Bajofondo’s Three Latin GRAMMY Nominations Add to Group’s Epic Success

Eight member Argentinian and Uruguayan band Bajofondo is nominated for 3 Latin GRAMMYs this year.

Eight member Argentinian and Uruguayan band Bajofondo is nominated for 3 Latin GRAMMYs this year.

For Bajofondo, the success keeps coming.

Bajofondo, the eight member Argentinian and Uruguayan band, is nominated for 3 Latin GRAMMYs this year: Album of the Year (Presente), Instrumental Album of the Year, and Best Alternative Song (for track “Pena En Mi Corazon”).

Gustavo Santaolalla, Juan Campodónico, Luciano Supervielle, Martín Ferrés, Verónica Loza, Javier Casalla, Gabriel Casacuberta, and Adrián Sosa comprise the group.

In an exclusive interview for Living Out Loud, Sosa about their GRAMMY nods, concept of latest album, and what the city of Los Angeles means to them, among other things.

Living Out Loud: How do you guys feel about being nominated for 3 Latin GRAMMYs this year?
Bajofondo: We are very happy and flattered that our work has been so importantly recognized by all these industry professionals. Artists make music for several different reasons, but when it comes to these awards, being nominated brings us great joy. The nomination that is most intriguing to us is Album of the Year because our music is not part of the mainstream pop that’s normally nominated. That brings us great joy as well. We think our nomination is a great reflection on the industry and the health and variety of the music.

LOL: What’s the concept behind your current album, Presente, and what can you tell us about the production process?
B: Our current album, which is also our 3rd album, is very graphic. It took us about 3 years to physically record, but as Gustavo [Santaolalla] says, it actually took us 10 years to create this album. It took 10 years of being together, traveling together, and evolving our music. We feel that overall, it’s more representative of our band. It’s an album in which musically, we specifically made a point to sing. In the past, we’ve had guest vocals, but this time around, we took the challenge of singing our compositions. This album also has a significantly stronger orchestral presence. We use 11 violins, harps, it’s a large orchestra. The orchestral arrangements were written and conducted by Alejandro [Teran]. The musical proportion is mainly on the instrumentals rather than the electronic aspect. The proportions have been there from day one, but it’s been changing over time to the way it is now.

LOL: Your song ‘Pena En Mi Corazon’ is nominated for Best Alternative Song. What’s the song’s message?
B: This song came from an idea Gustavo had. For the first time, we all share in composing the songs in this album. It has a lot to do with his history and his personal life. He also sings the song. From the moment he shared it with us, we knew it was perfect for Bajofondo. We immediately adapted it to the band and were very happy with it. This nomination proves that it was something well done.

LOL: What do you think have been the factors that have propelled you to the level you guys are at right now?
B: It’s a bit difficult to quantify something like that. What I can tell you is what’s happened in the past 10 years of Bajofondo’s history. We’ve had to travel the world to take our music wherever possible, and that changes you in a good way. You get to learn about new cultures. Also, we’re a group composed of producers who’ve worked with other groups, and we have experience that we share with each other, and we expose each other to different styles and genres. That’s a very significant characteristic of the group. We also come from and have lived in different countries. All these eclectic characteristics are what make us the group we are today.

LOL: How did your passion for the drums develop?
B: It’s a passion I’ve had since I was very little. When I was 10, I began searching for an instrument through which I could express myself…took guitar lessons, and when the instructor left, I would pick up the guitar and play what he had just learned. He later suggested I take up the drums, and I did. Ever since then, I began buying all the parts of a drum set because at the time, they were quite expensive. By the time I was 14-15, I had my own band. From then on, I began playing with musicians who today are very well-known. Eventually I moved to Los Angeles and began working with Gustavo in production. Then for the past 10 years, we’ve had Bajofondo.

LOL: What has the city of Los Angeles meant to Bajofondo?
B: It’s been extremely important for the group. It’s been a base for the group that we’ve had with Gustavo, and served as a launching platform for Bajofondo. It’s an enormous part of the history of the band, and it’s one of the places where we are local. Also, Los Angeles is a city that’s a source of inspiration for all the group members. On a personal level, I love LA because it’s a hub for culture, politics, technology, and the arts. It’s a city where you can, in a way, be a step ahead of other places.

LOL: Over the last 12 months, you guys have performed 3 times here in Los Angeles. You guys played at UCLA’s Royce Hall, The Fonda Theatre and the House of Blues Sunset in West Hollywood. What do you recall from those performances?
B: Playing in LA is always an incredible experience. It’s not just because I live here. Also, there are always family and friends present at concerts here. Something I remember from playing at Royce Hall at UCLA is the venue itself, because it’s so historic. Also, the technical and aesthetic qualities of the venue are fantastic. Then at the House of Blues, we performed there after we wrapped up a tour through Argentina. We played at this venue specifically because at the time, there was a fair of world music going on, and we wanted to showcase our material. Also, it was a personal achievement because we had never played there before. So that was the last time we played in LA, and we hope to come back, most likely in the second half of next year, and give another great show.

LOL: When you guys are on tour, what do you do with your free time, if any?
B: Sometimes there is free time, sometimes not. We like hanging out together in the different cities we visit. We like to immerse ourselves in the culture and meet musicians from those cities. We like to read about those cities and also try the food. Whenever we’re in a foreign city and they ask us what we want to eat, we always say anything except Argentinean of Uruguayan food. It’s all about opening up to that small universe you’re in at that time.

LOL: What’s on the group’s agenda for the rest of the year?
B: Shows. Performance-wise, that’s more or less how we’ll be closing out the year. Since March, we’ve had a very busy year, and traveled to several countries throughout Latin America, such as Colombia where they love us. We also did extensive tours through Argentina, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. We also toured the U.S. and Korea. After the GRAMMYs, we’ll have time to relax and spend the holidays with family, and think ahead to 2014. We’ll most likely be focused on performing and promotion tours. We also plan on going to Europe, and it’s one of our main priorities.

LOL: What’s the greatest satisfaction of your career for you right now?
B: For me it’s to be surrounded by family and friends. People I love, admire and respect, like my group mates in Bajofondo. It’s also being able to travel and share our music with different people around the world, because our music is heavily influenced by our roots and where we’re from. I see it as a privilege to be able to travel with friends, doing what you love. I can’t really ask for anything more.

Marvin Vasquez is a Senior Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle, entertainment and sports.

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