Sebastián Villatoro Bendaña pulls into the driveway Jan. 12 at Análogo Digital, a recording studio in San Lucas, Guatemala, as Franc Castillejos walks out to greet him. Bendaña grabs his guitar from his trunk. Then, with a big grin, he embraces Castillejos. The friendship between these two runs deep because of Análogo Digital, where Bendaña records his music. Análogo Digital is run by two audio engineers, Castillejos and David Suárez, who recently became a member of the international Audio Engineering Society.
Bendaña drove his SUV to Análogo Digital to record a new folk song. Before recording, he invites Castillejos and Suárez to grab their instruments and starts a jam session to work through the song. Suárez grabs an acoustic bass guitar and Castillejos grabs an acoustic guitar. Bendaña begins to strum his guitar and the other two join in when ready.
Bendaña, Castillejos and Suárez jumped on instruments at young ages, which led them to careers in music. Bendañas and Suárez started out on guitar, but Castillejos started out on piano. Bendañas and Castillejos both write their own music, while Suárez mainly runs the studio, which opened in 2015.
“We had the dream of having a studio that gave even more services related to audio than just recording and that was it,” Suárez said.
All three musicians are trying to use their talents to shape the music culture of the entire country.
“Franc and I are musicians and we have always tried to make something different to add something to our culture and we want people who listen to our music to think and feel a little bit more because music is about feeling and understanding,” Suárez said. “All of these projects come to our studio looking for a new sound that is fresh for Guatemalan ears and that is a great addition to what is being done. I think we’re making, and will keep making, great things for Guatemala for our culture to grow.”