The Nortec Collective is not a thing or a genre or a group or a band, but an entire electronic aesthetic. It is a convergence of high-tech and low-tech, of north and south, of all things techno with all things norteño ("from the North"), of all the things that are a part of the rural and urban. The sound of the Nortec Collective is the sound of the First World in the Third, and the Third World in the First.
The group includes Fussible (Pepe Mogt), Bostich (Ramón Amezcua), Panóptica (Roberto Mendoza), Clorofila (Jorge Verdín), and Hiperboreal (Pedro Gabriel Beas). These producers create and perform a style of music called Nortec -- a fusion of norteño and techno.
The band's 2005 disc, Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 3, edged out such platinum acts as Enrique Iglesias and Shakira to reach number one on the iTunes "Latin Albums" chart. The album earned two Grammy nominations,for “Best Alternative Music Album” and “Best Recording Package."
Roberto Mendoza (known as Panóptica) 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."
An interactive book entitled Paso del Nortec--This Is Tijuana dedicated to the Nortec phenomenon was released in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe.
As of 2008, Ramón Amezcua (aka Bostich) is living in Chula Vista. Pepe Mogt (Fussible) lives in Tijuana. The band's side project Bostich and Fussible was nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award, for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album.
On November 22, 2010, Pepe “Fussible” Mogt claims he was assaulted by a fellow Nortec Collective vet. According to Rosey at SoundDiego, Mogt was at the Tijuana airport and says he was hit from behind by Roberto Mendoza, a founder of Nortec Collective who performs with the Nortec Panoptico Orquestra under the name Panoptico. Panoptico took to Facebook to claim HE was attacked by Fussible’s staff, resulting in a broken arm and fingers. The dispute appears to stem from last year, when Panoptico allegedly registered the Nortec Collective name for a trademark without authorization from the original Collective.