US based, Mexican born Sainte Vie is making waves with his own take on melodic house and techno. With an exclusive track on the new Stil vor Talent compilation ’Schneewiess’, we caught up with him to talk music, live away from home and the albums that have inspired him.
WWD: Hi Pablo, welcome to When We Dip. How are you doing?
Hey guys! Thank you for having me! I’m good!
WWD: You’ve recently contributed to the latest Stil Vor Talent compilation. Can you tell us how this came about?
Definitely! During the recent quarantine, I focused on making slightly faster tempo tracks that could carry both a high amount of energy and a lot of emotion at the same time. My new track “Reverie” is one of the results of this creative process. It is a 126 bpm track (the fastest one I’ve done so far), mainly driven by its bassline and its melodic synths. It was mixed by Hannes Bieger and mastered by Stefan Thomas in Berlin. From the moment the track started taking shape, I thought it would be amazing to release it on Stil vor Talent as it’s been one of my favourite labels since the beginning and I felt the sound of the track could potentially fit there. As soon as it was ready to go I decided to share it with the SVT team as a demo. When I heard back from them saying they were interested in releasing it as part of Oliver Koletzki’s “Schneeweiss” compilation series I immediately said yes, I’m grateful for all the support towards the track and I’m happy to see people like it so far. Thank you so much for listening!
WWD: We understand you are originally from Mexico but living in the US. How are you finding life stateside and what do you miss most about your home country?
Indeed! I moved to the US about eight years ago to join the Music Technology program at Mercy College in New York. It’s been one of the best decisions of my life and I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity. In my opinion, New York is a city in constant evolution, always looking for the new and always aspiring for more. New York is the city where my career officially started and my favourite place to play for sure. That said, I recently moved to Miami and I’m also really enjoying it, I have a little bit more space here and a proper solo studio for the first time, which feels amazing! What I miss the most about México is my family and the food. Although now that I live in Miami, I get to visit México way more often.
WWD: 2020 was a hugely challenging time for the music industry and the people of the world. What has your personal experience of the last year been, and have there been any positives for you among the obvious difficulties?
The year 2020 was filled with learning experiences for me. I always try to spend most of my time making music but of course, before covid hit, touring would take a big part of that time. I had been wanting to take a few months break from touring to focus strictly on making music for a while, but I would always end up postponing it as new touring opportunities would come up, so as soon as the pandemic started, I immediately locked myself at my parents place down in México, improvised a small studio and spent the next seven months working on new music there non-stop every single day. It was almost like taking an intensive seven-month music technology course where I learned so much, made many new tracks, experimented a lot, watched so many tutorials and masterclasses, read so many manuals, downloaded plenty of new plugins and acquired some really nice sounding synths. I enjoyed every second of it so much I decided to make it a yearly thing, maybe not for seven months a year but at least for a few months for sure. I was also lucky enough to stay healthy and share this time with my parents and my loved ones, so I’m grateful for the past year despite the difficulties.
WWD: Can you tell us a little about your writing and production process? How do you go about formulating ideas, recording and mixing your record?
Definitely! The first and most important thing when it comes to making a track is to create an interesting melodic progression that will give its personality to the song, making it unique and alive. It’s the first and most crucial step as it sets the mood and the emotion of the track. Most of the times, I create that melodic progression with a synth. I then start looking for other elements that complement that melody making it more exciting and dynamic. I try not to have too many layers going on per track as I’ve noticed you can miss the point and lose the core of the track when you have too many things sounding at the same time. It is essential to find the right balance where every element complements each other and has its own separate space. I use Ableton live during the composition process, gathering all my elements in the DAW clip view.
Once I’m satisfied with every track element, I jump into Ableton’s arrangement view and start organising everything / constructing the track. Sometimes by the time I get to this point, I already know how I want to place the elements of the track. I like to experiment and try every possibility that comes to mind in terms of the arrangement, so I usually spend a lot of time working on it.
Once the arrangement, elements, effects and automations are ready to go, I go over every layer and make sure all the instruments are sounding right. I then bounce the stems to start the mixing process. Depending on how much studio time I have, I’ll typically go ahead and do the mix of the track myself as I enjoy this part of the process. I also enjoy collaborating and learning from different sound engineers I admire, so I sometimes send my tracks to them for mixing.
As soon as the track’s final mix is ready to go, I send the track to another sound engineer for mastering; this is usually the last step of the process.
WWD: What 3 albums have had the most impact on your life, and why?
Uff.. Hard to pick, but here are three that had a massive impact in my life:
Soda Stereo – El Último Concierto
This album represents my first official and direct contact with music. My dad used to play it regularly when I was a kid, and I immediately loved it. The album came with a DVD of the entire concert, and I watched it all the time. It is the oldest music memory I have. ‘El Ultimo Concierto’ is an album that has accompanied me throughout my life. As a musician, it’s been a great source of inspiration on every genre I’ve experimented with so far.
Paul Banks – Banks
‘Banks’ is a solo album from Interpol’s lead vocalist and guitarist Paul Banks. I’ve always been a colossal Interpol fan, but this album in particular had a tremendous impact on my life as it came out exactly when I moved to France at the age of 16. It was an interesting time for me as I had never lived alone and so far from my parents before, so music became my fellow companion and this album was pretty much the soundtrack of that whole transformative process and journey in my life. I particularly like the reverb of the album and the nostalgic feeling printed on every single song.
Nicolás Jaar – Space Is Only Noise
‘Space is Only Noise’ is the album that got me into electronic music. I also discovered it during my time in France. I had already been making music for a long time, but this album made me realise I wanted to make music forever and I wanted to focus on electronic music. I had never heard something like that before; it is such a unique and creative album. I was utterly mesmerised by the arrangements, the melodies, the sounds, the mix of the album and the artist. Nicolás Jaar is genuinely one of a kind.
WWD: We understand you have further releases on the horizon, can you tell us anything about what to expect?
For sure! Many releases coming this year hopefully! In addition to my latest release on Stil vor Talent, I have a single coming out on Cercle accompanied by a music video in a very special location. I also have a solo EP and a collaboration EP with my good friend Coss coming soon. Labels for the two EP’s will be announced soon. I’d say they’re all slightly faster tempo than my usual productions but, as always, they’re very melodic. I hope you like them!