Sunday, March 14, 2010

Baker's Dozen: Interview with Moreno

A man, a mac and a vision. When it boils down to it that is what allows Moreno, a prolific musician from Santiago, Chile, to put out so much great music. Consider this, Moreno has put out three full length albums in the last three years and that isn't even counting his splits and EP's. That is a career for some artists. How does the man do it? Recently I had the chance to ask him this (as well as twelve other questions) as part of our Baker's Dozen series. (Moreno won this honor because his track "Pica" was included on our Appendages in the Colcannon Mix).

TB: Let's start off with you telling us about yourself. Who is Moreno?
M: Basically I'm a solo musician who makes music in his apartment. I pick up my guitar, make some melodies and create songs through the days and record them using Garage Band. I also play live with my support band named "The Mafia Canyengue" and I also make my own videos.
TB: I've read that you spent your teens performing in punk, hardcore and grindcore bands. Is there truth to this rumor? What elements of these styles do your try to incorporate into the music you are making now?
M: That's true. I use to play in Alternocidio and Silencio Absoluto, both hardcore bands (you can find stuff on YouTube!). Also I played drums for sometime in Antitrust, a grindcore band. I think the feeling of freedom, its still in my Moreno songs. Basically that. Also, in some ways the sound, that old school sound, when we used to record tapes of our favorite hxc bands, for example.
TB: Did you really have your picture taken with Ian MacKaye?
M: Ha! Long time ago Fugazi came down to play. We opened for them that year with Silencio Absoluto. I was a huge fan of Ian's work so me and my friends took several photos with him, he even signed me a little paper!!! Ha!!
TB: Your new album, Pica, is your third full length in three years. What is the secret to your prolificness?
M: There's no secret. I don't know. I just can't live without music. And since I have my mac and my Garage Band I've been making songs almost everyday. I don't depend on labels, studios, etc so the process is very simple, just me, my music and the computer. Right now I'm planning to release 2 records; POLAROIDS and one of Moreno remixes made by my friend LATA.
TB: How does Pica differ from your previous two full lengths (El Nino, Su Padre, Su Madre, Sus Hermanos Y Sus Amigos and Broma)?
M: Maybe Pica sounds cleaner and has better songs, I don't know. Both previous works were made more spontaneously, I think. I don't know, for me making songs and records is like having my own diary where I write everyday what happens through the day.
TB: My favorite track on Pica is "Pica." Is there a back story for this song?
M: Pica means a lot of things, that's why I chose the name. It can be rage, spicy, there's a lemon flavor called pica, etc... At some point I realized I like all its meanings! And lyrics are very personal. It's hard for me to explain them in Spanish, imagine in English!

TB: Aside from your full lengths, you've also done a number of splits over the past few years with bands such as Transito, Cigarros Sueltos, Audiopostcards, Fico, Los Pantis and Vapourboat. Does anything change with your song writing when working on a split vs a full length album? Also, what do you hope to accomplish by teaming up with these other bands?
M: I don't try to accomplish anything. Basically they are all friends. I like the split format a lot. I used to buy a lot of 7" back in the day. The songs are basically "b-sides" that are left along the way or cover songs. In the case of Vapourboat, I made a cover of one of his songs and he made one of mine.
TB: I've seen you compared to J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Sufjan Stevens, Guided by Voices and the Pixies. Are you flattered by these comparisons? Do you agree with them?
M: I agree with them. I'm very influenced by those artists. But I'm influenced by a lot of different music from around the world as well. But if people link my music to them, its no problem for me at all.

TB: When recording, you play all the instruments yourself. At shows you have a backing band. Is it difficult to let go of the control you have when doing everything yourself?
M: Playing live with the band is awesome! I show the songs to them and then we make our own live versions. Some songs turn out to be very similar to the original and some turn out to be very experimental which is alright with me. In the beginning, the band was always changing. Now "The Mafia Canyengue" is always the same. I like playing with music and I love transforming songs, there's no "control" problem with me.
TB: What is Santiago's music scene like? Any bands we need to know about?
M: There are a lot of bands around here and a lot of scenes I guess. But every weekend you can find some cool band to listen to in Santiago. My favorites? Intimate Stranger, Vapourboat, Fico (from Pichilemu), Ramixes, etc...
TB: Does Moreno get a chance to do any cooking? Any special recipes you care to share?
M: Of course! I love cooking! I think the perfect recipe to line with Moreno would be The Ceviche. It consists of raw fish with olive oil and a lot of "pica" lemon. Some onions, some peppers, salt, etc. And if you add this a "pisco sour" (a drink) you're read to enjoy any Moreno songs to the max! Hahaha!
TB: Any parting words?
M: Thanks for the interview and the good vibrations!!!

Here is a video for Moreno's song "Hoy es al Fin." The song appears on his album El Nino, Su Padre, Su Madre, Sus Hermanos Y Sus Amigos.

A video for "Pica" off the album of the same name.

Moreno has his previous albums available for free download. Just click on the links below.
El Nino, Su Padre, Su Madre, Sus Hermanos Y Sus Amigos (2008)
Pica (2009)

Keep up with Moreno via his Facebook page as well.