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LAist Interview: John Tejada

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If you ever see John Tejada perform, you know he's a kickback relaxed guy. If the way he dresses is any indicator, you know he's in it for the love the music and the art and not for the rock star lifestyle and attitude. Perhaps his humbleness is one of the main reasons he's risen to be one of the art form's best. Birthed in Vienna by two classically trained parents (his father, a composer and conductor; his mother, a soprano), transplanted across the pond and over to the West Coast, Tejada began experimenting at a young age with electronic equipment. He is now one of the most versatile electronic musicians out there and we're happy to have him based in Los Angeles.

Congratulations on 10 years with your label [Palette Recordings]. How do you envision the next 10?

thanks very much. i have no time machine so i couldn't tell you, but i plan to keep making music.

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What is the current state of electronic music in Los Angeles?

it's getting really good now. it's still hard to throw parties, cause the venues aren't behind the music as they are other places, but it's really picking up now.

You often collaborate with other musicians, but do you ever want to collaborate with another art form like modern dance or theatre?

i have some ideas in that direction. i really like things that ryoji ikeda did with his dumb type project. i've been talking to a friend about possibly doing something like that for years now who is pretty established in modern dance. perhaps one day.

Acoustics, space, dance floor and all that adds up to the general vibe of a club. What is your favorite place to perform music in Los Angeles?

compression at king king

In the composition and improvisation of your music, what is your process?

it's hard to describe. it's always different. the composing side can just start with anything really. but it's just that general feeling of having all the elements fit into place and making the right sounds. if all goes well it just flicks on like a light switch. lots of those ideas happen through improvisation but then when performing live i try to expand on the improvisation since the foundation is there to work with.

We saw you last year at the Minimalist Jukebox festival. If you were to produce your own festival, what would it be and who would you bring to play?

that would be fun. for me, a venue like the disney hall would be perfect. except with a different sound system. i've always felt that if you're going to watch artists play live and really appreciate their work it should be in a concert setting like the jukebox show was. i would have a long list of electronic and acoustic artists who i enjoy. more experimental acts like alog, ryoji ikeda, alva noto, mika vainio along with artists who get categorized more in a techno genre like daniel bell, pantytec, monolake playing live. then also groups that are mostly acoustic like supersilent, mountains, maybe i'm not a gun just to throw myself in the mix hehe. i guess it would be somewhat of an avant garde type festival with different styles merging as one which is sort of how i see all this music.

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When the "big one" hits, where do you want to be and what do you want to be doing?

hopefully outside in a field where nothing can fall on me.

Photo by Drew Reynolds