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Born in Chile — raised in New York — transplanted to Arizona — Rolando Hödar delivers the underground sound to the vast landscape of the southwest — carving out his own style like the great rock formations of the Sonoran Desert. Rolando is a Hero in our books because he is transforming the party scene in the greater Phoenix area by keeping the focus on quality of music while setting a unique vibe. Rolando continually progresses forward and we like that — he runs his own label Aerotek Recordings, holds DJ residencies at Fnoob Techno Radio and T3CHNO POOL, while constantly working on original tracks and remixes — hustling — that’s what it takes to be a Hero. Enjoy this mix Rolando has provided for us and the interview below.
Interview with Rolando Hödar:
Where are you from originally? How did you get into DJing and producing music?
I’m originally from Chile, South America. Came to the states around the age of 6 and lived in NY for most of life, and now currently reside in Arizona for the last 6 years. Music has always been a part of my life. As an avid listener, I would always listen to my father play his 80’s electronic music, like Aha – Take on Me type of 80’s. Eventually I started getting into hard rock/heavy metal, and then transitioning to 90’s hip hop. The New York club life is what got me started into electronic music. I went to Soundfactory one night and heard a house version of Depeche Mode, and ever since I’ve been infatuated with it. One day I took out credit at Guitar Center to buy my own equipment, just so I can listen to it at home and from there I started learning how to mix. Never had any intentions of doing anything more than that. And people always knew me for music, so it was only a matter of time when people started offering me gigs. Producing came far later on, as I was interested in seeing what I can come up with, and creating house renditions of music that you typically wouldn’t hear, such as my bootlegs for Nine Inch Nails and Type O Negative that are on my Soundcloud.
Moving from New York to Arizona was probably a big change, how has that affected your music?
Moving to Arizona was an extremely difficult stage in my life as I left everything I knew behind to start a new life here. The only thing that kept me going aside from being close to my family (which is the reason I came) was my music and the collection that I was accruing. I listen to a wide spectrum of electronic music, it all started with vocal house and trance, and later transitioning to the more darker/mature sounds. Eventually I became infatuated with the groove, but still maintaining my roots. In the end, my style evolved to what it is now, is well balanced infusion of house and techno. Since I didn’t get many opportunities to go out and listen to my music in Arizona when I first arrived, I followed my taste and not the trend, so it didn’t affect my music all that much, it only grew/evolved.
What do you find is the biggest challenge playing music for people especially Djing in Scottsdale, so close to ASU?
Tempe is known for the college crowd, and so in Old Town Scottsdale, as well as in Phoenix, the music varies within 3 cities; Scottsdale is known for their EDM, whereas Phoenix is known for their house scene. Starting an underground night in Scottsdale has proven to be very difficult, as well as in the other cities. Everything is so spread out, that it’s tough to keep consistency here, and get people to come out unless there’s a major headliner. So playing in Scottsdale, one has to keep a leveled playing field. They thrive off of energetic EDM, so for us to come in and start this underground night, you have to ease it into them. You can’t play too hard, or too deep, otherwise you will lose their interest. The only thing club owners are interested, is making money, so to build a night is extremely tough. We’re still trying to find our niche, but in order for our scene to grow, locals need to support locals, and there is very little of that going on. The underground sound is making progress, but very little, especially in a town that is known to be more about the party, and less about the music.
What’s on the horizon for you?
I am very happy to announce that my next release will be on my good friend Shea Delany’a label, called Pet Project out of Denver. Track is called ‘Moonwalker’ and will feature remixes from Horatio (Viva Music) and Human Traffik. So I’m sending that out for mastering any day now and awaiting a release date. I also just had the pleasure of traveling to Denver for the Pet Project Label Showcase in the Beatport Lounge at Beta Nightclub, hosted by our great friends, P.U.N.C.H.I.S. along with my partner in crime, DirtyClean, who has been also featured on here. Aside from that and this amazing opportunity to be featured here for Music Is 4 Lovers, I will keep focusing on my productions and managing my label, called Aerotek Recordings and keep grinding to further expose my name and label nationally/internationally. I am also looking to start organizing my first label showcase as well and building the brand of my label. Stay consistent on my Fnoob Techno Radio show from the UK as well.
Who are some of your favorite producers/labels right now?
Just last month, I was fortunate enough to go on the Groove Cruise LA and see live for the very first time, my favorite producer and label at the moment, Coyu and his label Saura. We don’t get many opportunities for these acts to come to Phoenix, so I tried to take in as much as I can. His set as well as Lee Burridge’s, was the icing on the cake for me. I’ve always been a big big fan of Booka Shade and Get Physical as well; they have been major inspiration for my more melancholy approach to music that enables ones emotions on a deeper connectivity level.
What advice would you give to aspiring DJs?
Do it because you love the music, don’t do it for the exposure. There’s already enough DJ’s as it is, so the competition is so high, that it’s already over saturated. I would focus more on producing and creating music that you are passionate about, what you feel right in your heart and NOT follow the trend. Be unique in your style and think outside the box. For me, staying true to myself has gotten me the furthest in this music industry. This also stays true to Djing, as the saying that Danny Tenaglia has made so famous, ‘BE YOURSELF’!
Drink of choice?
Jack & Coke
Can you tell us a little about this mix?
I tried to include a little bit of everything in this mix, different styles and variations, all within a certain spectrum of deep house, nu disco, techno house and a hint of deep techno. The mix progresses in the sense that I always try to accomplish when it comes to my sets. Start slow, deep, work my way into the nitty gritty, more energetic stuff, and end it with some come down/closing tracks. Aside from my resources and the equipment I used including the recording, I’m very proud of my track selection and vibe I tried to portray. I hope you enjoy!