I hope everyone is staying safe during these times. Desert of my Eye wants you to know we are here and we love you all!
Last week I caught up with Bilbao for the release fo their latest single, "Cuarentayseis", which is now available on all streaming platforms. In a quick exchange with Aaron, front man of Bilbao, I asked the following questions:
D.O.M.E: How has quarantine been?
Aaron: We have been busy and with a lot of work since the release of this new single including programming the behind-the-scenes material for this single. We also did a live session during quarantine.
D.O.M.E: What do you guys do to pass time?
Aaron: Outside of everything relating to music, composing, and new discovering music, we like playing Fifa. Ha-ha.
D.O.M.E: You mentioned that you have a new single, what is it about?
Aaron: It's called "Cuarentayseis" and the public has loved it so far. It was well received and it already has a lot of reproductions. I think it's due to the fact that this song is nostalgic and introspective. It's also relatable.
D.O.M.E: How would you describe the song?
Aaron: It's a sad song. I wrote this after a hard time in my life. I had an emotional load that marked me. Even though it is sad song, ironically, it lends itself to dance.
D.O.M.E: If you could describe Bilbao with one word, what would it be?
Aaron: Family, without a doubt.
A big thank you to Bilbao! Please check out their latest single!
Last week I had the honor of doing a phone interview with Pedro-Juan Vasquez Bagan a.k.a. PJ Sin Suela! He is a popular Puerto Rican artist whose music has been compared to "an up-coming Residente".
PJ's music is filled with infectious rhythms that have you hooked from the moment they start and it's done none other than this doctor turned musician. After asking why he chose to leave his medical profession behind, he told me that it felt right to him and he could feel the support from his community. That's really a gutsy move! I believe this is one of those pure examples of "chasing your dreams".
As a segue to Pedro's career change, we discussed his artist name, "PJ Sin Suela". Pedro mentioned that PJ comes from Pedro-Juan but "sin suela" which translates to "without sole" comes from the fact that he in a way wants to leave his own kind of footprint on the world. Pedro was so thoughtful in every answer he gave.
We then talked about his latest single, "Loco Loquito", which features the world-famous Jorge Drexler. Pedro talked about how Jorge Drexler is his favorite artist, so being able to do this song with him was an honor. The theme of the song, as Pedro described, "deals with two people who are REALLY happy together and really want to know each other some more. It portrays it in a realistic manner and unlike a Disney movie."
I asked Pedro who his favorite artists were and he mentioned names like Ana Tijoux, Residente, and Culture Profetica. He added that his over all inspiration comes from other places like sports, movies, and even his dad.
As to Pedro's musical process, he mentioned that he loves writing a lot of poetry. He said that usually the music comes first, then the lyrics and then he plays with the whole composition. It was really interesting to listen to Pedro's discussion on his process. It's really inspiring and enlightening especially in times like these.
Stay safe everyone! And check our his music!
Last time we talked to Nico, we were celebrating his release of "All is Mind", and now we are celebrating "As Above so Below," which is set to be released on the 20th of this month. Enjoy what he has to say in this lovely Q & A:
Desert of My Eye (D.O.M.E): Hi, how is the quarantine going?
Nico: This quarantine is awful! I had to postpone a big art show I had planned next week. But so far I've been following it to keep everyone safer... it is definitely a lot of time to work on music. I saw a meme that said that a "self-quarantine" is an EDM producer's default lifestyle anyway. I thought that was funny.
D.O.M.E: How do you think this will affect (not affect) music in general? (not taking into account lost revenue in touring/festivals).
Nico: Well, shows will definitely die down for a while, as well as physical promotion. I'm using this as an opportunity to create a lot of digital content for YouTube, though. People will be consuming content like crazy over the next few months, so at least I can reach them from the comfort of their armchairs. Smart musicians are finding ways to capitalize on the extra screen time.
D.O.M.E: Can you tell me about your new single?
Nico: "As Above So Below" is a magical hermetic axiom; it means that what we do here corresponds to what happens in other planes. It's one of the fundamental teachings of the occult, and is even represented in phrases like "in heaven so as it is on Earth." You can approach the idea from so many angles, and essentially occultists or alchemists are teaching you to look at things in a new way; everything is the same when it comes down to it. I really like the line "your love and your hate are the same thing in a mirror," which is a phrase I sing at the drop. I think bringing magical and/or religious ideas into techno and electronic music is a super interesting combination, and I'm trying to do that with this track.
D.O.M.E: What is it about?
Nico: It's about all of these type of correspondences; you can look at the veins in someone's hands and see how they correspond to the roots of a tree. It's there in the lyric "the trees are blooming all across your fingers and the sun is burning red behind your eyes." I wanted to create a really mystical and mysterious vibe, which is reflected in both the lyrics and all the accompanying artwork. I am also a poet and visual artist, so all of those elements support the main narrative of the song. If that's not interesting to someone, though, don't worry. This track is a banger anyway.
D.O.M.E: Do you plan on releasing a full album soon?
Nico: I'm going to be releasing a series of singles for a while, as I think that's how people tend to consume music these days. Eventually, though, I'll put a lot of them together into a compilation or album with some badass artwork.
D.O.M.E: Anything else you would like the public to know about you?
Nico: I'm trying to bring the spirit of the 90s back to electronic music. Many musical artists in the 90's were also visual artists, especially when you look at genres like techno and trip-hop. Keep up with me on my website and my social media, because I will be working tirelessly on cool multimedia projects in the coming years, including lots of different electronica tracks, videos, and visual art.
YouTube song link:
Hyperfollow links (active 3/20):
"It marks the importance of Latin heritage."- Raul Sotomayor.
