Oakland/Guadalajara-based artist & creative entrepreneur Andre Wiken has a penchant for weaving together colorful threads of sound and fabric, expressing himself both through music and his world-sampling hat company Lower Park. Near the end of last year, we released the vibrant, breezy ‘Que Te Come Tiburon‘, produced by Wiken in collaboration with Jae Wheeler and Estef on vocals. This mix reflects much of what he’s absorbed in his global travels since then, as he continued his never-ending search for interesting patterns and textiles from around the world. Enjoy!
1. What’s a little summary of your background with music? Do you play any instruments?
I started playing keyboard and making beats with a Roland XP60 and 4 track tape machine when I was 16. Mostly making instrumentals for my friends to freestyle and record over. I eventually bought guitars, synths and a bass to mess around with. I’ve owned many different instruments but never mastered any of them. I mostly enjoy sampling music from around the world and just cutting it up to make something totally new.
2- How did Lower Park start? And how did you hear about Astro Nautico?
I started Lower Park while in Guadalajara when I was 29, I wanted to make hats so I started looking for hat makers. I went from store to store in the fabric/material district, asking clerks if they knew anyone who made hats. I was given the number of this guy who’s been making hats for about 25 years. He made me a few samples, but I wasn’t happy about the materials and fabrics. So I put the project on hold. I spent Summer 2013 in Berlin and met a Syrian guy who had a shop full of table clothes and soaps from Damascus, Syria. When I saw his fabrics, thats when I had the idea to tie in the theme of Travel with hats. I’ve been travelling a lot since the age of 24. Been to 30 countries to be exact. Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Boliva, Chile, Argentina, Uraguay, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Holland, England, France, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Morocco, Turkey, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Thailand & Vietnam.
I heard about Astro Nautico through Space Ghost, he works with my friend Bobby Peru in Oakland with some guys who do parties and mixes under the name Sick Sad World. I reached out to Astro Nautico because I like the concept and music that you guys release. I feel like my music is a bit spacey at times and could fit well. I hope to finish more stuff this year and put out an EP.
3. Where did you record ‘Que Te Come Tiburon’? What’s the music community like there? Do you have crews/labels/artists you often collab with?
I recorded Tiburon in my apartment in GDL with my GF Estef (vocalist from Guadalajara) and a friend Jae Wheeler (Artist/Vocalist from South Carolina). I’ve released and collaborated with different labels around Mexico, mostly the labels Piramd and VAA.
There aren’t as many electronic musicians in Mexico as there are in the states or Europe, but it has a nice presence and is definitely growing. When I moved to Mexico I started a hostel and we did parties once a month. Mostly with friends like Carlos Pesina, Edgar Mota and Letter D. I had some of my best times in Guadalajara throwing house parties. We didn’t even have security and sometimes 200 people would show up and things would get out of control and even scary a few times.
4. What was the process of recording like for QTCT?
We recorded Tiburon in the closet of my room, I wrote out some of the Lyrics to “Mike Laure – Tiburon a la viste” and had Estef sing them to this beat I was working on. And it sounded ok, so one day Jae Wheeler was recording with me and I had him throw some background vocals and melodies over it. He’s what brought the humming part to the track, the lyrics from Estef are a cover of this song basically.
5. How long have you been living outside of the States?
I’ve spent about 3 of the last 4 years abroad, 2.5 years in Mexico, 6 months in Berlin & Barcelona. The other year I’ve either been around Europe, Turkey, Morocco or back in California.