Before listening to the NORTEC COLLECTIVE, forget what you know about Tijuana. Forget cheap prostitutes, marines on shore leave, unpaved roads, semi-automatic spraying narco bosses, donkey shows. Forget danger, fear, worry. Forget Perry Como singing "South of the Border." Forget CNN. Forget "Tiawanna."
Know also that the Nortec Collective, from Tijuana and Ensenada, is not just a band, but a creative cooperative of musicians, graphic designers, architects, filmmakers, visual artists, and fashion stylists. Nortec stands for norteño-techno, an electronic aesthetic that converges high-tech and low-tech, rural and urban.
The Nortec Collective was officially born in 1999, when Fussible's Pepe Mogt started doing sample experiments on old banda sinaloense and norteño records and then tweaking the sounds on his hard-drive and synthesizer. The same tech-Mex aesthetic is at work on The Tijuana Sessions Vol. 1, Nortec Collective's first musical manifesto released to U.S. ears. Tijuana Sessions features the seven musical members of the Nortec Collective: Fussible (Pepe Mogt and Melo Ruíz), Bostich (Ramón Amezcua), Terrestre (Fernando Corona), Plankton Man (Ignacio Chavez), Panóptica (Roberto Mendoza), Clorofila (Jorge Verdín and Fritz Torres), and Hiperboreal (Pedro Gabriel Beas and Claudia Algara).
The album also includes recordings culled from norteño street musicians who play in the red-light district bars of downtown Tijuana.
The Nortec Collective musicians have packed rave parties throughout Mexico, Japan, and Germany, transformed L.A. rock clubs, and ruled the stage of New York's Irving Plaza at the first annual Latin Alternative Music Conference held in August 2000. Former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo invited them to provide music for the Mexican pavilion at the recent Expo 2000 in Hanover, and they've done remixes for Beck, La Dosis, Titan, and Julieta Venegas among others.
In the early '90s, Richard Blair was a successful engineer/producer in the U.K. working at Peter Gabriel's Real World studio alongside the likes of Gabriel, Brian Eno, and Daniel Lanois. While visiting Colombia, he fell in love with the country's seductive and magical music and people, and a two-week visit turned into a three-year adventure. He gained a rich and deep knowledge of Latin rhythms and Latin soul, earning a reputation as something of a musical revolutionary.