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memowakeman View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Mauricio Sotelo from Cabezas de Cera!
    Posted: August 25 2009 at 22:07
Cabezas de Cera, a 3-member Mexican band with a unique and very original sound, whose incredible talent is shown in every single song they compose, creating some of the most splendid and exciting music I have ever heard,  enough reasons that make me feel proud of them.
 
I want to thank Mauricio Sotelo for his time and confidence he had for this interview; I would also like to thank Ramsés Luna for his kindness, his time and final approval.
 
Special thanks to PA members Assaf Vestin (avestin) for helping me with some questions, and David Quinn (oddentity) for helping me with the translation, and also for his help with some questions.
 
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1. Please tell us about the band’s first steps, and the origin of the name.

 

We love literature a lot.  The name Cabezas de Cera comes from an Alejo Carpentier book called “The Kingdom of this World”, which refers to Haiti’s independence from France and the work and presence of human individuality in the world. The first chapter is entitled “Cabezas de Cera” (heads of wax) and the last chapter is “Agnus Dei”.   So initially we chose the name of “Agnus Dei y Las Cabezas de Cera” (Agnus Dei and The Heads of Wax).  But I remember that when we played in a place called Rockotitlan the name of the band was so large that it could not fit in the marquee.  So we decided to make it shorter and Cabezas de Cera was born.

 

2. How and why did you create Cabezas de Cera?    Looking to the past, do you think the main idea behind the band is still the same nowadays?

 

Obviously some things have changed, as life gives you different lessons.  But what prevails is the freedom in our music and the commitment we have with it. We always challenge ourselves in order to improve what we do.  There have been some changes, even in the band’s line-up, though my brother Francisco and I  have been here since the beginning.  Ramses Luna joined in 1998, and I believe it was in 2000 that the band acquired its own identity. Our thoughts have also changed.  We are now tougher on ourselves and we want to keep improving, so in the end these changes are for the good of the band.

 

3.  Speaking of my own experience, the first time I saw the band I discovered that you played a “Charrófono”, which surprised me.  The first thing that came to mind was, “What did he say?”.  I later realized that you make your own instruments, which is another example of your originality. Could you please tell us something about this?   How did you come up with the idea of creating your own instruments and its weird and peculiar names?

 

This is a project called “MetalMusica”.   Francisco is the one who makes the instruments, while my job is to deform them when playing [Mauricio laughs].   Francisco studied in the Escuela de Artesanias de Bellas Artes and in 1998 he acquired his degree working on a project concerned with the invention and construction of metal based instruments.  So little by little these instruments became part of our music.  The names of “Charrófono”, “Jarana Prisma” and “Armatoste” were basically christened in a playful way.  They don't have any deeper meaning.

 

4. Being a band full of talent, I imagine you have a musical past,   I mean, you seem to have studied musical composition, or perhaps you are just gifted guys!   What can you tell me about this?

 

We are actually self-taught guys.   My brother studied in an arts school, but he was not really attracted to the orthodox system that the music school had.   I learnt by myself - well, with my brother’s help, because the first chord I ever played was because of him - and so we started with this musical life.  As kids, we wanted to be like our idols and so with time the urge of learning led us to improve and become better every single day.  I think Cabezas de Cera’s musical language is largely intuitive.

 

5. Who is Edgar Arrellín and what is his role inside the band?   I am asking this because you consider him as the 4th member.

 

Edgar is our sound engineer.  He is our ears.  He lets us know that we have to have our own unique sound, a Cabezas de Cera sound.  He is a great friend and ally who helps us with several issues.  Basically, because of him, we can have an optimum sound in our albums and shows.

 

6. For me, speaking personally of course, you are a progressive rock band.   However, for a lot of people you are an experimental band or just a rock band.   I would like to know what you think about the importance of labelling music and how it can influence the listener?

 

We label ourselves as "Mexican contemporary music", since we want to express what happens in our country.  Curiously, we were never fans of prog rock before creating the band, so it was not our intention to enter this market.  But fortunately, progressive rock fans know us and accept us.  I think the BajaProg invitation we received some years ago was really helpful because it meant that more people could listen to our music.   I remember that a month later we appeared on the front page of “Expose” magazine.

