INTERVIEW: Miranda! Discuss Multi-Generational Collaborations & Exuberant Career Revival

Photo by Tomas Wurschmidt.

Everyone knows Miranda!, the iconic Argentine electropop duo has been a staple of Latine birthdays, weddings, and vaguely nostalgic Saturday night YouTube parties since the mid-2000s hits “Don” and “Perfecta” exploded onto radio like confetti cannons. The titanic pairing of Alejandro Sergi and Juliana Gattas emerged at the top of the millennium as leaders of a colorful counter-culture that responded to the stiffness and over-saturation of ’90s rock en español. Their vertiginous falsettos and slinky synthesized tunes blurred the line between teeny-bopper pop and racy camp, and a penchant for extravagant costuming and stage shows cemented them as MTV Latin America favorites. However, where most mainstream bands two decades into the game rest comfortably on the laurels of licensing deals and greatest hits tours, Miranda! has continued pushing the creative envelope, resulting in an exuberant career resurgence.

Last year’s Hotel Miranda LP reintroduced Sergi and Gattas as pop idols for a new generation, reimagining their many classics with a dizzying roster of superstar guests, including Lali, Emilia, and Ca7riel. These revamps were accompanied by technicolor visuals set in a vintage hotel – think Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel shot somewhere in Buenos Aires’s Palermo or Recoleta neighborhoods. The clips featured Francisca Valenzuela as a scantily clad cabaret singer on “Enamorada,” Bandalos Chinos’ Goyo Degano as a dancing bellhop for “Navidad,” and the also comeback-making Cristian Castro as a trapped laundry worker in the psychedelic “Prisionero.” In the broader context of contemporary celebrity culture defined by hyper-stylized, meticulously curated Instagram grids, achieving this level of collective silliness speaks to the glittering inroads Miranda! has paved for every pop phenom that has since followed.

Hotel Miranda was an excuse to celebrate our 20th anniversary,” shares Gattas, speaking with Remezcla from Buenos Aires. “We toyed with ideas of an acoustic album or even a live record, but our favorite option was to create this self-contained universe with different singers, producers, music videos, and elaborate performances.”

“We were so fortunate that everyone we reached out to accepted our invitation,” adds Sergi. “Working with Cristian Castro and Andrés Calamaro – artists we grew up watching – was such a dream. But everyone was incredible. Lali, Chano; we’ve shared stages with these artists before, so it was easy chemistry.”

Chemistry has always been a natural rubric for the pair, who met at a house party in the late ’90s, dated briefly, and later reconnected working cabaret shows in Buenos Aires. Sergi was an electronic music fiend with a rapidly growing collection of synthesizers, while Gattas performed jazz standards at restaurants around the city. Those sensibilities were married in their first short-lived band called Lirio, with a sound they described as “jazz con máquinas.” The project never took off, but in rehearsals, Sergi showed Gattas demos for original songs he’d been working on, including early hits “Imán” and “Agua,” and soon, they were off to the races.

Miranda! took its name from Argentine comedic actor Osvaldo Miranda, both as a nod to their Porteño effervescence and a thesis statement for the melodramatic pop they’d come to epitomize. The band flourished in a strange ecosystem: a rare fish of sequined pop music in a sea of leather, rock n’ roll, and overly virile frontmen. They instead wore theater makeup and blurred gender roles, embodying gothic energy that predated emo and floggers but made videos for “Imán,” “Bailarina,” and “Don” tingle with androgynous cheek. This attention to textured, multicolored detail delivered with a wink made them instant queer icons, also leading to heavy rotation on cult anime channel Locomotion, and later MTV, which broadcast their saccharine earworms across Latin America.

“We wanted to make something different. Pop music, electronic music, big costumes!” says Gattas, a driving force behind Miranda!’s groundbreaking multimedia output. “I, in particular, was bored with bands where the musicians played their instruments staring at the floor. I’d think to myself, ‘I could just listen to the CD at home.’ I wanted the music to intersect with other disciplines I was passionate about, like theater, art, and film. It pushed us to create a show we’d want to see as an audience.”

Another decisive factor in the rise of Miranda! was Argentina’s catastrophic 2001 economic crisis, which created an anxious backdrop for their unabashedly joyful music. However, as Gattas notes: “Our country is always kind of in a tight spot, but in the context of the crisis, it kind of helped us because our music had great word of mouth, passed around at house parties from friend to friend.” Without knowing it, Miranda! emerged victorious in the paradigm shift of the digital age, where the industry-redefining advent of peer-to-peer file-sharing sites like Napster intersected with cash-strapped fans ready to buy post-show bootlegs.

We wanted to make something different. Pop music, electronic music, big costumes! I, in particular, was bored with bands where the musicians played their instruments staring at the floor. I’d think to myself, “I could just listen to the CD at home…” It pushed us to create a show we’d want to see as an audience.

Throughout the 2010s, Sergi and Gattas’ charismatic secret sauce landed them multiple television gigs, including a coveted coach’s seat on the Argentine edition of The Voice. In 2016 the group signed with Sony, which ramped up their budgets and provided a broader, glossier platform that sowed the seeds of a formidable second career wind. Subsequent LPs Fuerte (2017) and Souvenir (2021) received wide acclaim, while pandemic thumper “Me Gustas Tanto” helped Miranda! reclaim the dance floor. During the shutdown, Gattas worked on her Alex Anwandter-produced solo debut, Maquillada en la Cama, casting the affable chanteuse as a downtrodden diva – in the vein of Norma Desmond or Tita Merello – who can still conjure glamour with a flick of her mascara wand. The album arrived in March amidst a robust promotional tour for Hotel Miranda, where she squashed any nefarious rumors of a breakup.

Miranda!’s revival reached a fever pitch over the past year, gracing the cover of Rolling Stone Argentina, delivering viral performances across the South American Lollapalooza circuit, and stoking roaring approval from the famously fickle crowd at Chile’s Festival de Viña del Mar. Back in December, they sold out their first-ever stadium show, taking the stage before 30,000 people at Ferro in Buenos Aires and, in one especially triumphant flourish, traversing the sea of fans in a swan-shaped barge. They’ve extended this momentum with tour dates throughout the rest of 2024, announcing multiple performances at Buenos Aires’ massive Movistar Arena in June and summer shows in Spain, Colombia, and Venezuela.

They’ve also kept the wild collaborations coming, tapping trap star Luck Ra for playful merengue “Si Me Disculpo Ahora” and unveiling the happy-go-lucky “Dos” with horror-rap agitator Dillom – who later referenced Miranda!’s “Hola” on the eery “Muñecas” from his new album Por Cesarea. And just days ago, Sergi and Gattas teamed up with Mexican pop princess Kenia Os for “Siempre Que Lo Beso,” the latest taste of their energetic forthcoming album, and a fervent reminder that Argentina’s dynamic duo is still the blueprint for new pop idols everywhere.

“We’ve been at this for over 20 years, but a lot of new fans got on board with Hotel Miranda,” reflects Sergi, elated by their rejuvenated audience. “Entire families come see us now, and most of the audience at Lollapalooza in Argentina was under 20 years old, moshing along to the songs. The stage is a job and responsibility, and we use every tool at our disposal so that if the music doesn’t connect with someone, they might be intrigued by the visuals or the performance.” 

“The music takes you where you need to go, and we’ve been surprised and thrilled by all of it.”