Nortec: … ain’t your papi’s norteno music.

The accident that became nortec occurred in 1999 when Mr. Mogt, in search of a snare sound, stopped by a local studio where norteno bands recorded the demo tapes that they used to get work in restaurants. The studio owner gave him an armful of norteno demos and, after listening to a few, he left excited, quickly calling several musician friends. They divided up the tapes, went home to build new songs around them, and met again three days later to share results. “The bands on the demos were very raw and off-tempo,” said Bostich, who continues to use tapes from the studio in his work. “And I think that’s the key to nortec.”

Mr. Mogt said that when the group reconvened, the results floored him. “I was thinking nortec was an ambient music,” he said, “but then Bostich played the song he had made, ‘Polaris,’ and it was a slam in my face. I was like, ‘You created this with what I gave you!?’ Then Panoptica came by, and he had done something completely different.”

The musicians burned their songs onto a CD, and that night, as legend has it, they went to a friend’s birthday party. When they played the music, everyone clustered around them: graphic designers said they wanted to make visuals for the music, artists said they wanted to play the songs at their exhibitions, and writers said they would build science fiction stories around them. The music was a magnet for the disparate elements of Tijuana’s alienated artists, a concept they could gather around and identify with.

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