After a storm, rush hours and the search for a cab in the middle of the night in México City almost kept this interview from happening, technology and the holidays gave us a chance…
Caloncho: It is a blessing, sure, for these are only five songs that, as it seems, people have really enjoyed. It is so nice to see that such a homemade and naïve EP could have gone around México, the States and Costa Rica. I feel really happy with such a humble reception.
Do you think that the fact that this was a homemade, simple and personal record made it so easy for people to get in touch with it?
I think it has a lot to do with it. It feels like something so easy, so digestible. I’m not into overdoing and overcompensating anything. The fact that the lyrics are so simple made people see themselves experiencing all of what FRUTA talks about.
After following you throughout the year during three much separated performances, I’ve noticed that some songs do not appear in FRUTA and they don’t even have an officially released video to go with them. But still, the audience seem to know the lyrics and sing along to them at your shows. How do you feel about this?
Amazing! People follow this project with their hearts. There are some folks that might come to the shows just knowing the EP and wondering How? At such a big venue? What is he going to play? Just these five songs? But, truly, just a few ones adopted this posture. Fans got into the fanpage, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud and such; trying to find out what was going on and it feels great. El Derroche has no video or proper audio, Los Animales as well; these are songs I play live and that people perceive as familiar as the official releases. It is overwhelming to see people getting so in touch and liking this project that much to make it their own with what they have at hand.
You were nominated for a couple of Latin Grammy’s this year with FRUTA. Did you ever think you would get that far?
I never thought I would live such experiences this past year. I just watched the snowball rolling down the hill and growing larger and larger. The Grammy’s were a big surprise and became a good way to identify the project, for I saw myself surrounded by a very poppy concept and big productions. It was so wild to see five low-fi tracks get to such an odd spot. A lot of things happened unexpectedly and that made them more special to me. And it also feels so good when you reach long expected goals one after the other, but I like to enjoy spontaneity.
We experienced a storm cancelled festival together, the search for a last minute venue with other bands such as the rockabilly band Rebel Cats, rockish Comisario Pantera, Technicolor Fabrics, Siddhartha and more. Have these artists had any influence in you during this last year?
Yes. I’ve played along Siddhartha and Technicolor Fabrics, I love what they do. Apart from Rebel Cats, rockabilly and rock steady are genres that I’ve listened throughout the years and I have a lot of that in my sound, we both love nostalgic music and old school stuff. I’ve definitely have been influenced, ideologically wise, about the concept of the music industry; for these are people that have been here far longer than me and their examples and references mean a lot in so many aspects of it all. I ask them about promotion, launching; they have a strong notion about the way things work and they have helped a lot.
The end of 2014 came along with festival and a top bill appearance at the Lunario del Auditorio Nacional. What can we expect with FRUTA 2.0?
The songs I’ve been playing when we had no time or money have finally been recorded, along with some old tunes with a contemporary turn to them, just to close this FRUTA era. I want everything to pack into a single being, although we still have a few months left of it. These are two different stages of my career but with the same elements and formula. I can’t wait to begin a new voice during next year, with a new album.
How would you like to evolve? What side of Caloncho would we see or what aspects of music would you like to let yourself get lost into?
I like to experiment with all that I hear until the result feels just right. I love reggae but I want to approach to it from a different angle, this genre is so rich and has so many sides to it; there are so many ways to take out good stuff from this influence. Rock steady and calypso are tempting too. I want to try something more synthetic as well, 70’s pop: take advantage of all this mix and make a fun fusion. Speech wise, I believe that FRUTA talks a lot about positive love, brother love, and it is something really appealing, but humans suffer a wide panorama of emotions and I’d like to try other compositions I’ve done with a different feel. I can’t wait to see people’s reactions to this.
FRUTA was an album that, no matter the season, you feel like living in an eternal summer, at the beach, with the ones you love. The theme is so sensitive yet so easy to feel through the EP, do you truly believe you could have the same success from a different angle such as sadness and longing?
I believe so. Now that you put it that way, the feeling wouldn’t change that much. Music says a lot, at least in my case. The music that I heart, most of the time, is a happy kind. I’ve been listening a lot to Alpha Blondy again, and he writes such sad lyrics about farewells but with such an upbeat reggae, so enjoyable and dancing appropriate that you can sense it as nostalgic but not it a sad way; and I love that, the way it feels. I’d love to accomplish something where the lyrics might not be as joyful, but the music gives a touch of contrast, a rich one. Maybe I never meant to use the ‘beach’ as a filter for this, but it will remain in the future.
Great, let me turn this shit off…
Written by Jorge A. López Mendicuti
OurVinyl | Senior Writer | Photographer