“If you say the word techno, people assume you're playing hard, banging music, and that house is always deep with vocals and congas,” says Palette Recordings label boss John Tejada. “Not true. I feel genre descriptions have really lost all focus.” Appropriate, then, that LA-based Tejada will bring his quirky yet soulful style of electronic music to Focus in Newport Beach on Tuesday (Feb. 23).
A DJ since the age of 12, Tejada will be joined by ~scape Records co-founder Barbara Preisinger, who is expected to serve up some fresh house sounds, Berlin style. Having already featured heavyweights like Green Velvet, Doc Martin, and Ben Watt–with Marques Wyatt arriving on March 9–Focus has a proven track record of showcasing quality music within an intimate venue. Drink specials until 10:30 p.m. and $1 tacos only sweeten the deal.
OC Weekly (Richard Thomas): Talk to me about the latest release on your label, Palette Recordings: Nothing But Love Songs. How did the collaborations come together?
John Tejada: It turned out our little team had a bunch of new material that seemed to fit well together, so the idea just came quickly out of that. I've been making music with Arian [Leviste] for 19 years now, Justin [Maxwell] for about seven years, and Josh [Humphrey] in the last year. I'm constantly working with all three, and sometimes we all collaborate, as on the Palette All-Stars song, “Action Section.” There is new solo work [from Justin and Josh] on the compilation, as well as new work from Dave Hughes. Arian's solo work does not appear on the compilation, but after almost 14 years of Palette, his solo EP is finally on the release schedule for mid-March.
What is Palette's creative M.O.?
There seriously is none. That's what has kept it fun to keep going over the years. There is no office or label mentality. It's mostly hanging with my closest friends and sharing music with each other. It's our own personal outlet for our creativity. I'm also quite proud of the fact we are all LA-based, with the exception of [Justin] Maxwell, who had to move a bit up north in the last few years.