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A-Kintero: “If you have it, you gotta work harder to keep your name up”

Guided by his passion for music, A-Kintero, always dreamed of leaving his native city of Medellin to pursue what larger cities promised. Landing in New York City, he has achieved more than what he thought possible for an artist, experiencing unforgettable shows at many venues and festivals across the US. He has fortuitously landed recent involvement in the rising Brooklyn music scene as being part of ebb+flow since 2016, an experience that has enriched his music career as he becomes more involved in community building and event production for the Brooklyn collective. AK is not only a talented DJ but he is also a creative mind that unleashes consistent and fearless sounds that capture people’s attention during his sets.

In 2014, AK co-founded intimate Project Music, a digital and vinyl electronic music label where he continues to regularly work releasing his own productions as well as providing a platform for fellow artists across the globe to release their creations. He maintains a consistent musical curiosity, which continues to lead him into delving deeper into the electronic music scene. Soon heading to Burning Man this year, AK’s musical career promises to continue to grow as he becomes immersed in the cultural vibrancy of the Burner community.

Fresh off from his EG Spotlight mix, we caught up with A-Kintero to learn more about his move to NYC, his ties to ebb+flow, his intimate Project Music label, and more.

EG: Hello AK! It’s great to have you here with us today. How have you been? Where are you right now?

A-Kintero: Hi EG! Happy to be here talking music with you guys! Currently, I’m living in Burlington, Vermont, and loving the winter months up here.

EG: Now that’s a long way from Colombia! It’s been a while since you left your native Medellin behind, right? What has your NYC experience been like so far? What motivated the journey?

A-Kintero: It has been a while for sure. I moved to NYC in early 2009, such a journey full of different experiences, but overall in a positive way. Arriving in a different country at such a young age has its ups and downs, which I’ll say make you stronger to adversities and challenges in life. NYC is home for me, it’s the city where I found my circle and the music I love to play and dance to. It has so much to offer, which is hard to find in other cities.

I was motivated to move for the opportunities for sure. For me growing up in Colombia was the best thing, but unfortunately is not the same as here in the US. Here, in a matter of time and with enough effort you can make things happen. The opportunities just exist if you are willing to work for them.

EG: How are things going so far? Have you found what you set out for? In retrospect, could you have had a similar experience if you had stayed in Medellin or moved to another big city in Latin America like Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro?

A-Kintero: Things couldn’t have gone better! I came here being underage and struggling to adapt to a whole new world and music really was a lifesaver back then. When I found that circle I was amazed. The music community in NYC is such a force, the friends I made a long time ago are now more like a family, so yeah, I think I found what I was looking for. Could things have been the same in another city? Probably, who knows really? I sometimes wonder about that, but I’m in a happy place now.

Electronic Groove: You’re a part of the ebb+flow crew in NYC. How did that happen? Was it hard to find the scene in NYC and make a name? Is it hard to break into a big city’s scene?

A-Kintero: That happened thanks to my dear friend, Vicky, who is now based in Berlin. She saw me play a couple of times before asking to me play for an ebb+flow series party called ‘Sunday REBOOT’. I still remember that night, it was at this small club in the Lower East Side. A few days later, I was approached by them and they asked me if I was interested in joining the crew. Since then, it has been such a ride with them – truly a blessing!

I think I’m lucky to say I got into the NYC music scene before changing and moving through the Boros. Jean Pierre was the guy who gave me a hand back then, with a chance to play at the ‘Pacha’ basement for my very first official gig in the US after he saw me play at a common friend’s afterhours. And from there it took off, I got to play in legendary clubs in Manhattan that sadly no longer exist, that helped to get my name out there in different circles and crews. Then, the scene changed and everything was moved to Brooklyn, where it was and still is a whole new exciting game getting into new music circles till today.

I think, time, focus, dedication, and motivation are big keys to breaking into a big city scene, and of course, your talent. If you have it, you gotta work harder to keep your name up. If you lack talent, then work harder to get better at what you want to achieve.

“I came here being underage and struggling to adapt to a whole new world and music really was a lifesaver back then”

EG: You’re also the co-founder of the intimate Project Music label. How’s the label doing? What kind of music can listeners find on its catalog?

A-Kintero: We started 2022 with a banger release, our ‘Tortuguitas Remix Pack’, which includes 7 remixes of Lucio Agustin’s original track. One of the best releases on the label by now,  and really happy with the outcome of this one. The sound of the label turned towards ‘minimal-deep tech’ after going on a journey of different styles like ‘melodic/techno’ vibes. But lately, what we have been trying to do is to put ‘groovy happy music’. The label was founded as a window to give the chance to new upcoming artists to put out their productions, and with time we had the chance to work along really good names in the industry; I still get goosebumps when I get in touch with artists that I really admire and they agree to be part of this life project – it’s been a constantly evolving fun journey with it.

EG: Let’s step inside your studio for a bit. How would you define your sound by now? Has it changed a lot over the years?

A-Kintero: It has changed, for sure. I had an alias, Intimate Project, where the sound was more melodic/techno-ish, influenced by my music partner at the time. But now I’m really enjoying this new wave of groove that the minimal/deep tech is offering us. It just makes my body move naturally, so I’m trying to focus on that idea. People out there in the club want to sweat and dance and I think this genre really does that and I’m naturally enjoying it.

EG: What does your studio look like? Are you big on hardware or prefer software?

A-Kintero: It’s been a building process over the years, starting with Ableton. I’m a fan of hardware and am currently having fun and still discovering the Digitakt drum sampler. I also own a Microbrute that’s a little beast, and I’m also trying to get my hands back on the Little Phatty as I really miss the analog sound of it.

Electronic Groove: How did you cope with the pandemic? What new notions or habits have stuck with you since that?

A-Kintero: The pandemic was such a challenge for everybody, and in a city like NYC it was such a shock to put a hand brake on the music scene. Streamings picked up and it was a new way to engage with people, but it wasn’t the same. I think that for every DJ, a new habit was getting your streaming right and making them in the best way possible. Also, personally, self-care! Currently, I’m enrolled in becoming a Herbalist, really enjoying that too. I think the pandemic showed us a lot and natural medicine is truly an alternative to taking care of ourselves.

“Music is a career of longevity, gigs come and go, it’s just a matter of you being up to date with what people are listening to and the new sound waves”

Electronic Groove: What else can we expect from A-Kintero & intimate Project Music in the near future? What new milestones are you looking out for in the coming months?

A-Kintero: For the iPM label, we’re now in the process of our 2nd vinyl release. I’m really excited about that, can’t wait to share more on this one soon! I’m also working on my other label project, ebb+flow Records, where we have a couple of releases on schedule to come out in the next months. I invite you to check out the releases we already have out by Sam Jaspersohn, Vincent Cassanova, and Saqib. They are fantastic producers and their sound is very professional and different from each other at the same time. For me personally, I am looking forward to the regional Burns in Vermont and Burning Man. Music is a career of longevity, gigs come and go, it’s just a matter of you being up to date with what people are listening to and the new sound waves, so keeping the focus and motivation as they will be crucial to enjoying every moment of it!

Electronic Groove: Thank you so much for your time, AK! We wish you all the best for the future!

A-Kintero: Thank you, guys! Much respect for what you’ve been doing all these years!

Follow A-Kintero: Instagram | Facebook | SoundCloud | Spotify

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