3BallMTY on Breaking Into the DJ Scene: "People Weren't Used to Mexican Music Without Guitars"
What do you get when you combine three chamacos from Monterrey with a love for EDM and their Mexican patria?
DJ crew 3BallMTY.
Pronounced Tribal Monterrey, Erick Rincon, Sergio Lavala (Sheeqo Beat), and Alberto Presenda (DJ Otto) have been breaking beats since 2009.
And now, the "Latino electronica" trio is embarking on the Honda Civic Tour and heading to West Palm Beach for a dance sesh at El Palacio Mexicano on Friday, December 5.
"It's a privilege for us," expresses Sheeqo Beat, who was calling from his tour bus where 3Ball had just crossed the border from Tijuana to San Diego.
In less than a week from our convo, the guys would be promoting their North American tour and making an appearance on the red carpet at the 15th annual Latin Grammy Awards.
"The Honda Civic Tour invited us," the DJ explains. "It's the first time they've worked with Latinos. We're their first [Hispanic] headliners."
And with a Latin Grammy award for Best New Artist of 2012 under their belt, Sheeqo and his buds are on their way to quickly becoming one of the hottest crossover Latin pop stars ... Not too shabby for a group of musicians who met over the internet.
Sheeqo and Erick Rincon began working together in 2007. They were 15 and 14 at the time.
"We wanted to be DJs," Sheeqo Beat recalls. "We produced a lot of house, but we wanted something that was more Mexican from Monterrey."
That's when they came across DJ Otto.
"We all lived very close to each other," he goes on. "It was a coincidence. Otto liked tribal music as much as we did, so we invited him."
Just like that, 3BallMTY was born.
"A lot of people pronounce it as three-ball-MTY," Sheeqo Beat describes of the crew's moniker.
"We're three people. We wanted to play up on the word tribal -- it was born out of the music that was known as tribal music. It has nothing to do with ball or anything, and MTY because of it's an abbreviation of our city."
Fusing components of house and techno while sticking to their tribal music roots is just what the guys have done with their music.
"More than anything, it's a mix of cumbia and electronic music," DJ Otto explains of 3Ball's sound.
"Our music is Mexican, electronic, with a combination of cumbia -- for instance we invite lots of rappers to collaborate with us -- there's also elements of hip-hop and that tropical energy. We like to experiment and mix those elements. It's music to have a good time."
After two years of spinning tracks in underground clubs across Mexico and performing at festivals, 3BallMTY caught the attention of Universal Music and were signed to Latin Power Music in 2011. Shortly after, the guys released their debut album, Inténtalo, which just so happens to hold one of their most popular singles to date, "Inténtalo."
"It has something magical," DJ Otto expresses. "We found ourselves working in the studio and that song came up suddenly. We can't explain it. We were kinda scared when we released it. We got 500,000 views [on YouTube] in just two days."
Not only did "Inténtalo" break the internet, it also topped the Billboard Latin charts for two weeks straight.
Sure, it was all an exciting time for the guys, but nothing compared to Erick, Sheeqo Beat, and DJ Otto's joy when their name was called at 2012 Latin Grammy awards.
"We left Mexico in 2011, and a year later we won," the DJ remembers. "We even cried. It was very emotional and motivated us to keep on working. Two years have passed, and we've also won Billboard awards." And landed a performance at last year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
"It was also a surprise," el músico fesses. "I remember the line up in 2013 was great for us because there were lots of artists we liked and we got to share the stage with them. It was something good for us."
It may have been a step forward for the guys, but breaking into the music scene, both in Mexico and in the US, has definitely been a challenge.
"We played music without singers. They didn't understand that," DJ Otto explains of 3Ball's difficulty in gaining musical acceptance in their country.
"And when we came into the US after Inténtalo, people here weren't used to Mexican music. When we would go on stage, they didn't see any guitars or anything. They didn't understand the project."
"It was a lot of work," he adds. "People knew we were three DJs, but it was hard in the beginning, especially in Mexico. It [DJing] was something that wasn't there."
But that's all changing. And with the release of their second studio album, Globall, los muchachos hope to reach an even bigger fan base.
DJ Otto explains that it's different than the group's debut. The three were touring and learning a lot in Canada, and South America and decided they wanted to collaborate more, as they did with Far East Movement. "Globall is something we made for the world. It has more electronic influences, but it's also tropical and Latino," he describes.
For now, though, they're focused on bringing el baile to el Palacio.
"We're ready to give a good tour."
3BallMTY. Presented by the Honda Civic Tour. Friday, December 5. El Palacio Mexicano, 2650 South Military Trail, West Palm Beach. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $30 plus fees via ticketon.com. Call 561-370-4040.
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