End the year discovering a national artist who has pleasantly surprised us. It is well known that Spain boasts an enormous variety of musical proposals. This year, Como las Grecas has not only discovered Castora Herz, but also other artists like Idoipe, and solo artists with eclectic and unique proposals such as Rubén Kielsmann or Dark Vektor, to name just a few…
To conclude the year, we interviewed Castora Herz, an artist from Ampudia and the owner of Samain Music, to learn more about his new work, “This Is Jota.”
It’s a joy to have stumbled upon your promo by chance. Well, tell us a bit about yourself and your beginnings in electronic music and music in general to introduce listeners before we begin…
My musical journey dates back many years, starting with learning to play the guitar as a child. In terms of electronic music, it was during my university days in Salamanca that I discovered a new world that blew my mind and where I learned to DJ.
In short, about ten years ago, I was living in Berlin and delving into electrocumbia, global bass, afrobeat, etc., with my project Scooby Dub. I traveled extensively, playing across Europe and Latin America. Eventually, I questioned why I wasn’t exploring my own roots, leading to the birth of Castora Herz in Berlin in 2018.
Do you know Idoipe? It was inevitable to think of him upon discovering you…
Yes, of course, I know him. We released a track of his, “EL REINAU,” on my label Samain Music. I co-produced that track and later remixed it for his remix album.
You have your own label, Samian Music. Why did you decide to create your own label? Is Samain open to other proposals? How can someone send you their demos?
When I created Samain Music in 2019, I was still living in Berlin. I noticed a tremendous surge in world music, in which I had already been involved. Cumbia was at the forefront, but also funk carioca, African rhythms, and Arab melodies were making their way into all kinds of venues. You would go to clubs of techno and hear African percussion and Middle Eastern harmonies. I wondered, where are the Iberian traditions in this surge? They weren’t part of it, so I decided to establish Samain Music to showcase the rich traditions of the Iberian Peninsula in Central Europe. Afterward, I decided to move to rural Spain, and now the label has different motivations but continues to stand strong and is very open to new proposals that fit the direction we’ve set. Simply write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we listen with great care and attention to all proposals.
What has been the best and worst for you in 2023?
The worst of 2023 has undoubtedly been that it’s the first year since my mother is no longer with us, and it’s not easy to navigate the path without such crucial support.
The best is that the Castora project has worked very well. We’ve played in many places, and I’ve achieved a long-held dream of forming my own band, which we call La Cuadrilla.
I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m glad for your new project… Do you have references in other labels apart from yours?
Labels that promote Iberian folktronica like ours, as such, I think there aren’t any. Still, we closely follow some that are releasing similar things, such as Breaking Bass, Raso Estudio, Shango Records… Also, even if they don’t relate to Iberian music, I’m very influenced by labels like Babylon Records from Hungary, Kebrada from Peru, or Enchufada from Portugal…
Tell us about your setup. Where does the Castilian tradition manifest in your sound?
The Castilian tradition is very present in my sound. Starting with the fact that I make electronic music with non-4×4 traditional rhythms, such as the 3/4 of the jotas or the 5/8 of the sorteao, for example. In general, I also tend to introduce traditional percussion and instruments, trying to blend them with powerful beats and synthetic sounds