How Aterciopelados Keep Rewriting the Latin Alternative Playbook

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Before Shakira belly-danced her means from barefooted rockera to multi-lingual pop powerhouse, and Juanes rode his sneering alt-rock kiss-offs to international acclaim, Aterciopelados championed Colombian rock throughout the peak of the rock en español explosion. For greater than a quarter-century, the now-legendary pair — comprised of frontwoman/guitarist Andrea Echeverri and bassist/producer Hector Buitrago — have continued to push the bounds of Latin various music. Nominated for a Grammy Award, their newest masterpiece, 2018’s Claroscura, isn’t any exception.

Rolling Stone meets with the Colombian duo on the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, simply days earlier than Claroscura wins them a 3rd Latin Grammy — this time for for Best Latin Alternative Music Album. “We aren’t academically-trained musicians,” says Echeverri of their beginnings as a band. “I used to be an artwork pupil, and Hector had an emblematic hardcore band known as La Pestilencia,” Brimming along with her common moxie, Echeverri rocks pink hair streaks and a black cranium cardigan; Buitrago, then again, sports activities a white jumpsuit and varied articles of indigenous jewellery. “We met, fell in love, and began making music,” she provides.

In the early Nineties, the twosome opened up a bar in Bogotá and started performing as Aterciopelados. Their breakthrough got here fast with their second LP, 1995’s El Dorado, a spunky rock launch steeped in riot and bolero brilliance. With Buitrago’s irreverent punk attraction and Echeverri’s artsy, idiosyncratic appeal, the pair set off to win over Latin America and past. “What occurred within the Nineties was very spectacular for us,” the singer muses. “Without anticipating it, we had been signed to a report label, and started taking part in with Caifanes, Café Tacvba, Los Fabulosos Cadillac, Soda Stereo, Héroes del Silencio … It was all very vertiginous.”

In 2000, Aterciopelados dropped the Latin Grammy-winning Gozo Poderoso, which peaked at Number 7 in Billboard’s Latin Pop Albums. After every pursuing brief solo tasks, they adopted up with two of Latin Grammy-winning data, 2006’s Oye in addition to 2008’s Río, which Rolling Stone named one in all The 10 Greatest Latin Rock Albums of All Time in 2012. Now, after a decade-long hiatus, the beloved Colombian pair return with their eighth LP Claroscura: a playfully outspoken alt-rock opus, by which their dedication to defend girls’s rights and the setting resonate by.

The album, which tinkers with candied reggaeton, blissful Andean people, and polka-leaning banda, additionally serves as a type of yin-yang of the band, a kind of poetic love letter that embraces their quirky union. “I imagine that now we have all the time maintained a riot,” says Echeverri with a wink.

Your tune “Duo” is a fantastic ode to the band, which additionally displays the distinction and dynamism between you two. The album does that as properly.
Andrea Echeverri:
In a means, I really feel that Claroscura is a mirrored image of us as structured and mature artists — that goes with out implicating that there isn’t any weirdness or contradictions within the album. What the album displays, as a lot because the tune, is that every of us has our personal factor occurring. We’ve had our personal solo tasks, and we’ve accomplished one another’s position — [Buitrago] sang and I produced. What now we have is 2 individuals who resemble one another in sure issues, however the majority are opposites. The variations between us [are] very stunning.

When individuals ask how lengthy it took to finish Claroscura, I say 28 years. In the album, we provide messages of femininity, antiwar, ecology, and ancestry. These are all subjects that Aterciopelados has beforehand labored on, together with in our solo tasks.

In the music video for “Dúo,” viewers see you two dressed as what is perhaps a punk villain and angel. Can you clarify?
Echeverri:
It’s a picture that has humor and exaggeration. He is gentle and I’m darkness, however generally he’s black and I’m white. That’s the place it begins; it’s a actuality. There isn’t any gentle with out darkness, and there’s no darkness with out gentle.

There are some elegant Andean people melodies within the report too, like in “Soñemos un Bosque,” or “Let’s Dream a Forest,” which evokes to me one thing of a religious journey. Was that the intention?
Hector Buitrago:
I think about that all of us have our personal religious or philosophical influences. I might say that every one that I’ve recognized or learn ultimately has nourished and influenced me. That tune does have a contact of Andean music. We have participated in indigenous ceremonies, and the experiences that we’ve had do floor after we compose. They additionally emerge from our DNA. This tune has to do with our connection to the Earth, the mountains, the Andes. The concept is that it appears like a forest, that’s why it’s known as “Soñemos un Bosque.”

