Health

Bulletproof: “Musical medicine for these times” – El Sol de México

Nine years have passed since the Afrobeat project Antibalas was presented for the first time in Mexico, specifically in the city of Puebla. Since then, the group from Brooklyn, New York, has returned to our country to perform live on several occasions and share everything they do on stage.

Regarding record productions, the orchestra released its seventh studio album Fu Chronicleswhich is a work with which the group celebrated its twenty years of existence, making it clear once again that they are one of the most outstanding groups of their kind.

This time, taking advantage of his upcoming return to Mexico City, we talked with Martin Perna, who is the founder, as well as baritone sax in the band, and its vocalist and guitarist Marcos J. García, who attended us from California, where they now reside. , as they prepare for upcoming shows in various North American cities.

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Four years ago they came to Mexico for the last time. How would you summarize your life in this period?

Marcos: A lot of things have happened, we were nominated for a Grammy award, in addition to the fact that Amayo, our previous singer, left the group and that made us rethink some things, but basically we have been working on two albums of new music that we have not recorded but that we already have. We started playing in some cities in the United States and Europe.

Martin: We’ve kind of gone back to the roots of the band, but we’ve also been renovating a lot of things. Something very important is that we want to return to the spirit that Antibalas is a collective, since for many years we were considered Amayo’s group and the truth is that this was not the case, I formed the band under the idea of ​​a kind of guerrilla … I mean, I’ve always wanted Bulletproof to be bigger than a person’s name and that’s what we’ve been working on with these two new albums and with this tour that we’ve been working on for a year now.

his last album Fu Chronicles (2020), was it recorded before or during the pandemic?

Martin: Actually, we recorded that album in 2018, but we were able to release it until the beginning of 2020 and just when we started the tour for promotion and concerts -with Amayo still in the band- the confinement came and we no longer had the possibility of continue playing, and well that’s where the total unemployment of almost 18 months came from; It was during this time that Amayo decided to leave the band despite the fact that the tour and the release of the album were going very well.

Speaking of the pandemic, how did you live that experience?

Martin: It was a time of a lot of rest and a lot of reflection, and although it was difficult at first, we were able to take advantage of all this time at home to write new songs, record demos and work a lot, without the pressure of being on tour… Although for the whole band The economic issue was very difficult, as I was saying, before the pandemic we were doing very well with the start of the tour and the release of the album, but with the confinement and not being able to continue playing, things got tough financially. Also, here in the United States there was a lot of fraud and mismanagement with the money that the government gave. The musicians and artists in general treated us very badly and gave us very little help, but it was more good than bad and the main thing is that in these two years we were able to reflect a lot about the future of the band, where we want to go , how we want it to grow, etc.

How was the experience of playing in the Apollo room, in New York, in honor of the 20th birthday of Daptone, the label where you have most of your catalog?

Martin: Daptone is our family, the owner and founder of the label Gabriel Roth (Bosco Mann) and I were roommates 25 years ago, he is one of my main musical mentors, so this concert was like a family reunion and we were very happy that we could achieve it, since we have lost many of the musicians and artists of the label but also with many of The artists that played that night have toured the US and Europe, so being able to get together was incredible. As I say, we are a family.

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Are you excited to return to play in Mexico?

Martin: Sure, very excited. Mexico was where the name Antibalas was born and it is because around 1997 I was playing and touring with another band there, those were times of great violence in Mexico and everywhere I heard people saying Antibalas Antibalas and I really liked the double meaning that they gave that word. On the other hand, for some members of the band it will be their first time in Mexico and that makes this concert very special for everyone… When they offered us this concert we still had doubts about wanting to travel and putting our health at risk, but we believe that for Mexico is all worth it.

What do you like most about Mexico?

Marcos: Uff, it’s that we like everything, the simple fact of being able to drink a fresh orange juice on a street corner, eat a huarache, a semita, we love all the food and also the heat and the good wave of the people, that is something unique to Mexico, something that is not seen or felt in any other part of the world.

What can we expect from your next concert in Mexico City?

Martin: Many things, but one very important thing is the return of the spirit and sound of funk music that Bulletproof originally had. We believe that our music is like a musical medicine, we are the doctors and we are the patients, and we feel that every time we give a dose of our music we receive a dose of medicine with the vibe and participation of the public that goes to our concerts and listen to our music… So we hope to see you all at the Indie Rocks Forum, which is already like our home.

That’s great, because now more than ever the world needs that musical medicine.

Mark: Yes, of course. I think that as inhabitants of this world we have been through many kinds of lies, but if there is something that does not lie, it is the music, the rhythms and the melodies, which in the end are a very good medicine and an absolute truth.

What’s next for Bulletproof in the near future?

Martin: Well, recording the two albums that we have already composed, we are ready to do it, although I think they will not be released until 2024. Also this and next year we have shows in Canada, New York and other cities in the United States.

Antibalas will be presented on August 26 in a “full band” format, at the Foro Indie Rocks! from Mexico City, where they promise to light up the dance floor with their exquisite fusion of dub, jazz, funk, soul and other rhythms.

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