Could we consider something to sound out of place, out of historical context today? A musical anachronism?
Something that is undoubtedly of today is the fusion of different styles and categories. Things that were impossible to combine in the past are combined now. The clear reflection of this is the internet. Everything’s there, simultaneously. So, I believe that it is natural and healthy to be open to bring down cultural concepts and find the threads that unify through different times and categories. I don’t think a musical anachronism is possible because when we invoke cultural forms, musical or whatever from the past, we filter it through our experience of now, they are interpreted or used from a perspective of the present.
In pop, theres a lot of today’s projects that copy styles form the past. You sometimes hear classic soul or psychedelic rock from the 60s, the musical and production values are identical. Its pretty but at the end depressing, reflecting a big hole in perspective. I think the right thing is to look forward, be committed to a generational pulse, even though it is blurred. I understand that a lot of sense can be found in productions from the past and personally I love old music but why copy what’s been done before? Its better to interpret references to do something new.
But more than style I believe in the voice of an artist that transcends paradigms. If its real it will sound real. This applies to ability, the production values are secondary to the author’s voice. Thats where art happens, in the genuine gesture. Im not interested in genres. This applies to other disciplines as well. Im not talking about aesthetic theories, you can find honesty in many varied forms, in what’s apparent as well. It’s interesting how a culture determined by marketing and effects that what is genuine can be an effect as well. It’s about being mature, theres valuable pop music. Im a romantic in that sense.
I like the idea that my work has seldom been described adequately because it can be approached from different references. A french blog did get it because it mentioned the intention to disregard genres. Its easy to say its post-rock, electronic pop, shoegaze, experimental, modern song… Its all of that and none of them. If there’s something I value from what I’ve done is to have been able to consider many different things without it sounding out of balance or direction.
Your history (One Second Bridge’s) is spontaneous and came about because of a love for music. How did it happen? Did you have clarity form the beginning of what you wanted from your sound?
With One Second Bridge it was something special, one of those things that happened because it had to, almost thrusted by hidden hands. I had my musical baggage and a little experience with my first band, Sueño Cítrico. I stopped making music for some time and started again when I went to live to Barcelona, before meeting Matias. He also had had a band in Buenos Aires. The funny thing is that what he was doing at his home studio and what I had been doing in mine related in various elements. An experimental rock, minimalist, atmospheric, emotive, simple and with electronic touches. From the first day I heard his music I knew I could add to it, but from an irrational place, I connected with what I heard. So the dynamic was very natural, without ideas or with unconscious ideas. It was like the rules of the game were known beforehand and what followed was to do it from a place of certainty, everything fell into place. I think we both had confidence but together we fed off that confidence and boosted it, that was the main impulse.
If you had to be forced to diagnose a fundamental problem in the mexican musical landscape, what would you say?
I think things are moving and its an interesting moment although dismembered. It would be an error to give an absolute judgement to something so complex. I am actually a hermit so I am not the right person to answer that. If I could change things based on my vision of what’s positive I would like things to come together based on quality. That things moved based on that north. There are and always will be good artists and good music, that is the only success. I see healthy projects, labels like Static Discos, or even in your magazine where pop, classical and experimental commune. Young promoters like Pedro y El Lobo that are doing things from their trench without complexes. I think we’ll see more of that in the near future. I see cultural problems intrinsic of Mexico: Some cultural problems, ignorance, complexes, pseudo democracy, disloyalty…
Both the Fonogram and One Second Bridge records were well received by international critics. I receive emails from people that thank me for my music and that feels good. In Mexico I don’t exist but that doesn’t make me bitter. It’s a symptom of things outside of me and at the end it is actually good. Fame is an ego trap.
Is music in this moment in time a passion without income? How do you spend your time? What should be explored?
Yes and no. There’s people that find their place in the business as musicians or combining it with businesses related with music. But as an artist, very few live off music. That is universal and even for musicians with a certain amount of success. If you add being independent and make strange music it is not real to think about living only of music. But thats not an obstacle to produce, never has been. If the focus is to make money its better to do things in parallel and leave music out of the equation, for it not be tainted. It’s a challenge, to find that balance.
