“Desde Cero” is more than Aviónica’s calling card. The monster of a song sounds like a true classic from the very first time you hear it – a testament to its writer José “Joti” Mrochek’s talent.
Hailing from Bolivia’s city of Cochabamba, Mrochek has been steadily building bigger audiences for his project Avionica, refining his sophisticated, post-punk infused approach over the years. He references the 80s rock and rock en tu idioma of the same decade; a sound that manages to feel familiar without veering into derivative or lazy territory.
Aviónica’s latest endeavor is “Instinto Animal,” a track whose Gary Numan-level synth riffs and undeniable chorus will have you singing along before you’ve even heard it all the way through. Aviónica is slated to play a couple of shows at the end of the month —April 22nd in Bogotá and April 29th in Mexico City — which gives Colombians and Mexicans a chance to nab “I saw Avionica first” bragging rights.
And as one of the brightest artists in Bolivia’s indie music scene, we asked Joti to help us co-curate a list of some of the other up-and-coming musicians to know in his home country’s scene. Check out 13 of Bolivia’s best new sounds below.
The moment I listened to the song “Desubicado,” I knew that this was going to be another Santa Cruz de la Sierra band making hits. I love this band. Santa Cruz is also the birthplace of Azul Azul and their song “Bomba,” which has been heard all around the world.I have no doubt that Doble A will also represent Bolivians in the global hip-hop scene. – Aviónica
Maybe Bolivia won’t take back the sea, but we do have an artist making a reggae/hardcore fusion with a positive social message that can stand up to the greats. I had the chance to see them live and they’re incredible! They have amazing energy, and I know they have a lot of fans all over South America. – Aviónica
Villa Victoria Sound System
Bolivia is fertile ground for nu cumbia, and Villa Victoria might be one of the best proponents of the subgenre in the world. All the hallmarks that make this style exciting are here; a reverence for the cumbia beat, playful synthetic melodies, and noisy, menacing bass lurking from every which way. This is one of the shining stars working within the Oi Mas Bass collective. – Remezcla Estaff
Electroshock hail from Tarija, a city where the finest wines are made. From the first listen, you know this band has what it takes to blow up internationally: good songs and good production values.
They also won a contest thrown by MTV Latino in 2010 for best national band. I listen to them all the time, I have a deep admiration for them. – Aviónica
This band is from my home city, which also happens to be the home of the world’s most delicious dishes. They’re a powerful grunge/rock band, with dark lyrics and music that takes you on a trip. I’ve known them for long time, they’ve toured all over the country, and I’d even venture to say they’re one of the most important bands in the history of Bolivia. – Aviónica
Seriously, if nu cumbia takes over the world at some point, Bolivia might rival Peru as its global capital. In Ninho’s music, we hear an 8-bit tweak to the style, making it instantly recognizable and fun for everyone who grew up on Nintendo. It’s easy to imagine Super Mario and Luigi hitting the floor with all their fanciest moves to wow Princess Toadstool. – Remezcla
Cerati once talked about his lake in heaven; and Wara hails from nearby ours, the great Titicaca. They are the kings of Bolivian folk rock (although we really don’t use that term around here). Quenas, charangos, and zampoñas share duties in equal measure with guitars, bass, drums, and synthesizers. Their lyrics capture landscapes and situations in a language that’s very much our own, [it’s] proudly Bolivian. Without a doubt this band is an Andino musical dream come true. – Aviónica
Female hip-hop artists are few and far between in Latin America, but they are almost always awesome, as if by law. Imilla is no exception, delivering deft, sociopolitical rhymes about female empowerment. In addition to her rapping, she can carry a soulful melody over her old school sax and scratch-flavored beats. – Remezcla Estaff
We always refer to La Paz as city with high standards –not just because it’s 3,700 meters above sea level, but because everything made there reaches epic heights of success. Alcoholika hail from La Paz, and at this point they’re a rock institution in Bolivia. You can’t talk about Bolivian rock without mentioning them, nodding to their history, and talking about their influence on the hundreds of young rockers who have posters of them in their rehearsal rooms. Listen to them and you’ll understand why. – Aviónica
In the Eastern region of Bolivia’s original language (Tupi Guarani), there’s a word that means “warriors.” If I had formed a struggling band – whose weapons were rock music nodding at metal, industrial, and symphonic influences, profoundly socially conscious lyrics, videos of the highest order, and above all, a loyal fanbase that followed us to every city we played – then I too would have named it Querembas. For me, they are Bolivia’s metal warriors. I’m another one of their thousands of fans. – Aviónica
If you ever pass through La Paz, you can’t leave without tasting a marraqueta (a typical type of crispy bread that’s tastier than any bread in Paris) and Chairo soup. After your meal, you should go see Octavia in concert. They are the most important pop-rock band of the country. They’re also the only band I know that can play a 30-song set list and have fans sing along from start to end. EVERY SONG. What else can I say? They are number one. – Aviónica
From the majestic, snowy Illimani, one of the most picturesque mountains in the world, come Llegas. I don’t know any other rock musician in Bolivia who has put out more albums, and I’m also not aware of a more respected and admired guitarist in the rock circuit. He has a very raw and authentic sound. I once heard him say that he loves the sound of a guitar plugged straight into the amplifier, without makeup; that’s the kind of music he makes. And his lyrics? You can put them up against any poet from our generation. – Aviónica
From the Andes, where the quinoa that has become so popular around the world comes from, we have Krauss. If we held a contest for the best and most visible vocalist in Bolivia, the award would go to him. Along with Llegas, he got famous when they both formed the La Paz band Loukass in the 90s. He has a powerful and peculiar voice with tremendous stage presence… no one can take him down. Without a doubt, the number one frontman of my country. – Aviónica