Releasing tomorrow, Baltra’s debut EP ‘Safer At Night 008′ is a new journey through sound, with the raw edge of NYC in the mix of house beats.
We chat to the musician about just about everything: living in New York, thoughts and advice on his experiences and how exactly he describes his music by genre.
This international DJ and producer is set for big things…
— LISTEN UP! —
How would you describe your music in your own words?
A mixed bag of vibes. Dark, melodic, & groovy.
Tell us about the Baltra SAN EP in a few words.
Safer At Night 008 is entitled “The Vision” and marks my debut release. There’s an A side (“The Vision”) and a B side (“Loose Attitude”) that are built more for the club and a third track that follows the SAN formula in an ambient construct.
Where does your name ‘Baltra’ come from?
Yes, Baltra is my artist name & originates from my surname. Aside from sharing the same moniker as one of the Galapagos islands, I believe it’s fairly unique and rolls off the tongue quite nicely.
Are you signed and to who?
I signed on with the Safer At Night crew for this release and couldn’t be more excited.
What instruments do you utilise in the making of your music?
I tend to have a soft-spot for the TR-909 drum kit + the Korg M-1, but I’m also a big fan of the U-He’s Bazille & my Teenage Engineering OP-1 synthesizer.
Which instruments do you play yourself?
I was a bit of a nerd growing up (most who know me well would tell you I still am), thus I studied violin for four years. I eventually gave it up at the time in favor of sports. Unfortunately the bow skills didn’t stick, and nowadays I’m most comfortable with piano.
What tools in the studio could you not produce music without?
My KRK Rokit 5 speaker monitors — my mixing ear is now tuned to the frequencies these speakers emit and I imagine I would be lost without them.
What other musicians do you listen to?
I’m always a fan of boundaries being pushed, and in terms of music, this what Safer At Night embodies. So most certainly the SAN roster that includes Curses, Total Fitness, DKDS & Cranks. I’m also really feeling Leon Vynehall & Route 94.
Whom are you listening to right now in the studio/down time?
The new Rich Gang mixtape, the new Kindness album, and the Dirty Dancing Original Soundtrack on cassette.
Are there any creators’ (artists, designers) work that you admire?
My brother, Peter Baltra, is a tremendously talented designer and someone to be on the look-out for in the near future. My friends Philip Lim + Silas Adler & Jacob Kampp Berliner of Soulland are producing some really rad, forward-thinking creations that I love. My best-friend Gogy Esparza is making a name for himself in the downtown art-scene with his art-gallery Magic where in addition to his own shows he’s teaming up with the likes of Nick Sethi, Peter Sutherland, & Shawn Powers.
How important is style to a musician or performer?
As a musician, style should come naturally and hopefully it compliments one’s music. There is always the fear that anything slightly off course might make the artist seem disingenuous to the listener, and as a result affect the listener’s connection to the music. For me, music, art, and fashion are all equally important to one another in terms of how I communicate who I am as an artist.
Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Northeast Philadelphia.
How long have you lived in New York for?
I’ve lived in New York for just over 10 years which now seems crazy to me as I say it. TIME FLIES.
Where in NYC do you live?
I just moved from the Lower East Side in Manhattan and am now residing in Brooklyn.
How does NYC influence you and your work?
In NYC I find inspiration all around, even if I’m not seeking it. Oftentimes I won’t even be aware of it on the conscious level, but my thoughts & creativity are being sculpted by the hustle & bustle of everyday life in this beautiful city.
What are some of the best things about creating your own music?
One of the most exciting things is knowing that anything is possible. Such freedom allows your inner-self to speak through sound and the journey is unbelievably satisfying.
What are some of the hardest things about creating your own music?
Knowing when to step away — some days you just don’t have it and you need to put the whole music-making process on hold. This can be quite frustrating but will ultimately keep you in better mental health!
Photos by Angela Vitanza