Monday, November 19, 2007

Q&A: Nuria Net

Today I spoke with Nuria Net, writer-associate producer for MTV Tr3s Radio and co-founder of NYremezcla. Nuria knows the ins and outs of Latin Alternative music and Latin music in general. In fact, Latin Alternative music drove her to become a journalist and start her website. I spoke with her about her favorite acts, her must-have CD's, and the future of Latin Alternative music. Here's what she had to say:

Q: Who do you consider Latin Alternative's top acts?

A: Calle 13; they can be considered alternative even though they are considered mainstream because they do whatever they want, they play different genres, and they have their asthetic. This past album had some reggae and some funk, and they had some tango and some cumbia.

Another group is Porter. I found them on myspace. They're now big in Mexico and we got their album mp3 by downloading. I really like them because they're like rock but they're really wierd; the singer has a wierd voice, they sing in English and Spanish, and their music has some classical music elements. They're from Guadalajara and they're indie so they don't have a major label.

I really like Zoé and they've been around for a long time. They've been through all sorts of record deals and they [the labels] didn't know what to do with them. Two years ago they had an EP that went gold and now they were nominated for a Latin Grammy. What they say is they've learned that it's about them doing their music, they're not going to follow any labels, and they learned that they can't rely on anyone. Their last album was super tight and the best of their career. They came to terms with themselves and were able to put out a great album.

Q: What are your must have Latin Alternative CD's?

A: Café Tacvba - Re
[1994 - called "the equivalent of the Beatles White Album for the rock en español movement" by the New York Times]

Calle 13 - Calle 13
[2005 - Calle 13's first album, criticized for its vulgar lyrics the album still sold 350,000 copies worldwide]

Babasónicos - all albums
[Babasónicos is a popular Argentinean rock band that has been around since 1991]

Q: Where do you see the Latin Alternative music going?

A: I see it being more fragmented. I don't see it as a movement really. Because of the internet, and myspace and all that bands like Porter are able to make it without the help of labels, so the artists are going to be able to survive because of the internet and they're only going to keep going. So all these young people making music have a better chance than 10 years ago of being exposed even though the labels aren't going to pay attention, and the media coverage will still be minimal. Latin Alternative has more of a cult following, it's not one genre, it's many different things. It's never going to be pop or reggaeton; it's more than dancing and asthetic. With the internet, Nacional [the only Latin Alternative label in the U.S.] can compete with the bigger companies. [Latin Alternative] appeals to a lot of non-Latinos. A lot of the time the anglo media plays the songs more than the Spanish media so they [Nacional] liscense the songs for TV shows and movies. In '95 it would have been crazy to think Manu Chao could win a grammy because it [Latin Alternative] was so underground, now he's become a household name.

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