miércoles, 22 de septiembre de 2010

Entrevista con LOS VIOLADORES - In Inglish...

Los Violadores son en gran parte responsables por mi fanatismo por la musica. Tenia 12 años cuando su clasico Y Ahora Que Pasa, eh? salio al mercado. Yo ya cursaba la secundaria y una tarde de un martes mi padre me dio dinero para comprar un libro de matematicas. Nunca olvidare ese dia, como todos los de mi ciudad, era gris y deprimente, y dentro de la tienda se me presentaron dos opciones cruciales; o un libro de matematicas o el cassette de Los Violadores? La decision fue simple.

"Uno, Dos, Ultraviolento" ya era todo un exito en la radio, y yo nunca habia escuchado algo asi. Ese dia casi me cae una tanda. Mi padre se emputo por mi irresponsabilidad, pero al final, no le quedo otra opcion y termino dandome mas dinero para comprar el libro. Creo yo que esa fue una de las decisiones mas sabias que he tomado en toda mi vida.

Esta entrevista la conduje hace ya mas de dos años. La version original fue en español pero la traduje al ingles para incluirla en Deaf Sparrow Zine. Mi idea era colgarla en las dos versiones pero por pura flojera y por razones obvias solo lo hice con la version en ingles. He perdido el documento original con la entrevista en castellano, pero en estos dias globalizados hasta el mas cerrado y el mas burro sabe algo de ingles.

El proposito original de la entrevista era recorrer todos los pasos de la carrera de Los Violadores. La musica de esta banda argentina fue la primera en despertar en mi una pasion irrefrenable por la musica y mi admiracion por su clasico Y Ahora Que Pasa, eh? es tan viva hoy como lo fue todos esos dias que le siguieron a ese bendito martes. Quizas peque de exagerado, pero para mi, Y Ahora Que Pasa, eh? es un disco perfecto, desde el fugaz y genialmente melodico guitarreo de Stuka, al bajo asolapado de el Polaco, los beats finos con eco de Sergio Gramatica y la increiblemente delgada voz del igualmente delgado PilTrafa, este les salio preciso. Esta entrevista fue pues, mi modo de rendirle tributo a una de mis bandas favoritas.

La entrevista se condujo a traves del manager da la banda. No se en que andara ahora, pero en ese entonces PilTrafa se encontraba pasando la mitad de su tiempo en Peru con su novia peruana.  El vocalista respondio las preguntas de modo algo parco. De hecho, hubieron un par de preguntas que ni siquiera fueron respondidas lo que me decepciono un poco. Pero, bueno, aqui les va, para aquellos que les interese...Los Violadores...en ingles.

DI- Los Violadores were formed around 1980, back then what was the Argentinian political situation like and in which way did it affect the band’s stance toward society?

Argentina, like many other countries in the region, had been under a military dictatorship since the late 70’s. We wanted to open the eyes of society. Not everything was OK like the government was saying; they were actively kidnapping and killing those who opposed their views. Denouncing this was our purpose. 

DI- With the dictatorship in place; were there any restrictions against foreign rock music? Or was punk rock widely available?

Punk rock couldn’t be banned, because basically people did not know it existed. For the most part all music in English was banned. The only way for us to get records was through stores that almost secretly carried imports. That’s how we got in touch with foreign music. Hari-B (guitarist who was one of the founders of the band) also went to Europe and came back with a few records of this unknown new style called punk.

DI- Did you ever have any confrontations with the law?

Many times. Producers of shows weren’t allowed to use our name (Los Violadores translates to either ‘Rapists’ or Violators, as someone who transgresses the law). Once we got to a city and found that we were getting billed as Los Voladores (The Flyers) which we couldn’t allow so we got some markers and went about the street adding the ‘i’ that was missing. We were arrested several times and they would always find excuses to cut our shows short, even though we knew that all they wanted was to prevent us from playing songs like “Represion”.

DI- In the beginning was there an ideal to the band? Was there only a musical motive or was there anything else through which you were trying to incite change?

I am still not sure. We were young and we were not exactly sure as to how our music would come out. We were angry and we wanted people to take notice.

DI- Did you have any contact with other Argentinean or Latin American punk bands?

In the beginning there weren’t any but they slowly began to appear. There weren’t many places to play so we shared the stage with many bands regardless of the style. We did a lot of shows with Sumo who weren’t punk but who had a lot of English influences because of vocalist Luca Prodan.

DI- Back then did you think punk music was the best conduit to vent your frustrations?

As I was saying before, we had a lot of anger and frustration and I think that was perfectly captured in our first record. Honestly, I don’t think any other Argentinean record has been able to transmit so clearly what we were feeling back then.

