinking. A theatre would be great, with nice visuals and some musicians.
- Do you think that people listening to your album are the same than the ones coming to see you live in a club ? That is a good question... Actually I am a bit scared of how the things go because the only record I have with Infiné is Techno and some listeners are expecting me to play techno, some others would like to listen stuff from the album.
- How did you compose the album ? On this album i was focused more on recording than creating the sound. Acoustic guitars, metals, bass, ... One song was recorded when we were really drunk at a friend's studio with a Juno synthesizer, and we made a real distortion that the audio engineer tried to fix for the album ! I also recorded drums. I play very bad but then I fix it on the computer.
- Your gurus ? One of my best friend, a guy always interested in finding new stuff, new technology, new music and he introduced me to software when I was young. Musically, Brian Eno and Aphex Twin are my best producers, thinking always outside of the box.