This is a much-anticipated record. Why did the follow-up take so long to record? Did it seem like a long time to you?
Founder Simon Mejia: Yes, surely it was a long time, let's say two years after the second album and its whole promotion was done. Basically all that time was spent touring the second album, so we didn't have enough time to concentrate and get into the studio. The result was ending up making the album inside a tour van or in airplanes! Nowadays, music is all about live shows, so you never can stop!
This new album sounds a bit more relaxed than I thought it might. Was that intentional?
It's a different album influenced by different aspects of life and also different kinds of music. Also, we are more grown up now so surely the album reflects that. But besides that, all the essence is still the same: reinterpretation of folk music into modern contexts. I think in music, as I once read from a Brian Eno interview, as well as in art, you always work on the same themes and concepts over your life, just moving slightly in the way you show those concepts, in the color. But the essence is always the same.
You've toured like crazy. How has that made you grow as a band?
We know each other as musicians and persons much more than in the past; we've realized that music is not just music, but a communication between you and the people. We also don't fight anymore! We're a big family now.
Were you surprised at the impact that "Fuego" had? There are, like, eight million remixes of that song.
Yeah, I know! There are more "Fuego" remixes than Bomba Estereo songs! Well, it was unexpected, as when we did that song we weren't even aware it was a single; we were just having a good time — maybe that's why it became so big! The remixes were fun to listen to, especially some of the really weird ones.
Are there going to be thousands of remixes for this album?
Well, we hope so! For now, we have only one: "El Alma y El Cuerpo," remixed by Julian, our guitar player.
What do you think of contemporary Colombian music? There's so much of it made by bands and electronic acts?
I think in Colombia we're passing through the most interesting time in the arts field. Not only music, but visual arts, film industry, literature; I think we're, like, in a search for cultural identity, which is very interesting in a context that is not pure, but totally mixed. We come from Indians, blacks and whites, and we have grown as a nation influenced by North American and European culture, so that makes us a complete hybrid culture with many, many colors. Being aware of that makes the artistic expression very interesting. And in music, it makes it very sexy.
In your write-ups, I see some journalists have said that some tracks are meant for "international" audiences. You guys are pretty international to start with and Colombia takes in so many different cultural connections. Do you ever write songs with the intent to appeal to Europeans or North Americans?
Never. We actually make songs thinking about nothing but just the music itself — enjoying the process and trying to push our style further, experimenting. For example, the two [guest artists, Buraka Som Sistema and BNegao] we have on the album came more from a friendship with those guys than from a strategy of entering into the Portuguese or Brazilian market. But we surely want to go more to Brazil; it's one or our favourites!
You're on a small label. How do you do business throughout the rest of the world?
Today, small labels are even more international than big ones! It´s all due to the Internet and its possibilities. Also, we as a band have spent most of our time touring, so we've made good contacts with very special labels and booking agencies around the world, which are supporting the project.
What's up with your touring schedule for the next few months? Any Canadian dates?
For now, we're finalizing the release of the album in Colombia, México and Argentina. Next year, we're probably touring the States and, yes, we have in mind doing Canada festivals as well. We went there two years ago and it was amazing; we're looking forward to going again.
FeaturesMar 19, 2015
While most young people spend their teenage years repudiating their parents, French-Cuban fraternal twins Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz, known ...
NewsMar 11, 2015
Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One Go Deep on the Origins of Tuxedo
Singer Mayer Hawthorne figures he and producer Jake One made the best Pitbull song ever. Of course, this was mostly by accident. In early 20...
NewsFeb 12, 2015
Ibeyi Discuss the Impact of Richard Russell and "Cool" Parents on Their Debut LP
French-Cuban twins Ibeyi will release their hotly anticipated self-titled debut for XL Recordings on February 17, and as the duo reveal in a...
FeaturesFeb 04, 2015
Jazmine SullivanShow Time
"Just living for a while. Just getting my life back together." That's how Philly-raised R&B songstress Jazmine Sullivan describes her return...