Rainforest Music’s Andromo and Chris Fortier divulge the vision behind ‘Shape & Form’ [Q&A]
El Salvadorian native Andromo is no stranger to the deep and groovy sounds that symbolize the underground. While recognized for his background in architecture, label owner of Vancouver-based Rainforest Music Records, and dignified performer above all, Andromo has captured his upbringing into a tri-fold portfolio of talents. Drawing inspiration from the atmospheric landscapes of his hometown in El Salvador, to the mountainous peaks and urban lull of his current home in Vancouver, the environment has played a pivotal role in constructing his sound. In addition to garnering the support of electronic steadfasts like John Digweed, Hernan Cattaneo and Steve Bug, Andromo’s work has been supported by the emblematic labels, Culprit and Bedrock Records.
From his first solo EP release, Day Attack, on his label towards the end of 2018, the two-track issuance showcased his lush, percussive-soaked soundscape drawn on the influences of his surroundings. Most recently, the Vancouver-based producer has unified with esteemed producer Chris Fortier to compose Shape & Form, a tribute to both artists’ talents and memoirs. Smooth and silky, akin to the sounds that animate a rainforest itself, the duo deepen their approach to the consistent basslines in each track, layered with percussive hints and subtle melodies.
Fresh off the momentum from the release of Shape & Form, Dancing Astronaut spoke to Andromo and Chris Fortier to learn more about Andromo’s upbringing in El Salvador, along with the transition and evolution of Rainforest Music in Canada’s West Coast.
On Feb. 15, you released your Shape & Form EP, which features a perfect balance between deep, sexy house grooves (“Elektron Dreaming”) and a modern day spin on old school, prog vibes (“Shape & Form”). How do you feel this EP represents the overall Rainforest Music sound?
Shape and Form‘s sounds and textures are deep but yet groovy, melodic but also trippy. The combination represents the variety of living organisms and creatures in the jungle. The rainforest is the home to different tribes that are passionate about drums, where rare and beautiful flowers bloom like the melodies and harmonies, and strong arrangements like a tree trunk. I close my eyes and imagine myself in the rainforest, my inspirations are always surrounded by nature and architecture.
Andromo, tell us about this collaboration with Chris Fortier. How did this joint venture come to be?
It goes a few years back when I was still living in El Salvador. Ever since I started listening to electronic music, I’ve had a Chris Fortier CD or Fade Record on my collection. That inspired me to invite him to play a few times to the Rainforest Music Parties in El Salvador and Guatemala. On one of those trips, we started working on my studio on a track that would later be released on Muted Gold label. From that moment on, we have been working on different projects that have steadily seen the light on labels like Bedrock, Culprit and have been played numerous times by DJs like John Digweed, Hernan Cattaneo, Droog, Steve Bug, and many others.
Andromo, your roots as an artist and as the curator of Rainforest Music come from El Salvador, and now you live in Vancouver. Is the Rainforest Music brand still active in South America?
Yes, I’m currently planning a series of parties that will take place during summer and the second semester of the year. I am also currently working with a few Central American producers that we want to support and expose their talent in the region. Living in Vancouver makes things harder, but my commitment to supporting the region is stronger than ever.
What was the transition to Vancouver like? How has the label and brand evolved since landing in Canada?
Transitions take time. Moving to a new city is hard, starting off from scratch takes patience and consistency but having goals set and a pretty good idea of what I want to accomplish as a music entrepreneur keeps me motivated to make it happen. I also did some research and met the right people that are inspiring to our community and sound. Living in the West Coast has had a huge inspiration on my musical taste like every city in the world that I have traveled to. I can say I’m learning a lot of the North American market, which is very important for music industry, and working hard to get the label exposure and sales needed to be an established business and source of income for artists. A few years back, the brand was focused more in community interaction, now that brands main focus is to release quality electronically produced music and be part of your daily life soundtrack. Music that can be played during your work day, at a business, a bar, lounge, the club or afterhours. The brand and label will constantly be evolving, the “rainforest” sound will always stay on the more organic side of music.
Chris Fortier — your portfolio is very impressive with previous releases on Digweed’s Bedrock Records and LA-based imprint Culprit. How do you feel about joining the Rainforest Music family?
I have had a long friendship with Andromo for many years starting when he booked me for one of his parties in El Salvador. We created a great connection and started sharing music. I put some of his music on my Fade Records label. We then made a plan to collaborate and really saw some special things coming from those sessions. We have made a good number of tracks so far putting them on other great labels getting word out. Now with Andromo launching Rainforest, it feels like the perfect time to all these to come together. I am happy to be a part of this new label venture and be a part of the foundation of the label’s sound. We have a lot more to come, too!
Where do you guys envision listeners hearing “Elektron Dreaming?”
So much of the music we have created together comes from strong grooves. The initial ideas were started with Elektron gear that was a live jam session just hitting record and letting it run. The vision is built around the groove with the tripped-out Elektron sounds twinkling all around. This track will work whether in early parts of sets setting pace of set or those awesome afterhours parties when things start to go sideways.
Where do you guys envision listeners hearing “Shape & Form?”
Another groove-driven track. When the first chord progression rises in, it feels like a lift off. I pictured dancing on the beach or desert with the sun just starting to peak up from darkness. One party I played with Andromo in El Salvador, we went to after party on the beach of this famous surf break and was beautiful as the sun was rising. This track is perfect scene setting for this spot.
Any new releases coming up on Rainforest Music that we should keep an ear out for?
Our next release is a very special one. It has a great vocal from a young Vancouver artist and I’m sure it going to get a lot of plays once its out. Our year is getting filled with great music that it’s hard to pick what will be released in the upcoming months, but one thing is for sure, quality over quantity.
Shape & Form is available to stream here.
Photo credit: Alec Donnell Luna – CPT Vibes, Chris Fortier