This winter we had the pleasure of interviewing Andrés Astorga aka DJ Trujillo, a Venezuela artist based in Berlin. In this interview he shares with us an exclusive Kitchen mix (which you’ll find at the end of the article), along with his personal story about food, holiday traditions, his new label True Class and his soon to be released album Cosmic Caribe. We hope you enjoy!
Q: What foods did you grow up eating in Venezuela and what childhood memories do those foods evoke? Are you from the Andean region, specifically from the state of Merida and if so what differentiates that cuisine from that of the Capital?
In Venezuela people eat a lot of Arepas, usually for breakfast and dinner, mostly made at home. There’s also the Pabellón Criollo, it’s a plate of rice, shredded beef stew, black bean stew and slices of fried plantain, it’s eaten mostly for lunch, I love Pabellón! During christmas, it’s time for Hallacas, a corn dough stuffed with stewed beef, pork and chicken, and other ingredients like raisins, capers and olives. Hallacas are folded in plantain leaves, tied with string, and boiled. In my opinion the most important thing about Hallacas is the ritual behind them. Venezuelan families come together to make them at home, they spend a whole day reunited, while listening to music, drinking beer or ponche de crema (Venezuelan version of eggnog) and having loads of laughs; these are my most appreciated memories when it comes to food in Venezuela.
Yes I’m from the state of Mérida, located in the Andean region of Venezuela, next to the mountains, weather is colder there so I guess this influences the style of the food compared with the rest of the areas of the country which are closer to the sea and with warmer temperatures. One of my favorite local food is Pastelitos Andinos. These are essentially our version of the empanada but made with wheat flour instead of corn flour. They are round fried patties, filled with smoked cheese and potato, meat and rice or shredded trucha andina (trout fish from the region), I love to have Pastelitos Andinos with a hot chocolate either for breakfast or dinner.
Q: What are your holiday traditions and how do you keep them alive since moving to Berlin?
Since I’ve been living in Berlin, I always try to find the way to spend my Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve together with my (geographically closer) friends and family, I have my brother, uncles and some good friends living in Barcelona so I always try to go there during Christmas. I would say my real holiday traditions since I left Venezuela are to spend those dates with my beloved ones feeling loved.
Q: What did you have for dinner last night? Did you listen to music while you cooked/ate/dined, any songs in particular come to mind?
I had arepas with ham and cheese!, luckily you can find Harina Pan in Berlin, which is the pre-cooked corn flour you make Arepas with. I love to cook, but when it comes to elaborate meals I prefer to do it for lunch and then have something simple for dinner. And yes, I always listen to music when I’m cooking! Most of the time I listen to other DJ mixes on Soundcloud or some internet radios. I can recommend the Cooking with Palms Trax show, always gets you in the right mood… also the Dream Chimney mixes never disappoint.
Q: Do you see parallels between sound and taste? If so, how would you describe the tastes of your particular sound?
Yes I do, I guess food and music are both arts where human feelings and ideas are expressed, so inevitably they are linked. I would describe my sound like a tasting menu, where you have carefully curated flavors through various different foods. I love to play music of different styles and times, from different parts of the world, and in different languages, giving the listener a curated musical experience.
Q: If you could only eat at one more place (restaurant/cafe/mother’s kitchen) before you die, where and what would it be? Would you eat with others, would you eat alone?
I would definitely go for my mother’s baked empanadas with pink sauce, It is the taste of my childhood. As kids my brother and I would go crazy every time our mother cooked them. It was a special moment at the table, I guess her secret ingredient is the love that she puts when cooking for her sons. There’s also La Bonne Soupe, an amazing French bistro in NYC, probably my favorite place to eat together with my mother, or a fresh caught fried fish with tajadas (fried-sweet plantains) in front of the sea in Margarita island or Los Roques Islands in Venezuela, yummy!
Q: What do you have in the works for 2019 music wise?
My new album, which I’ve been working on for the last couple of years and which is 100% inspired in Venezuela. It’s an homage to the popular culture and music history of the country, I made the whole album mixing samples of Venezuelan records from my personal collection and then adding real instruments played by Venezuelan musicians. Some of them are also part of the Venezuelan orchestra, and of course, adding my beats, synths and doing the production, which is influenced by my learnings and experiences in Berlin and its massive modern electronic music scene. The album, Cosmic Caribe is coming!
I’m also doing a new label together with my good friend and partner Claas Brieler, a renowned german records collector and music producer, founding member of the legendary Jazzanova collective. The label is called True Class and it’s going to be focused on both reissues and original stuff. First release is coming out in early 2019 and will be the reissue of an amazing cult Venezuelan synth pop album by Vinicio Adames called Al Comienzo Del Camino, excited!