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KhoMha interview: the road from Colombia to Armada & beyond

I don’t know what first springs to mind when you say the name KhoMha, but for me it was the word “buzz”. This is how you feel when you start talking with the 26-year old DJ born in Colombia and which has made it all the way to the top by being one of the most known artist within the Armada Music stables.

For Robert Alzate, because that’s his real name, everything started making sense when his sister bought a CD entitled “Trance Factory”. He was just a lad back then, about 13-14 years old, but he felt in love with the sound of electronic music and especially with Paul van Dyk’s “For an Angel” track.

His highschool friends were the ones who persuaded him to have a name stage, one of them saying that he should be called KhoMha, because he puts people in a coma through his music.

Now, more than 10 years later he’s just completed his first EP “Elementos” an ode to the way his sets are being played, full of deep feelings, emotions and energy.

Radio DEEA: So, Robert, how did you end from listening to music, to being an international DJ?

KhoMha: When I was about 15 years old I started having my own ideas on how to make music, on how certain things should sound like, so I started researching the subject on the internet.

Back then, the internet connection wasn’t that good in my country, so it was pretty difficult to download certain software. I used Fruity Loops (version 4 if am I not wrong) and I started translating the manual because at that time I didn’t speak English, so I took this dictionary and started looking at the manual and I translated it word by word. This is how I learned how to use the programme and I gradually started to produce music.

When I graduated from highschool, at 17, I opened my first social media page, on MySpace. I uploaded my music there and people fell in love with it and started getting requests from record labels. This is how everything started.

 

Radio DEEA: I noticed that a lot of your tracks have Spanish names. Is this your way of emphasizing your roots, or do you have another reason for doing that?

KhoMha: Actually, there is a good reason for it, because I am one of the first Latin-American DJs that is doing this. And by that, I mean that I am the first big Colombian DJ playing at the big festivals on the main stage

The Latin-American audience is very proud of everything I am doing right now, so this is my way of saying that I am also proud to be a Latin-American, I am also proud of my people.

 

Radio DEEA: And since we are on this topic, could you tell us a little more about the Colombian music scene? Because being across the ocean means we basically don’t know a thing about what’s going on there.

KhoMha: Right now, in Colombia, but not just here, electronic music has become quite popular, due to the globalization and the raise of social media. Now you can watch the big festivals online (ULTRA, Tomorrowland, EDC) so people are taking a bigger interest in electronic music.

 In the past we only had the Latin music around here. But now thanks to the mighty internet and the social media revolution, people have become more and more interested in this type of music. There are so many DJs, so many young talents.

 Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done because we, as a country, don’t have access to a lot of things, like let’s say the more developed countries (the United States, or Holland).

But putting all that aside, the electronic music has been growing a lot especially here in Colombia, in Argentina, in Brazil and Mexico. It’s early stages, but we are getting there.

 

Radio DEEA: I know that you define your music style as “something called KhoMha style”. Can you tell us more about it?

KhoMha: I have been telling you before about my influence, my Latin-American influence, but I have been influenced by other artists too, from other music genres.

My biggest idols are Daft Punk because they have this amazing style: they can go super deep, they can go super hard, they do anything they want. So, you can’t really define their genre, it’s just Daft Punk.

 Also, one of my biggest influence was Tiesto, back in the day, deadmau5, Markus Schulz, Armin van Buuren, Axwell, all these DJs with very different genres.

So, from all these genres, I tried to make my own style and if you listen to my music you know it’s me, although I have different elements in every song. Sometimes the songs are deep, sometimes are melodic, but at the same time it’s KhoMha. You can hear that the drums are house drums, the synths are trance synths and the bass is techno bass. It’s a combination of everything and that’s why it’s called KhoMha style.

 

Radio DEEA: You have just completed your 4-star EP called “Elementos” with “Tierra” which is a very powerful track. What’s the story behind “Elementos” ?

KhoMha: “Elementos” was an idea that was born because me and my team wanted to share with the audience something different from what I have in my live sets. Something special.

With this EP we wanted to show four different stages, or four different feelings of my live sets, so every element has its own style.

For example, if you are listening to “Fuego”, it’s more edgy, crazier because “Fuego” means “Fire” and for me fire offers you that thrill, that special crazy buzz.

“Agua” on the other hand, it’s deeper, melodic, you can feel the vibe, you can feel the waves. It resemblance that moment from my sets when the tunes become more melodic and softer.

