Chilean music group Los Bunkers is nominated for Best Rock Album for this year's Latin GRAMMY awards.
Los Bunkers is a rock band from Chile. They are characterized by a very contemporary style, with influences from 60’s and 70’s rock, as well as others, and by their folk music fusing with modern Chilean music. They are also influenced by The Beatles and by Chilean rock band Los Tres.
The band is made up of 2 sets of brothers – Álvaro & Gonzalo López and Francisco & Mauricio Durán, and Mauricio Basualto, their drummer. They came together in 1999, and from day one, they played several debut shows and gained notoriety in Chile.
They recorded their first album in mid-2000, titled Los Bunkers from which came the single, “El Detenido.” From then on, they have continued to offer great performances, and actively promote in all media. They are also featured prominently in important forums and festivals in Chile. They were voted best Chilean rock band in 2006, and then traveled to Mexico to perform at Vive Latino, which is the most important rock festival in Latin America.
As a result of that, they gain recognition and materialize their internationalization not only in Latin America but in the U.S. as well, making them one of the most important bands in the Spanish rock market. They have released 7 studio albums, the latest of which is titled, La Velocidad de la Luz, released in late 2012. And their recent Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best Rock Album proves they’ve reached another level of music.
In a recent telephone interview for Living Out Loud, Basualto talked about their current promotional single, potential U.S. tour, and their 2013 Latin GRAMMY nomination, among other things.
Living Out Loud: What are Los Bunkers working on at the moment?
Mauricio Basualto: We’re in the middle of promoting our second single ‘Si Estas Pensando Mal De Mi’ from our new album, titled La Velocidad de la Luz. We’ve also made a video in Los Angeles. We have also been performing at several concerts, and plan on many live performances. We’re also in the works to release a DVD of a live performance in Chile, which coincidentally was done to promote this new album, and we plan on it being released in the first half of next year. We also have engagements in Colombia, Spain, a tour in Chile and then we’ll be back in Mexico.
LOL: Are there any upcoming performances from Los Bunkers in the United States?
MB: We currently don’t have anything planned in the U.S. for the remainder of the year, but we’ve been planning a tour over there, but that will be for next year. We’re focusing on Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other cities where we’ve been doing well. But it has to be an extensive tour, so we have to plan it properly.
LOL: How has your new album, La Velocidad de la Luz, been doing?
MB: We’re very happy and proud of how well this latest album has been doing. It’s available in both digital and hard-copy formats. It’s been released in several countries, it’s already reached gold status in Chile, and it’s been selling very well here in Mexico. Also, the Grammy nod it got gave it a sort of second wind in popularity, and it’s been very important. A nomination for the Best Rock Album category is something very special to us, and it’s helped the album grow.
LOL: Where was the album recorded and who produced it?
MB: This album was recorded at Sony Studios in Mexico and at the studios of Julieta Venegas. It was produced by Enammuel del Real, who is an ex-member of Café Tacuba and by Yamil Rezc, a young producer who produced Julieta Venega’s album and has also worked with Zoe. We composed it all here, we had a lot of fun, and focused on lyrics that are more socially conscious. It was a very creative process, we experimented a lot, and we had the good fortune to have beautiful instruments available to us, such as an ancient keyboard.
LOL: Would you say the lyrics from this new album are more focused on socially contemptuous content
MB: In reality, we’ve always carried that in our lyrics. It’s something that comes naturally and in this album, there is a particular song titled ‘La Maldicion de mi Pais’, which talks a lot about what the people are thinking about their current living conditions. I’ve always believed that rock should be used to talk about what’s currently on. The album is heavy with social commentary about current events, not necessarily explicit but with a clear perspective on social issues, such as marginalization.
LOL: What differentiates Los Bunkers from the rest of contemporary rock bands out there?
MB: We have had a musical formation and bas that is very heavily influenced by rock from the 60’s, like The Beatles. But for this new album, we listened to music that was more, current, and from there we got lots of new ideas, which made our work more fresh. It also has a Chilean folk base, very prominent in the melodic elements of our songs. But we’ve been very heavily influenced by the new wave of Chilean music from the 60’s. So all these types of music have always been a part of us in more of an aesthetic and personal manner.
LOL: Do you feel the changes in the industry have affected Spanish rock?
MB: I think that all genres were affected in the same way. The format changed as to how you distribute and do things, and the Internet revolutionized everything. Rock is doing very well these days, and there have been many great artists in recent years. Bands keep forming because Spanish rock is a very important component of Latin American music in general.
LOL: How have you guys managed to stay a band and avoid ego problems, which ultimately end up splitting bands?
MB: Well, every marriage has its problems and we’ve always taken a stance of having a brotherly relationship. We’re two sets of brothers and that helps a lot. We’ve always put care, respect, and good communication above all else. Whenever we have differences, we talk them out. What brings us together is that we’re so passionate about doing the same thing – making music – and we never have severe disagreements.