Huge new tune from the Columbian award winning producer now nestled in The Netherlands. DMCWORLD checks in…
Hey Ortzy, welcome to DMCWORLD! Tell us where in the world you are right now?
Hey amigos, thanks for the invitation!. Right now I’m in Amsterdam, NL. This is my new home since the end of 2016.
For those readers that don’t know, before going solo you were in a duo called HIIO based in Argentina. How did that partnership come about and what kind of music were you putting out there?
My ex partner (Nico Hamuy) went to Colombia back in 2010 and he met a very good friend of mine. Nico was talking about making music collaborations with other artists from Latam and my friend mentioned me. Days later, Nico contacted me and we started making a song together called ‘Something About You’. Then I decided to move to Argentina to start a new stage of my career there. A few months later we decided to create HIIO.
It’s fair to say that you were seriously on the verge of breaking through into the big times with HIIO. Why did you decide to walk away from it all? What was that one moment that made you think, I don’t want to do this anymore?
The last year of HIIO (2015-2016) was very weird, music and shows wise. We were not very happy with the music direction that the other was feeling and enjoying the most. Nico was going more into the “underground” scene while I was feeling the “mainstream” scene more. So there was a moment when we just didn’t feel there was the same chemistry there that there had been originally and that the smartest decision was to go down our own paths and go back to our solo careers. To be honest, it was not easy at all but I think now we are both happy about having made that decision and we can keep enjoying our lives and careers.
It’s hard enough to make it once in the music industry, but trying to do it twice is an incredibly risky move. How supportive were your friends and family of your decision? Did they think you’d lost your mind? Did you have a back up plan in case it didn’t work?
My whole life I’ve been super proud and confident in my work and my abilities. I believe that if you work hard every day, if you enjoy what you do and if you wake up every morning with a smile on your face, then you will achieve whatever you want in your life. Unfortunately for over a year, that was not happening for me with HIIO. If I have to be honest, every single member of my family and every friend I have supported me on the decision and they all gave me the same reason – that even though I was taking a risk to start all over again, because they know me and they know what I can do when I want to make something true, they believed it was the right thing for me to do. This might sound cheesy but I had no backup plans at all. Nothing more than my contacts, my friends and a dream to follow.
So now you’re no longer HIIO, it’s just you as Ortzy. Has there been a kind of freedom in that, in your ability to just do what you want to musically? Do you miss working with another partner, having someone else’s creative input or ideas to bounce off of? Has it been a lonely or liberating experience?
For me there’s nothing better in life than being your own boss. Making the decisions by yourself and only depending on you. Of course now I have a new team and I listen to all of them, but at the end of the day I’m the final one who decides what to do and that’s an amazing feeling for me, even if I end up making a few wrong decisions along the way. Those make you learn a lot! I feel completely free now. It’s not that I was frustrated or anything like that when I had a partner, but it’s just that I now can do anything, anywhere and anytime, without having to ask for permission or check someone else’s opinion before I can move a finger. That applies for music, my social medias, my team, my personal life, everything!
The new tracks you’re making as Ortzy are very different to what you were doing as HIIO. Why is that?
My whole life I’ve been focused on and dedicated to creating club and festival records, where you have many rules about bpms, arrangements, sounds, singers, styles. By the end I felt that my creativity was really limited, and I felt very frustrated a lot of the time. I wanted to try different styles, different rhythms, collaborate with any kind of artist that I like, release music with labels that I like. In other words, to have a musical freedom. Now with my own solo project I want to show the world that I’m more than simply a 128bpm producer, that I can go much further and have the same freedom as pop or urban producers have. The same way that they can release or collaborate in different styles, I can do that too!
You didn’t just leave HIIO, you left Argentina and in fact, the whole of South America. You’re now in the Netherlands which as we all know is one of the music industry’s epicenters. Is that why you decided to go there?
To be a Latin dance artist is not easy at all when you’re living in South America. As with any other career, you need an environment that can offer you tools to grow and get better every day. You need good producers, good DJs, management agencies, booking agencies, record labels, publishing companies, singers, songwriters, musicians – the list keep going! Unfortunately in South America you don’t find many of those super important tools and that makes the growing process 1000 times slower than in countries like the Netherlands. When I took the decision of leaving HIIO, my first thought was to start a new life surrounded by these tools and unfortunately in Colombia or in Argentina I just didn’t have access to them…because I have a Spanish citizen as well, I decided to move to Europe. I thought that the Netherlands would be the perfect country to have those tools in one place, and I was right!
What have you found in the Netherlands that excites you as a music producer, and what parts of South America that used to give you inspiration do you miss now you’re not there?
The most exciting thing about living here is that the competition is so big and strong and I love that! I believe that when you have that pressure on your shoulders, to get better and get to the same level as the best DJs and producers in the world, that it makes you grow! Since I got here I’ve felt the energy of the scene and how big it is, and I knew that if I wanted to achieve big things then I had to work harder than ever, and that’s exactly what it’s happening now. The biggest difference that I can feel about living in South American or in Europe is definitely the music that you produce. In South America the crowd is more ‘housey’, here in the Netherlands and Europe people enjoy many other types of music, mostly the mainstream sounds. That affects you in a big way. In South America most of the producers are focused on making music for clubs and dance parties, here it is the same as well but they’re also very focused on commercial and worldwide music that works for radio and not only for DJs.
These days social media fan bases are a huge tool for any artist, and we’re guessing your fan base was locked into the HIIO pages? How easy was it to bring them over to Ortzy?
That was maybe the most difficult part about starting my solo project. I learnt a lot about growing the HIIO social medias and now I’m using that knowledge to do the same with Ortzy. I also hired a couple people specialized in that area to give me more ideas, advice and to teach me new things. I’m very happy because it’s working really good so far!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself living in Los Angeles…I’m not sure if it will be in 5 years or a few more years than that, but that’s my goal. I see myself producing records and having shows with pop artists, rock bands or any type of artist that I admire.
What labels and artists would you like to work with?
Labels I don’t know, but I would love to collaborate with dance artists like Zedd, Calvin Harris, Martin Garrix and pop bands like Coldplay, Rihanna, Drake etc.
What venue and festival would you like to play that you haven’t yet?
Ultra Music Festival Miami, EDC and Coachella
What’s your rider when you’re on tour?
Nothing special. 4 CDJs Nexus, Mixer Nexus, Mic…and the most important: 2 bottles of a good whisky!
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you on tour?
Well…leaving a show in Rio de Janeiro someone stole my bag with my laptop, my hard drives, passports, money…and I also had some bad moments at airports with delayed flights, security alerts, that kind of thing.
If you could tell your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
Never ever leave ‘Ortzy’ LOL. Because there’s nothing better than being your own boss.
I don’t regret of being part of HIIO. I believe that everything happens for a reason and if it weren’t for being in HIIO, then I probably wouldn’t be here. HIIO taught me a lot and made me a better producer and DJ.
Ortzy & Ben Ambergen ft. Bec And Sebastian ‘Stand Up’ is out now on PM Recordings