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Dive into the universe of Sainte Vie, a Mexican electronic music artist renowned for his captivating live sets

Discover everything about the artist who is in the final stages of completing his first album and returning to Brazil

  • Interview: Marllon Eduardo Gauche | Photos: Stuart Tracte
  • 5 February 2024

Mexico is unveiling a new maestro of electronic music whose command of melodic techno is accompanied by a truly magical live set. Born as Pablo Piña in the bustling Mexico City in 1994, Sainte Vie has been shaping his identity by masterfully blending electronic and world music components.

As he shares about his distinctive approach, "Sometimes, I compose a rock song first with the guitar and then I turn it into an electronic track." This fusion of influences is reflected in his work, resulting in an eclectic, energetic, and deeply emotional sonic experience.

Growing up in Mexico City, his teenage years were defined by a deep fascination with the lively rock and alt-rock scene, prompting him to establish the band “Polar” at the age of thirteen. However, it was in France during the final years of high school that Pablo discovered his passion for electronic music and its infinite possibilities.

The journey took him to New York, where he deepened his knowledge in sound design and sound engineering, marking the beginning of his career as Sainte Vie after graduating from college there.

Since then, this producer, sound engineer, and label owner of Akumandra Records has gained international recognition with releases on prestigious labels such as Rose Avenue, Kompakt, and Cercle Records, performances on global stages like Burning Man and Coachella, and collaborations with NTO, WhoMadeWho, and Acid Pauli.

Connected not only with different places in the world but also with his own emotions, Sainte Vie has a solid musical philosophy:

"I like to think of my music as if it was a Time Machine that allows me to go back to special memories, to explore my dreams, to express myself, to express my emotions/feelings, to feel, and to imagine the future", an approach that resonates in every note of his music and will surely be present in his upcoming debut album, set to be released later this year and dedicated to his recently departed father.

Soon, Sainte Vie will be back in Brazil during Carnival, promising to bring new tracks and the captivating allure of his live set. It's a golden opportunity to see him live and feel the power of his music up close. In the meantime, you can dive into more details in the interview we conducted with him:

Hello, Sainte Vie! Thank you for having us. We understand that you began your musical journey as the leader of a band, Polar, during your adolescence in the alternative rock scene of Mexico City. Later, you discovered electronic music in Paris, a journey that transcends both geographical and stylistic boundaries. How do these origin experiences, in both rock and electronic music, converge in your current musical approach?

Hi! Thank you so much for having me! I am actually still heavily influenced by Rock music. I listen to a lot of Rock music, definitely one of my favorite genres! Sometimes I compose a rock song first with the guitar and then I turn it into an electronic track.

The way Rock music portrays and carries certain emotions really speaks to me, and I love to combine that with the endless possibilities the electronic music world has to offer in terms of sound design and innovation.

Moving between different places like Mexico, France, and New York has undoubtedly had an impact on your music. In your view, have these experiences shaped your sonic identity? Did you absorb distinctive elements and references from each place you lived?

Definitely! I think every second of my life has an impact on my music. I try to learn, move and travel as much as I can to get inspired and to live new experiences that will trigger my emotions and will make me want to share more about my journey, will make me want to express my feelings through music.

Learning, moving and traveling could be considered the fuel of my creative process. As you mentioned on question 1, Mexico was my first contact with music, mainly rock music. France was my first proper contact with electronic music and New York is the place where I developed my love and passion for electronic music (I studied Music Technology and Sound Design in New York and after graduating I started my career as Sainte Vie there).

Today, your primary style is Melodic Techno, a genre that has been gaining prominence in the underground electronic music scene and occasionally breaking through to the mainstream. How do you perceive this rise in popularity, and in what ways do you seek to differentiate what you play and produce from others?

I can’t speak for everyone but what I personally love about this genre is the cinematic feel, the super innovative sound design, and of course as the name of the genre says it already: the melodies in it.

As an artist, I believe that building a strong and unique musical identity is something that comes naturally as long as you focus on connecting with your unique self, expressing what’s inside you, focus on telling your own story and stay away from copying others.

In the end, every single human in this world is different and that can also be applied to art if you want to. Embrace and explore your uniqueness, your personality. We are all different by default. I also think playing my live set (exclusively my compositions from start to finish) helps me.

“I would describe my music as deeply emotional and cinematic”

Your artistic journey includes performances on notable stages worldwide, from Burning Man to renowned European festivals. These stages can be seen as ritual spaces where your music is not just presented but comes to life. How do you conceptualize the relationship between your music and the specific environment of each performance? Can you pinpoint the most memorable or challenging gig of your career so far?

The space/environment has a lot to do with the performance. There is a difference between:

- Playing a headline concert where everyone knows your music and is coming specifically to see you.

- Playing a club show where not necessarily everyone knows your music, set lengths are usually long, and people are not only there for the music but also to socialize.

- Playing a festival where there are many other artists playing, set lengths are usually short, and fan bases get combined.

