If you find yourself bobbing your head to 'Mi gente' by J Balvin and Willy William, it's because we're at an inflection point: a major radio hit has incoporated elements of global bass and moombahton -- electronic music with folk and urban sensibilities from the global south that have been brewing in the clubs and online for the past decade. "Right now the [music] industry and the mainstream audience is accepting the sound," says Miami-based DJ and producer Chato! of global bass. "This is the sound that you are going to be listening in the mainstream for the next five to 15 years."
DJ, producer, graphic designer, ball of energy and connector of sounds and people are some of the adjectives I could use to describe Esteban Montaño Lara, better known as Chato!, my guest in the U-LAB Podcast this week and our first Artist in Residence. We talked about global bass and the diversity that attracted him to that scene, his background as an entrepreneur with Latin retail platform Surropa and his current musical obsessions.
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"I grew up around gold and Mexican food," says Chato! about growing up in an immigrant Mexican family in Puerto Rico, and that explains a lot. Chato! (yes, with an exclamation mark) defines himself as a hustler who's reinvented himself several times and thrives in collaborating and helping others in the music and the arts scene. "What changed my career was when I stopped trying to get people to like my music and 'listen to me! look at me!' I changed my mentality from being a taker to being a giver," he says. "Once you are a source of information, in other words, an oracle, people want to come to you."