High Frequencies is a loud pair of beat architects. Although both of them have very different ideas of what they want to create, they always end up having a smooth, dusty, yet ear-raping sound.
Erik: I currently study foreign language interpretation in Tijuana, Mexico. I like it a lot and I get the chance to travel overseas every now and then but my real passion has always been in the music industry. Back in 2006 me and Abel used to play in a band with two other friends but we eventually split up. Mainly because all of the members had different ideas as to what we wanted to create (music wise) and we never had any time to rehearse. Abel then introduced me to this Ableton Live software on his computer and I was just amazed as to how you can create all these complicated and awesome sounding music arrangements with bass, drums and synth sounds on your computer without the need for a group of people to gather in order to make a track. After that we got more and more into every genre in EDM today, kept going to Insomniac raves and shows (which we still do) and just took it from there to get where we are today. Abel: I study international business but I really got into music since I was a kid and taught myself everything I know today. My favorite hobby is playing guitar. Erik and me had a band where he played bass and I played guitar. We found it hard to get our music done with all of the members because everyone had different ideas. We split up but continued to do music on our own until we eventually got together and formed High Frequencies.
Home Town: (Erik) Chula Vista, CA. (Abel) Tijuana, Baja California
Currently Living: (Erik) San Diego, CA (Abel) Tijuana, Baja California
Origin of Name: (Abel) We we’re playing our first DJ gig at a friends party and he asked us to come up with a name for him to put on the flyer. In and out of the studio we are always discussing music production when working on a track, EQing this, layering that and whether we should boost the low, mid or “High Frequencies.”
Weapon of Choice: For software and hardware it would be Ableton Live 9, AKAI MPC 40, CDJS and in the production and DJing process we like playing with the musicality of the worlds we include in our set.
Source of Power: We get inspiration from everything we watch or listen to that we can then later fit into our tracks, anything from watching movies or going to music related events. We like our songs to sound as original as possible so we always sample the weirdest of sounds to later use as effects on the final track arrangement.
Was there one particular moment in the recording or mixing process for your Discovery Project entry that made you feel like you were creating something pretty damn special?
Erik: Yes, we started analyzing our past three Discovery Project entries and tried to improve on those by fitting more genres into it and we tried to be more original when mixing it because our past mixtapes had the standard complete song intro and outro transition which I now think is kinda boring.
Abel: Yes, especially the first time we entered the contest back in 2011 because we knew it represented a huge opportunity for our music to get some exposure.
Are there any dots to connect with where/how you grew up to your musical output?
Abel: I have two cousins who live in Hermosillo and they are great musicians, even though they mostly play heavy metal music they were a huge inspiration for me growing up.
Erik: Nothing was forced down my throat really, I’ve loved music since I was a kid and I have always had a huge passion for it.
What do your parents think of what you are doing?
Erik: They’re really supportive about it and I wouldn’t be able to do any of this if it wasn’t for them.
Abel: They just see it as a hobby and think it’s really hard to get something out of it.
What’s the strangest part of your job?
The idea some people have that music is related /linked to consuming drugs, especially in EDM, it gives electronic music in general a bad image.
What’s the biggest misconception about being a DJ?
Probably the misconception many people have about DJing and producing electronic dance music is that they think it’s all about pressing play and pushing buttons. I think some people would be surprised to see the amount of musicality involved behind the production process.
How does what you do for a living affect you on a day-to-day basis?
We would like to fully dedicate ourselves to music but it’s hard to do so when there’s school and work involved.
What is your ultimate career dream?
Abel: Make a full movie soundtrack and to make electronic music that transcends not just for 2 or 3 years but also for generations.
Abel: Travel the world and play the big name fests like EDC.
Are you impulsive with your work or do you have a sketch in mind before you start?
Depends on the show and equipment we have at the moment. When it’s a small show we mostly use CDJs and fully improvise the set but when it’s a really important event such as Beyond Wonderland we use Ableton and plan a well thought out and more elaborate set.
What’s the most important piece of gear in your studio?
Abel: Due to economical limits, our studio is pretty basic. We have a pair of monitors, audio interface and a computer, but my most important piece of gear I own would be my guitar because it’s where I get most of my ideas from before transferring them to the computer.
Erik: My pair of KRK monitors, Micro Korg and the Korg Electribe-Mx1, there are some pretty sick sounds to sample there.
How important is it for you to experiment and take on the risk of failure?
Abel: Very important because that’s where innovation comes from.
Erik: Creating a good track implies a lot of trial and error so I think it’s important to do what ever feels and sounds right to you.
Do you have a list of people you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Abel: Enter Shikari, Crystal Castles, Kinky and Korn. They are some of my favorite bands that have also ventured into electronic music. Also, Diego Luna, David Ficher, Quentin Tarantino. I would love to collaborate in a film soundtrack and they are some of my favorite directors.
Erik: Enter Shikari, Pendulum, Hadouken! and Crystal Castles to only name a few. They are ridiculously talented and I love the way they incorporate synths and electronics into their music.
If we pressed Shuffle on your iPod while you went to the bathroom, what would you be embarrassed to come back to us listening to?
Abel: Probably Mexican country, or “Norteño” as we call it, haha.
Erik: Fuck I don’t know, probably some cheesy ass video game music I sometimes download to sample for sounds. That and “Hold It Against Me” by Britney Spears—the drop is pretty sick, haha
What sound or noise do you love?
Abel: Common sounds from Nature and pretty much everything that we can sample and experiment with.
Erik: Waterfalls and the sound of crickets singing
What should everyone just shut the fuck up about?
Arguing about song genres in music today, whether if it’s trance-step/moombahton-house-trap core or whatever, who the fuck cares if it’s good music just enjoy listening to it.
When you look at electronic music and the surrounding culture, what worries you about the future?
That a lot of music nowadays a side from a few tweaks have pretty much the same structure and sound, some people are only interested in hearing the song “drop.”
What are your weaknesses?
Abel: Lack of money. I juggle between school, work and music and even though I prefer music I had never considered leaving everything else behind until this great opportunity came.
Erik: Lack of time to fully focus on music production because it’s what I really like.
Do you have a secret passion?
Abel: My biggest passion is Music and also Films
Erik: No secrets here, Music is and will always be my passion.
What do you remember about your first DJ gig?
We we’re playing mostly house and electro music at a party and we kept getting requests to play songs by Rihanna and Lady Gaga when we already had our set planned for the night.
What’s the hardest professional lesson you’ve learned thus far?
Abel: In order to follow your dreams you need to sacrifice a lot in an effort to do something different, the first steps are always the hardest.
Erik: Don’t fear the drawing board. You’re smarter than when you started.
Tell me about your most memorable night out.
We met Skrillex back in Nocturnal 2011 and got to hang out with him, he was a spectator just like us so that was pretty cool.
Do you have any memorable moments from past EDC’s or any other Insomniac party?
Ever since we went to our first EDC we always wondered how awesome it would be to play an insomniac event and if we would ever accomplish that.
What advice would you offer someone thinking about entering the Discovery Project competition?
Since we found out about the first Discovery Project back in EDC Vegas 2011 we have entered the competition at least 4 times now and all I can say is try and be original with your 30-minute mix, if you didn’t win the first time, analyze what you think you might be doing wrong and just keep at it.
We would just like to thank everyone at Insomniac for giving us this great opportunity to play Beyond Wonderland, the crew at every stage were really cool to us and we hope to someday get the chance to play another Insomniac event.