Carlos Hawthorn, - on 27/6/12
After a long, seven year hiatus, Mambotur, the collaborative side-project of Argenis Brito and Pier Bucci, are to return to the foray this summer with a brand new album. Taking time out from their successful solo careers, and with support this time from Venezuelan percussionist and producer Miguel Toro, as well as celebrated Chilean vocalist Jorge Gonzalez, Elemental looks set to combine the intricate rhythms of their latin roots with electronic beats and bleeps in a way previously unexplored. The LP drops in July, so Carlos Hawthorn thought he'd catch up with the duo to delve a little deeper into the reasons behind the project's renaissance.
Hi guys, hope you're well. So we're halfway through 2012 – what have you been up to for the last 6 months? Any particular highlights? We have been working on our solo projects, playing live and producing new music constantly. The highlights of the year so far have been South America in January and February, with amazing shows in Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Peru. After that we have been touring separately and sometimes together in places like Barcelona, Moscow, Paris, Lyon, Casablanca, London and Madrid to name a few.
So Mambotur is back. First of all, tell us a little bit about the project and why you decided now was the time to revisit it. We started Mambotur in 2000. We had the idea of creating a sound combining electronic beats and sounds with latin american traditional music and structure. We released our first album Atina Latino in 2002 and our second Al Frente in 2005. After working for a long period on our solo projects, last year we felt the need to produce a new album and play together again. We always had love for the latin sound, and after more than five years we thought it was time to revisit it.
It's a project which definitely brings both your latin roots to the surface. After so many years living in Europe did you feel it was time to reconnect with your past? It's not necessarily a connection with our past, although living in Europe has definitely changed our sound and our way of thinking. However we have not forgotten our roots, and after playing dance music all these years we thought it could be refreshing to make a new Mambotur album.
You've brought Miguel Toro and Jorge Gonzalez into the project. Tell us what they add to the overall output? Miguel Toro is an amazing percussion player, as well as a producer. He gave the album a very latin and concrete sound and helped us with the arrangements in some of the tracks and also played most of the percussion we hear on the album. Jorge collaborated using his very unique voice and his enormous talent as a songwriter.
In terms of fusing electronic music and latin rhythms you have both been very passionate about the right way to do it – i.e not by just layering a latin sample over a 4/4. What is the right way to do it and how have you put this across in the new Mambotur record? We wouldn’t say there’s a right way to do it, of course everyone can approach it the way they feel is the most appropriate. What we think is that after the boom of latin producers, many people were taking the easiest route: putting a latin vocal or riff on top of a house beat. That is very simplistic and many times boring. Our idea is to respect the rich variety of latin rhythms and produce something more elaborate and not necessarily within a 4x4 framework.
The vocals on Planes are in English, the same as your previous tracks. If Mambotur is a return to your latin roots, why not sing in your native Spanish? In our new album Elemental, only two tracks have English vocals, all the rest are in Spanish. We think it's interesting to mix languages as well as influences.
Your recent Elemental Remixes EP 1 included a remix from none other than Ricardo Villalobos. How did that come about? Ricardo has always been a great supporter of our sound as well as an old friend. When we showed him the album he was very enthusiastic, he helped us mixing and pre-mastering the tracks and offered us to make a remix for the first single Planes.
The LP Elemental is out soon. When exactly is it out and what can we expect from the album? The album will be out at the end of July. It consists of 10 original tracks and as we usually do, it features different styles: cumbia, dub, salsa, house, dancehall, all together mixed in the Mambotur blender.
Have you been playing many of the new Mambotur tracks in your sets? If so, how have they been received? We don’t play the Mambotur tracks in our solo sets because we want to keep it separated from what we do alone. We have already had a couple of shows in Madrid and Tokyo performing together and the reception was excellent. We hope people like our new work and look forward to playing live very soon.
Yes so tell us about how you plan to tour the record. Will all four of you be on stage making the music live? We want to perform as a band, we will include Miguel on the drums and some guess musicians when possible, we already have some confirmed dates and will let you know very soon...
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