 

7. So what is your opinión on the reaction of Mexican people to your music, and to progressive rock in general?

 

It has been great.  I think we have had some good luck.  Of course, it is difficult to leave a mark on all people because there is music for everyone, but we create music for those who like it.   Fortunately, we have had a good media response and we have done well in the festivals.   Talking about progressive rock in México, I think is somewhat fragmented.   The bands are scattered.   However, a clear example that progressive rock is still alive here is the Baja Prog Fest.  Another thing I would like to mention is the importance of websites, such as ProgArchives, because through them bands like us can be discovered world wide.

 

8. Two questions in one: What did you listen to as a child, and did you absorb some particular influences thanks to that music? 

 

Yes, totally.  I will tell you about my personal tastes because one of the band’s main characteristics is that we are all very different.  Of course, there are some bands that we all love, but when I was a kid I listened to what my parents listened to.  Mexican music, mainly.  My first contact with rock and roll was when I listened to the “Teen Tops” with Jailhouse Rock, etc.   But that was long ago.  Nowadays, youngsters listen to their own music, they have their own personal style.  In those days we listened to what our parents inculcated.  I also listened to what my brother liked (he is my elder brother). We loved listening to Dire Straits or Caifanes.


Nowadays, my influences come from jazz, the kind of jazz where all the members gather together from several countries and constantly put a migration theme into their music. There are some musicians whose influence on me has been big, such as N’Guyen Lee, a                              French guitar player with Vietnamese origins who plays jazz rock, and Anouar Brahem from Tunisia who plays the lute and now lives in France and mixes jazz with his country’s music.  Another one is Avishai Cohen, a Swiss counterbass player, whose fresh music I love.  From the progressive scene, well, there is always King Crimson - it’s kind of mandatory, they are always there.  I also like listening to Il Balleto di Bronzo, D.F.A and Akinetón Retard, for example.  And from my country, I can mention Iconoclasta.

 

9. Which is the most representative Cabezas de Cera album, and which is the one you really feel proud of?

 

Each of the albums is representative.  The first one is very representative since with it we reached what we wanted to do at that moment.  However, I believe that “Fractal Sónico” may be a great album for those who barely know our music.   There they can see our evolution as a band.   Personally, I think “Metalmúsica:Aleaciones Aleatorias” is a very complete album.  It creates a lot of satisfaction for me.

 

10. What is your opinion on the music industry here in México?   We know that much of it is corrupted and some things are not clear.

 

It is a complex topic.  Nowadays, the industry prefers bands who look good.   They prefer the public image and marketing, and not really the music.  The industry is so perverted.  We can see that any band wants to be an “indie” band, but they have lost their basic principles.   We can be happy and proud because we have improved and advanced.   Our steps are always going forward, not back, and the band is a success because people like yourself listen to our music and support us.    Bands like ourselves are formed thanks to their talent and their audience, not because of the industry.

 

11. Does Cabezas de Cera regret anything?

 

Well, I don't think we regret anything.    People sometimes create things believing they are right.  We are responsible for our actions.  Every single thing we do is done honestly and with the goal of being better every day..

 

12. When composing do you conceive of your music in an abstract way, as a series of unfolding visual shapes, or is it a more instinctive process? I ask this because there is a strong psychedelic element in your music, similar to Ozric Tentacles, which makes your music very visual despite its rythmical roots.

 

Well, it´s half and half.  Any sound can be a pretext to create a piece of music.  Each piece has its own different story.   There is indeed an intuitive part, and also a cerebral part, and, of course, there is always an image where one can listen to the music, close one's eyes and see things.  Each person sees what they want to see.  Sometimes, the music just generates some new images; sometimes, the images are based on previous experiences.  The most gratifying thing while making music is provoking something in people.   After a concert, it is beautiful when someone comes to you and tells you what they think, what they liked or didn't like.  We want people to tell us their thoughts.  We like critics.

