In July we named Louie Fresco’s full-length debut, Autophobia, one of the month’s most essential releases for quite good reason. With “So Good” — a track he slyly rinsed with Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” — helping to make him a global name roughly two years ago, the Mexicali-based DJ/producer went into the lab and came out with an album which eschews trends and solidifies him as an out-of-the-box thinker in his chosen medium.
Autophobia is an album that dares to be a little different because it boasts an assortment of club tracks and songs, thinking beyond musical silos. While there’s a plethora of styles represented (everything from ragga to downtempo), Fresco couldn’t resist the urge to pepper his all-time favorite track, The Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” into his album cut “Misunderstood.”
We checked in with Fresco to find out more about the song that put him on the international map, the significance of Autophobia‘s album artwork and how a DJ who doesn’t have a background in house or techno is making a mark on the dance floor.
Louie Fresco’s Autophobia is out now on No.19.
Louie, are you having a good summer, great summer or the best summer ever?
Louie Fresco: I’m having a great summer. Me and my girl recently moved to Barcelona, and we have made some amazing friends in such a short time. The transition has been rough but the people I’ve met and some (emphasis on some) of the friends I’ve re-encountered here have made it much easier.
You hail from Mexico where there’s a lot of up-and-coming DJ/producer talent. What’s the club scene like and where’s your place in it?
I think we have a pretty decent scene down there but it’s nothing compared to the scene here in Barcelona, although there’s more of a family vibe going on back home, and I like to think that I made a small contribution to it. For instance, everytime I throw a party in Mexicali we get the best response ever and everyone seems to have a wicked time.
Let’s discuss your album. Tell me about the photo of the album. Is that you and your mother? What’s the significance of the album’s title?
Yes, that is me and my mom back in ’86. That picture reminds of a time where I thought my life would crumble down if she wasn’t around. The thought of being without her in my life always haunted me until it happened, and I realized you just have to move on with your life and try to keep making her proud even if she wasn’t around any more.
“So Good” helped you find a wider global audience. How do you look back on that track and what it did for your career?
“So Good” is one of those tracks that was made so quickly [that] everything just [fell] into place. You have no schedules, no deadlines, no specific genre in mind or label to send it to. Thanks to that feeling of just doing whatever the fuck you want to do without any guidelines it became what it is. And the fact that it got signed to No.19 gave it an amazing exposure to a bigger audience and helped me get my name out there.
“I think the fact that I don’t come from a house or techno background makes my musical taste so eclectic. If I get sick of doing one type of genre I’ll just start a new project and do something really different.”
One of the things I love about “So Good” is how you rinsed it with Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.” You utilized the same method on “Misunderstood,” rinsing in The Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” for another flawless track. How did you get the idea to do that?
“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” is one of my all time favorite tunes and I’d always wanted to do something with it. So, one day I was in Birmingham cruising by with some friends and Nina Simone’s version came on the radio and I had previously tattooed the word “Misunderstood” on my forearm and took it as a sign. I got back to one of my friend’s house and started working on it and the rest is history.
Autophobia is full of musical variety, and you dabble with a lot of different styles on the album. Where does this eclecticism come from?
I think the fact that I don’t come from a house or techno background makes my musical taste so eclectic. If I get sick of doing one type of genre I’ll just start a new project and do something really different.
“Arabian Sexcapade” is a truly unique track. It sounds to me like a track someone in the past in an attempt to be “futuristic.” How did you come up with that gem?
This was actually one of my first attempts to do techno or tech-house. Like I said, I don’t come from a house or techno background so I wanted to create something outside of my comfort zone.
So I started adding and substracting layers of sounds until I had a good groove going on, and as usual I tend to add a key element that makes the first 4-5 minutes of track worth the wait, (eg. “New Hateration,” “DEZ,” “Hunter/Prey,” “Autophobia,” etc.). In this case it’s the crescendo and decrescendo synth that comes after the breakdown.
“Autophobia” feat. Luna is a gorgeous comedown track. How did you come to meet Luna? Do you see yourself working more with vocalists in the future?
I love to work with talented vocalists, but sometimes if I have the idea of how I want the vocal or lyrics to be I just rather record them myself. As time goes by I’ve been getting more comfortable with me putting what I really feel out there and sometimes you make this tune that makes you feel a certain way and the guy or girl doing the vocals gets the message all wrong. That is why I love working with Luna, because we’re always on the same page. Like, 100% of the time. It’s funny, because some people think Luna is my girlfriend. Some people think it’s me under a different alias, and yet the world may never know.
What’s next for you and your label, MEXA?
MEXA will have a very much needed revamp. It’s all about evolution and reinventing yourself and the same goes with my label. As for me, I have a couple of remix EPs from the album coming out on No.19 this year and maybe my second EP on MEXA.