Highlights of the Week: Big Sir, JotDog, Gustavo Galindo

Three of my stories went up this week:

Big Sir Had Serious Health Scares. So They Made an Album About Life and Death.

Right around the time they were finishing their last album Und Die Scheiße Ändert Sich Immer, they both fell ill and were diagnosed with serious diseases. Alderete discovered he had polycythemia vera, a rare bone marrow disease where the body produces too many blood cells, while Papineau was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. “The bottom fell out,” says Papineau. “In the midst of this juncture, Juan dreamed a song, woke up, recorded it and emailed it to me in Paris. He said, ‘I know it may be corny to say this, but from now on everything we do really has to make a difference … even if only to us … there’s no point any more to do less.'”

Q&A: Jotdog, From Rock en Español to Sci Fi Über Pop

With Jotdog, we’re doing this for the right reasons. The right reasons to be in a group, for us, aren’t money or fame. The right reasons to be in a group, mainly, are to have a good time. Every time you write a song, you need to enjoy yourself. Every time you go on tour, you need to enjoy yourself. When you write a song with the mentality of writing a hit to make millions, you’ve lost the purpose of songwriting.

Gustavo Galindo Says Fuck You to the Latin Grammys

“Once the Latin Grammys happened,” he continues, “I thought ‘well, that’s it for this record cycle. Let’s go focus on Mexico and launch the album down there.'” He cut those plans short in December when, while sitting in traffic, he received a ton of tweets congratulating him. He had no idea what for; when he found out he was nominated alongside huge acts like Mana and Calle 13, he thought there must have been a mistake.

Hugo Chavez Can’t Stop La Vida Boheme’s Dance Party!

I’ve been obsessed with La Vida Boheme’s debut album Nuestra for the past few weeks. I’m definitely not the only one enthralled by it as the lp was nominated for Best Latin Pop, Rock, Or Urban Album Grammy last night alongside the works of Calle 13, Gustavo Galindo, labelmates Los Amigos Invisibles, and Mana.

I learned about the Venezuelan dance-rock/post-punk quartet two months ago while listening to the FIFA 12 soundtrack, which includes LVB’s song “El Buen Salvaje.” I liked the song but wasn’t able to get my hands on the full album until a month later in early November when Remezcla put me in contact with Nacional Records. La Vida Boheme was in town and would I like to interview them? Heck yes!

In the Nacional Records office. Not pictured: the Flinstones rug on the floor.

From the interview:

D’Arthenay: The record [Nuestra], we made it while I was still in college. It was very troublesome because in 2008, we had some of the songs. We started recording it but we didn’t like the record, then went off to record it with another guy, but we still didn’t like it. In 2009, most of the songs had changed. When we recorded the master, it was in 2009. For some of the songs that we initially started recording in 2008, we didn’t feel that they were representative of the things we wanted to say so we made new songs on the spot. So 2009 was a reflection of what happened between 2006 to 2009.

With this new record we just recorded, there’s two songs in it that we were playing for a long time and the second half we made them in one month. We’re very unorthodox in that sense. We’re not willing to release something that we’re not proud of. A work of art speaks for itself. When it’s complete, you know it’s complete. Most of the times, songs are very difficult to get to that point where they’re finished and others, they just flow naturally. We struggled a lot with our second record because of that, and because we don’t want it to be sloppy — we want it to be better. It took us time but we’re very happy with what we have done.

Two days later, I made a trip to Las Vegas to watch LVB perform at Remezcla’s Latin Grammy pre-party:

The set was short but intense and the songs sounded even better live than their studio-recorded counterparts.

Keep your eyes and ears on La Vida Boheme in 2012.