Los Dynamite are Ready, Ready

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With influences that go from Daft Punk to The White Stripes, electronica to post-punk, Los Dynamite is one of the most talked-about rock bands coming out of Mexico City, in part because most of their songs are in English. Their choice of language has come as a surprise to some critics abroad, even though most bands in Mexico composed original material in English in the 1970s and even into the1980s. Then, singing in English later became unpopular in the 1990s with bands like Caifanes and Café Tacvba reclaiming not only native rhythms but also the use of colloquial Spanish and localisms. Nowadays, however, Los Dynamite and a wave of bands like Chikita Violenta, Hong Kong Blood Opera and Sub División, are blending many elements and references to create a sound that could be (and wants to be) from anywhere.

Diego Solorzano, 23 (voice, guitar), started the band as a DJ project when he was 18 years old, and while on vacation in Rio de Janeiro in 2004, met Eduardo Pacheco, 27 (drums), who is originally from Bolivia and has been living in Mexico for the past 8 years. When the duo (who besides Los Dynamite have a DJ side project called Ready Ready), decided to form a band, they invited friends Miguel Hernandez, 29 (bass), and Felipe Botello, 26 (guitar). (Felipe recently left the band to pursue other projects. Diego, the creative force behind the band and author of all their songs, now also plays guitar during their live shows.)

In el DF, Los Dynamite have played with some of the most respected bands in the world of rock—Bloc Party, The Stills, Interpol, The Long Blondes—the list goes on. When Peter Hook of New Order heard their first single “T.V.” from their 2006 album Greatest Hits (Noiselab), he said that the track was great and that it reminded him of “Mark E. Smith [The Fall] on ecstasy.” With features in publications such as The New York Times and Popmatters, playing at South By Southwest Festival two years in a row and headlining Mexico’s biggest rock festival, Vive Latino this year, Los Dynamite had an extraordinary debut, but haven’t really toured in the US – until now, with a show in Chicago on July 5 and in New York on July 6. This will be the first performance for Los Dynamite in these cities, and a fall tour is in the works.

We caught up with Diego and Eduardo via telephone from their hotel room in Chicago to talk about their “greatest hits,” making a name for themselves in the US, and that decisive sophomore album that is in the works.

RE: What is the concept of the album you are preparing and who are you working with in terms of production?

Diego: We are working in part with Martin Thulin from Los Fancy Free and Tito from Molotov, but we are also producing ourselves because we want a distinct sound with each of the songs.

RE: Will the album be in a similar style of your debut Greatest Hits?

Diego: Yes, we are working in the same style, influenced by bands that may not have anything in common with each other.

RE: And, well the fact that you guys compose in English is not surprising to me, but why did you decide to compose and perform in this language?

Eduardo: In our case it was not such a thought-out process, we just did it and people identified with our sound.

Diego: Yes, and also the decision to sing in English is not an expression of “malinchismo,” or anything like that, we use it as part of an artistic process because of our particular style and sound.

RE: You guys have received a fair level of attention from various publications interested in this whole movement or scene of Mexican indie-rock, or whatever, but do you guys identify as part of any cohesive movement, is there really a new music movement taking place in Mexico?

Diego: We do not like tags, or to be put in a particular scene, and we specially don’t like to be pigeonholed in the category of “indie,” because no categories accurately describe what we do. What we do is rock with influences from progressive rock, or a type of rock one can dance to, or whatever you might want to call it, but in the end it’s rock. And being independent or “indie” is really just a way to work and not a specific sound or genre.

RE: What can you tell us about the current line up of Los Dynamite?

Eduardo: Well, we were four members and now we are three: me, Diego on guitar and voice, and Miguel on bass. We plan to tour throughout Mexico after this U.S. tour and keep working on our second album. We are still working with [Mexican independent label] Noiselab and want to develop the best strategy to promote our work.

Diego: Our main objective is to produce this second album because we are conscious of the fact that second albums are very important for a band in order to consolidate a sound and demonstrate that ours is a project that will last and not just a transitory thing.

RE: Is it important for you guys to remain independent, or maybe to have distribution from larger labels, but continue to work independently?

Eduardo: This is something sometimes out of our hands. We have grown a lot, but the music market in Mexico is smaller than the one in the U.S., so while we have in a sense outgrown smaller labels, we do not yet know what the next step will be.

Diego: I think that working with big labels is not that useful, it is more important to be in charge of your own creative process, your own artwork, creating and producing at your own pace, rather than having other people telling you what to do.

RE: You guys have played at South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin and now for the first time in Chicago and New York, what are your expectations for these presentations?

Eduardo: We are happy to have been invited to Chicago and New York, we have been wanting to play here because of our future projects, so we’re looking forward to it.

Are you ready, ready? Watch the video for Los Dynamite’s song “Ready Ready” in Remezcla’s Music Videos section.