On June 18, Eduardo Cabra put his Visitante moniker to sleep with a bang. With his new song “La Cabra Jala Pal Monte” and its accompanying music video, the prolific Puerto Rican producer emerged as simply Cabra, leaving behind the alias he adopted back in the early 2000s when he formed Calle 13 with his step-brother René “Residente” Pérez.
Co-produced by Raúl Sotomayor, a.k.a. Tonga Conga from Mexico City duo Sotomayor, the song features a heavy electronic beat, distorted guitar riffs, and Boricua interpretation of Dominican palo–an influence Cabra has acquired from working on albums by Dominican artists, like fellow Trending Tropics member Vicente García, Riccie Oriach, and, more recently, Rita Indiana, who also guests on “La Cabra Jala Pal Monte” as a co-writer.
Although Cabra has contributed with vocals on plenty of his countless productions, most notably on the Trending Tropic track “El Síntoma de (ún) Músico,” where he sang leads, it’s his first time behind the mic on a solo project. The lyrics skillfully juggle words about this new chapter in his career, which in reality is a continuation of his work as a producer, musician, and composer, dramatically punctuated by the sharp line “Sin Cabra no hay Visitante.”
But the clearest message is sent by the “La Cabra Jala Pal Monte” music video. Shot in Buenos Aires by director and Trending Tropics collaborator Niko Sedano, the visuals show a morbid interactive TV show where the audience votes on whether Visitante should be executed or not, and once the results are in, it turns into a bloody fest where the executioner is Cabra himself.
This debut track by Cabra also marks the beginning of La Casa del Sombrero, a new independent imprint created by the 28-time Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards winner to support up-and-coming artists and release his own music as well.
Remezcla chatted with Cabra, who is currently spending his time working in his recording studio in Puerto Rico, to learn more about his newest endeavors and to catch up on the projects he’s been developing during these COVID-19 times.
What made you decide to leave your old alias behind and simply adopt your last name?
It was just to put things in their right place and just clarify that Cabra has been the one behind all of my life projects. I think the Visitante figure is very important in Latin American music, and it was necessary to press delete on that so the message could get across.
The idea wasn’t to start from scratch. There have been several articles that have said that, that it’s like a new beginning. But no, I think it’s the opposite; it’s a consolidation of all my life projects under [the name] Cabra. It doesn’t mean that now, all of a sudden, Cabra is a singer and performer. No. My journey is to keep producing and working on different departments, making music for films, developing new projects.
How was the process of creating “La Cabra Jala Pal Monte?” We know that Rita Indiana and Raúl Sotomayor collaborated on the track.
Raúl was like the spark behind the track. He worked on a loop and I developed it on a production level, and then I built the structure and all that. But his input was very important.
I’ve been writing a bunch of songs with Rita since the beginning of this year for her album (Mandinga Times), since I’m the one in charge of the music. We became a very nice team, and when I talked to her about the idea, she quickly jumped in.
People have a lot of conversations in the recording studio. It’s like a beauty salon, you know, where you build that trust with the person you’re sharing with at that time. There was this teamwork connection and we’re doing a ton of work that’s turning out very good.
After the release of “La Cabra Jala Pal Monte,” where is Cabra heading to?
This is going to end up being an album. I’m currently working on a second track that’s coming out next month, and I’m going to be adding a new song every month so that it becomes a full album by early next year.
Are you planning on keeping the Cabra process collaborative with this songs?
Of course. Look, I think no track escapes from being a teamwork. The thing is, everything gets squeezed into a single figure, but every album is the work of a team, and that’s what’s going to happen, naturally. I mean, it’s going to be a work with friends, colleagues, people I admire, engineers, musicians.
What was the idea behind the creation of La Casa del Sombrero?
I’ve always tried to support projects by people who are working hard, people from the independent music scene, but now I’m doing it from the label La Casa del Sombrero. I used to help out on a production level, like, “Look, come to the studio. I’ll help you out.” Now it’s on another level, a level of having a label that supports projects that are starting out and that pumps me up.
A month ago we started developing a project from here of a friend named Sebastián Otero, who also plays with me. We’re working on that and it will come out on La Casa del Sombrero.
What are some of the projects you’ve been working on that you’re particularly excited about?
Rita’s album is coming. It’s dropping in September and I’m super excited about that. I was actually just working on a new version of one of the songs this morning. During the quarantine, I made music for two movies and they’re coming out by the end of the year. An Argentine songwriter called Louta dropped a super interesting album titled 2030 a month ago. We made it from scratch in record time–two months. I think it was one of the first albums to be completed and released in the middle of the pandemic.
Right now, I’m working on Sebastian’s [project], also on a song with Mima, which is very cool. I think I needed to devote time to work on projects from Puerto Rico. There’s a super interesting project I have sort of conceptualized: I want to document jibaro music and Puerto Rican aguinaldos, and I want to release it on La Casa del Sombrero.