Where do your different sources of inspiration come from when composing?
Echeverri: 
For me being a lady is the supply of many reflections and experiences. I’ve a daughter of 16, she is rising up and goes to our live shows, and if there’s one factor to share, let’s say it’s about her… When I work my songs at residence and my youngsters arrive from faculty, they’ll move by and I present them my materials. I get their suggestions, and people songs are “Cuerpo” and “Pierna.” They need to do with me and my daughter. She tells me, “Mom, we’d like these songs.” That’s why they’re there. There is one other cool tune known as “Vieja.” I’ve all the time composed about what is going on to me and what I really feel. I attempt to be very sincere. Although what a tune would possibly say might sound disagreeable, I believe that’s all legitimate.

That boldness, humility, and candor is a repute you uphold. What retains you grounded, regardless of having a handful of accolades?
Echeverri:
I imagine that now we have all the time maintained a riot. When everyone seems to be about onerous rock, I say, “Nah.” And when there’s a bestseller, I’m like, “Huh?” I don’t know if [I’m like that] as a result of my mother and father scolded me lots after I was little. But I believe that perspective offers worth to what you do, since you are being completely different, and you’re discovering issues that don’t resemble what predominates. We method issues with humor. Our songs have a humorousness too and I believe that’s the way in which to reside, if not every little thing turns into drama.

Buitrago: It’s simple for it to get to your head when one rises with fame, accumulates awards, receives applauses, or has individuals kissing as much as you. It’s all the time essential to all the time to test in internally and notice that one must be right down to earth.

Looking again on the band’s profession, Aterciopelados grew to become an essential band for the contribution of rock en español. What was it wish to take part in that motion?
Echeverri:
What occurred within the Nineties was very spectacular for us. We by no means anticipated it, as a result of at the moment the scene in Colombia didn’t exist. [Rock en español] had exploded and it lasted a very long time. Now the scene is completely different, however we nonetheless discover ourselves in live shows with all these cool individuals [from before]. We had been lately at a Rock en tu Idioma Sinfónico present, and we frolicked with La Cuca, Azul Violeta… with so many nice bands from that period. It was very cool.

You helped globalize Colombian rock within the Nineties, paving means for artists like Shakira and Juanes. Then Colombian cumbia revived within the palms of Bomba Estéreo. Now reggaeton, initially from Puerto Rico, received popularly refashioned in your nation. How have you ever skilled these shifts?
Buitrago: Music in Colombia has developed lots, and I believe it’s one of many nations that’s exactly driving that evolution. These aren’t teams copying genres, however artists who’re creating their very own genres. I believe Bomba Estéreo inside that fusion of genres [cumbia, punk, electronic] created one thing that’s very a lot their very own, and so they have a really cool authenticity. Many city artists too are creating and advancing a brand new sound with some very attention-grabbing mixes and distinctive beats. That’s why it’s having a lot influence worldwide. J Balvin is bringing collectively younger proficient producers from Medellin, and now all that Colombian expertise is globally resonating.

What are among the fondest reminiscences you could have out of your near-three-decades-long profession?
Echeverri:
When we first began taking part in, we grew to become the opening act for a lot of giant teams. With Soda Stereo, we didn’t simply do that tune. [By that she means Soda Stereo’s important monitor, “En la Ciudad de la Furia,” on which Echeverri sang as a visitor on an episode of MTV Unplugged.] We had been their opening act in a number of excursions. We additionally opened up for Los Héroes del Silencio and Caifanes, who we had been very large followers of. Those had been very cool moments: to have your favourite artists for a lot of hours close by and seeing the place they went procuring, watching them throughout sound test, and the way they traveled. Those had been revealing instances.

Buitrago: Just a few months in the past, we performed with Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá in entrance of 80,000 individuals in one of many largest venues of town, Festival de Verano, which is about 480 years outdated. Hearing them play their very own variations of our music was very stunning.

This interview was initially carried out in Spanish.