It’s always refreshing to find a band that is unafraid to make its own beat and follow it, especially when that beat is a perfect fusion of Afro-Latino rhythms. Which is exactly what Making Movies is doing – they’re reimagining “Son Cubano” music for the rest of the world, and it is fabulous. We had the chance to sit down with Juan Carlos Chaurand, keyboardist/percussionist and Enrique Chi, vocalist/guitarist, and ask them about themselves, their music, and some of their exciting future endeavors…
é: Your music blends AfroCuban and Mexican rhythms with rock music. I think this is the first time I’ve ever heard anything like that! Where does your inspiration come from?
Juan Carlos Chaurand (JC): I think we try to bring out our cultures in our music. Being Mexicano, I grew up listening to all types of traditional music. I also dance ballet folklorico, so my culture has been instilled in me since before I can remember. When I was a teen I was introduced to Afro Cuban music, and I started playing in local Latin bands. I fell in love with the music and I have embraced it ever since.
Enrique Chi (E): My dad loved old rock and roll and would seek out those records in the tiny town of Santiago, Panama. My mother, on the other hand, only liked Latin dance music so I grew up with rock and roll in one ear and salsa, cumbia, and merengue in the other.
é: Your new record label previously only supported Anglo Folkbands prior to signing you, how does it feel to have broken that trend anddiversified their reach?
Enrique: Kyle, who manages the acts on the United Interests label, grew up in El Paso surrounded by Mexican culture and has always wanted to manage a Latin alternative act. After talking extensively with them, we realized that we agree on the philosophy of making music and the philosophy of what kind of career we’d like to have. It has been a great fit so far.
é: Who were your biggest influences growing up?
Juan Carlos: My biggest influences would have to be my parents. My dad was a drummer back in the day with the Mexican Rock band The Spiders, from Guadalajara (look them up). He was the one who introduced me to the drums, and always encouraged me to play music. As for my mom, she was the dancer. I learned all my moves from her, and she made sure that I never forgot my traditions and where I came from.
Enrique: My dad played guitar around the house all the time; it was his stress reliever. I grew up wanting to play just like him. Outside of that, I think that Ruben Blades has been the biggest influence on my music. He has, time and time again, broken the mold of what Latin music, salsa music, afro-cuban music, means. His lyricism is on par with Dylan, Van Morrison, or Springsteen, and it moves me very deeply.
é: You’ve been promoted by Wingstop, featured at the National Council of La Raza conference, and you’ve performed at Festival Verde in Panama… Those are all such great accomplishments. But we’re curious here, when did you really know you’d made it? Was there a moment that it all became real for you?
Juan Carlos: Made it? Ha! We have yet to make it. We are proud and happy with all of our accomplishments thus far, but we still have along way to go before we can say “we made it.”
Enrique: Yeah I’ll call you and take you out to dinner when we make it.
é: Looking forward to that. Now, how did you guys meet?
Juan Carlos: Funny story about how I met the guys. When Myspace was the hot new thing on the internet, I remember seeing their music page. I took interest because of the band name, Making Movies, and they had song titles in both Spanish and English. It also said that they lived in a suburb of Kansas City called Lee’s Summit, and it’s rare to see anything is Spanish coming from that area of the city. I wrote the band telling them that I was a local musician from KC, and that I like the band’s sound and would like to jam. Weeks passed and I never got a response back. So about a month or so later, I recognized Enrique out at this Latin club and went up to him and introduced myself. We talked for a bit and he invited me by the following week to go practice and jam with the rest of the band. So I went and that was that and the rest ishistory. As for the rest of the band meeting, Enrique and Diego are brothers, and Diego and Brendan met in high school.
é: What’s the story behind your band’s name?
Enrique: When I was a baby in Panama, I fell in love with The Dire Straits. I think I was about two-years-old but I remember loving “The Walk of Life.” My Dad has most of their records, and I would listen to his vinyls as a kid (usually in headphones because my mom hated rock and roll). My dad had their Making Movies album on vinyl, and I always thought it looked so cool on record. I think it’s a bit of a metaphor for the universal qualities of music. I loved that song before I spoke a word of English. I hope that our music can also transcend language and culture.
é: What advice would you give young latinos trying to breakinto the music industry?
Enrique: My advice is to get a job and play music as a hobby. That’s a half joke. If anyone’s advice would deter you from it than its not the right path for you. I guess my advice is to make sure you are prepared to be told, “no,” over and over, and to have doors close in front of you before they start to open. You have to love creating music more than your ego.
é: Do you have anything you’d like to say to your fans or to any new fans out there who you’re trying to reach?
Juan Carlos: We would like to say, “Thank You!” For those fans who have been following us from the beginning and to the new fans, “We appreciate all of your support. We have been fortunate enough to have met some of the most amazing people along the way, and I think all of us can agree that we have some of the best fans.”
é: What’s your personal favorite song from your album, A La Deriva? Why?
Enrique: Hmmm. That’s a tough question. They are all my babies in a way. One of my favorites is the title track. I think it sounds like it really captured a special moment in our collaboration with our producer, Steve Berlin.We couldn’t have had the guts to cut a track like that without his guidance and encouragement. My second favorite is Lo Que Queiro.
é: I have to agree about that title track – it’s something very special. To wrap things up, I just have to ask: What’s coming up next for y’all?
Enrique: We have been recording some singles to release, and I am about finished a conceptual video for Lo Que Quiero. Early this year we will start touring in California again. I’m excited to get back out there.
é: Thank you so much. We can’t wait to see you guys do great things this year!
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