May 20, 2005

Discos Invisibles: From a CD burner to an independent record label

Photos and text
by Luis Alonso Pérez

Even if some don’t want to accept it, technology has changed our lives.

The advances in technology have pushed forward a radical change in the form we communicate, live and work. For many artists, it has allowed them to exploit their creativity in ways they had never imagined. For Jose Ignacio “Nacho” López, a Peruvian musician living in Tijuana, technology has taken him from being a man with a CD burner, to being the chairman of one of the record labels with more presence in the national electronic scene.

Familia Invisible - Mónica, Siki, Nacho, Ulises, Salvador y Martha Castro.

It is 10:20 pm at the studios of Discos Invisibles, in Playas de Tijuana and the base player from the band Miel is starting to look tired after a few hours of recording their new material. It is hard to believe that a few years ago Nacho was the only musician that sat foot in this modest at-home studio, staying long hours alone with his computer, his beat boxes, and synthesizers.

But this change did not happen over night, the Peruvian musician himself has had to invest time, money, work and soul to the project. The idea of creating an independent record label was born precisely because of the fact that today’s technology allows musicians to work, record, and diffuse their material without having to wit for that golden dream of signing with a big label to get their material known.

It all started when Nacho came to Tijuana in 1998. Around that time Nacho had a few years creating music, and Discos Invisibles was created as the independent label that would publish the records of Nacho’s electronic project El Lazo Invisible.

With the pass of years El Lazo Invisible recorded three records as the labels only project, until musical solitude began to be boring and he started working with Monica Camacho, to form the first version of the band Miel, wich now has five members: Nacho, Monica, Siki, Ulises, and Salvador.

At that time, a friend of Nacho’s, Heriberto Acosta, began to participate in the label with his project I/O. Later, new projects started to join in, like Asteroide, Dasain and from then on, everything started to move forward at huge speed.

Nowadays Discos Invisibles is a family with more than ten members, from musicians to public relations people, all of them working voluntarily to move their personal aspirations forward, channeled trough the label. Their current line-up includes the projects Miel, Dasain, Asteroide, I/O, Mirador, Orlando, and of course El Lazo Invisible.

For Nacho, Discos Invisi-bles is defined as “an eclectic collection of the border’s digital audio works.” His definition is broad, because there is an opening to all types of projects that look to innovate in electronic music in some way, “Any product that involves digital audio, no matter the style and it belongs to the border environment, it’s enough to fit in our style” López added.

Because it is an independent project, which means there is no money, the musicians have had to cooperate in ways they have never imagined. Part of this work involves the “hand made” creation of a record with their own home equipment, from the audio’s recording and mastering, to the fabrication of the record itself. “There are times we get together to work in duplicating, printing, cutting or folding the CD’s packing, while others work in the web page or design the flyer for our next appearance. For those musicians who thought that this only consisted in recording or playing live, they end up thinking Hey, they never told me I had to do this!” commented Nacho.

There are many opportunities in store for Discos Invi-sibles, which now has several well routed projects and a couple more in the works. Plus, their participation in events and festivals has being increasing lately, recently two of the label’s projets –Miel and El Lazo Invisible- took part in the Flama festival in Xalapa, Veracruz, the same day I/O, Dasain and Asteroide, took part in the Radio Tijuana Festival at the Multikulti cultural center.

For over a year now, they have kept a weekly radio show on internet on the station Radio Global, which is broadcasted live from Discos Invisibles’ head quarters and broadcasted over the internet from the offices of Radio Global. Even so, their plans of growth have pushed them to start their own radio station, which they expect to launch in a couple of months under the name of Radio Invisible.

The future is looking good for the label, it’s hard to come about a flyer for an electronic event in Tijuana without seeing the name of one the label’s members. We see them everywhere… even if they are invisible.

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