Sitting over tacos and guac at a spot in Miami where he used to spin weekly, Gil Montiel told me his story.
It was his live opening set at Electric Pickle for Martin Buttrich that placed the Mexican-native, Miami local under my radar, but his musical talents have been developing for the better part of the last two decades. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Gil is part of a very select local lineup mybeatFix has in store for you at Electric Pickle Aug. 9. Read our interview with the DJ, producer below and listen a recorded live set.
A show recently where people really started to recognize your talent was at Martin Buttrich at Electric Pickle, presented by SAFE?
That’s where Safe comes in. I met Diego (Martinelli) when I got to Miami four years ago. He showed me around to the parties, and introduced me to people, producers and DJs. I started playing at his parties, opening for various DJs like Damian Lazarus. Davide Squillace and Audiofly. This was in the beginning when SAFE started. Eventually I stopped DJing to work on my live show. I was waiting for someone special I wanted to open for. Martin has been a real inspiration for me so I prepared something special for that show.
Tell me about your live show.
I’ve been producing so many tracks that a lot of them I never finish. That’s when I decided I’d put them all together and play whatever’s in my head for an hour and a half. I tried it with Martin Buttrich and Paul Woolford, and I killed. I thought, “I should just do this”.
What do you think playing live brings to the table versus just DJing?
For me it’s just the fact that it’s your own ideas. The people are reacting to whatever you came up with in your head while you’re there in front of them at the club. You’re winning already. If you’re doing something that’s going well, and the people are getting into it, you can really work with everything – delay, reverb and piano. You can go wherever you want to go.
I know you’ve worked with several other local producers like Lazaro Casanova. Tell me a bit about what you’ve been doing for them?
For Lazaro, I worked on a couple of tracks, and I’m doing the mastering for his and Jay-You’s label, PetFood. I’ve been producing with Dsan Powell, the resident at Space. We just finished an EP with a remix by Inxec and Jonny Cruz. I also just finished a track with Wilo and Ray Okpara for Anja Schneider’s label, Mobilee.
So you have a lot that’s brewing right now. Where do you hope to get to in the future?
I’d be a touring live act, incorporating a collective of people – meeting people and musicians so they can expose their music too — and playing all these great places like Sonar, Watergate, you name it.
What’s your background in music, and how did you start producing and playing live?
I’ve played drums since I was five, and was part of an indie dance rock band. I play a little bit of everything – piano, bass, guitar. I started producing early just for fun with my friends in Mexico. We were using FruitLoops – a little bit of everything that was available.
But you specialize in drums?
Yeah, percussion. And that helped me a lot with producing.
So when you got into producing, how did you know that was what you were going to do for the rest of your life?
It’s something I couldn’t stop. I always knew I was meant to do this–From playing the pots and pans in my kitchen to the pencils during class in school. Instead of playing Nintendo, I would rather be trying to run a cracked VSTs (virtual instruments) in Cubase.