Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Julio Reyes-Verano Alternativo

Orgullosamente regio-montano (de Monterrey), Julio Reyes se asegura de llevar un poquito de Mexico por donde quiera vaya, cosa que se puede notar en su vestimenta ya que suele utilizar siempre algo del color verde que le recuerde a su Mexico lindo. 

Proud to be from Monterrey, Julio Reyes makes sure to always bring a little bit of Mexico where ever he goes as he seeks to always have a little something green as a reminder of his beautiful country. 

Bionica: Tell me about style when it comes to clothes. 
Julio Reyes: You know, it's a little vintage. Today's outfit has an urban edge to it. My style has a lot to do with my music. The color green reminds me of Mexico so I always look for it. I'm wearing a little bit of Mexico, something vintage, something urban and that's exactly what my music is. It's Mexican, it's urban, it's funk, r&b… The name of the genre is regional alternative, so it's regional music fused with other things make up my musical identity. 

Bionica: What is it that makes your alternative music different from the regional?
Julio Reyes: Well, it's usually northern, or band music here in the US. In this case we are combining both the northern & band elements together. We're combining both of these Mexican folklores. We're adding electronica, funk, r&b and soul to put together a collage of different rhythms and that's what represents who I am. I came to this country when I was 17 and graduated from Berklee College of Music. This project allows me to express who I am and the experiences that I learned from including my risky beginnings in Mexican music, as well as my influences along the way. 

Bionica: Your music has a lot to say about heartbreak and experience yet you are so young. What inspired those songs?
Julio Reyes: I'm really not that young. The music, is what keeps all of us that dedicate ourselves to it young. I think it's more about the extreme romance in going through a loss that sets apart from today's songs where it's easier to change from one love to the next. The romanticism from the 60s & 70s, the romanticism from Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Juan Záizar, Tomás Méndez, Victor Cordero and the composers from that era was a hardened, at a certain point, it was a drunken love. And it had a strong need of tearing apart and we're trying to bring back that extreme romanticism and adapt it to newer, contemporary sounds. It's my hope that the new generations will appreciate these works of art that we are bringing back in these songs. 

Bionica: I heard Me Cansé de Rogarte (I Got Tired of Pleading) and to me it seems like a fusion of regional with r&b because I can hear the trombone, a little bit of the accordion but also a piano that I imagine to serve as a bridge between both genres. Was that intentional?
Julio Reyes: You are completely right. Me Cansé de Rogarte (I Got Tired of Pleading) is the first song that we have presented as a single because it expresses my project so well. It begins with a super soulful piano, then little by little you hear a beat like a tssst tssst which gives it an urban kind of feeling and it all starts to develop and come together. Then you hear a tuba followed by the metal instruments which fall into a new groove. It's the perfect presentation for this besides the song Ella (Her) which inspired Me Cansé de Rogarte (I Got Tired of Pleading) a very famous song by José Alfredo Jimenez. So we said, 'let's go with the most famous song on the album' and remake it in a soulful way with some r&b which has a lot to do with the music that I love as well. The other song that you can also hear from the album is Paloma Negra Parrandera (Black Party Bird) a collaboration with Chiquis Rivera, and it's on her album. It's got jazz and soul with a little bit of funk and then a whole band that comes in strong. It's something completely different from Me Cansé de Rogarte (I Got Tired of Pleading) yet it's still within the kaleidoscope of regional alternative.  

Bionica: You have a new album coming out. What's it called? When does it come out? What can we expect from it?
Julio Reyes: The title for the album is Mi Versión de un Clásico (My Version of a Classic). I put together all of the songwriters that have influenced me the most from the 60s & 70s along with their best songs and re-did 10 songs from that time. They began to develop with different collaborations as it is an album of duets with very important women in the industry. There is a duet with Amanditita who is huge in alternative rock in Mexico & Europe. We have a collaboration with Chiquis Rivera, one with Gloria Trevi, with La Santa Cecilia… They're people from very different genres and that's what gives more life to the project. It's no longer about following a certain pattern. It's about coming together as musicians and breaking down barriers as such–coming together in a project that has a lot of heart. 

