Dancing in the Dark with Ponce's 'Viejo'
Dancing in the Dark with Ponce’s ‘Viejo’
Music

Dancing in the Dark with Ponce’s ‘Viejo’

Dancing in the Dark with Ponce’s ‘Viejo’

We talked to Mexico City’s Ponce about crossing over from English to Spanish and finding himself via existential gloomy pop music.

[author]

We’ve been following Leonardo Kin Ponce since the MySpace golden era. He’s ditched a lot of his projects ever since, but this time we really believe he’s finally found his sound, after years of artistic evolution and self-finding. Last year Ponce began using Spanish for the first time and, to our surprise, the result has turned out wonderful.

Don’t get us wrong though. This guy has great credentials (Timmy & The Monsters and Ghostcatcher). And although his lyrics are mostly in Spanglish now, his obscure and gloomy musical self still lives there along with his unique mystical and existential dilemmas (he talks about death, life, and what’s beyond it), which is probably the main reason we’re hooked to the guy’s music.

Viejo is Ponce’s debut album and it was produced by Mexico’s NWLA and Rock Juvenil, who will be releasing “Latin American music without borders” as a conjoint effort this 2015, and proof of that is Francisco Martínez’s Nos Han Dado La Tierra, Ven para allá by Apache O’ Raspi and the album you can exclusively listen below.

While you’re at it, read all about Viejo in Ponce’s very own words.

Would you say Ponce is a culmination of all your previous projects?

Yes, we could say so. It’s more like the step that followed Ghostcatcher. I feel that I was able to ground a few elements that were still floating, scattered, and forgotten, so that makes me think that Ponce is a solid project and therefore that it has a stronger future thanks to its musical aesthetics. It’s not just a single LP, but also a long-term project.

In that case, what can we hear on Viejo that’s a departure from your previous projects?

It’s without a doubt the most personal project I have developed so far. I don’t know how to explain it or what words to use to describe it, but I could say that the songs and sound of Ponce and in Viejo are how I want my music to sound like. I think that in Timmy and the Monsters and Ghostcatcher I had to follow a path and they “had to sound” like something in particular whereas in Ponce everything is more personal. I’m free to do whatever I want and to compose anything that comes to mind, following the patterns of my own personal aesthetics.

So what’s next for Timmy and Ghostcatcher? Are you going to keep them or are you ditching them?
Ghostcatcher evolved to this. I worked on an LP but at the end I didn’t like it so I threw it all to the trashcan… In Timmy we had to stop for a bit because Alán was busy with Centavrvs and I was busy composing the songs for Ponce, but we’re planning on releasing a new album for next year.

Going back to Viejo, this is the first time that you sing in Spanish. Why?
Well, like I said it is a more personal project, and therefore I wanted to sound more like my country, I wanted to be able to reach more audience here in Mexico, and to link my creative processes to it as well. I think this way I can relate to Mexico in a better way. Language is a key component in this linkage, so I decided to sing in Spanish to actually build it. And for instance, something that no one knows is that “Valle” is based on the idea of Valle de México, which is Mexico City…I sampled a Jaime Nunó’s composition, “Adiós a México,” to give an introduction to the space.

I think this way I can relate to Mexico in a better way. Language is a key component in this linkage, so I decided to sing in Spanish to actually build it.

I know you to be a hip-hop aficionado, and in your previous work we can hear traces of it. Does Ponce carry over that influence?
Yeah, there’s a huge hip-hop influence on me. However, with Ponce I have the freedom to use slower beats and really low basses which I definitely love…and I think the whole thing is actually not that hiphopero. So this way people that actually don’t like hip-hop they could like Ponce, and vice-versa. I mean, I know it can’t be classified as hip-hop, but what I like is the idea of defining Ponce’s music as a juxtaposition of hip-hop bases and pop melodies.

And what about Mexico? What do you think and expect about the public?
Well, from the beginning I had the intention to get involved with people that actually would care and would be interested in the project. I wanted to work with people that trusted my capacities and that would feel excited about Ponce. Thus far it has been like that, so I feel really fortunate and happy to have worked with this kind of people (for instance Paulina Lasa and Vernous that collaborate in the LP). I know that Ponce is going in the right track: I have found support, possibilities, and other artistic approaches to the project. I feel really fortunate for all this.

I know it can’t be classified as hip-hop, but what I like is the idea of defining Ponce’s music as a juxtaposition of hip-hop bases and pop melodies.

What would you say to your people about to take in your new album?
That they should illegally download the album and share it with everyone they know and play it when they’re walking home at night. That would be a great New Year’s resolution [laughs].

Didn’t have enough of Ponce? It’s OK. Here’s a little bonus video that the DF crooner made with Pacifico Films just for you guys. We hope you enjoy it!

Remezcla Presents A NWLA AND INFINITO CORAZON PRODUCTION
A Daniel M. Torres VIDEO
“PONCE – MIEDO” Ft. PAULINA LASA
Andrea Villalón y Mariajosé Cruz
PHOTOGRAPHY Daniel M. Torres EDITOR JONATHAN ARIAS
PRODUCTION
ERIC GAMBOA & KHRYSTELL ZAVALETA
STYLING
ZAI NÁJERA ART DIRECTION ALAN LÓPEZ PRODUCTION ASISTANT HUGO MARTÍNEZ RUBIO