You want to talk about a vibe check or a change of pace? Need new music to dance to? I got you. I will introduce you to the brother and sister duo known as Sotomayor, which is made up of Raul and Paulina Sotomayor. Last time we spoke to them was in 2018, after they played a show at the Lowbrow Palace in El Paso, Texas.
Sotomayor is based in Mexico City and the two siblings had previous projects before fully embarking on this journey together. Orígenes marks their third studio album and it is very special. This album is special not only because of its look, but its invigorating and immersive sound. They also recently signed to Wonderwheel Recordings, a Brooklyn based boutique label, which really matches to their genre and essence. Somehow this album succeeds in magically blending dance hall, cumbia, dembow, and more. Esta chingon! It's truly meant to make you dance from beginning to end.
I recently talked to Raul in order to discuss this new album, its challenges, and the music industry. The following phone call took place as follows:
Ana Pao Calleros: Hello, how are you? First off, I love the album. So, Slang released an interview with you, which is titled "Sotomayor se enfrenta a una época en la que ser Latino está de moda" (Sotomayor faces an era in which being Latino is "in style") and you have a song titled "Latin History Month", what does that mean to you?
Raul Sotomayor: Thank you so much. It's complicated. It's also something good. This kind of music took over everything, but mainstream "ate" it all. You know it's hard to compete with people like JBalvin or JLo or people pertaining to the genre in the mainstream realm. Actually, I chose to name it "Latin History Month". It matched a lot of the messages that Pau's lyrics had. The song itself was written during Black History Month and the last one to be made on the album. It's also one of my favorites.
Ana Pao: It's one of my favorites too! I am aware that the process of making this album was different from the last two. Eduardo (a.k.a Visitante of Calle 13) produced it and had a "heavier hand" in making the album whereas you did that for the last two. How was that experience? I also heard that the process of this album started off with a lot of back and forth e-mails between you and Eduardo. Were you guys ever concerned with the process?
Raul: What happened, as a difference to the previous two albums, is that I didn't have that much control over it. It was not made "on the box", so I couldn't work on it whenever or wherever. Eduardo is a busy person and this wasn't the only project he was working on at the moment. It took about a year and a half to finish.
*side note: Raul mentioned that a lot that went into this album. Eduardo is from Puerto Rico and once him and Pau had a chance to go to Puerto Rico, that was when the album got finalized. For Raul, it was like working in a "reverse process" from what he is used to, but he is nonetheless grateful for the opportunity and for the learning experience. After all, Eduardo is a highly respected figure in the music industry.
Ana Pao: I adore the album cover. Why did you guys choose this? Is there a reason for the color?
Raul: The color was an artistic choice and we had a palette in mind. Funny enough, Tame Impala and Justin Bieber released an album that day and they also had red covers. We worked on this cover with Orlyanan. She has done a lot of work with different musicians like Bomba Estéreo and Lido Pimienta. We wanted a very "ancestral" look, but no specific attached meaning or look to the figures.
Ana Pao: What are you looking forward to most on this tour?
Raul: Trying to reach a wider audience. [With their style of music] doors have opened for us in places we had never imagined. It's important to showcase these sounds around the world. As a result, we are very well received. It marks the importance of Latin heritage.
Ana Pao: Finally, I know you mentioned that this was a career of "resistance" and that the public can be "muy rough". What has been the biggest lesson you have learned in regards to making music? If you didn't make music, what would you do?
Raul: I actually studied industrial design and I've always been drawn to music. It's hard to stay away (from music). I can't imagine it any other way. It's important to keep going. It doesn't matter if you think you have seen or done it all, you haven't. There is always room for more.
As a final note, Raul and I talked about the music industry and its major changes. He invites everyone to give this album a chance. To go beyond just twenty seconds of listening to it. It's another reggaeton album, in its own right yet different than the "popular" stuff. We also talked about how simpler times we and that the introduction of Spotify brought the democratization of music. However, there are so many options that it can be overwhelming at times.
Check out the links below to keep up with Sotomayor:
Eight albums, many shows, and thousands of loving and dedicated fans are all attributed to La Gusana Ciega. La Gusana Ciega is "considered one of the most prolific groups in the history of Mexico, with a collection of many songs and stories that have traveled through the band's career of over more than 20 years." There is no doubt as to the lasting impact this band has had and continues to have on the music scene.
As this never-stopping band continues to thrive, they also continue to tour. As of this moment they are doing the "Borregos en la Niebla" tour. The band also released a new video to their single, "Pasiflorine", in which they teamed up with a foundation that helps women. It is always refreshing when bands team up with foundations that cover topics like domestic violence and abusive relationships amongst other things. Often times, topics like these get overshadowed by others.
Last week I got to talk to Lu, bassist of La Gusana Ciega, to discuss the band's latest project and current tour. As a band that is playing back-to-back shows, it makes it hard for them to explore the cities they play in, but they always manage to grab a bite from a local place or go shopping if possible.
As part of the interview Lu and I discussed the general evolution of the music industry and the major changes it has had for the better or for the worse. As a positive, he mentioned that there is "more contact with the fans". He also added that with "more power comes more responsibility". Once again referring to social media.
Besides also covering the fact that they once opened Lenny Kravitz, we went on to discussing their single "Pasiflorine" and the very important message behind it. Lu said that"the origin of the song, including lyrics comes from Daniel. "It's a powerful song." It reflects man and these horrible tendencies. "We (as the band) do not sympathize with violence." He also added that the director of the video heard the single a year prior to making the video and he always had this idea for it, including teaming up with this foundation known as Fundación Origen (www.origenac.org).
Overall, the band is super grateful for tall the fans that have stuck with them throughout the years and they hope that they keep tuning in. Join them next week as they head to the Sin City and the Sun City!
La Gusana Ciega social media:
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Interviews and playlists of local bands and international artists.