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flag Colombia - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 12 - 10/16/97

Interview - April 1997

Following a soldout and overflowing show at the Dragonfly in Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to speak with Andrea Echeverry and Hector Buitrago of Aterciopelados, the Colombian sensation that have been receiving rave reviews in the US and everywhere they play around the world. Although it was about 3:00 AM and they had just completed two shows, Hector and Andrea were generous enough to spend some time with Luna Kafé to speak about their record, their tour, their past and their future. We spoke in Andrea's room as she packed her bags for departure only an hour following the interview - we thank Aterciopelados for their kindness and for taking the time to speak with us. Here is what they had to say:

What do you feel like after a concert like tonight, where the people are so close to you, and the energy level is so high?

Andrea: It feels very good
Hector: And it gets HOT up there (laughs)
Andrea: The people - some are very intense - it was weird - it's like they don't understand what exactly is gong on, but it's good, very good!

What difference do you find for example with the people here in the US than the people in Colombia or another Latin American country? Is the energy different?

Hector: It's different here in the US - I think that the people here have a bigger need to feel closer to the artist than the people in my own country - it's a different energy - they want to have a closer communication with us.

Tell us a little about the history of Aterciopelados - how did you get together and when?

Hector: Let's see - Andrea and me were playing together in a group in Colombia and it was like 8 years ago, but then there was really no "rock en espanol" in Colombia - no rock en espanol was actually released, so we couldn't really do anything. But then, the movement was very young in Colombia. We did concerts sporadically, small ones, because that was the most we could do. And then little by little we formed the band, with new members, and we made changes - with the two new members we changed the name to Aterciopelados - we wrote more songs and what happened is one day a record company asked us if we wanted to record an album! We were really surprised - but we recorded - this was like a little more than 4 years ago and now we have 3 CDs!

Was it the same type of music you perform now that you first recorded? Does it have the same style? Did you have to compromise when you began to play internationally? How has Aterciopelados changed?

Hector: Really, we have changed - but mostly because in Colombia, there was NO rock. Until recently, like I told you. It didn't exist - so we went into the studio prepared to record rock and the engineers didn't want to do it, and didn't like us, and so the production of that first album is a little sad, and little presupposed of course and we didn't have a lot of time, so there was no place to experiment or grow. The arrangements were-- well, everything was done very fast. This is pretty much a BIG difference from the first CD to the other ones - but in reality, there were no compromises - no concessions - no, NEVER. Just for the second and third album, there was more preproduction, a logical change, and so obviously there was also more time in the studio, to try things out, for me to put more harmonies with the voice, to make other arrangements for the guitar, to try things - not just to do it and get it over with quickly, like we had to do for the first record. Also, the third album is more complicated, with more arrangements.

What type of music influences Aterciopelados? What type of music did you listen to when you were young and dreamed of being a musician?

Hector: What music influences Aterciopelados? I listened to punk - wen I formed a group before I started playing with Andrea, and then with Andrea, she came from a more popular music background - her Mom taught her how to play, rancheras and boleros, from when she was a little girl. So she always sang with a style more bolero - then we got together. And after all these years together, we have this mix of everything that we play in Aterciopelados - it's rock, but rock which is heavily influenced by Latin American music, but that's very normal - we combine everything. The Latin American influence can be heard really loud and clear at times - it's very natural - we include all influences, traditional Mexican, Flamenco, because that is what we have heard - we didn't want to do only boleros or rancheras, but that's what we heard growing up in Bogota.

How has your life changed since the moment Aterciopelados crossed international frontiers--how do you keep a clear head and stay who you are, separate from "the artist"--how do you stay in contact with your family?

Hector: Well, obviously our production has changed and grown as we've continued, but we are always absorbed in the music, not in many different areas--we play in bars, and we also do some radio programs, or else we are rehearsing, you know? So I am always busy, and now totally involved with the band--the change has come over time, it wasn't very drastic. Also, always, Andrea is my very good friend, my best friend, at times, my only friend--and so the changes haven't been very hard for me--I know I'm not alone, but the times when I am, there's no problem with that.
Andrea: Well, I have never been able to have a clear head! (Laughs) It seems impossible to me--but the contact with my family, well, I have a really close relationship with my mother. She taught me to sing, and she sings beautifully--and we are so alike, both very vulnerable, but we understand each other so well and that's how I can keep a clear head sometimes--but it comes about once a week at the most!! (Laughs again) And that makes me really happy without a doubt. About how we have changed when we became international artists--it's all good, all very good, like an adventure. I am still like "WOW!"--it's wonderful.

Andrea, would you say that your mother is the person who most influenced your life and your career, and inspired you?

Andrea: Yes, with singing, yes, I sang after watching and listening to her and I think that is one of the things that keeps us so close--and also that influences the group--I kept singing with the sound of music traditional--where there is no rhythm, or anything close to it--it's because of my more traditional influences. I love how my mother sings, it's so beautiful--I close my eyes and listen to her.

Totally another issue Andrea--do you like to read literature? What kinds of books do you read?

Andrea: I love to read! Well, it's been a while since I've read much, because it gets me very excited and then it makes my head very hot and excited and then it is just too much for me!! But I am reading this book right now "We Who Love Too Much" I read it a little at a time and I really like it. Also, my boyfriend's parents are professors and they recommend good literature to me. Hey, actually, I am going to take this book with me and read it on the plane.

Do you have a computer, or are either of you connected to the Internet?

Andrea: Hector is.
Hector: Yes, I am connected, but lately I have been having problems with getting the e-mail. But yes, I am "online". Maybe my server is bad or something, I don't know, but I will give you my e-mail address and you can publish it. Right at this moment, we don't have an official webpage, but I have seen a bunch of fans' webpages, and we are on some radio stations pages as well. We are going to have an official page soon, I'll let you know.

Do you have a message for the viewers of Luna Kafé, and the people who are inspired by your music?

Hector: Wow! Who am I to give a message, but thank you for asking--OK, well, I hope that you like our music, and also it would be wonderful if you send me messages through e-mail (see below for address.) I would love to hear from you and what you think. I hope that my e-mail is working before the end of the month--please write!!

And with that, they were off to the airport. Aterciopelados is currently on tour in South America, and will play in Mexico and the US before the end of the year. Check back for current tour information which we will provide as we receive it.

To send e-mail to Hector, please write:

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