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The Nortec Collective's new disc, Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 3, recently edged out such platinum acts as Enrique Iglesias and Shakira to reach number one on the iTunes Latin Albums chart. Robert Mendoza (known as Panoptica) talks about some of the issues associated with being a norteño-techno fusion band from Tijuana.

"The biggest problem? You're not exactly from California or the U.S. And, in Tijuana, you are so far away from Mexico City.... We never thought about American labels.... It was easier to get to the labels in Mexico City."

Is Europe an easier market to crack than the U.S.?

"I think so," says Mendoza. "It's really difficult to get [music] into the U.S. It's far easier to get it into Europe. From Spain, it's easy to cross borders."

What about the availability of music gear in Tijuana?

"I can recall being a kid and crossing over to San Diego to get music gear. We went to the swap meets, places where you could get cheap prices." Otherwise, he says, "Those things in Tijuana are very expensive."

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