“Aire” is also very melodic but it still has a lot of energy, while “Tierra” it’s for me the main anthem. Because it means “Earth” and earth is where all the elements are. So, this track gives you a real energetic boost from the beginning.

 I also used different sounds, for example in “Agua” you will hear thunders and rain, in “Fuego” you will hear the sirens. I really wanted to do something special with this EP and I am extremely happy that “Tierra” got such a great support, especially from Armin who included it in his sets and put it at the festivals he was part of. Also, the response from the audience was also great, so I am very, very happy.

Radio DEEA: Where do you find the inspiration for your work? Is it hard?

KhoMha: Sometimes it is hard, because every day is different. And it’s not just my case. It’s not like I wake up and I have three tracks ready.

I always listen to music: when I wake up, or when I am walking down the streets, hanging out with friends, I always listen to music. I always have new ideas, I always do stuff and sometimes end up recording myself and my ideas, so I don’t forget them (he laughs).

When I feel sad, when I feel happy, or when I am playing at a certain festival in front of a lot of people, I imagine what I would like to do. This helps me a lot.

Also, I listen to different music genres. I don’t listen to electronic music that often. I like to listen to Reggae, which is very popular here in Latin-America and bear with me because I’m not saying that I will do a reggaetón beat, but the reggaetón sounds are very inspiring for me. The rhythm is energetic.

So basically, I get inspiration from every musical genre that I listen to and I try to incorporate it into my own music, so it sounds different.

Although he has been part of huge festivals like Tomorrowland, ULTRA, ULTRA Europe or EDC, KhoMha holds a very special place in his heart for that time when he played in front of his Latin-American people, back in 2015 at El Palacio de los Deportes (The Palace of Sports) from Mexico City, Mexico.

The artist recollects that: “I remember a took the mic and I said “Hello” in Spanish and the public went ecstatic because I was one of them! The energy was impressive, and it made me so, so happy!”

However, this doesn’t mean that he didn’t thoroughly enjoyed his other festival experiences, as he himself said: “I loved “A State of Trance” from Utrecht. “Trance Energy” one of the biggest festivals took place there I remember that I grew up watching all the YouTube videos about it and the world’s biggest DJs. So, to be playing on the same stage as them, was amazing.

I also have to mention Tomorrowland playing in front of so many people and seeing the Colombian flag, and ULTRA Miami, because I was the first Colombian DJ to have a place at ULTRA Miami. It’s been an incredible journey so far!”

 

Radio DEEA: What does the future hold for KhoMha?

KhoMha: I am planning to collaborate with different artists. I would very much like to make a collab with Purple Haze, Armin van Buuren, but also with artists from other musical genres like house or techno in order to incorporate their sounds into my music without losing my touch and my style.

I actually have a big collab coming soon, so keep your eyes wide open because this year is going to be full of music. As you can see I have been releasing music constantly and always being around. Because that’s the whole idea: hard work.

“Elementos” is out, as we talked earlier, and I am going to have a tour for it and maybe next year I will start thinking and working for my first album.

 

Radio DEEA: What about your free time? If such notion exists …

KhoMha: When I have free time? Haha There’s a lot of work to do and a lot of travelling involved in my life, but when I have a bit of spare time I love to play on my PlayStation, I love playing FIFA.

Being a Colombian I love football, so I’m playing football with my friends on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays because those are the days when I am not travelling.

I also like to go to the movies. I am a very chill and relaxed person since on stage everything is so energetic, euphoric and noisy, so I like to keep it simple.

This interview is part of a guest mix that KhoMha was kind enough to share it with us, through Sundancer‘s weekly radio show “Lost in Trance”. You can hear/see the entire show here.

KhoMha track list set:

1.Axwell & Ingrosso – Dreamer (Alpha 9 Remix)

2.KhoMha vs Pryda – Stay with me (KhoMha Reload)

3.KhoMha – Agua

4.Virtual Self – Ghost Voices

5.KhoMha – Fuego

6.KhoMha – Laberinto

7.KhoMha vs Vincent Da Moor – Fly Away (KhoMha Remix)

8.Above & Beyond – Northern Soul

9.Ilan Bluestone – Let Me Know

10.Armin Van Buuren vs Shapov – The Last Dancer

11.Purple Haze – Bergen

12.Gabriel & Dresden – Waiting For Winter (KhoMha Remix)

13.Third Party – Like This

14.Gabriel & Dresden – The Only Road (Cosmic Gate Remix)

15.KhoMha – Tierra

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