January 14, 2017

Aaron Aux

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El Conquistador is Ready to Conquer the Underground

We're setting our sights on a triumphant return to live music in the Denver Underground after a long layoff. With many of the roadblocks already being lifted for an uninhibited return to the dance floor, DJs are beginning to refuel their bass cannons. Certainly, that is music to the ears of bassheads in the scene and promoters in the region are responding, in droves, with a flurry of new event announcements. AK Productions, Quite Low Records and Quite Right Records are no exception as they gear up for the return of 'Til The Break of Dawn. In response to their call to arms, El Conquistador is ready to conquer the underground, hitting the ground running, following a long hiatus. Francisco Pizarro, known affectionately in the underground as El Conquistador, is wasting no time in getting back into action. For him and many others, the pandemic will go down as a time for reflection and revitalization. With his return to the Colorado wilderness for A Moment in Time, he's calling for us all to witness his growth as an artist and an ardent supporter of all things bass music! Specifically, his trigger finger is itching to bombard us with his payload of incendiary beats. Undoubtedly, Cisco cannot wait to remind us exactly why his El Conquistador moniker is truly fitting. Moreover, he wants to show us all that he's ready to conquer the game. Certainly, with backing from so many of the infamous bass music crews around Denver, his credentials are fully verified. Therefore, the logical next move is for him to show us exactly why they're adding him to their cavalries - on the dance floor. Indeed, jumping on a lineup full of Denver's bass infantry is the perfect opportunity to get back into midseason form. After dropping the opening set for TTBOD in 2020, it makes perfect sense to highlight him as part of the festival's return. As a result, BOD couldn't resist the chance to check in with El Conquistador as he gets set to grace the decks for AK, QL, and QR once again. Certainly, the Miami transplant has plenty to say about why he brings his talents to the bass capital. Above all, he has plenty to say about why he's ready to conquer the Denver underground. Bass'D Out DNVR: You were set to do big things in 2020 before the pandemic took a never-ending shit on the nightlife industry. How’d you manage to stay in top form music-wise last year? What are some positive things that came out of that experience for you musically? El Conquistador: 2020 - What a shit show! I'm glad it's over. 2020 was going to be a great year for dnb in Denver. I was able to stay in top form by getting to do a lot of live streams. Those are just fun! There really isn't any pressure. I try new things and see how not only it mixes but also how its received by the people tuned into these streams - the chat room can be revealing. 2020 was nice to just be in my DJ room and play around with dnb and other genres like breaks, glitch-hop and funky house (man do I love it)! BOD: So, I know you’re originally from Florida, the land of booty bass and nasty breakbeats, but be honest, who's bass music scene goes harder - Denver or Miami? Is it hard being an up-and-coming DJ in a such a huge market, known for major events like Ultra and WMC? ELC: I'm from the 305 bro! Growing up in Miami is crazy and you get exposed to so much more then Bass Music. Miami was home to all genres of House when I was growing up. Bass music was always very underground and one of the reasons I was drawn to it back in boarding school, in the mid '90s. If you look at something like the WMC, there weren't many dnb parties. I remember the good old days, if you will, of the RAM vs. VIRUS party for example. I'll let you just imagine that one in yo' head! Denver is called the Bass Capital for a reason! I feel moving out of Miami to the Mile High City was a great move. The people and DJ friends I've made here are raising my skills as a DJ and I'm finding people that I can build things with. There's a barrage of drum and bass crews here with some of the best talent that I've seen, period. Over the years, I've seen some shit (good and bad...so very bad)! DJing in Miami is different. You have the big major clubs with the biggest names in dance music you can think of, but there's also a gritty underground scene if you look hard enough. You can find any type of EDM on any given night. So, if you want to go to one of the meccas of dance music, you best bring your 'A game' or go home, son! BOD: We have to address the alias now. Is it an homage to the 18th century explorer/conquerors, a tribute to the song by Thirty Seconds To Mars (shout-out to Jared Leto), or because you really loved that WWF tag team from the ‘80s? How’d you come up with it and what is the significance of it to you? ELC: Ha! Let's see who knows their history...the name my momma gave me is Francisco Pizarro. Someone, somewhere, at some point said, "...dude you are named after one of the most vicious conquistadors and your sound matches. You should be El Conquistador (They did a grand gesture when they said it)!" I thought about it long and hard for many years because I didn't want to offend anyone...but I figured since my name is Francisco Pizarro and I drop bombs I could get away with it! BOD: You’re known for your affiliations with Drum & Bass Proper, Altitude Sickness, Upfront Range and The Distinguished, so your Denver underground cred is fully verified. How did these relationships come about? How has working with these crews helped you as an artist? ELC: Yup! The Denver Collective! So it took work. Denver is a very tight nit place and rightfully so due to the talent that is here. I started going to shows once I found them! Slowly they kept seeing my face at shows and we just started talking shop. Then CCP asked me for a mix for Drum and Bass Proper mini mix series. I was always behind the scenes, that is where I can do the most good and that is mainly what I do now...but all these guys saw it a different way. I started getting invited places, was getting asked for more mixes and more opportunities came...from playing the Black Box and the system they have in the