In Autumn 2008 Dub-O-Rama discovered Tor.ma in Dub aka Rafael Hernandez in the world wide web - there was a debut-lp called 'Big Blue Story' on the german psy-progressive label Iono Music out since October 2008, some contributions on (dub)-samplers and a homepage on myspace, which kept my interest going and growing by progressing new tracks on his myspace-site. I wanted to know more about this talented guy from Mexico, who mixes psychedelic electronic sounds into dub-riddims in all varieties from space-dub to vintage style connected with some fine notes of techno-rhythms as well as world-music sounds. So this is the very first interview of the artist released wordwide!
Dub-O-Rama: Hello Rafael, nice to meet you. What was the point to decide for you: Music is my life?
Tor.Ma: Well it started very young, I used to play drums in several rock bands, there I learned some guitar and bass. Since then I just knew thats what I wanted to do, so with the time I changed the drums for the synths, but my passion for making music got bigger and bigger...
Dub-O-Rama: How did you discover your love for dub-music and on what did it grow on?
Tor.Ma: It all started back at the end on the 90's with a girlfriend. We made an interesting interchange of musical tastes, I introduced her electronic music such as progressive house and psytrance and she got me into the roots reggae music.. I fell in love since. Then I started djing and producing my tracks.. mostly progressive trance and ambient but still listening lots of reggae and dub. So it came natural and very flowing my musical pad started mixing ambient sounds with dub influence. In 2005 came my very first dub called "green drops". This one got a lot of recognition in the electronic scene here in mexico because there was no other psy-dub project, it was released on 2006 on a mexican label. So it became my new way to express myself when I realized that I could do a mix between both worlds that I love... electronic and roots. I felt a lot of freedom and joy producing this music.. such as it became my "A" project, over the progressive trance one.
Dub-O-Rama: Your music interested partner, the woman you speak about: Is it the singer Denisse on two of the tracks on 'big blue story?' Is she your partner, your wife?
Tor.Ma: No and yes, the girl I spoke of was a really good friend of mine, but the one who sings in the album, Denisse, its my wife, my muse. I have worked several tracks with here and I´m planning to keep doing it... Well,she has a great beautiful voice, and I have the chance to record her any time! (laughs)
Dub-O-Rama: The name of your act "Tor.Ma in DuB" - has it a special sense or is it just a fantasy name?
Tor.Ma: It´s a long story: at the beginning, like at 2001, I was producing psychedelic-goa trance mixed with prehispanic sounds (with mayan and aztec instruments). One of the sacred books of the mayans "popol vuh" says that men was made by the gods with corn. So the element that is in the middle between music and instruments is the human factor: the corn factor. That´s why I called my first project Factor Mazorca (corn factor). When time passed and i changed music styles, I wanted to change the name also but to keep the escence, so I took "facTOR MAzorca" = there you are the "Tor.Ma" and the "in Dub" its to define the music style!
Dub-O-Rama: How do you get the deal with Iono Music?
Tor.Ma: Well I have a music manager who helps me finding a home for my music, that way I just focus on the music production. He made the contact with them. The first release with Iono was a progressive trance tune in a compilation. After that we got in touch often, I show them some tracks of the "in dub" project and they really liked them. So we started working on the album for the other side of the label, called the "private room series", that has it´s focus on chill-ambient and dub, and there is it :)
Dub-O-Rama: You live in Playa del Carmen, south of Cancun, a well known place for US-holidaymakers. One might imagine you working as tourist-DJ in beach clubs for money in order to finance your own musical independence. Is it like this or do you earn your money with other professional works?
Tor.Ma: I do have gigs at beach clubs and parties around the area, playing all my music projects and DJing, also around Mexico. But I´m also a freelancing graphic designer, so thats my day job during the week. It´s nice because I work on images that sometimes inspire me for some sounds and viceversa.
Dub-O-Rama: Would you say you get more influenced by angloamerican music styles in this area as if you would live in Mexico City?
Tor.Ma: No. Here at Playa del Carmen are mostly european people (and mexican of course). Most of the US-tourists are at Cancun. Also I just have been living here for one and a half years, I´m from other state in the gulf of mexico, so my influences are from everywhere: Europe, America, Asia, Africa....
Dub-O-Rama: You´ve called your album "Big Blue Story". But the music on this album seems to be more blue like the sea than blue in it´s mood! What´s the title about?
Tor.Ma: I started the album in my hometown, the port Veracruz, and Ifinished it here at the beachtown Playa del Carmen. The sea is a great inspiration for me, I just love it, so it´s like a tribute that the album was made in front of the big blue, a.k.a. the ocean. Also it´s called that way because the complete album is like one big track, no interludes between tracks, instead there are transitions, like a long story made by the sea.
Dub-O-Rama: Are you planning a tour in Europe for the future?
Tor.Ma: Yes! I had some invitations this year but for any reason it couldn´t happen. Next year I´m sure I will be there to play some music!
Dub-O-Rama: What´s about your actual tendencies, drives, works connected with dub music and co?
Tor.Ma: Well, in my first album you can hear a mixture between downtempo, ambient, and some difficult to classify tracks, heavily influenced by psychedelic sounds but of course all of them with dub elements and vibe. Now I divided my projects into Tor.Ma - a more electronica-ambient-chill out style, and Tor.Ma in Dub. So Tor.ma in Dub gets more and more roots influenced music: heavyweight basses, roots riddims, sometimes steppas style, everything with an old school feel, but with a touch of fresh elements, electronic sounds, synth melodies and crazy EFX too. I like a lot this style I´m working, I think it is more polished. I´m spending right now a lot of time at studio creating... and it works great on dancefloors!
Dub-O-Rama: Yeah, Rafael, you show us your ways, but how will you be giving it a face for the future? You have to make some personal style decisions! New tracks on your myspace-site tell me you are really thinking about it!
Tor.Ma: Actually I think I do, you can notice when a track is made by me because of the little finger prints here and there. Like I said, I´m working on a new direction, but I am the kind of artist that dont wants to be repeating the same formula again and again, thats why some times its more spacey, some times more roots, other electronic-techy or more ambient style, but in any of them theres always the "tor.ma stamp" with some tricks and sounds that are my style. For me it is more interesting to discover what I am into now instead of hearing "new" stuff of the same thing.
Dub-O-Rama: Thank you for this open-minded interview! My best wishes for your next releases!
Tor.Ma: Thank you amigo! It was really nice this interview, great you like my music and help to spread the word. Thanx to all who enjoy the Tor.Ma in dub music.. there are lots of new surprises comming soon. Keep shinning!
Interview: Bernhard Groha (08/2009)