Thursday, July 20, 2006

RFC Interview: Balún

From the country that brought us Ricky Martin and Raggaeton, two of the most obnoxious music trends in the past decade, comes Balún, a new trio from Puerto Rico who refreshingly aren’t concerned with living “la vida loca.” Instead, the members of Balún have opted for a laid-back artistic approach, subtly infusing native sounds with electro-acoustic pop and indie experimentation. After a couple of critically acclaimed EPs, Balún made their full-length debut last month with Something Comes Our Way, released by Chicago's Brilliante Records. Now the trio are embarking on their first US tour, which brings them to Schubas tonight for a headlining show with Brenmar Someday. RFC caught up with Balún last week via the magical tubes of the Internet to find out more about this unique new project. So…tell us about Puerto Rican music scene, I'm guessing most of our readers aren't familiar it. If there is one thing to be said, it is that it has grown in the past few years. Right now the electronic, garage, shoegaze, reggae, ska, punk and hip hop scene is very active in terms of live shows and some bands releasing albums. Although some groups are more prolific than others, there is something to be found for almost everyone. Your records sound more Northern European than Latin, I assume you are fans of bands like Sigur Ros, Mum, Royksopp, etc.? What are some of your other musical influences? Your assumption is correct my friend. Musical influences for us come from many sources. I mean there are bands like Slowdive or Cocteau Twins, and The Arcade Fire which we really like and listen to together. We also enjoy finding out about bands and records that are coming out just now, and all of this makes a mark on you and consequently on your musical output. But then there are songs like "Gente,"(from Something Comes Our Way), which was heavily influenced by the comedy group The Lonely Island. All in all, I feel that the aforementioned bands have influenced us along with Autechre, The Clientele, The Breeders, Bjork, Mum, Pavement and, Los Caifanes. What other cutting-edge bands would you recommend from the Latin scene? Súperaquello, Jaime Sin Tierra, Nuuro, Juana Molina, Pepito, Carrie, Gustavo Cerati, Le Mans, Allá, and .Tape. How did you end up on the Chicago-based Brilliante record label? They contacted us. I guess they got to know Balún via the net label Observatory Online and although we had plans to release a record with Skylab, it fell through, and Brilliante came to the rescue. What can we expect from your live show? We have been working to perform a set that is very representative of our latest release Something Comes Our Way. It will be an electro acoustic experience accompanied by some beautiful visuals that Javier Roman (an architect friend of ours) did specially for the tour. Have you had a chance to tour The States much? It is our first time in the States so we are very excited to be playing these dates. Anything else you'd like to tell our Chicago readers? Thank you for reading about Balún. Please come check us out! In addition to tonight's show at Schubas, Balún will also be playing the Country Club Gallery on Saturday, Tower Records on the 26th and South Union Arts on the 27th. Download: "Snol" (MP3) "Hay Una Piscina en La Nube" (MP3)


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