If you Google the Spanish term vatos locos, the result roughly translates in English to "crazy dudes." In the beginning, it was a joking term of endearment bestowed upon Hector—the Guadalajaran DJ and producer who went from being a Phonica Records clerk in London to an international headliner—by world-renowned acts Loco Dice and Dubfire. But in the years since, the nickname has taken on a serious evolution as the producer has begun to work with dynamic new performers who interest him.
"Since the actual meaning behind the moniker is a kind of crew," explains Hector. "I figured why not put all these artists together and make a concept out of it—or [throw a] great party with a variety of different producers and sounds?
Having made their official debut at Mexico's The BPM Festival last year, the Vatos Locos experiment is gaining steam, playing shows in cities like Barcelona and Berlin. The international roster includes Columbia's David Gtronic (whose track "Sacaroca" premieres on THUMP today), Florida's Chad Andrew and Randall M, and Los Angeles' Sece, and they're set to release their debut release, Vatos Locos Forever, later this month.
A continuous hour of dizzying tech house, Hector believes the compilation showcases every crew member at their finest. "It was so rewarding to be able to fuse each selection; they reflect different styles but still work side by side," he says. "And that's my main objective for this label."
The essence uniting these performers goes beyond the beats too. "Obviously music is the main ingredient in generating that Vatos Locos vibe," explains the DJ and producer. "But I want to build a family atmosphere, where all the artists involved will not only be enthusiastic and eager to do their best while playing, but also produce amazing music for our label."
This fraternal focus could be linked to the producer's early releases on Loco Dice's Desolat—an imprint known for its pack mentality—but beyond the surface, Hector reveals the label is characterized by his Mexican background.
"Part of my heritage goes back to the importance of strong family. And not just the bonds and relationships of your flesh and blood, but the people you choose to surround yourself with. Those you make your extended family," he says.
And while he's wary of standing out in an increasingly crowded field of leading techno and house artists captaining event series' that reflect their identities (see: Richie Hawtin's ENTER., Jamie Jones' Paradise, etc.), he's welcomed the opportunity to travel and perform with kindred spirits.
"By forging Vatos Locos, it's like having another tribe who I can share my experiences and love of music with, especially when I don't have my own relatives around."
'Vatos Locos Forever' is out digitally on February 15 via VL Recordings. You can buy 'Vatos Locos Sampler Part 1' on vinyl now here.
Christopher Metler is on Twitter.