Kali Mutsa & El Remolón on Storytelling, Fusion Music, and Their Remix of “La Telenovela”

They are two of the most flamboyant and distinctive artists currently working in the Southern Cone: Chilean gypsy-rap-guerrilla artist Kali Mutsa and Argentine folktron basshead El Remolón. You may have guessed that trying to categorize these guys is a tricky task. Better to check out Kali’s cosmic “Tunupa” or El Remolón’s heaving Selva album, released last year on Buenos Aires’ ZZK Records.

Not one to be outdone, Chile-via-London label ENDMK is behind a new collaboration between the duo, with El Remolón just one familiar name on Kali Mutsa’s new Souvenance Remixes EP, which features six tunes as reworked and dissected by the likes of Chile’s Imaabs, French producer King Doudou, and ENDMK founder Tatsu Jones.

To celebrate the EP’s release, we spoke to Kali and El Remolón about art and aesthetic, working together, and the scene back home.

Kali Mutsa

Can you tell us about the concept and the story behind the album, and what you most like about the project?
The concept of the EP is that all the DJs and producers involved represent an element – the songs move through fire, water, air, earth, and the sun and moon. The EP is the result of these alchemical processes.

How did you come to work with ENDMK and Tatsu Jones? Is it a good platform to work with?
I know Tatsu from Picnic Kibun, and we started talking about doing something together around a year ago. I like working with people who are also artists. I mean, ENDMK as a label is something concrete, but Tatsu understands musical concepts and creating an artistic product that is aesthetically beautiful and makes sense. Our communication is very fluid, and I’d like to keep working with him.

Your sound is often described as fusion. Tell us about your influences and how you incorporate these into your music.
I believe that sounds are like people’s stories. I mean, my sound is my story. It’s a combination of everything I like – the stories that one feels they have inherited. In my case, I am a potpourri of nationalities, eras, films, belly dancing, and self-help books [laughs].

El Remolón

Can you tell us about your musical relationship with Kali Mutsa and how it compares to other collaborations you’ve done?
I got to know Kali Mutsa through the Internet and we exchanged some mutual messages of support via Twitter at first. We both followed the other’s actions from there. Tatsu, who works with her, wrote to me about doing a remix, which interested me from the start.

There is something tribal about your version of “La Telenovela.” What influenced you on this remix?
I had distinct ideas in relation to this remix. This version is inspired by a reggaetonero or moombah rhythm, and I wanted to add even more of a South American touch. So I added some timbal drums with an air of candombe, a rhythm that originates from Río de la Plata. We’d also done a more comical version inspired by old Latin American soap operas. From that we came up with this bootleg/mashup/remix version from a Puma Rodríguez song, and finally we decided not to use it because of copyright. But I’m sure it’ll come out at some point as a free download.