Discovery Project Releases is a regular series featuring exclusive music downloads from our Discovery Project alumni.
During last year’s EDC Las Vegas competition, La Patilla, née Ariel Sanchez, laced us up with some sick beats and a crispy-clean DJ mix that exemplified his many years behind the decks. In a time when DJing may seem like an afterthought to many producers, Ariel always pays the utmost respect to DJ culture. On Sunday night at EDC, he approached his opening set at cosmicMEADOW like a true champ, warming up a crowd of weary Headliners by making them forget they had already spent two days partying.
His background as an open-format DJ has given him a broad palette of inspiration to draw from. He’s just as comfortable composing emotive future bass as he is crafting infectious bassline grooves on the house music tip. And this is where we find him with his Discovery Project Release, “No Worries.” He’s captured the vibe of a blossoming summer romance in a sunny, feel-good jam wrapped around a positively soulful vocal.
We caught up with La Patilla to chat about how he made the move from urban club to dance music, the life-changing event that gave him his name, and why he doesn’t care about genres.
You started your career as a Latin/urban DJ. Why did you decide to leave that behind?
I started my career in uptown New York (Washington Heights). The clubs/music there are amazing, but the people at the shows did not really demonstrate respect for the art or the DJ. I remember playing shows for 100–200 people, where only a few paid attention, while the rest tried their hardest to look cool. It was more about who had the most bottles and hookahs, who dressed the best, and who had a VIP table. I did not like the narcissism.
I was also becoming tired of the same local venues—not because they were bad, but because I knew if I kept doing the same Latin/urban thing, I wasn’t going to achieve my potential. I wanted to travel the world and play in front of thousands—not hundreds—of interested and appreciative people. I will say that I am grateful for my background and my decision to build an open-format career, because I feel like I can face any crowd in the world, and I know I can play for them.
You discovered dance music after moving to Chicago from NYC. What inspired your move?
The shift really stemmed from my desire for change in my life. I was struggling back home with my music. Everything was beginning to feel stagnant. I had a friend out in Chicago that asked me to move out there. I accepted, eager for the opportunity for a change of pace, and it was one of the most important decisions I’ve made. Moving to the Windy City opened my mind and my life to electronic dance music. The underground parties/festivals inspired me to make much of the music I’ve released to this day.
Your alias is the result of a near-death experience. Even though it happened early in life, do you see that experience as something that shaped how you take on the world?
The event itself actually happened when I was young; I struggle to remember the exact circumstances. It was certainly a formative experience in hindsight, but I struggle to go in-depth. One more tangible effect on my life: I stay away from drugs and pills. After a near-fatal accident, I see no place for dangerous substances in my life.
You’ve got a tune coming out with Tessa Rae, who’s worked with the same producers as the Weeknd. How did that come about?
Tessa is great! One day, I was searching blogs and found her amazing EP, Young Blood. I remember falling in love with her song “Fresh & Good.” I am constantly looking for music and artists that inspire me, especially if there is opportunity for collaboration. I decided to follow her on socials. We ultimately connected online, traded numbers, sent files from L.A. to New York, and we banged out a great tune. I’m really looking forward to the release. The funny thing is, we still haven’t met in person.
You bounce back and forth between future bass and house music. What is it about these two differing styles that inspires you?
Honestly, I don’t really believe in genres in the way that most people say I should. I feel it’s good to maintain some level of consistency, but I don’t really configure the music I make to a specific genre. I started my career playing diverse styles for diverse crowds (bachata, merengue, salsa, hip-hop, trap, reggaeton, cumbia and more). In a similar way, I like to approach my productions with diversity. I really appreciate all kinds of music, as do many of my supporters. I never want to box myself into a certain style or sound.
You were recently the victim of a SoundCloud shutdown. Is there more that the industry at large can do to support up-and-coming producers?
SoundCloud is really tough, especially for the starving artist/producer. This is actually the second time they’ve shut down my account. In this most recent instance, an original song of mine, which included a featured artist, was uploaded to another streaming service by said artist and in some strange series of events, SoundCloud thought I took the song from him—even though the other artist and I were on good terms. They shut down my account and were totally inaccessible. There was no path for conversation. Thousands and thousands of followers were gone, just like that.
Moving forward, I wish SoundCloud allowed producers to upload remixes/bootlegs/mixes, especially because we don’t directly profit from them. I have never made a dime out of my music or others’ from SoundCloud directly. Overall, it has been really frustrating—especially because I continue to make remixes that I’m dying to release!
What did you learn from that experience?
Personally, I learned to be extra cautious about what I upload and to not upload remixes without the permission of the record label. The copyright police are real, and they will come after you. I am trying to stay positive about everything, though. Perhaps this is an opportunity to start fresh. I really rely on my positivity to get me through tough times.
Can you tell us a little bit about your DP release?
Absolutely! “No Worries” is one of my favorite original productions. I actually began working on this song a few years ago with the help of a friend. We were just messing around musically. He is not really a singer by professional standards, but he still gave it a try. The result was a great song! The lyrics were inspired by a time of real struggle in my life… when I was working as a dishwasher in a Mexican restaurant, was DJing as much as I could, barely slept, and I had no money to take out a girl I really liked.