Bionica: Which is your favorite song in the album and why?
Julio Reyes: Right now, the one that I like the most is No Volveré (I'm Not Coming Back), its a very old song <sings> 'I'm not, coming back, I swear to god that sees me…' Now it's 'I'm not, coming back, I swear to god that sees me upset and trembling.' So it's very soulful, cool 80s, r&b. 
I'm so happy that we are so open to play with these songs & recreate them. 

Bionica: As a singer and songwriter, what's your advice for those people that listen to you and want to be like you?
Julio Reyes: The bit of experience that I can pass on to those that want to dedicate themselves to this is to try to be 100% you. Don't do things because you want to find an audience that's going to accept them, but do the things that really move you and make you feel whole as an artist. Those things that you can defend once you're on stage. If you can't defend the music that you're doing, than it's probably not for you and you shouldn't be doing it. It takes a lot of us years to learn that lesson. I would say to really find your calling. 

Bionica: I feel that this is advice that not applies to music, but life as well. Do what makes you happy–because you want to...
Julio Reyes: Because you want to. What feels right in your heart, what you enjoy doing, what makes you smile.

Thank you so much Julio!!!

camisa: H&M, pantalones: Publish, botas:  Kelly Vera
shirt: H&M, pants: Publish, boots: Kelly Vera


Julio Reyes - Me Canse De Rogarte

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Le Labo

Su creencia, es que 'la explicación le quita el sentido al arte'
Pero igual os cuento que estas fragancias son diferentes 
Y de que manera!
Al pasar por su tienda en Saks, me dice Jesse
'Nuestros perfumes son hechos por pedido. Trátalo!'
Lo hice, y honestamente son muy diferentes 
A lo que uno pensaría, en comparación con las esencias de aceites 
Me parece que están en otro nivel 
Sutil y agradable para los sentidos 
Es algo natural lo que atrae 
De ser usado en notas sencillas 
Para ser completamente disfrutado 
Os sugiero bergamote 22

They believe that 'explanation kills art' 
But really, I must tell you that these fragrances are quite different 
In a good way! 
When I stopped by the shop on Saks, Jesse told me 
'Our fragrances are made fresh. Try it!'
And that I did, he was right, they're different and not the same 
As one would think in comparison to essential oils
It's as if they are elevated to a different state 
To be completely pleasing to the senses 
And not at all over powering
They're natural and this is what makes them so alluring 
To be worn in single notes
To be enjoyed in its entirety 
I suggest bergamote 22

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Maku Soundsystem-Verano Alternativo

This band signifies the beautiful unification of difference and cultures through music. Their unique sound will draw you in and have you fall in love with the magic that is MAKU Soundsystem.

Maku Soundsystem
Liliana Conde (vocals, percussion)
Juan Ospina A.K.A Prodigio Arribetiao (vocals, bass)
Camilo Rodriguez (guitar, gaitas)
Robert Stringer (trombone)
Felipe Quiroz (synthesizers)
Moris Cañate (tambor alegre)
Andres Jimenez (drums)
Isaish Richardson Jr. (sax and Clarinet)

Bionica: What made you guys choose the name MAKU for the band?
MAKU Soundsystems: Our guitarist Camilo, picked the name, inspired by the Nukak Makú. They are a nomadic indigenous community from the Amazon.  Supposedly, we Westerners came into contact with them and their story made the front page in the New York Times, which he in his experience found very interesting and that's where the name stems from. The notion, the name, just stuck with him and it's the band's name now. Maku means people, it's the people from every day life, Soundsystem is the party or vehicle through which we celebrate. And so, it's a party for everyone. 

