Interview: Yemanjo

American artist Yemanjo grows his music catalogue in a big way this month as he follows up outings on imprints like Camel Riders and trndmsk with the release of his debut studio album ‘La Misma Fuente’.

The project adds ten brand new productions to his sonic arsenal – alongside his debut appearance on the Wonderwheel imprint.

We spoke to him about the new album, his experience with travelling as an artist, and what else he has coming soon. Read the full interview with Yemanjo below.

How is life in Guatemala right now?

I actually just sold my property in Guatemala and am not based there anymore. I have been travelling in the US, Europe and elsewhere in Latin America for about a year. Guatemala is beautiful and will always hold a place in my heart, but I realised after a while that as a travelling DJ & musician, it’s a really tough place to base myself.

You recently debuted on Wonderwheel with your new ‘La Misma Fuente’ LP – how did the idea for an album come together?

‘La Misma Fuente’ actually originated as a three-track EP, which I sent to Nickodemus, my friend and Wonderwheel label head. He and the rest of the team liked the tracks so much that they requested a full-length album instead. So, for the rest of 2023, I worked to create seven more tracks. This allowed me to branch out and include a lot of different styles that I don’t normally produce, including dub reggae and trip hop.

The title track ‘La Misma Fuente’ (Spanish for “The Same Source”) was created during summer 2023 while I was on tour in Europe, and the message of that one seemed to fit what I was going for with the album, bringing in all these disparate elements and inspirations to create something diverse yet unified.

What are some bits of studio gear you used for the production?

My studio is mobile, so I keep it very simple. I have a small MIDI keyboard I travel with and I generally do most of my production in headphones when I don’t have access to a studio. The album was mixed and mastered by a guy named Chris Cox based in Denver. Most of the vocals and a lot of the instruments you hear were recorded live in various countries and some of the percussion was performed live by me on a Roland Handsonic.

Will we see remixes for any of the tracks in the near future?

I certainly hope to have some of these tracks remixed for a forthcoming remix collection! Wonderwheel hosts so many great artists like El Buho, Chancha Via Circuito, Thornato, and many more. So we will definitely be reaching out to some of them for remixes.

You’ve previously released music on trndmsk and Camel Riders, what is your typical process of getting a new track signed?

It really depends. Sometimes the labels reach out to me wanting to do a track for a compilation or an EP, and other times I already have things ready and I reach out to the labels myself. I’m really happy to be in a position where labels are eager to work with me these days, and I was happier still that Wonderwheel wanted to do a full album including a vinyl pressing.

Which other labels might we see you on in the coming months?

I’m happy to report that I have a track on the latest ‘Summer Sol’ compilation from Sol Selectas, which is out on June 21st. ‘Summer Sol’ is the most anticipated compilation of the year for organic and Afro house music, and I’m very excited to finally have a release on this respected imprint. We’ll also be releasing some remixes for my previous EPs on Cafe de Anatolia, ‘Refrescate’ and ‘Axis Mundi’ – with great revisions from Lagartijeando, TACHES, ORKIDZ, and others.

How would you compare the music culture of Guatemala with your home state of California?

Lake Atitlan, a gorgeous lake surrounded by volcanoes and Mayan villages where I lived in Guatemala, has become an international hub for DJs and producers from all over the world. It’s a place where this downtempo and organic house music with ethnic influences really thrives, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different musicians who came to the lake.

California is also very rich in terms of music culture, but speaking strictly of electronic music, it has more of an emphasis on bass music which is an intense, bass-heavy genre that I’m not particularly drawn to. So, I love coming back to California to tour, but I definitely feel like my target audience is more in places south of the border and in Europe.

Is there anything else you want to mention?

I’m really grateful to finally release this album to the world, and as a record collector for over twenty years, I’m especially excited that it’s available on vinyl. I believe the vinyl experience really allows people to truly take in a full album in an intimate and conscious way, and take the time to listen to all the nuances of the sound design and the message in a way that’s more difficult if you just hear a random track on a Spotify playlist for example. I’m also excited to be working on new collaborations with some other great artists presently, and to tour Europe in support of this release this summer!

Yemanjo – La Misma Fuente LP is out now on Wonderwheel.