“I think I could see myself as the underground Skrillex,” jokes Charlie Juarez, founder of Mexico City-based label Infinite Machine, when we get in contact to celebrate the label’s impressive milestone of a decade of releases. We’re talking about the pair’s shared past in screamo before moving into electronic music, but it turns out the similarities were once cosmetic too. “Before I cut my very long hair some time ago, around the time I started wearing glasses, there were people who told me that I looked like him, at least physically. Although,” he adds, “they didn’t really know much about my work.”
As the recently released ‘Infinite Machine 10 Years Compilation’ shows, Charlie has kept the raw DIY spirit of the scene he started in alive, using the internet to build a network of often previously unknown artists from across the globe. It’s given Infinite Machine an energetic club-ready sound that’s continually metamorphosing into ever more visceral forms, traversing tempos and continents.
So you’ll find the gabber kicks and vogue vocals of El irreal Veintiuno’s ‘Dogma’ next to the industrial emo hip-hop of ‘Reflejo’, and mutant dancehall from Galtier (the relatably titled ‘My Face Is A Mess’) trading blows with Daniel Ruane’s ‘ZZZZZ’ — what you imagine Autechre might sound like if they went full club.
A giant milestone for any label, it’s part of an even larger personal journey, explains Charlie, who says it’s actually 18 years since he decided to dedicate his life entirely to music. “I knew I wanted this to go on forever, but I honestly didn’t know that I would end up running an electronic music label and that it was going to last for so long.”
He discovered the screamo scene in 2002, beginning to play bass in 2004, which is also when he started his first band. Pretty much Mexico’s sole standard bearer for screamo, they ended up sharing bills with metal and hardcore bands — a blending of genres that has seeped into the DNA of Infinite Machine. “I was so involved in this scene that at one point people considered me the ambassador of screamo in Mexico,” laughs Charlie. “It was then that I learned to use the internet as a means of communication to connect with people in the United States, Europe and Japan.” This proved another foundation for the creation of the community that has become Infinite Machine.