Unveiling the Musical Odyssey of El Mundo & Zazou

El Mundo & Zazou’s musical journey is a captivating blend of diverse backgrounds and chance encounters. Discover the story behind their collaboration and the unique twist of fate that led them to form a dynamic duo.

HMWL: Your individual musical journeys are quite diverse, spanning various genres. How did your paths cross, and what led to the decision to form El Mundo & Zazou?

El Mundo: Jaschar and I met at a dinner party of a label where we had both released music. We had a nice chat and a good vibe from the get go.

Zazou: I was into Downtempo back then, and had just gotten my feet wet in the scene with my debut release “From the Beginning”. I used to have terrible DAW skills, and was looking for people who didn’t. So I really wanted to get you to listen to my stuff and collaborate on a song or two, but did my best to play it cool.

El Mundo: Haha, you never told me you were that desperate! Anyway the days after we tried to connect and work on music, but I actually got very sick and bed-bound for two weeks straight. But I managed to listen to Jaschar’s sketches and loved them. So when I got better it was on.

Actually the very first track we created together was “Can You See What I See” (our most played track to date). I remember Jaschar sent me the slide guitar break. I loved it and built the complete groove and bassline around it and send it back to Jaschar. He refined the chords and recorded the vocals, and at that point we knew we had a special track on our hand. So that gave us affirmation that we have to collab some more together.

HMWL El Mundo, your journey began with a wide range of musical influences, and Zazou, you transitioned from Hip-Hop and Jazz to the electronic realm. How do these diverse backgrounds contribute to the unique sound you create as a duo?

El Mundo: I have been DJ’ing in various styles for 20-plus years when I got into producing my tracks. I started dj’ing actually with Hard trance and Techno. This later evolved into dance floor-driven Defected House and Tech House. After some years I grew out of that, cause I wanted more emotions in the music. From there on out I delved deeper into more soulful and melodic genres. That being said, to me musical influences don’t merely come from the range of styles you compose and perform – virtually any piece of music can touch me, and, even if indirectly, can find its way into one of our future creations.

Zazou: I took piano and guitar lessons for several years as a kiddo, and was listening to Rap and Rock music for most of my youth. The biggest influence that shaped me as a musician however, were the countless funky jam sessions that I joined in my twenties. You see, jam sessions thrive on musical motifs that the participants develop on the spot for hours on end. That helped me develop my creative engine and also is the reason I never run out of song ideas!

HMWL The formation of Quetame and later joining forces with House Music With Love – can you share insights into the collaborative and creative aspects of these ventures, and are there other labels or producers you admire and would like to work with in the future?

El Mundo: Initially we didn’t think it was possible to run a label and be touring artists at the same time, since there are just 24 hours in a day. Then we realized there are some capable services out there that automate all the bothersome parts. What’s left to do is write about the songs (Niki Sadeki does that at Quetame), create artwork (Jaschar’s job), run some campaigns, and of course be in touch with the artists (mostly my job). What we don’t have is a big marketing budget, so the songs do have to be special to find their way to our audience and beyond.

Collaborating with HMWL is the perfect combo for us in that respect. They come up with both a solid marketing strategy and funds to realize it. Also, we’re really close with Alex and his team. It never feels like giving our babies away when we release with HMWL, more like mutually fostering our offspring.

El Mundo & Zazou

Unveiling the Like Forever / Little Void EP on House Music With Love

HMWL Your upcoming EP, “Like Forever / Little Void,” is set to release on House Music With Love. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind these tracks and the creative process that went into producing them?

Zazou: Most of our songs start out as sketches in my studio, and all of them start with a drum loop that I’ll jam over. The loop I choose influences everything that comes next. These days I prefer 124 BPM Organic House beats as a foundation. Next up I find a synthesizer sound that inspires me.

Once I get it, an arpeggio or chord progression will emerge, using that sound. If I create something that I enjoy, the following steps can happen quite quickly, and before you know it there’s a sketch that I’ll send over to Pim, who then decides if we take it to the next level. So to answer your question: I don’t really draw my inspiration from other music. It’s all in the sounds that are “hidden” within my hardware.

El Mundo: What many people might not know is that Jaschar isn’t merely a great vocalist – he is an outstanding composer and a fine multi-instrumentalist. Jaschar’s jam sessions are often the spark for a new production. I know my way around chords and sampling, but my creation process takes longer. So I focus more on setting the framework of the track, sound design, adding extra synth layers, and composing drums.

First and foremost I’m a sound nerd, who loves diving deep into sounds, molding, shaping, and setting the details. Also I can set myself to really refine a track. I can go really deep for that. Next to that, I think I have a nose for “what works”. It’s a combination of instinct and my heritage as a DJ. So each time Jaschar comes up with a sketch, I can instinctively hear if it has potential and if we should make it into song.

HMWL: “Like Forever” and “Little Void” seem to mark a shift towards darker, more profound, and faster compositions. What prompted this change in your sound, and how do you believe it enhances the overall listening experience?

El Mundo: We currently find ourselves at a crossing: while we still love melancholic House music, our joy to produce and perform music that drives a rave, has come to co-exist with it. We don’t intend to fully dive into that darker, harder vibe, but for the time being do embrace it thoroughly. It’s so much fun to see the audience dance their butts off.

HMWL: The Like Forever / Little Void EP has already received support from top electronic music names like Hernan Cattaneo, Eelke Klijn and Be Svendsen, along with radio support on Ibiza Sonica and Ibiza Global Radio. Could you share which names in the electronic music scene you consider as big influences, and how has their sound might influence your approach to music?

El Mundo: Some of my biggest inspirations include Weval, Bicep, Moderat, Rufus du Sol. What I admire is that they can conjure a unique and powerful experience with their livesets. Their performances captivate you until till the very last note. It’s a major accomplishment to create that kind of constant tension over the course of up to two hours. But they can pull it off. But there are not only the big names who have influence on me. I also must name Felix Raphael, Powel and Budakid to name a few.
The live video of “Like Forever” from your performance at Backyard Sessions in Malmö is currently trending on YouTube. How does the live experience influence your studio productions, and vice versa?

Zazou: Playing live means the world to us. Going out in there and seeing people enjoy your creations is a huge motivational driver. Also seeing our faster songs getting some love made us eager to move deeper into that realm for sure.

Evolution in Sound: From Slow Organic to Faster and Dance-floor oriented

HMWL: As a duo, how do you balance your individual musical inclinations and influences to create a unified sound that defines El Mundo & Zazou?

El Mundo: Actually there aren’t that many compromises we have to find in the studio, as we’re well aligned. We do have discussions about details of course. Today for instance, I’ve come to the conclusion that a certain loop of a new song, one that Jaschar really likes, should be removed from the track for several reasons. I laid them out to him and he was cool with it.

Zazou: We share the mindset that both of us need to be happy with every main element of our productions. If that’s not the case, we drop it, simple as that. As for the arpeggio Pim mentioned: we agreed to find another song for it, so that makes it even easier for me to let it go.

HMWL: Looking ahead, what can your audience expect in terms of future releases and the continued evolution of El Mundo & Zazou’s musical journey?

El Mundo: There are tons of songs in their final stages, and our release pipeline is quite full. If everything works out we’ll be dropping 1-2 songs per month for the foreseeable future. We won’t really limit ourselves stylistically, so the productions will actually cover a certain range: from Organic House to Progressive House and everything in between. We’ll even release an acoustic half-tempo version of Taken Over at some point. 62 BPM – can you believe it?

About Alex Esser:

DJ, surfer and entrepreneur residing in Malmö, Sweden. HMWL label daddy. My music network is always open. Holler at alex@hmwl.org