I studied film and digital arts, I want to explore different artistic disciplines and that’s one of my goals. I am in the middle of producing the second Fonogram album, something always happens to me before finishing a project I feel that a part of me is already in the next one and in my case records take their time, so I’m restless for new things but little by little working on the current one. This one will be more rock, more immediate but without losing the stylistic fusion. I want it to be a culmination of the vision I explored with One Second Bridge and Fonogram. I am also preparing a new project where I want to explore the symbiosis of image and sound, it’s called Poesis AV for now. In this project I want to lean less on pop, because I want to be loyal to that part of me that knows pop is a limited art form. And the Diana project is taking shape. Because of some perverted fiends I am betraying my principles and it will be mainstream pop, although, subversive.[/column_one_half_last]
Fonogram, why the name?
I liked it because it reminded me of an old record player and it sounds modern as well. This is the idea behind the project: To unite classic concepts and new ones. I am attracted to gear and sound: speakers, records, covers and the secrets they keep. Fonogram also talk about this fondness. It looks good, sounds good, is bilingual, ubicuous…
Do you remember the record or song that made you want to make music?
Not really but I can say that Girlfriend In A Coma by The Smiths changed my life even if it sounds like a cliche. It was on the radio and something happened beyond reason, something in me identified. Satie’s Gimnopedies are my first musical memory.
Mention 1 band that you listened to 10 years ago, 2 from 5 years ago and 3 from now.
10 years ago Suede. Five: Tortoise and The Clientele. Now: The Go Betweens. I went to a concert of them and I wasnt blwn away. But this year I discovered their 16 Lovers Lane and has become one of my favorites. Fonogram and One Second Bridge… I enjoy my music.
You use a Rickenbacker, have you thought of using another guitar for the next Fonogram Project?
This answer has to do with the first one. The Rick has a mystic quality, its not just another guitar. I always wanted one and it was worth getting it. I’m working with a cheap acoustic one, it offers an immediate physical response.
Now that you are playing with a back up band, do you consider making music focused on organic sounds, like rock and leave the experimentation on the side?
I am focusing on adventurous songs. I dont like the word experimental because it sounds like trial and error. I want to combine sound work with pop, but more than styles there has to be a vision.
One can appreciate different styles on the album, from soundscapes to songs with vocals is a giant leap. What are the motivations behind this?
I don’t feel it’s a giant leap. One can jump lightly from an urban soundscape to a song built with a guitar track and voice. I think it’s interesting to have a wide palette. It reflects what I value, I don’t want to limit myself.
Why sing in english and spanish?
It’s funny to see how someone from the old school getting angry hearing a band from here sing in english. We are an international generation, the positive side of globalization. Our language is very rich like english is. At the end language is not what’s important, what you say with it and how you use it is.
What is your opinion on the indie movement?
Indie is a prostituted term, pure smoke, used to sell. It’s origin is not respected. To make thing independently outside of big companies is valuable but doesen’t imply something positive. In general I see a stupid stuck up attitude.
Where do you see the buisness of music going?
Towards the digital. Do it yourself wil keep on growing. More works in the public eye, good and bad. The industry is alive in spite of the cisis and there will be organizations with in. I am fortunate to have been able to work with good independent labels such as CCO and Static.
Electronic music lends itself to collaborations between artists. Do you have projects at the moment withother bands or in other fields?
I collaborated with people from different places through the internet. I am happy to be able to show tlent in the next record and in a remixes project for One Second Bridge, that doesen’t have a release date yet. I will keep collaborating but I am now focused on the Fonogram debut.
To which film director, dead or alive would you like to make a soundtrack for?
Wong Kar Wai, I love and identify with what he does. Andrei Tarkovsky but those are big words, one of the greats, maybe when I’m old and have more experience I will be able. David Lynch, to learn how he works with sound, that is a very cared for element in his films.
Say you have the power to bring 3 artists or bands from the grave to see them play live. Who would you choose?
The Cocteau Twins, I would like to see Liz Fraser and RObin Guthrie playing the guitar. The Velvet Underground in The Factory and the Go Betweens in that same concert.