Mexico-born, Miami-based artist Rigopolar has built a name for himself through his unique fusion of sounds spanning Italo, Disco and Techno. He now readies his imprint ‘Tour de Infinite’ with an incredible four-tracker showcasing his signature style. We get the chance to talk to the artist about the ins-and-outs of the release and the Rigopolar project…
Rigopolar - Interview
Welcome to Minimal Mag, Manuel! How are you and what have you been up to today?
Hi, thanks for having me. Today has been quite good, I’ve done some cooking, music production and parenting 101.
You are known as Rigopolar and are releasing a stellar 4-track EP on your new imprint Tour de Infinite, can you tell us something about the release?
Sure, these 4 tracks had a special treatment. They are rooted in a personal body/mind relationship I started to develop 3 years ago and which has become more intense with the passing of time. I have a condition called “Situs Inversus Totalis”, meaning all my single organs are on the opposite side of my body (heart included). Let’s say that if I stand in front of someone face to face, we become a mirrored version of each other, a hug away from connecting like wire to wire. Over the past two years, the feeling that this is exactly what we are missing as humanity has been growing inside of me. The invisible connection between opposites that enables the beauty of love.
When it comes to the music, I’m looking to share my message in a more natural way, sticking as much as I can to the analogue sound, nothing complex and with a minimum of layers. The idea is to get into the minimal side of music by exploring it with fewer elements, and thus, be able to enjoy the space between sounds and feel the simplicity in the structure for a mental state of clarity.
The label is a new project of yours, what’s it like starting your own label and what are your plans for it?
Being Tour De Infinite’s first release, it’s very exciting to explore new paths and new challenges and work closely with other artists more as a community than a label/artist relationship.
The second release is almost ready. The plan is for it to see the light by the end of 2022, and to start adding more artists in a natural way, not pushing for anything.
You fuse a range of genres culminating in your own signature style of disco. Where does this unique way of producing stem from? Can you cite some influences?
One of my biggest influences comes from rock and roll as opposed to any type of electronic music. When I started to migrate my music composition and production to a more dance floor focus, I often got frustrated, at the beginning, it was very hard for me to understand the simplicity, and at the same time, the deepness of the mental state. The psychological part was much more complicated than the technical side, I only had to de-program myself from rock’s music structure and move into producing electronic music (dance) tracks.
When I connect with a track, I’ve realized that my strongest link is with one or two elements rather than the whole song/track; for instance, when it comes to disco music, I’m only into certain elements rather than the whole group. I keep the drums or percussions and bass and dismiss everything else (including most of the progression, pianos and strings). I prefer the structure of Techno along with the mental state that comes with it. I also like house music but not all of its parts. I feel more attached to the sound design than anything else. Since the beginning, I have always used what I had to hand, very limited equipment and musical instruments. I think that is what did the trick and what pushed me to squeeze as much as I could out of what was available to me. I then slowly started growing it and giving it enough time to learn every aspect of it and incorporate it into my process. I like composing everything from scratch, I arrange, produce and mix all of my tracks. My process takes a lot of time and energy, but in the end, it gives my music that sense of belonging and being part of the same universe.
Rigopolar - Purple Drive
What’s your favourite synth? Can you please talk us through your production process? Any hardware or plug-ins crucial to your workflow, specifically on this EP?
Most of the first ideas are recorded with an acoustic guitar on my phone, especially because I don’t want to lose the groove or a riff that I like. I’m into using a looper to, the old EHX 2880, it creates magical stuff. Then I translate it to synths and sometimes I end up recording a guitar too. I’m currently using 3 analogue mono synths, a Moog grandmother, A dot com Modular Box11 and a Doepfer dark energy. With these three I create almost everything. I recently got the Korg Monologue for poly purposes but didn’t like it that much; however, I’ve used it for a couple of tracks on this EP. Maybe the fx are what I like the most about the monologue (could be the last time I’ll use it). The drums come from a combination of an MFB Tanzbar 2 and a Roland TR-8 and all the programming I did in an electron octratrack, although sometimes I play everything by hand (to not lose the idea) and then I rearrange it. And of course, my precious EHX memory man that I’ve had for 20 years and a Strymon DECO are present in my basic process.
For plug-ins I try to keep it simple, compressor waves API and CLAs, EQs Q for fix and SSL for shape and preamp usually the waves version of the 1073, and for this EP (and surely for the upcoming work) I added Soundtoys spectrum, I just love them. How I make music has changed a lot. I’m always keeping very close attention to the main theme of the track. I NEVER use templates or try to speed up my process in any way. I like giving every track its own treatment and sound. For some reason, it works better for me when I have the name of the track or a story to tell inspired by a book or a dream because I can be loyal to that idea and it’s easier to construct when I know where I want to go.
There is a wave of progressive disco being released these past few years – other than your own label, are there any artists or imprints we should be keeping an eye on?
Yeah, there are tons but what first comes to my mind regarding labels (and I dare to think you already know), are my Mexican fellows from Duro and Calypso records, both in their own world are very solid imprints that I’m always happy to hear. Solid stuff.
You are Mexican and are now living in Miami, how do you feel the music scene differs between the states and your home country?
I lived in Mexico City for 13 years until 2015, I had the sense that the scene was very closed and limited. I was having a hard time trying to fit in or even getting into the scene. I then moved to LA, later to NY and now to Miami. I’m happy to see that the Mexican scene is opening and starting to welcome more sub-genres and leaving behind the stigmas of the classic genres, now I see more parties/venues across the country, and I think it’s becoming very solid. Of course, there is no sense in comparing it to any other part of the world, every country/city has its unique people and magic. What I’ve been able to see in my short time living here in Miami, is that there are a ton of choices when it comes to music in every genre. With massive festivals as well as boutique options and well-curated ones, it’s kind of impressive to see how fast Miami is whipping out old stuff and growing new things.
There is a second release on Tour de Infinite on the way, are there any other upcoming plans you are able to share?
Yes, the short term plan is a second release and a remixes release which is still in the works. I simply plan to keep things flowing as they arise and try to stay consistent with the sound and the message.
Rigopolar - Links
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