Last week, Las Amigas de Nadie won our Artist of the Week contest with flying colors, thanks to their growing fanbase and the trippy pop off their new album Sincronía. The Peruvian foursome Ale Hop, Gabriela, Katia and Estefania and chatted with us about their sad and lonely name (which means “friends of no one”), about music from the Andes, and about where they would get us drunk in Lima if given the chance.
Read more about the crew here, and see what they had to say below.
Are you really the friends of nobody? You must be the friends of somebody…
Ale Hop: We do have friends, I hope. The name of the band has no special meaning, we chose it because we like how it sounds. In interviews journalists always ask us for the name, sometimes I invent answers, because it is tedious to say that it has no meaning. I say it’s because we had no friends at school and were victims of bullying.
This new album is f**king awesome. What were some of the musical influences that went into it?
Katia: The rock and pop are essential in the band but the exploration of the sound has dominated the record. Finding a particular sound and trying to get it to sound organic, and not lose its essence in the production stage. Maybe we identify with Björk and Portishead or even SteveG Reich for the game loops.
Gabriela: We didn’t specifically use any influence for this album. It’s basically our old main influences combined with our organic female need to communicate something that went behind Sincronia.
Your old music has a much different style – what prompted the change?
Gabriela: We didn’t want to sound like anything else around…we just wanted to explore inside ourselves.
Katia: It’s a new format. Some girls have left, and others entered. The vocals are more heartrending, prioritizing the the voice as a musical instrument, rather than as a channel to say something specific. In songs like “Espiral” or “Otoño,” it’s difficult to understand the lyrics. But they actually say something.
The sequences are composed by Ale Hop and I work on the production and composition. We care that the songs are not overproduced. I was afraid of that happening. Overproduction changes the product. Like a food with too many preservatives. Estefania inserted new ideas with bass, creating new shades. This sometimes pleasantly corrupts the whole composition. All this makes “Sincronía” (Synchronicity).
Watch Las Amigas’ video for “Espiral.”
The last song on the new album, “El Niño” (the child), is something I’ve never heard before: indie rock mixed with musica Andina (Andean music). Will we hearing more of these kinds of experiments from you guys?
Katia: It is an unpretentious Huayno (a type of Andean music). Part of my family is from the Sierra (Huancayo — the highlands of Peru) and one day, as a musician, I had to offer as a musician a song like that, to my ancestors. And yes, I think the band’s horizon is long and wide and has opened many doors and new forms in the compositional spectrum.
Tell me about the underground music scene in Peru – what’s happening these days?
Katia: There are lots of musical approaches, and many are super good! The bands are working harder; there is healthy competition and a lot of styles to choose from. But also there is an obvious problem in the mass media. Bands like ours don’t go on the radio, because there is still absence of commitment to new music. They’ve been programming the same music for 20 years. That’s what works, or at least what’s profitable. But what I must repeat is that there’s a lot of amazing Peruvian music that the world should hear.
If we were visiting Lima, where would you take us?
Estefania: For a walk downtown, in Barranco, right outside Lima, in lower sierra or any other place.
Katia: To the center of Lima to concerts, fairs, vintage bars and clubs. The center of Lima is fairly representative of what our city is. We’d also take you to concerts in the outskirts of the city, where there are some interesting underground movements.
Gabriela: To Ayahuasca, a great bar in Barranco, a cultural neighborhood. And to the center of the city!
What would you feed us? What would you get us drunk on?
Estefania: A lot of things… maracuya sour, chilcano, algarrobina cocktail. I wouldn’t get you drunk, though.
Gabriela: We would give you, of course, Cebiche! and yuca, papa, chifa, chupe, canchita serrana, queso helado, menestrón! And lots of beer, pisco sour, chilcano, and macerated pisco drinks!
What makes you most proud to be Peruvian?
Estefania: The fact that I’m growing in a media in which there’s a great deal of possibilities.
Gabriela: The fact that we have almost every weather of the world: tropical jungle, super high mountains, awesome surf-able beaches, huge ruins, ancient history, and a ridiculous variety of fish in our waters!