Starting his dance music career as part of a small electro outfit in 2006, Louie Fresco made a tune that was picked up by Justice, but it wasn't until he personally signed to Jonny White's No.19 label in 2011 that he really started making waves.
After quickly growing tired with the electro scene, he dug a little deeper to find a pitch-black world of gothic house grooves that suited him far better.
The co-boss of MEXA, a label he runs from his home town Mexicali, he's worked with Corey Baker of Wildkats and Alexx Rubbio and been remixed by Russ Yallop and Dennis Ferrer.
His debut album — out soon on No.19 and featuring vocals from Aquarius Heaven, his girlfriend and himself — shows Louie moving into unchartered territory. More electronica than dancey, it's likely to surprise many of his fans, but there's much more to him than dark, sexy tech house, as we found out when we chatted recently...
How has your hometown shaped you as a music lover and producer?
“I was born in Mexicali, Baja California, a border town next to California and two hours away from Tijuana and San Diego. Although I didn't grow up here I moved back as soon as I started DJing because the scene here was really big and I knew there were many good DJs here, and I wanted to hone my skills.”
How strong is the Mexican house and techno scene? How closely is it something you feel involved in?
“I definitely feel involved in the scene. I've also feel that I've accomplished one of my many missions, which was putting Mexicali on the map and helping put Mexico on it too. In my humble opinion, the first ones that did that were Hector with Desolat and Metrika by signing with Crosstown, but then I got signed to No.19, then Miguel (Puente) came and did his thing, and soon after the rest found out it wasn't impossible, and consequently stepped their game up and just made it clearer to the world that we might have arrived late, but we know our shit.”
Tell us about the music you make. How would you describe it and how is it special or different to other people's?
“At this moment, I'm in the process of making the kind of music I really love playing in my sets. I am used to making music that's darker, grittier, you know?
And sure, my sets are dark but the main thing about them is the groove, so I've recently started to make tunes that are still very much dark and gritty, but the groove became the main ingredient. But you might say, 'Hasn't that already been done before?', and you're right, but here’s where I think it’s a bit different now.
I tend to always try to find that X factor when making a tune. That weird little sound or off-tempo bassline that will make you instantly recognise the track. So, now having that X factor complement the importance of the groove just makes for a better and more special track in my opinion.”
What about the LP? When is it out, what label and what can we expect?
“Making the album has been an amazing experience, very vulnerable and liberating at the same time.
You get to put all your thoughts and feelings into this whole project and just hope that people will understand where you are coming from with it. It's more electronica than dance music, plus I sing on a few tunes and I'm very proud of the lyrics, not to mention the music, but I left a big chunk of my soul on some of the lyrics.
I'm not sure what people will think of it or if they will understand the story behind it, all I'm sure is that I took a risk and I don’t regret anything.”
Would you describe yourself first as a producer or DJ?
“A producer who loves the instant feedback of DJing.”
What makes a good DJ in your eyes? What can we expect from your sets?
“The most important thing to me is building a set with a storyline behind it. That's what I've learned from many of my friends here in Baja.
To create a story with your set. Making people dance and put their hands up is the easiest part.
I've also learned from one of my closest friends that the tricky stuff is when you decide to play three, maybe four tracks that aren't particularly what we call bombs, but their purpose is to set the mood so when you reach that point of the set where you drop that fifth track, you know you'll make everyone shit their pants.
That will definitely get the crowd to connect with the DJ, and that is what I look for in a good DJ and I believe that is what people can expect from one of my sets. Hopefully.”
Catch Louie Fresco at DJ Mag Ministry Sessions at Ministry of Sound on Saturday 17th May alongside Riva Starr, Kevin Saunderson, Dale Howard, Leftwing & Kody and Simon Baker. We've got a limited back of £10 tickets (half price!) available only to DJ Mag readers. Get them HERE.