Interview by Parisa Eshrati
After one of their sets at SXSW, I had a chance to briefly speak with Simón and Liliana of Bomba Estéreo. We discussed themes of their music, the new direction of their upcoming album, and much more.
When I was speaking with Martín Perna of Antibalas in a previous interview, he told me how he observes that people are more receptive and dance at shows that are closer to the equator. Since Bomba Estéreo has toured in areas all over the word, I’m curious to hear your take on this. Do you see patterns of how people dance according to their environment?
Simón Mejía: Yes, I think there are patterns in the audience but at the same time you can’t make a rule. For example, you might think that the Latin audiences are warmer and more passionate about the music. But then you’ll play a show in northern Europe, like Scandinavia, and you find the same thing. So I don’t think there’s necessarily a rule that Anglo people are colder and people from the tropics are warmer. It depends, and I think the music is what determines that.
I watched an interview with Liliana and you were describing an Ayahuasca experience and how it changed your perception of music and spirituality. Can you elaborate on that and how you find that music and spirituality are connected?
Liliana Saumet: My English is not really good, so I’m sorry if I can’t give a long answer. I think music and spirituality are very close and definitely have a relationship. I think the lyrics and the performance are really in tune with it all. It’s personal but I think everybody can feel something with spirit. There’s something inside about love and knowing yourself that comes out in music. It’s a very close relationship.
The new single, “Fiesta”, has a much harder electronic feel than your previous work. Can we expect this more prevalent type of electronic sound to be at the forefront of the new album?
Simón: Yes, yes. Well, Bomba Estéreo has always been an electronic project. The starting point when we are making a song is always electronic. When I start making a song or a new track, it always starts off by programming on the computer and playing with machines. It’s the core of the band. In this album, though, you can definitely expect more of that. A little bit less folk songs, and a little bit more electronic songs.
You have various themes throughout your discography – everything from love, politics, social commentary, etc. What are some themes we can expect to be brought up in the new album?
Liliana: Love…more love…and more love! And party, and dance. Just normal stuff. But I think it’s really in tune. We are talking about relationships too, but I don’t know, maybe there will be some surprises.
In 2011, you all did a really fun cover of “Pump Up the Jam”. Are there any other songs you’d like to cover in the future?
Simón: Yes, there are many! Specifically right now we don’t have anything in the works. There are so many songs we’d love to cover that it’s hard to pick just one.
Liliana: M.I.A. could be fun…a Latin cover of MIA.
What are some artists that you’ve been listening to while you’re out on the road or traveling?
Liliana: I’ve been listening to Darkside, and lots of jungle.
Simón: Yes, I love jungle too.
Liliana: Lots of African Music…
Simón: We love electronic music. I especially love everything that comes from London and Berlin. I think it’s always awesome.
Can you tell us when the new album will come out and what else we can look forward to from the band this year?
Simón: The album is coming out in the first week of June. We’re doing a promotion tour starting now until August or October. We’ll be coming back here in the states in July. In May we will have the first pre-release parties. We’re going to do a big show in Bogotá with this jungle band from the UK. Then, we’ll do some shows in June in Europe. Then just keep playing more, and more, and more shows!
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