double e performance

Deep Dive into Music and Visual Arts with Edgar Mondragón & Erik López

In this exclusive Meet the Makers interview, we unravel the artistic journey of the Mexican duo composed of Edgar Mondragón & Erik López, where friendship transforms into a seamless blend of music and visuals. Edgar Mondragón’s unique ambient compositions delve into modern-day emotions and experiences. Erik López, an architect turned visual artist, crafts narratives using photography, video, artificial intelligence and 3D modeling. 

As we explore their global impact, cultural diversity emerges as a vital narrative thread, weaving through their work inspired by languages, cultures, musical genres, places and countries. They reflect on technology’s evolving role in artistic expression while preserving the raw, human essence.

We take a look at the recent birth of FLUX, a piece exploring movement and evolution. And get a glimpse into their upcoming projects, promising video pieces, new music, and Double E, an audiovisual experimentation lab fostering creativity in their artistic community. Join us on this in-depth conversation with Edgar Mondragón and Erik López.

Double E Live Performance
Edgar Mondragón & Erik López live at Casa Basalta

Can you share the origin story and how your collaboration as an artistic duo began?

Our collaboration began when we met in school over 15 years ago. Since then, we have been best friends and shared many experiences together, which have shaped our worldview, creativity, and sensitivity to interpret reality. We had a previous collaboration as a full band called Mondragón that participated at South by Southwest (SXSW) in 2018. This long-lasting friendship has reached a point where we almost always complement each other without thinking too much about it.

How do you navigate the convergence of sound and visuals to create a cohesive and immersive experience for your audience during live performances?

The fact that we have spent more than half of our lives together has built a trust in each other’s work that is reflected when we perform live. Everything feels very natural; there is an inherent communication that allows us to set the timing, take control at certain moments, and follow each other at very specific points. It’s a kind of dance, where the hard work we put in beforehand, such as rehearsing and planning everything, also comes into play. A good example of this was our performance in MUTEK Mexico+Japan in 2020. 

Edgar, your music has been described as ‘defying ambient clichés and delving into contemporary themes.’ Can you elaborate on how you infuse emotion and psychological depth into your compositions?

I feel that everything revolves around a search. For me, the musical language and the opportunity I have had to express myself through it, aims to find a way to communicate emotions, situations, and experiences to the world that I find challenging to process. And this search, whether you like it or not, leaves a part of you in the act of composing/producing. It is a process that touches very personal fibers but is also very cathartic.

Double E performance
Edgar Mondragón & Erik López at Centro Cultural Espana

How has your music evolved over your prolific career, and what milestones have been particularly significant in shaping your artistic identity?

Similar to the previous question, I believe that my craft has been evolving in tandem with my quest to find my own sound. It has been a lengthy and not always linear process, but I feel that gradually I am arriving at a voice where I feel comfortable and it brings me joy. This translates into experimenting with various genres, narrative structures, instrumentation, etc. There is still a long way to go, but I think I am heading in a good direction.

As for achievements, I could mention participating in some significant festivals like MUTEK Mexico+Japan 2020 or reaching a certain number of streams on streaming platforms like Spotify. However, for me, the true value of this musical journey lies in the people I have encountered along the way, the friendships I have forged, and the collaborations that have emerged. That is what truly brings me happiness.

Erik, your visual art with IMGN incorporates photography, video, and 3D modeling. How did you develop this unique approach?

I studied Architecture, and I’ve been working as an exhibition designer for museums and cultural spaces. So, I’ve tried to bring that world into my visual work. In this way, I use my skills and even the files I create for my job to craft visual narratives that transform into something else. An example of this could be the video I did for Edgar’s track Santuario, which is a recycled 3D model of Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) in Mexico City.

Your philosophy involves excluding technical processes to focus on improvisation and intuition in your visual art. How does this philosophy contribute to the spontaneity and uniqueness of your live-processed landscapes?

I truly believe in intuition. So, when I’m creating something related to music, I try to listen to the songs repeatedly, preferably with headphones, until what I’m creating starts to appeal to me. I usually work digitally on my computer, using any images or videos from my own database. Sometimes I like the result immediately which was the case with Confort Content, and other times, I let what I’m doing breathe and come back to it another day until the result feels right, like the audiovisual piece Ciudad en el Cielo that we waited around 4 years to release. 

music and visuals
Edgar Mondragón & Erik López at Universidad Autonoma de Baja California

With over a decade of creative synergy between you, how do you see the intersection of digital art and music evolving in the contemporary artistic landscape?

For us, one cannot exist without the other, meaning that both enrich each other. From an art cover, a video to a live show, the audiovisual intersection has to exist and be conceptually related to one another. One of our first projects, The End of the Internet, clearly shows this connection between music and visuals working for the concept. We don’t even need to explain to people the piece to realize what it is talking about. 

Double E recently launched the world premiere of FLUX. What inspired the concept and collaboration behind this piece?

This piece emerged in a more casual and less planned manner. During some trips that Erik made to Barcelona, Madrid, Dublin, and Berlin, he filmed the train journeys, and at some point, when we discussed it together, we defined that we wanted to work on the idea of movement, evolution, and change that these landscapes evoke.

How do you balance and the contrasting elements of nature and urbanization in both the visual and musical aspects of the piece?

In FLUX, the music engages in a dialogue with the speed of the train but also with its pauses. It changes according to the natural or industrial landscape, but it is also affected by the visual effects generated during the journey. At the same time, the video contains fragments of different landscapes that shift in direction, depth, and fade away, appearing to collapse. All of this is based on the initial idea of movement.

How has the global reception of your art influenced your creative approach, and what role does cultural diversity play in shaping your artistic narrative?

Our creative process has always gone hand in hand with drawing inspiration from different languages, cultures, musical genres, places, and countries that we have had the opportunity to visit. However, we always filter these experiences through the environment in which we were born and raised, which is Mexico City. As a result, the outcomes are very diverse and unexpected. 

erik and edgar double E
Edgar Mondragón & Erik López Live at Sala Silvestre

Can you share your thoughts on how technology may shape the way artists like you express themselves in the coming years?

The evolving landscape of technology holds immense potential to shape and redefine how artists express themselves in the coming years. The non-stop updates in various creative tools, like virtual reality or artificial intelligence, are likely to provide artists with innovative means of conveying their ideas and emotions.

We believe the challenge lies precisely in discovering a way for these tools to enable us to convey emotions and experiences sincerely, in a human manner. It’s essential to ensure that these tools do not end up overshadowing the creativity and rawness of human emotions, as it is precisely this aspect that gives art its profound significance.

Now we are experimenting a lot with Artificial Intelligence, trying to find new ways to communicate our ideas, such as with the piece Perpetuo.

Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

We have a lot of creative output on the way: video pieces, a ton of new music, and live performances where we’ll showcase the collaborative material we’ve been working on. The nearest release will be in February and it’s called Everything is a Fiction, which is an audiovisual piece experimenting with Artificial Intelligence, both in the visual aspect as well as in the sound production.

Furthermore, we’re in the process of setting up an audiovisual experimentation lab called Doble E designed to offer a range of services (including music production, visual identity creation, incubation, event production, etc.) to fellow artists in our community.

Thanks for taking the time to share with us today. We look forward to following your new projects and performances!

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