big room to Till the break of dawn parties. Once they found out I was business savvy the offers came in not only to be crew but also make an impact on the scene in Denver by being a boss of these crews, I was floored! I really was taken aback THEY, these massively talented DJs and crews wanted ME and my vision for music in this city. The Distinguished is special, about 70 strong, we not only have the dirtiest dnb DJs...but ALL GENRES! We have house with Queen Beats and more DJs then I can name, techno DJs, Dubstep DJs, hip hop and turntablists. The Distinguished provides the DJs for Denver. It's where veterans meet the new generation. You see that D go to that party! Altitude Sickness is the, "I just a 'wanna have a great time crew!" We are looking to help break up and comers. So their shows are going to feature DJs that are hopefully going to break. This crew is great for checking out the next big names. AS has a monthly at the black box so swing by and check these bad boys out. Drum and Bass Proper! This one is a bit different, it started strictly with online mixes with everyone's favorite MiniMix Mondays. This started local then grew to the east coast then out to the west. We also got some homies out in UK, Netherlands and beyond that have done a set special for DNBP. This crew's reach is far and respected. Big things are coming in 2021 for this crew like making the move not only online but Live Shows and Proper Headliners! UKG Proper launched, that's specific to to that grimy UK garage and we will keep this "Proper" train moving forward and bringing you the talent from around the globe! Upfront Range is not just another stream crew. This is where ideas come to life, just like with the AK, Quite Right and Quite Low crews. The thinkers and doers. Music wise, being a part of the Denver scene has elevated my DJing. I was still in my living room spinning vinyl for just me. These amazing people pushed me out, showed me the digital game. I've gotten experience playing on pretty much anything and everything because of these crews. Without the push and dedication of these crews and their trust in me to lead and help create something special in Bass City is a dream. We have power in numbers, and we will conquer. BOD: Aside from DJing, I recently found out that you also write for BestDrumAndBass.com. How long have you been writing? Has it been hard for you to stay motivated as a writer during the recent decline of the music/events industry? ELC: I did write for Best Drum and Bass. I have not since late 2019. Dorian (Bad Syntax) is great people. He has something awesome there with best drum and bass. I did a little writing back in Miami years ago so it was very new to me. Just before "THE Decline," I stopped writing for BDNB for two reasons; One, I was having some family trouble that turned into a long inward search for what I really wanted in life, and second; I felt bringing the focus on the local talent and building said talent as well as the Denver crews was important to me. Drum and Bass Proper is launching a site this year and we too are going to do interviews, tune reviews and news for the scene so more writing from El Conquistador is coming! BOD: So, you’re back at ‘Til the Break of Dawn' this year after rocking a dusk set for the debut event in 2020. What are your fondest memories from the event last year? Is there anything you plan on doing differently this year? What should we expect from your set? ELC: Dude, so this one is special to me. This party is going to go on for years! Just the growth from year one to year two is massive. This is going to be the camping festival of CO and the Midwest no later then year five. I was the first DJ to play. I opened the festival! I played something I've never played out in public before - glitch hop. I dropped this funky set that people were grooving too while setting up their camp sites and finishing up the production. So, El Conquistador has a stamp on this festival as the very first DJ to play it! That's super cool to me! Depending when I play is what type of bombs I'm going to drop. Daytime might bring that funky Latin inspired liquid set - dusk might bring a dark dnb set. I really would like a night slot so I can drop the nuclear bombs that are my neurofunk sounds with the kickass light and stage show. BOD: Any shout-outs, comments, gripes? What can fans expect from you in the near future? ELC: First off, big Shout-out to my girl Vanessa, she has been a huge help in everything. Shout-out to all the crews in Denver. Shout out to my boy The Engineer out of MIA. Shout out to the Recon crew, 40hz of Sound and Tony Knight, Dorian and Best Drum and Bass, Amy Octane, to the Viceroy Lounge for loving our sounds and for letting us play there, to the Black Box for that damn sound system, and everyone stepping up for US drum and bass and beyond. The only thing I would say…the US has an opportunity to grow dnb, but we ALL [not just in Denver but every city in the US] need to work together! We have power in numbers in this business and building a proper network to work with artists big and small is the only way to grow dnb in the US. Building a coast to coast network will help us with bookings and more because we can offer more. Until we do this, it won't grow and it will stay status quo. You can expect more mixes from me blasted out on Drum and Bass Proper, Altitude Sickness, Upfront Range, and The Distinguished online content. The biggest thing Denver is going to see from me is to move these power house crews forward. The Distinguished will start looking like a local booking agency for local talent and venues. Altitude Sickness is going to be pushing loads of up-and-comers and Drum 'N' Bass Proper is going to grow the "Proper" name into other genres while bringing Denver and beyond the BEST DJs - big, small, and local flavor - from around the globe! "Cheers and see you at the break of dawn, June 4th to the 6th!" Mad love to El Conquistador for checking in with Bass'D Out DNVR before his set at 'Til the Break of Dawn: A Moment in Time. We can't wait to see what he has in store for us this year. Be sure to check out his exclusive promo mix for the event and follow him at the links below. Follow El Conquistador: SoundCloud | Facebook