My Trip to Mexico City and Mission Control

Mexico like I never imagined

July 15, 2016

If I’d used this pic for the blog cover photo you may not have clicked on it:

Gringo idiot, Mexico City

You’d have thought “ok great, this is going to read like a Lonely Planet entry with pics of Aztec ruins, margarita beach selfies and crowded market places.” 

The last thing that comes to mind when you think ‘Mexico’ is recording studios that resemble Martian habitats. 

So what was I doing in Mexico? Several weeks ago I was in the studio for Subtronic and this tweet got my attention:

To my surprise, our app streams even in Mexico. A bit less surprising, my show caught the ear of one of Mexico’s most respected and accomplished radio producers, El Boy.

A dialog began and it turns out they're assembling a state of the art recording studio, "Mission Control."

I was curious about the project and overdue for maintenance on my Spanish, so it was easy to justify a trip to our neighbors down south. I scrounged up all the 107.7 The End swag I could for our fans in Mexico and took the trip! Alejandro got stuck with my old staff shirt, but he didn’t complain.

El Boy was stoked on his nerd shirt. If you haven’t got a nerd shirt yet you better get on it, they’re about to be at the height of Mexico City summer fashion.

I’m a pretty boring traveler. While most are sight seeing and taking a load off with beers in a tourist-ridden plaza or cafe, I’m visiting recording studios, networking with DJs, and record shopping. I’m too broke to record shop, so on this trip you found me tagging along with my new friends, experiencing their daily routine and networking with Mexico City’s electronic music scene.


DAY 1 - Arrival and tacos

El Boy fetched me at the airport and took me out for the best tacos I’ve ever had. Later that night we went to check out club AM and met some of his DJ buddies. I can’t remember the last time I went out with the intent of hitting the club at 3:00 in the morning.

Club AM, Mexico City

DAY 2 - Mission Control

I awoke to a delicious Mexican breakfast of eggs, guacamole, and tortilla chips, then we headed over to Mission Control.

I couldn’t believe the complex. You drive through a gorgeous old neighborhood inhabited by everyone’s grandparents, and enter from the street in a bat cave like manner. 

The first thing you notice is a hefty Rottweiler, Mission Control security. 

The next thing you notice is they spared no expense on construction and gear. Yet the atmosphere is warm, comfortable and inviting. Complete with a rooftop grill and DJ booth for hosting events and taking in the panorama. 

The view of the control room from the comfy sofa

Pondering a session behind the board

The finishing touches will take place on the roof w/ sound system, bbq, dj booth for intimate gatherings

From the roof top of Mission Control in one of Mexico City's time trapped neighborhoods 

If your in a band and getting ready to book studio time, I’d keep an eye on Mission Control. 

DAYS 3 & 4 - Stand up

The next day we went out to see some friends of theirs do stand up, which is starting to take Mexico by storm. How much did I understand? Nada. I just prayed to God they didn’t pick on me, and politely laughed and clapped along with the rest of the audience.

Xoch from PMS Comedy crew at Foro Sheakespeare, Colonia Roma, Mexico City

Some other friends had a stand up show the next night. We were late and they had to put a couple extra chairs in the front row to accommodate us. I prayed twice as hard they wouldn’t pick on me, and understood much more than the night before. My Spanish was waking up. 

DAY 5 - Work and more stand up

The next day we worked. I was happy to translate some of the Mission Control promos to English.

Alejandro has a show on Radio Pirata, Playa Del Carman called Kraken House. I’ll be offering up a guest mix, and he’ll be doing the same for Subtronic so we spent some time recording in the studio. You’ll hear the result next week. 

Later that night, another friend had a Stand up show! I understood just about everything. 

Alexis de Anda killing it at Cine Tonalá, Colonia Roma, Mexico City

At that point it occurred to me that stand up may be the best crash course in culture and language when you’re traveling. I recommend you go to as many shows as you can if you move to a new place.

My favorite sets were from Leye, and Alexis de Anda.

DAY 6 - Mountain excursion

The last day we took a drive out to the mountains for more delicious food, fresh air, and a pony ride. I could easily have been out at Snoqualmie pass in early Spring. Again, not the Mexican landscape I’ve been culturally conditioned to imagine.

Paraíso restaurant somewhere in the mountains

view from Paraíso restaurant

What a phenomenal trip. They wanted to show off their Mexico, a Mexico you don’t see in promotions for Puerta Vallarta, Cancun or even Mexico City. They succeeded. Thanks to El Boy and the Mission Control crew!

 - Zach

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Zach is the host of Subtronic End and hosts afternoons on 107.7 The End. You can follow The End on Twitter at @1077theend and Zach at @ZachVanLue.