A little one on one drum circle with the founder of LUMP and co- founder of Deep Bali Records, Jota Karloza!

From the distant lands of Chile comes Jota Karloza an artist who seeks to transmit through his musical creations, a coded message that only the soul can decipher.
Rimka Sandhu

Rimka Sandhu

A psychology graduate with a love for all things music and fashion

Starting out as a painter, he later fell in love with music that transcended geographical locations while keeping the listener rooted. With this passion he founded LUMP Records; one of the best organic electronic music labels, and later on co-founded its sister label Deep Bali Records. As a producer Jota is also one of the big names, having released under different labels such as Sol Selectas, Drossel and Metanoia & Rist Records.

With such an interesting introduction I’m sure you are all excited to know more about this amazing human. So let’s press play…

Tell us about your moniker Jota Karloza and the journey behind the name?

Well, I was born as Jota Karloza… I did not create a character it is just me. Jota is the Spanish way to name the letter J, short for my name Jorge and Karloza is my last name. I consider myself a simple guy who was always connected with art & music since I was a child. I was lucky enough to discover my path at a young age with no expectations but the art itself.

My first experiments with music were really instinctive, having a garage band called “Hercobulus” at the age of 15, (Andres Ibanez, the drummer was only 12 years old he is still my best friend till today and I’m proud to say he is one of the best drummers in Chile). I used to play the electric guitar and other weird stuff, but I wasn’t so good with the following techniques, I was always curious about what was behind the physical instrument. It was vibrations, the sound itself, so we used to play noisy experimental music, creating instruments ourselves. I remember I modified an old acoustic guitar into a rustic kind of Sitar which was amazing, my friends named this instrument Jotar! We also opened and modified my grandma’s old piano (finally completed taken apart by hand) and we used to jam for hours accompanied by a Djembe, bongo, snare, and other percussions. After a few years with this experimental band that was going nowhere, but for me it was the feeling that music and art gave me in a deep way, almost like a portal to communicate with divinity somehow. 

After a few years at the age of 17 I received a gift from my sister, a canvas and an oil painting kit. I was so excited and immediately sketched and painted my very first oil painting ever, the next day I realized that I had discovered a whole new way to express myself, and then I obsessively kept doing it for the next 5 years. I didn’t have the chance to study so I just kept making art and there was something good and unique in those paintings. Through the words of others, I humbly started to recognize that I had talent so I started to sell my paintings and make a career of this. I started to do a few important expositions, one of them being at the Chilean Embassy in Berlin, Germany back in 2007 where I exhibited 40 paintings. This led to winning some national prizes as well.

So you think art is your major influence as a music producer?

I never expected to become a music producer, it happened almost accidentally, but definitely, all kinds of art are connected to the same source. Especially, when you have no expectations but what you are doing makes your heart beat faster. I never had a doubt about it, I was healing myself, I was discovering spirituality throughout to be a co-creator.

Your music is deep with cultural elements, what drove you to that?

I have always been interested in the mystery of the lost ancient cultures, by their Cosmo Vision, connection with nature, and spirituality. As a Latin American, of course, I am proud of all the local ancient cultures, such as Maya, Aztec, Inca, Mapuche, to name a few. And from the orient, I have a special inner connection with the philosophy and spirituality of Buddhism and Hinduism, their art and the spiritual spectrum is so big that it embraces everything.

You seem much more grounded. Share with us your practices to stay rooted.

Well, this is a compliment. Thank you. Grounded? Well, I think as I explained before I do not run behind the fame, I just enjoy the ride. The only thing that moves me, is the art & music, I’m just enjoying the path and the possibilities that it could bring. I stay rooted by being grateful and connecting with talented people who have good hearts.

You mentioned being in a band and playing all kinds of instruments. Any favourite ethnic instruments?

I could say that it is the Indian sitar and the raga music, which is like the mother root of Jazz.

Tell us about Lump Records and the meaning of LUMP itself?

It means Love Under My Path = L U M P. At first the label was created for me to be able to self-release my own music that hadn’t found a place on any other label. After that I started to collaborate with other artists, our first release ALPHA was officially released digitally 4 years ago. However, it took a few years before creating an audience on other streaming pages.

How is Lump Records different from Deep Bali Records?

As you know LUMP is one of the pioneer labels of the Downtempo scene even before there was a name for this genre. Music and producers are constantly evolving, during the time as a label we recognize some other waves that are coming up, now we are open to new sounds, and upper tempos. Such as afro house, organic house, and melodic house genres. Deep Bali records are conserving the essence of LUMP. Being a label focused strictly on downtempo music, with spiritual vibes, Deep Bali and LUMP are sister labels with the same deep philosophy behind them.

It’s so amazing that Deep Bali Records gives back to The Bali Children’s Project, a charity organization that aims to create education possibilities for the children of Bali. Could you tell me more about how that came about?

The Bali Children’s Project is a non-profit charity registered in the US and Indonesia. The Project recognizes the cycle of rural poverty driven by lack of education, especially for young girls. The Project’s slogan, ‘escaping poverty through education,’ aims to create more education possibilities for the children of Bali. Once our label was established, it was time to decide what to do with our platform, as we really wanted to do something different. By chance, Andrejean discovered The Bali Children’s Project Facebook page. Being very passionate about Bali, its culture and its people, he was touched that all these people were fighting hard to change the fate of these children. Andrejean and I had a talk and came to a decision in minutes… We had found a way to make our project a human, useful and unique endeavour.

What would your tips be for someone wanting to produce Organic Electronic Music?

To listen, feel and connect with traditional world music, try to go beyond by understanding their context and spirituality, with respect and admiration for their sacred creations. Because for all ancient cultures music was part of their spiritual connection with divinity. Go to the root. If you feel it, make it yours. And have a wider perspective of reality. Internalize this, then add your knowledge of modern electronic synthesis. Be real. Be yourself. Don’t fear experimenting and trying new things, don’t copy other artists, only take technical references regarding the quality of sound.

The soul of the song is the most important. This should be the reflection of your inner self.

What are your next plans for LUMP or Deep Bali Records?

KEEP GOING! As long as artists are making amazing music, we will be there to support them with an established platform. We never look for names or number stats, but the music itself. We have signed unknown artists that soon became well known because of their talent. Everybody can be a part of both labels and we feel grateful to still have the support of some of the bigger artists in the scene.

More infos from Jota Karloza

Soundcloud | Lump Records | Deep Bali Records