Jose Luis Pardo: The idea of making a record based on our vision of commercial music was agreed upon before the record was made. But the jingles, the idea to incorporate music made for TV or radio commercials, came to me later on. The opening track “Fuerza” is a tribute to car commercials and Adult Swim’s “Metalocalypse.” I was dying to record a rock track with strong guitar harmonies and since Los Amigos had never done anything like that, it was meant to happen. This became the best way to introduce the album: a dramatic one minute track with commercial taglines (force, power, durability, strength, etc).
Mauricio and I wrote this track thinking of an 80s era funk song a la Prince or even LCD Soundsystem. The idea for the lyrics came from a couple pictures that some bartenders in the Dominican Republic took of us really wasted after a gig on the beach. The pictures made it to one of those party websites and it only took 20 minutes for our wives to find them. So, we were both like… “That is not me, I swear! I was at the hotel sleeping!”
3. Vivire Para Ti (feat. Natalia Lafourcade)
This is our tribute to the Salsoul Orchestra. We wanted to make a straight-up disco track that also had mellow and funky feel. After we made it and Everhard Paredes recorded the strings (one violin, like 10 channels), we felt that we needed some Hispanic Jocelyn Brown to take it to the top. We have been huge fans of Natalia Lafourcade since we first listened to her. So I contacted her, offered to clean her house if she did some vocals and she came back with some wonderful arrangements that took the track far beyond our expectations.
This piece was originally a bridge at the end of “Sueño Erotico.” The band felt that the part was really cool but it didn’t worked well with “Sueño.” We thought it was a good idea to make it in to another piece and since it was the same tempo as “Sueño,” I decided it would become its prelude and mixed it in to flow seamlessly.
5. Sueño Erotico
This was one of my favorites since day one. A mid-tempo sexy jazzy house track with a strong bass line and lyrics about erotic dreams with friends you are not supposed to be dreaming about. I felt good after I wrote this one, great when we arranged it in rehearsal and amazing when Dimitri From Paris finished it off. He is the best producer I have ever met.
6. Loco Por Tu Amor
This is the house track of the album. I wanted to write a song with happy harmonies like Santana’s “Dance Sister Dance” and Mauricio came up with these beautiful lyrics. It is reminiscent of Louie Vega’s work. Actually we wanted him to produce it but timing didn’t work out. It’s a mellow track with an Afro-house beat. mauricio sings with very sweet vibe. It doesn’t seem like a strong dance bomb but you gotta see how couples close eyes and dance when we play it live. Sweet!! Steve barkan, maw’s engineer mixed this one, we love steven, he’s been great to us.
When we started touring the U.S., we were embraced by a scene that Americans call the “jam band crowd”. People from all ages, all nationalities that love to dance, to get down, to trip out and have fun with bands that usually go under-the-radar of mass media. This track is to thank them for so many great gigs. We wanted to keep paying our tribute to Fela. So there’s a drug that is being used in Venezuela to assault people, it’s called burundanga. You touch this powder (it could even be on a flyer in the street) and you instantly go on psychedelic trip, the robbers take you to ATMs, your house and you do nothing but please them. I know – insane!
8. Plastic Woman
This is the funk track of the record. I have always been obsessed with how naturally beautiful Venezuelan women are and how all of that is being lost due to plastic surgery. Plastic surgery in Venezuela is out of control and the worst thing is that all the women end up looking really similar, same breast, same nose, and then the girl doesn’t look like her family anymore. We have Cfunk doing vocoders on this one and Original Hamster from Chile mixing it. It’s been a long time since we made a straight-up funk track like that – I love how it works live.
9. In Luv With U
This is the most beautiful track of the record. Armando came in to a rehearsal with this track and we were blown away with it. We started working on it, in the mindset of Chicago’s “Saturday in the Park”, Michael McDonald’s “What a Fool Believes”, Supertramp, etc. Armando writes great in English – we have our fingers crossed for a Hollywood movie to pick it up and throw it in to a sequence like Butch Cassidy’s bike scene with “Raindrops Falling on my Head” (ha!).
10. Romantico Palman Izum
While I was working on the concept of one minute interludes, I ended up in the middle of a long night with an old friend who has become an advertising rock star. I gave him the names of the tracks and he came up with a hilarious set of phrases related to the names of the songs. We love Los Angeles Negros, Camilo Sexto, Raphael, Roberto Carlos and all those 70s ballad singers and we have never done anything like that. In order to make it sound really old school, Juan Rivas, a singer from Spain, did the honors of singing it like it should be.
The working title of this interlude was always “Romantico” but when we were typing the track list, I had the idea for a respectful tribute to my favorite kids’ show from Peru, “Nubeluz” (check it out on youtube).
11. Como Lo Haces Tu
This was something new for Los Amigos but familiar at the same time. We all started out as musicians in the 80s. But after growing up, we never came back to bands like The Cure, B52′s, The Police and Modern English. This track is all about that, about going back to what made us musicians in the first place. The lyrics are like a nasty love letter saying “I wouldn’t do this with anyone else in a million years”. I love the break after the second chorus, I could play it forever. It’s a really cool track to play live.
12. Merengue Killa
Here is the surprise of the record. For a long time, we have developed a fascination with watching people react to us finishing shows with some 80s anthem played in merengue rhythm. We have done “Back in Black,” Depeche Mode, Devo, Van Halen and people just goes bananas. In the studio, I wanted to have an interlude with that hard rock vibe and merengue beat. We started playing around and Mauricio suddenly called a couple friends that were hanging out in the studio with a bottle of rum and told them, “Get on that mic and scream ‘MERENGUE KILLA’ with me.” Classic moment.
In my research of old advertising pieces, I found a lot of cigarette commercials and somehow felt nostalgic of how cool smoking was and how different we see smokers nowadays. I made a compilation of phrases about how good the cigarette could be and threw them in a nice piece of dub we recorded in the studio. It’s interesting how advertising influenced minds in the past 20 years.
14. Oyeme Nena
A part of the band was doubtful about making a salsa track for this album because some felt that we were repeating a formula. Mauricio and I were solid about our love for salsa but wanted to do a mellow track and not a party one; a romantic salsa or as they called it back in the days “salsa erotica.” Mauricio wrote these amazing lyrics that came at a time that we were touring a lot and having a hard time keeping relationships on track. Check out the closing voice over, “Do you have trouble listening to people?/Well listen to me because I can solve that for you.” The most important salsa writer in the world, Cesar Miguel Rondon, did that voice over.
We wrote this track during a soundcheck in Monterrey. It came out really fast but it was supposed to have a cumbia beat. Somehow it didn’t sound right so we gave it a rest for a while. One day I was listening to “Do I Do” by Stevie Wonder and started whistling the riff along Stevie’s and wow! Next rehearsal we got it where we needed it to be.
16. Es La Verdad
This is the “Summer in Love” track of the album. A part of the band just can’t hide their love for Brazilian music and since this is one of the oldest tracks of the album, we have played it a lot. Basically, we love how girls dance to it. The idea was to make a Brazillian track but more “Latinized,” the main reference point was Ruben Blades’ “Y Deja.” I love that song.