Jake Carmona is a multi-talented record producer from Monterrey Mexico. He has been in the music business since he was 14 working with some of the biggest names in the Regional Mexican Music genre of Norteño and Cumbia and by the age of 18, he won a Latin Grammy award.

Moving on to work in his favorite genre, which is rock, he has produced albums for a wide variety of rock bands including Cassette, Mind Cinema, and Mutum, and is perhaps best known for his work with the Mexican rock band, The Warning. He recently completed production of the bands’ latest single “Narcisista” released in June 2019. In this interview with Overstreet Advisor Art Cloos he talks about his pop culture interests and how those interests inspire his work with The Warning and other bands.

Scoop: Jake it is a great honor for us here at Scoop to have you sit down with us for an interview.
Jake Carmona (JC):
Hey. The honor is mine. Thank you for having me.

Scoop: So, let’s start at the beginning. What were your early interests as a kid?
Well, I grew up watching my father play guitar in the living room. That’s how it all started. My early interest for music started right there. My father is a well known record producer in Monterrey. He worked for this company called Disa Latin Music which was bought by Universal Music Group when I was 14. He worked with some of the biggest names in the Regional Mexican Music genre. I started working with him as an assistant at a very young age.

Scoop: Now, as a kid did you have any interest in comic books?
JC: Not really, I was more interested in video games in general.

Scoop: What about movies and TV? Were there any can’t miss shows or movies?
Oh man. I haven’t told you but I have a huge horror movie collection. I’m a horror movie fanatic. Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees were my childhood heroes.

Scoop: How did your interest in horror start?
My brother and my sister, who are respectively 8 and 5 years older than me, used to watch ’80s slasher films. Back then we used to sleep in the same room, so they brought A Nightmare On Elm Street and that was it. I was completely blown away by it. That movie changed my life. It is still one of my favorite movies of all time.

Scoop: So this was when? The ’80s or ’90s?
It was the ’90s, but those movies stayed there for a while. Some of them weren’t even released yet. I remember I got the chance to see Wes Craven’s New Nightmare in theaters which was the last one.

Here’s a picture of me and the one and only Robert Englund that you can include in the interview.

Scoop: How did you get to meet him?
JC: I’ve been a member of the Fangoria community for a long time. Fangoria is an American horror magazine. They do these conventions called Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors. I went to a few, that’s how I got to meet him and some of my biggest heroes.

Scoop: Now this is very cool. Do you have a favorite horror movie?
Well, I always divide them by subgenre. I have favorite zombie films, vampire, werewolves, supernatural, slashers, thrillers, possession, etc. I know, I’m a nerd when it comes to horror movies or video games. [laughs] One of my favorites is the A Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday the 13th franchise. Both from the slasher subgenre.

Scoop: Do you like any of the Hammer late ’50s or the Universal 1930s movies?
I like them. I’m not a big fan, but I have a lot of respect for them. I’m a fan of the Italian scene. I love Dario Argento’s movies and Lucio Fulci’s as well.

Scoop: I understand that you are a very big video game fan.
Regarding video games, my early interests started when I played Pac-Man on the Atari 2600. My grandfather had bought it for my aunt and me and my brothers played with her. Then after that came the NES with the Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt bundle and that was the beginning of my passion for video games.

Scoop: How did the video game obsession start?
When we got the NES, I played the Mario Bros / Duck Hunt game a lot. That was still okay, but when Super Mario Bros. 3 came out that was life changing. Being able to fly and having more than one power up changed the whole thing. Then I discovered Mega Man, and oh boy. What can I say? I have him tattooed on my left arm.

Scoop: When did you begin collecting?
I started collecting when I was 20 years old.

Scoop: So, your favorite video game ever is?
Well, I like to divide them by genre, just like with the movies [laughs], but from the 8-bit era, Mega Man 5 is one of my favorites. Mario Bros. 3 is another one.

Scoop: And I have heard from Luis Villarreal that you have a very large collection of games. Is that true?
Yes. I’m a retro game collector.

Scoop: Would you mind describing some of the key pieces in your collection?
Sure. Some of my most precious games are Panzer Dragoon Saga for the Sega Saturn. It’s a four-disc RPG. It’s very hard to find. I also have Snatcher for the Sega CD, which is another very hard to find game. It was designed by Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear series. I have pretty much all the consoles from Nintendo. NES, SNES, Gameboy, N64, Game Cube, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo Switch. It’s the same with Sega, from the Master System to the Sega Dreamcast which was their last console.

Scoop: Video game collecting is becoming a big time collectible. Do you keep track of the prices?
Yes, I usually buy and sell video games. I use eBay a lot.

Scoop: Now tell us about how you became the big time record producer you are today.
Oh boy, that’s a big statement.

