In honor of this Saturday’s Remezcla party at the Monarch Theatre, we’re giving you a look at the best of Remezcla’s coverage of indie Latin legend Mexican Institute of Sound, one of our headlining acts. RSVP now or you’ll miss out!
Mexican Institute of Sweat
‘It may have been a warm-up show before heading to the massive So-Cal Coachella Festival, but for San Francisco Mexican Institute of Sound fans, this was the real deal. The music jammed and not a head in the house wasn’t bobbing. The musical styles blended together–from cumbia to cha-cha, danzon, spoken word, experimental, jazz, rumba, dub, and on– so that to the untrained ear, you could have been easily fooled into thinking that it was just one consistent sound.’
‘Lara, who has an affinity for mole and partying hard has been fully integrated in the Mexican music scene for many years, making music since the age of 16. Initially hired by a Mexican indie radio station as a DJ, he convinced them to hire him based off his huge record collection. Today he is the Managing Director for EMI Music Mexico and is working on a book about “A guy writing a book.”’
‘The music video for “México” by Mexican Institute of Sound (AKA Camilo Lara) takes place at El Zócalo during large youth demonstrations, and dubs it with glimpses of the nation’s government corruptions, aftermath cases on the war on drugs, the affected population, etc, targeting what’s been shaking the country’s social and political order. It’s one of those beautiful things that’s uncomfortable to watch, but when you do, it makes you feel something warm inside, like drinking café jarocho. It’s like saying, “Sure, Mexico is heavy on narcos and it’s governmentally corrupt, but we still love you, querido México. We got solidarity.”’
‘If Camilo Lara ever invites you to an apartment party, you might end up hanging from his neck too. With this latest video for the single “Es-toy,” he offers all the peculiar qualities of Mexico Institute of Sound. This funfairing clip, directed by Remezcla friend Tino De La Huerta, is nicely juxtaposed with the usual “pull up the people, pull up the poor.” It has the very Pow Pow-power, power-effect of the EMI Mexico exec’s rabble rousing reventón without too much of that trite “Nosotros Los Pobres” condescension. The vid looks more like an homage to “Nosotros Los Ricos” instead, en buen plan, neta. No less, the high esteem with which Lara regards his pueblo is astounding. How much patriotism can that pancita hold?’
‘I think the Internet has changed the way people choose to receive information. You use the Internet to find the information you need or want as opposed to watching something on television or listening to the radio. Politics changed over the past year in the sense that it is no longer made or controlled by politicians, but by society. I think Occupy or Yo Soy 132 and even Twitter are all part of a larger movement being pushed by society. In that sense, politics became more important in my life. Not that I went out to support any political party or read the newspaper everyday, but it became part of my life. It isn’t something specific to me either. I was out in San Francisco and I saw all the manifestations of Occupy. It’s the sign of the times.’
Your Mix Fix: M.I.S.
‘Camilo Lara is not a DJ. He’s the genius producer behind Mexican Institute of Sound, and sometimes when he’s not performing with his live band, he does DJ. And his DJ sets are full of surprises, because, obviously, he’s not only the brain of M.I.S., he’s also an avid record collector, a walking encyclopedia of obscure and bizarre old Latin music. And on top of that, working as a record label executive granted him access to tons of new music too. So yeah, if you happen to see him DJing don’t expect him to just play his own tracks.’
Best Latin Songs of 2012
‘This song is sour and melancholic, but also in-your-face and unapologetic. The video is raw, with a kind of DIY look. 2012 was a year of worldwide social turmoil. Mexico had its share of chaos. The last year of President Calderón’s War on Drugs was also an election year when the country decided to give power back to the party that ruled for 70 years during the 20th century. Tainted presidential elections, widespread protest, and the failure of the War on Drugs: Camilo Lara managed to condense the Mexican rage of 2012 into a song, without departing from his mellow, neo-retro style.’