Chatting with Camilo Lara of M.I.S.

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Mexican Institute of Sound will be making an appearance at the Congress Theater this weekend playing with Nortec Collective among others as part of the Virus Digital Tour. I had the pleasure of speaking to the man behind the beats Camilo Lara who told us about the magic behind his duality in the Latino music world.

Lara, who has an affinity for mole and partying hard has been fully integrated in the Mexican music scene for many years, making music since the age of 16. Initially hired by a Mexican indie radio station as a DJ, he convinced them to hire him based off his huge record collection. Today he is the Managing Director for EMI Music Mexico and is working on a book about “A guy writing a book.”

For Camilo, music takes precedent. “I’ve been enjoying music in English before I managed to learn the language or the lyrics.” When I asked him what made him decide to cover a well know Verve song that has placed Cruel Intentions in our collective unconscious for good. He answered with a laugh and a candid anecdote.

“Basically I was really drunk when I decided to do it. I had hired mariachis to record in the studio for two hours and I had an hour left. They were drinking tequila because mariachis play better when they drink tequila and I was drinking with them. I recorded the song with the bottle in my hand and realized the next morning that I might get into a lot of trouble for it. But getting permission was pretty easy and it turned out to be a great thing. I put the song close to the end of the album because there is a saying that the party ends when the mariachis arrive.” Ultimately a new found confidence and a desire for the experience determined Camilo’s decision to record with a live band as opposed to sampling on his most recent album Soy Sauce. Lara seems to be at ease successfully balancing two careers at opposite ends of the musical spectrum. “I’ve been doing it for a very long time. I’m used to it, I love music and working with people. It feels natural.”

Naming his top three favorite places in Mexico City was super easy. They included Coyoacan Lara’s hometown, La Roma his current place of residence (his neighbor is the well know artist Gabriel Orozco) and La Lagunia the place to be if you want to buy guns, drugs or second hand goods. This explains the lyrics “La fiesta es en La Roma o en Coyoacan”. Neutralizing the reputation that Mexico has established as a dangerous place Camillo describes it as a duality of magical and ugly, confirming that the only place he’s ever been robbed was in London.