 

13.  Tell us about your side projects and your plans for 2009.

 

Francisco is commited only to the band (Cabezas de Cera) http://www.cabezasdecera.com.mx/sys/index.php , http://www.myspace.com/cabezasdecera , although he is also a teacher in Bellas Artes.   Ramsés http://www.myspace.com/ramsesluna plays with OMS, and I play with SantosSotelos http://www.myspace.com/santosotelos .  We also have had a project with friends from Spain called “Vientos y Lugares” (Winds and places) http://www.myspace.com/vientosylugares

For 2009, we are invited to NearFest, which is one of the most important festivals, and I believe it is a great opportunity for us to share our music with the world.  We are now really excited and motivated.  We are going to open the festival and I am sure it will be wonderful.    We are also planning a visit to Chile, and we would like to make a new album, but we have to take our time in order to release a good studio album.

 

14.  Is there anything else would you like to share with ProgArchives?

 

Yes, keep searching for music because there is always something new.   Live every second of your life and take a look at this side of the globe.  Mexico is not only mariachi and tequila, there are lots of other things worth discovering!


Thank you very much for your time and attention Mauricio. 
You are very kind.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 25 2009 at 22:37
great interview! thanks Memo, hope to see them live again soon, one of the great bands here in Mexico
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 25 2009 at 23:24
Excellent interview Guillermo!  
 
Love this band. Big smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 25 2009 at 23:55
thx a lot don memo, is always good, to know a lil more about the bands that we listen to
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 26 2009 at 02:39
Excellent interview indeed! StarStarStarStarStar
Originally posted by Plankowner Plankowner wrote:

Big smile  If you don't check this band out, evil gnomes will steal all your tea.
Shamefully...I've not known about them (so all my tea has been stolen by Plankowner LOL)...I read your interview with hearing Cabezas de Cera MySpace samples on my back and was surprised at their originality and flexibility.

What a terrific band! Thanks Guillermo! Clap
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 26 2009 at 07:40
yepper....  seems like an older interview.. .since they did play Nearfest and knocked it out of the park.  Raff, David, HT, and myself were all impressed with them.. and we all got albums by them.


The next week we caught them again at the Kennedy Center and I got a chance to sit down and talk with their manager and the group was bowled over by their acceptance by prog fans and the reaction they got here in the states this summer. 

Great group... definitely one to check out.
I find your lack of Bassoon disturbing.....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 27 2009 at 00:04
Excellent job. ClapClap
 
Fun read.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 27 2009 at 13:42
Thanks for doing this interview Memo, it's a wonderful band that should get more attention here in PA.

 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 28 2009 at 18:37
definitely... hopefully they'll be back in the states again soon knowing they really made inroads here among prog fans.. especially those here on the east coast that got a chance to see them. 

What I thought was impressive.. even more impressive than their NEARfest show was the show a week later at the Kennedy Center. Raff and I showed up and thought.. OH NO!!! 

we got there just before the band started and the hall was filled..


filled with scores of old biddies and old farts dressed in suits with one foot in the grave ... I figured I was going to see a wig or two.. maybe a set of false teeth go flying when they took the stage and cranked the amps

However what they treated the audience to was less prog.. and a subtle tasteful take on their native Mexican music.  Fascinating... and no wigs or teeth went flying.  


Edited by micky - August 28 2009 at 18:39
I find your lack of Bassoon disturbing.....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 30 2009 at 02:44
Thanks Memo, great interview! Wow Cabezas are outstanding. Muaricio is a wonderful musicaian and one of my favorite Stick players ever.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 01 2009 at 23:06
Great great job, Memo! Clap
 
I liked the "charrófono" part... reminded me of the "tritarra" created by O Terço back in 1971! Smile
 
Any chances for the Cabezas come to Brasil? Big smile
Guigo

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 01 2009 at 23:47
 I hope they come back here.  I'd love to see them again myself.  I think you'd really dig them Guigo.. great stuff. 
I find your lack of Bassoon disturbing.....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 02 2009 at 00:58
Thank you very much, all of you for the responses so far-
Guigo, I believe the band is going to Chile next month, though dont really know if they plan to visit Brazil, I hope they will do it soon.

And yeah micky, im sure you will have the chance to see them again, i really love this band and i hope this interview help them to gain more listeners in this site, they truly deserve betetr recognition.
 