For concert and festival shows I like to play my live set (only my compositions from start to finish) as that’s what I’m mainly known for and what distinguishes me the most.

For club shows and 2 hour+ long sets, I also like to play DJ Sets, depending on the club and the set length I’ll play DJ Set or Live set, sometimes I even play both on the same night.

My most memorable / favorite gig of my career so far is my Mayan Warrior X Robot Heart live set at Burning Man 2019.

You were featured on the cover of Mixmag Mexico in 2021 and are now gaining recognition in our Brazilian edition. You played here a few months ago, performing at Warung Beach Club in Santa Catarina and the Body and Soul party in Rio de Janeiro. How were these performances and what caught your attention the most?

Yes! Both shows were absolutely incredible! I’ve really enjoyed all of my shows in Brazil, but if I had to pick a favorite that would be Warung, the energy there is so amazing! I love how Brazil has so much nature, I can’t wait to be back in your beautiful country!

In addition to memorable gigs in Brazil and around the world, you've had the chance to collaborate with many talented and renowned artists such as Acid Pauli, Sam Shure, and especially WhoMadeWho. Can you tell us a bit about these collaborations and how they have impacted your style and career?

I’m very grateful for those incredible collaborations! They’ve all had a huge positive impact in my career, especially the Acid Pauli one as he was the first big artist in the scene to support my music and he gave me the opportunity to remix one of the songs from his album which really helped my career. Style wise I’d say those 3 collaborations you mentioned are quite different from each other.

On the 12th, your remix of "Party Girl," originally by Michelle Gurevich, was released, marking your first work in 2024. It has a more organic approach, and the original had a rawer aesthetic. How was it working on this track? It seems like you excel in remixes, doesn't it?

Thank you so much for the compliment! I actually really enjoyed the process of making this remix, everything happened in a very clear and natural way, I did the entire remix in one day, one studio session and it was ready!

I knew exactly how I wanted to remix the track from the very first moment I heard the original. I’m very happy with the result and super grateful for the opportunity to release the remix! Thank you so much Michelle!

“Music is like a time machine that allows me to go back to special memories, explore my dreams, express myself, and imagine the future”

In addition to this track, we know that your first album is also on the way. Is there an element of self-reflection or sharing personal experiences that you aim to incorporate, creating a deeper connection with listeners?

I want to dedicate my first full album to my father. I’ve also always wanted to compose my first full album before turning 30 years old. I’m currently 29 years old so I’m ready for it. I’m very excited about it and I’m happy to say it’s been a beautiful process so far.

It's worth noting that creating an album allows for a more expansive sonic exploration compared to shorter works. In this context, is there a specific intention to experiment with new textures, soundscapes, or collaborations benefiting from the expanded scale of the album? What is your goal with the release of this, your first LP?

I’ve got a bunch of new plugins and synths I’ve been using a lot during the process of making this album for sure. I’m also approaching the creative process of making this album a bit different than usual, when I start composing a track I normally work exclusively on that specific track non stop until it’s fully finished.

Now, for the album, as soon as I have the main elements of the track ready, I start creating a new track and as soon as I have the main elements of that new track ready I jump to the next new track.

The idea is to focus on making the core of all the tracks first so that the tracks really have a strong connection between each other and fit nicely with the overall feel/concept/theme of the album.

Then once I have 14/15 strong sketches (core of the tracks / main elements of the tracks) I start focusing on finishing all of them, then I pick my favorite tracks and finalize the album.

We can't ignore the audiovisual shows you're promoting through Vortex, collaborating with different visual artists like Jason Ting, Jacob Stillman, Dimitri Thouzery, F3… Where did this idea originate, and how do you select the artists to join you in this project?

I’ve been a fan of visual arts since forever. I think visuals and music complement each other beautifully so that’s pretty much how the Vortex Audio / Visual show was born.

Originally it started only with visuals from F3 and Dimitri Thouzery, then I started adding more artists. I follow closely a bunch of visual artists so whenever there is an opportunity to collaborate, I get in touch with them.

“I want to dedicate my first album to my father”

As we're approaching the end of the interview, we'd like to ask a more profound question: how would you describe the philosophy behind your music? Is there a specific message or emotion you seek to convey?

I would describe my music as deeply emotional and cinematic. Sometimes I like to think of my music as if it was a Time Machine that allows me to go back to special memories, to explore my dreams, to express myself, to express my emotions/feelings, to feel, and to imagine the future.

In a few days, you'll be back in Brazil, this time performing during Carnival, likely the most vibrant and euphoric time of the year in our country. What are your expectations for this return, and what can the Brazilian audience expect differently this time? Thank you!

I’m so excited! I know it will be amazing! I love Brazil! Brazilian audience can expect to hear some new tracks of mine for sure. Thank you so much for having me!

“The way Rock music portrays and carries certain emotions really speaks to me, and I love to combine that with the endless possibilities the electronic music world has to offer in terms of sound design and innovation”

Follow Sainte Vie: Instagram | Facebook | Soundcloud

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