Bionica: You guys are a very large group and most of you are from Colombia. 
MAKU Soundystem: Yes.
Bionica: Where in Colombia? 
MAKU Soundsystem: Different parts. There are 4 of us from Bogota, 2 people are from Barranquilla, and 2 band members are from here, the US. Robert the trombone player is from Savannah, Georgia in the South and Isaiah is from here, the Bronx in New York. 
Bionica: Although you guys are from Colombia, the culture is somehow different depending where you are, be it on the coast in Barranquilla or Bogota. What's something that you have learned from each other? What do you like most about working together?
MAKU Soundsystem: First we have learned to work together <laughs>. To make music together and have better conversation, with music together. We've been together for almost 5 years and as Colombians from different regions, there has definitely been an interchange. There was a huge rock influence in my time as well as music from here and the music that our parents listened to in Bogota. The music from the coast has always been present in Bogota in different ways, be it the bus–buzeta or our parents who would always listened to it at home in parties. The coast also has all the tradition that is a great foundation for the music that we put together as Maku Soundsystem. Besides that, we are also from here, from New York and we are immigrants and have been here for a long time. As Felipe was saying, there are members that aren't from Colombia. One is from New York and the other is from Savannah, and so there is an organic exchange with the music that is here in the city. All of us musicians listen to different things and you will hear something different depending on who you ask. I believe that the band fills itself with so many truths because of this. You have these New York immigrants with these Colombians in the middle. 
Bionica: You guys also came out with a vinyl disc. 
MAKU Soundsystem: Yes
Bionica: A single right?
MAKU Soundsystem: The last one that was released was an EP, with 4 songs. Before that there was a whole album, Makumbala, with 9 tracks and prior to that was our first CD, Vamos Bien. There will be a new album, Nation of Immigrants, which will be coming out at the end of the year. We were able to record 2 new songs at the Studio of LongBoard in Hamburg, Germany. The songs will be released under the label Peace & Rhythm which is from Massachusetts. It's all DJ, party…with love and substance. 
Bionica: Why didn't you release the songs in a digital format? Why vinyl?
MAKU Soundsystem: There are people in the band that really enjoy vinyls, we collect them. It's an analog sound, a physical process, which is nice. The final product is tangible. It's an alternative way to make music. Everything is so easy today, anyone can make an MP3, a CD, or even a vinyl disc, but the actual vinyl making process is special. We really value the analog sound and enjoy albums from the late 70s, early 80s. I personally collect them. It's romantic, and at the same time we feel more passionate making a vinyl disc than a CD. We're not saying that CDs are bad, they're great, but we as a band have a special appreciation for vinyl making. I think that Felipe makes a great point, it's about having something tangible, you can basically feel the process. There has to be something to remind us that we're here <laughs>. Something to tell us that the song finished and we have to get up and turn the disc over. Of course. It's a call for us to hold on to certain  things–not everything can be replaced. It's the physicality of an object which is what happens with the band as well. You can millions of MP3s and listen to them anywhere, which is fine, but there is a certain beauty in getting up to reach for the record and placing the needle on it and playing it. You can hear the sound waves with out putting the needle on it, you can change the tempo. It's like you can almost touch the music and we love it. At the same time, we're not leaving behind the digital world. It's just that you get a CD, someone opens it, pops it into the computer and it becomes an MP3 and that's it. Computers now a days don't even bring a CD drive. It's about going slowing down a little and enjoying things. As human beings, there is something very valuable in having an actual process for something and carrying it out from beginning to end. To feel that, to touch that, is important because you feel that you are able. 
Bionica: To know that we are alive.
Maku Soundsystem: Exactly! Imagine, the last three albums have been recorded on a tape without a computer. We were all basically in one room playing live in an analog form the way that you would record before. It doesn't matter if there's a mistake, you can do it over until it all comes out right. It's not about being perfect. Mistakes are part of everyone's reality. The band gains more energy playing live. Exactly! Which is what's important, it's what needs to be captured. 
Bionica: I had an art teacher, also from Bogota, that would tell me 'don't erase–work with your mistakes.' You have to work with them. 
Maku Soundystem: Of course.
Bionica: It's the reality of life, because you can't go back and delete to start over. 
Maku Soundsystem: Working with tapes is a very interesting process because you have a certain time limit. If you have a 15 minute time frame for side A, you either use what you just recorded, if not you have do it again. When you limit your options in certain things, you force yourself to work harder and make better things. 
Bionica: Can you give me an interesting fact about Maku?
Maku Soundsystem: More than an interesting fact, I think it's more of an important testimonial. We just got back from our tour in Germany and Denmark and I've lived here in the US for 13 years. I came here with a tourist visa when I was 14 and went to high school and college here. I was undocumented for quite some time and I have DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an executive action order issued Obama about 3 years ago. It basically pardons you from being deported and gives a you the opportunity to have a work permit. You don't have a resident status & are not able to leave the country unless you have special permission and I was able to receive that special permit as a musician via DACA to go abroad. We were able to break down certain walls via music! 
Bionica: Thank you so much!