Based in Santiago, Chile, Latin Bitman is a DJ under the influence: He’s been influenced by hip-hop, reggae, dub, funk, electro, jazz and countless other musical styles, which he mixes with Latin rhythms that make his moniker well-deserved. I had an intercontinental chat with the spinner about his new album, Colour (out on Nacional Records) and the many voices that permeate it:
A while back you changed your name from Bitman to Latin Bitman—why “Latin”?
It goes with what I do, which is make Latin music more universal.
What did you set out to do with Colour?
Colour is the evolution of my previous album. It’s all about my musical identity and having your own color at the base of it. I’ve put together all the music that I like listening to on the same platform. It’s a mix of influences. There’s a little of everything.
How do you pull it all together?
The Latin timbre. I included percussions, voices in Spanish, guitar, lots of bass. Those are the codes of Latin music that unify this record.
You have different Chilean artists on this album—why did you choose these collaborators?
Francisca Valenzuela is an artist on the rise. She makes rock and pop but I wanted to put her on a different platform, which ended up being reggae. In Anita Tijoux’s case, she is hip-hop, and I wanted something like that for the song “Insomnio.” I also worked with Funk Attack. They have funk coursing through their vein for many years.
What’s your favorite track on the album?
I have a soft spot for the song “Someday,” which features Francisca Valenzuela. For some reason, I felt like I was really getting where I wanted to go with the singers.
What’s the best part about DJing to a live audience?
The best part of playing in front of a live audience is being able to stage a show. A DJ can’t rely on his guitar. You have to use certain elements: images, lights, emcees. I like the possibility of being a rock star and feeling that the people approve.
You recently filmed a video for the song “Help Me” with Francisca — how was that?
The video is great. Very simple. It really reflects what the record is all about, and who I am. It was filmed in Santiago in 10 different locations (basketball courts, nightclubs, with the homeless). It contrasts these two worlds: the homeless versus the possibility of somehow surviving.
Check out the video for “Help Me”: