Dazed Digital


José Miguel Buitrago is DJ Haiti

January 12, 2012

Psychedelic local tribalism from the artist behind Afrik

  • Text by Fer Munizaga

José Miguel Buitrago, better known as DJ Haiti is a local hero with his tribal mixes pushing a new house sound of the region. He's also a producer with his band Afrik, formed with his friend José Patricio Zúñiga, which blends native sounds with electronic music, creating a psychedelic fest. "Expedita" is their lastest album, and sits somewhere between the simple and organic, complete with cismic visuals. Check out this new project from one of the most unique music producers from the independent scene in Chile.

Satellite Voices: How did you get started in the music world?
José Miguel Buitrago: Ever since I was little I liked drums and the rhythmic side of music. That was when I bought my first drums, which I had to sell because of problems with my neighbours, until I became interested in electronic music in 1994. That was when I bought my first electronic toy, a Roland 808 with which I could shelter with my headphones without disturbing others.

SV: What inspires you to make music?
José Miguel Buitrago: I basically feed myself from everyday situations and from little obsessions. The truth is that my imagination to create music is quite miscellaneous, but I like to use recognisable organic rounds and de-contextualize them. I mainly work with samples can come from a deck of cards or from the howl of a wolf with which you can create a bass or a bass drum. I like to see music as a frequency more than something literal and explicit. I like the surrealism of the frequency.

SV: Tell us about your latest album with Afrik, "Expedita".
José Miguel Buitrago: "Expedita" comes from a deep need to retry the old formula that Afrik used some years ago. We had shows in all the most important clubs in Santiago, where our code was to mix electronic music with native drums, African harps and trutrucas, an instrument that belonged to Mapuches, a native tribe from Chile. It was a kind of psychedelic tribal house, a trend that eventually influenced different local musicians.

"Expedita" was recorded in three months in Mancora, Peru. I could say that this album is more simple than the other we did. This time we looked for something more organic, more incidental, more similar to movies or theater music. This time it was a double test for me because I produced all the music and visuals.

SV: You have done tours around the World. What do you think about the national scene in comparison to what is happening outside?
José Miguel Buitrago: I feel that Chile is still not prepared to have an influential city in terms of clubs. I percieve that Santiago is very Sorong in terms of proposals, good musicians and creative people, but here the clubs and theaters still leave much to be desired. Now we are in 2012, and the club owners still don’t realise how important it is to have a good sound system and create a good environment, going beyond from what they want that is to have a party crowded of cool people.

SV: What nacional musicians would you highlight?
José Miguel Buitrago: Ricardo Villalobos, Chicos de Nazka and the master Jorge Gonzalez.

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