DI- The work of which bands served as an influence to Los Violadores?

The Clash and The Sex Pistols. Even though musically Los Violadores always had our own sound going the most important thing was to recognize the balls it took for those bands to denounce the injustices of their system. We couldn’t sing against the Queen because we didn’t have one, but we had a military dictatorship that we hated so we focused our lyrics against it.

DI- In the mid 80’s there was this explosion of rock en Español in Latin America. There were many Argentinean bands at the forefront but from all Los Violadores has the most abrasive sound. Was there a relationship or union between you and bands like Soda Stereo, GIT, Virus and others?

Not really. With some more than others, but in general other Argentinean bands would look at us through the corner of the eye, because we would openly criticize those bands that would play big government sponsored shows. Still now, many of these musicians have not recognized that we were right and we were one of the few bands to openly voice what many were thinking.

DI- Your eponymous 1983 debut was good but it wasn’t until 1985’s Y Ahora Que Pasa, eh? that success truly embraced you. In retrospect, from a compositional point of view, what was the difference between this record and the ones that would follow?

All our records are different. I believe that our first release was superior than Y Ahora Que Pasa, eh?, but after thirty years in music one must place each record in its historical moment and analyze it as such. All the records had their message and that was important, even our last record (2006’s Bajo Un Sol Feliz – Under a Happy Sun) had a very important message for such a beaten society.

DI- From the tour supporting Y Ahora Que Pasa, eh? Were there any bad memories? If I remember correctly El Polaco (bassist) wasn’t allowed to play Chile (a country at the time ruled by Pinochet).

There are no bad memories from any particular countries. For us it was an adventure we weren’t really thinking about it at the time. In Chile we had to escape through the border because the police was following us. We were not supposed to play “Represion” and of course, we played it. We didn’t think about what a government as violent as Pinochet’s could have done to us. With the fans; it was such an incredible feeling. In Chile and in Peru we were really popular, and fortunately because of that we are still able to tour those countries in support of our new record.

DI- Musically your sound changed a lot. There has been a lot of talk about disagreements between you and guitarist Stuka about the sound of the band. What is your actual opinion of Fuera de Sektor (follow up to Y Ahora Que Pasa, eh?)

There is no point in going back to those arguments. They existed and we can’t deny it. We weren’t four calmed boys, we were Los Violadores. Personally, I believe that if Fuera de Sektor had been a record by a band like Soda Stereo or Virus those songs would have made history in all Latin America. After that record though, we were really criticized, especially in Argentina.

DI- What is the current status of the band? Is Stuka still a member?

-No, he’s been living in the US for about seven years and since he has gone back to the guitar. ‘El Tucan’ Sergio Vall is still playing the drums since the late 80’s. ‘El Niño’ our bass player has been with the band since 2000 so the current line up has been stable for about seven or eight years. Since, we’ve put out two records and we are working on a new one that will be out in 2009. Members may come and gone but the essence of Los Violadores is still intact. I am still in touch with Stuka. Last year we were supposed to play a show at the Obras Stadium celebrating 30 years of punk and the idea was to get Suka and ‘El Tucan’ on the same stage but it didn’t happen. Stuka couldn’t come to the country.

DI- You re-recorded some of your classics for a compilation release, what was the point of this? Do you ever compare the original to the newer recordings?

We don’t compare them. They are different versions. The decision to re-record them was because like we say in Argentina, these songs are ‘cajoneadas’, in other words certain past members of the band who hold the rights to the songs do not allow us to reissue the original recordings. So the only way to get these songs back on the shelves was through new recordings.

DI- Bajo Un Sol Feliz hit the streets in 2006, how has the reception been?

Luckily people liked it a lot. The title track has become a fixture of our set list. It was released in Argentina and in Chile and we are working on getting it out in Peru and Mexico.

DI- How does this new material compare to the old material?

I compare it to Mercado Indio. It’s a great record with good lyrics and power. Sonically it must be one of the best we’ve recorded. We are very satisfied knowing that we did our job right.

DI- What’s next for Los Violadores?

A lot of shows. We have an Argentinean tour coming up in June. We’ll try to get back to Peru and Chile and we have plans to go to Mexico and the US. We’ll be releasing the new record in 2009, we already have eight finished songs.

DI- I hope you can come to the US.

We are trying. We’d love to do it. It’s a pending matter, just like going to Europe. Our friends from Die Toten Hosen owe us a European tour, maybe they’ll act on it soon. In the US we have many friend bands so we are working on it.

DI- Last words

A big hello to all the people who once listened to us, and to those who after reading this interview, believe that is still not too late to get to know us.

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