Scoop: But it is true.
As I mentioned before, My father was working for Disa Latin Music and I used to go with him to the studio when my mom was at work and she couldn’t take care of me. So they took turns. By the age of 14 I started recording and assisting the chief engineers at the studio. I’ve never been a big fan of the Norteño or Cumbia genre but I was learning a lot. Everything we did I always was translating it into what I was into. I was into bands like Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Hole, Dinosaur Jr., etc. I was a grunge fan. So when we recorded drums for a cumbia I was thinking “this might be how they recorded Nirvana’s Nevermind drums too?” I mean, we were using very expensive and professional gear at those studios such as Neumann microphones, Neve consoles, tape recorders, etc. So, I started working in the same genre, I started liking it and understanding it more and by the age of 18 I won my first Latin Grammy award certificate. The album I recorded won Best Norteño Album in 2008. After that, a lot of bands from the same genre started looking for me to work with them but that was not my goal. That was not the genre I wanted to focus on and I had to say no to a lot of projects.

Scoop: Well I don’t know a lot about Norteño except that it’s from Northern Mexico and is most often based on a polka or waltz tempo and its lyrics often deal with socially relevant topics. I know cumbia is dance music. When did you produce your first record?
JC: The first album I produced was in 2009 and was for a rock band called Fusil and then they changed their name to Cassette, I think, I can’t remember. [laughs] It was a 10-song album and I had a great time doing that project.

Scoop: You know I have to ask you about your involvement with The Warning band. How did that start?
It started with Pablo González, The Warning’s music mentor and longtime friend. I worked with his band Los Claxons for almost 5 years. One day he called me and told me about The Warning and the record they were doing in their basement. Then Luis called me and asked me to mix the EP they had recorded. That was “Escape the Mind.”

Scoop: Wow, so you worked on their first album?
They were happy with my mix and we started this wonderful relationship. Yes, I just mixed that EP. But right after that I approached Luis and I told him I wanted to produce a song for them. I wanted a chance to show them what we could do together. I knew we could do something big from the first time I heard them. Then he said, “Why one song? Let’s do the whole record.” So, we did XXI Century Blood. I was able to suggest drum fills, guitar riffs, bass lines, and vocal melodies. Also we were able to capture the sound from scratch. Some of my ideas they liked, some of them they didn’t but that’s how we started to know each other and realize we were a great team.

Scoop: Do you think that both you and the band having pop culture influences with your interest in horror movies and video games and their interest in manga and anime helped each other in establishing your working relationship with each other?
For sure. During the XXI Century Blood sessions, sometimes I brought my Wii U and we played Mario Kart and Splatoon. In return they have suggested a lot of interesting anime for me to read. We recently went to the movies and watched the new Pikachu movie.

Scoop: What did you think of the movie?
Well, the girls were laughing because I fell asleep during the movie. [laughs] We went very late at night and I was very tired.

Scoop: I know people who fall asleep at movies we go to as well, but I will not mention any names.
[Laughs] I didn’t like it that much. I think it was a little boring.

Scoop: XXI Century Blood is such an amazing album, but Queen of the Murder Scene is on another level.
Oh yes. XXI Blood changed our lives in many different ways. We learned a lot making that record, and we built this amazing team after that. I also mixed that album, something I didn’t do on QOTMS, which by the way, I’ve been thinking of doing. So, don’t be surprised if we release a remaster with my mix. QOTMS was a great experience, we learned a lot from that one too, especially when recording in Mexico, I think the process was faster and we knew what we wanted from day one so that was good. Right now, we’re working on what will be the third album, so stayed tuned.

Scoop: Who are some of the other bands you have produced?
I recently finished an album for a band called Mind Cinema. This was the third album I produce for them. They are an electronic pop group and very experimental in a way. The album is called Sleep Clinic. Another band I’m currently working with is a symphonic metal project called Mutum. This is the second time I have worked with them. The first album I produced for them was called Premonitions of War.

Scoop: What do you think the future of rock is going to be over the next 10 years?
I have no idea to be honest. But I’ll tell you one thing. The Warning will be kicking ass harder than ever.

Scoop: What are your goals for the next 10 years in terms of things you want to accomplish? 
I just turned 31 recently, and when I did, I promised myself that I would follow my dreams now more than ever. One of my dreams has always been to produce my own project. I love singing and I want to do it for real. I also want to start a YouTube channel to talk about video games, films and music, and also entertainment in general. Spiritualism is another topic I’d like to address. So, I’ll dedicate the next 10 years of my career not only to be a producer but also as an artist during that time. My hope is to be a song writer and an influencer for the entertainment and spiritual field.

Scoop: Jake it has been a real pleasure to have you sit down with us and we thank you.
Thank you for having me. I’ve had a great time.