Drogas en VHS (Drugs on VHS) is the solo electronic project of Mexico’s Oscar Aguilar, who hails from Atizapán de Zaragoza, Mexico State. As Drogas en VHS, Aguilar’s productions are largely ambient works–at times textural elements like gravelly film dialogue and hissing white noise cloud the air between beats of keyboard-preset drums; other tracks pull decelerated, skeletal grooves into the background, while deep synth pads waver throughout with the fidelity of an uncalibrated tape head.
To accompany Aguilar’s contribution for Discobres Mix 003, we spoke to him briefly about his music, his artist collective in Mexico, and a collaboration with Japanese artist Yukie Claude.
When did you start producing music?
Really it hasn’t been that long since I started making music, it was just in July of last year that I decided to create a pseudonym, a SoundCloud account, and start to do what I really love–music production.
Can you speak a bit about the Mano Buddha collective, and your community of musicians in Mexico?
The Mano Buddha collective started around the same time as Drogas en VHS. At first only I was managing it, sharing bands, new artists, events, culture, and art in general. After some time I invited more friends to join, who helped the collective grow a lot. Our job as a collective is to announce new proposals, new projects, and help with what we can. That’s why we started to organize events, so that each time we’re more united with bands and with collective projects. We’re supporting the local scene!
Musically, a focus on Mexico has been growing around the world recently, how has that influenced the electronic music scene there?
At the time I started my project, I got to know some of the Netlabels and collectives that specifically support this scene. They do well here, but we still need space for new projects and for more forums that support them. For both new producers and DJs, it’s important that they start engaging and looking for venues, as well as inviting other producer friends to play.
What’s your production process like in regards to working with instruments, and do you work in a studio? From where do you derive the ambient textures in your tracks?
My production process is not very extensive, really any day that I’m looking forward to producing or I’m feeling inspired, I’ll do it. I work on my laptop with Ableton and a few controllers to create tracks.
In regards to using live instruments, not yet—for the moment I only do DJ sets at the events I’m invited to. I’m going to start working on a live act soon which will be somewhat more experimental.
Upon discovering the music Brian Eno, I got the inspiration to start this project, it’s from here that I’ve been guided with these textures.
His style and sound caught my attention on SoundCloud, so I sent him a message to see if we could collaborate. The first track we did together was “Absence,” which I was happy to get on Emergentes Vol. 1, a compilation of new electronic music from all over the country directed by POAT Records and Pornografía Sonora.
Over time, it got a good response from the public, so we decided to start collaborating under the Rosas Ausentes name.
What’s it like working across distant borders?
I think it’s an easy process, but it requires patience and being communicative with one another. Our process was to send each other samples, so I’ll send beats or melodies and he’ll add a bit of his style, or viceversa.
What’s the inspiration for the name Drogas en VHS?
My name used to be LAPLACE, it was difficult to pronounce and write (in Spanish), so I decided to change it to Drogas en VHS. It made me laugh when I thought of for the first time, and it came to me while spending a lot of time navigating Tumblr.