 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 05 2009 at 21:44
Guillermo...  let us know if you hear anything about a new album.  I had heard they might be working on one... or at least putting together some new material. 
I find your lack of Bassoon disturbing.....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 12 2009 at 15:45
Originally posted by memowakeman memowakeman wrote:

Thank you very much, all of you for the responses so far-
Guigo, I believe the band is going to Chile next month, though dont really know if they plan to visit Brazil, I hope they will do it soon.

And yeah micky, im sure you will have the chance to see them again, i really love this band and i hope this interview help them to gain more listeners in this site, they truly deserve betetr recognition.
 
 
Well it reminded me that i need to check them out.They're on my list.
An enjoyable interview Memo! Clap Thanks
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 22 2009 at 21:19
Great interview Memo


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2009 at 12:53
This is John's review of their self-title album, bravo John!!
 
 Cabezas de Cera by CABEZAS DE CERA album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.10 | 13 ratings

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Cabezas de Cera
Cabezas De Cera Eclectic Prog

Review by sinkadotentree
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It was memowakeman's interview with this band that reminded me about checking them out.I'm so glad i did,and memowakeman has reason to be proud of this Mexican band.An interesting blend of styles here,i thought they'd be listed under Rio/Avant but Eclectic is the better fit in hindsight. "Veintiuno" opens with these different sounds coming and going including some deep bass.Drums then guitar follow with spoken words as well.It kicks in around a minute.The sax sound great 3 minutes in.It settles a minute later with bass then builds back to a heavy sound. "Gocxilla" opens with these explosive sounds that come and go before a minute then this scream.A powerful KING CRIMSON-like section then takes over.It settles before 3 minutes as sounds cry out.Clarinet comes in.It's raining after 4 minutes then it kicks back in heavily before 5 minutes.Amazing tune. "Encantador De Serpientes" opens with strummed guitar,percussion and flute.Drums join in as the tempo picks up.The tempo continues to shift though.Huge bass lines after 3 minutes.Sax before 5 minutes. "Un Pueblo Escondido" opens with some major fuzz.Who do they think they are? A canterbury band?(Haha). The song kicks in around 1 1/2 minutes.I like the guitar and bass here.Some flute as well.Violin 3 1/2 minutes in.I hear children's voices before it kicks back in around 5 minutes with some nice violin and bass. "Caravana" has a surprising Celtic flavour at times with what sounds like a tin whistle.Lots of percussion too then a blast of fuzz.Yes! Drums and trumpet as well.Incredible sound. The song settles then kicks back in one more time.Great song! "Pretexto A Un Texto Fragmentado" is experimental to start out and we get some spoken words which are contrasted throughout with a guitar section. "Gitana" features drums.sax,acoustic guitar and other intricate sounds.Fat bass 2 minutes in. "Frontera" sounds so good.The sax is fantastic and so are the bass and drums. "Al Aire" opens with spoken words and strummed guitar.Sax joins in as the words stop.They continue to take turns.Nice bass 5 minutes in. 4.5 stars for me.I find this recording to be so inventive and interesting.It's challenging yet enjoyable at the same time.
< name=CommentReview242641 =/post_commentreview.asp method=post> Send comments to sinkadotentree (BETA) | Report this review (#242641)
Posted Saturday, October 03, 2009, 11:20 EST | Review Permalink | Submit a review for this album

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2010 at 03:28
Smile

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 04 2010 at 16:21
Originally posted by micky micky wrote:

Guillermo...  let us know if you hear anything about a new album.  I had heard they might be working on one... or at least putting together some new material. 


nice bump sir..  any word of a new album?  CdC was definitely my #1 discovery of last year...
I find your lack of Bassoon disturbing.....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 13 2010 at 10:24
Originally posted by micky micky wrote:

Originally posted by micky micky wrote:

Guillermo...  let us know if you hear anything about a new album.  I had heard they might be working on one... or at least putting together some new material. 


nice bump sir..  any word of a new album?  CdC was definitely my #1 discovery of last year...
 
Cool to know they were your best discovery of last yearClap
They are now working on a DVD called "CDC in USA", so let's wait for its release date, I also believe thay are working on a new album, they may give us a surprise soon.

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