The present generation of musicians related to the urban move in Venezuela, which embraces such alternative trends as heavy metal, hard rock, punk, indie, new wave and grunge, among others, draws attention on everyday life by means of lyrics with social content, although there is space for love songs too.
Young students interested in challenging ways of thinking and breaking social paradigms make good use of the digital music industry’s current boom so as to shed light on their proposal. Although the night activity in the main cities of the country has been limited due to the lack of safety, 4 bands stand out because of their energy, varied musical approach and staging.
OKILLS & TROPICAL ROCK
It’s curious to hear that rock can sound tropical, like those catchy rhythms that merged with salsa and merengue. But, Alberto Arcas, leading voice of Okills, says “we’re all influenced by tropical music, since we all know at least one stanza of Oscar D’Leon’s Lloraras (You’ll Cry).”
The band, created in 2011, is made up of “The Shrimp” and Carlos Jorge Garcia with their guitars, bass player Kevin Yousef, Tony Alda on the drums, and Alberto Arcas. Their lyrics are defined as “basic and focused on personal experiences, which are so personal that become universal”, Arcas explain. Their latest album, America Supersonica (Supersonic America), speaks of it.
According to the vocalist of the band, the economic and social situation in the country has a positive impact on alternative music, since “the finest songs around the world have been written in times of crisis. However, making good things shine is harder; having a good song is useless if you don’t have a platform to put it on the map”. The band’s songs can be downloaded on cusica.com in bolivares, “for the symbolic price you pay for two French fries”, Arcas points out.
NIÑO NUCLEAR, WINNERS OF 2014 NEW BANDS FESTIVAL 2014
With a space rock proposal that mixes different rhythms so the result is psychedelic indie, Niño Nuclear (Nuclear Boy) was born in Barquisimeto (western region of Venezuela) as a solo project started by “Mechu” (vocalist) in November 2012, which became a band in 2013 with the presence of Ovidio Pernalete (guitar and voice), Leonardo Chacon (drums), Fernando Rojas (bass), Alicia Alvarado (keyboard) and Mauxi (guest member).
In 2014 they participated in the New Bands Festival and won it after several competitions in regional circuits and the grand finale. “We’re characterized by the energy we show during our live performances, our explosive moves on stage, as well as the use of science fiction sound effects and noise trend. I believe that it made the difference in New Bands”, Mechu underscored.
As for rock in Venezuela, the vocalist of Niño Nuclear said that “the bands are being presently provided more support in the country; there are more fans and feedback thanks to social networks. Nevertheless, more support is needed”. Their first album, Mutants never Die, referred to love and coolness. “Our next album, to be launched in Caracas on July 18, is entitled Re&Sol abierto. It’s also about love, but this time round we wanted to include social critic because of the lack of safety we’re living in Venezuela”, he explained.
RETROVISOR WITH COMEGATO MERENGUE RHYTHM
Santiago De la Fuente on the drums, Jonathan Casas with the guitar and chorus, Antonio Romero playing the bass, y Juan Manuel Fernandez with guitar and microphones, these are the members of a band that was founded in Caracas back in 2013.
Although they don’t like to be framed in only one genre, Fernandez explained that his style is kind of “comegatomerengue, because we’re all Venezuelans after all and our songs are characterized by salsa and merengue arrangements”. In 2013 the band won the Rock School contest and it was a finalist in “Live Latin Rock”, organized by Hard Rock Café Caracas. In 2014, they participated in the finals of New Bands Festival, which helped them gain popularity.
“Our first album, Qué buena vaina, was put out in April 2015. It merges such genres as alternative rock, funk, reggae and ska, with songs that follow the same line and describe the way iguano (their flagship character) escapes from daily life”, the vocalist explained. According to Fernandez, their proposal is influenced by Viniloversus, “because it’s the only Venezuelan band that rocks and breaks glasses”, just like Nirvana, The Cure and The Strokes.
As for Venezuelan rock, he thinks it’s living a great moment, “in spite of limited resources we work hard to be the best; it’s like a macabre filter”. The name Retrovisor (Mirror) is related to an incident with a motorcycle courier. “We had spent two months studying ideas, but there was no result. When the motorcycle courier broke my car’s mirror, we decided that that would be the name”, he recalled.
JOUDY JU, FROM SOUTH PARK TO ROCK BAND
This band from Tachira has been influenced by rock n’ roll, funky and even grunge, which have marked the five members as musicians and professionals.
Social critic finds an important space in the lyrics of Diego Ramirez, Luis Devia, Daniel Roa, Germar Castro and Ulrich Navas. N8 stands out in The Beast, “since it reflects almost three years of history, the evolution of the band, transitions of musicians, style changes, performances, coexistence, New Bands Festival and the unconditional support provided by friends.”
Vocalist Ramirez explains that “we’ve taken step by step. We first launched The Beast and we’re about to start recording our second album, so it can be ready by the end of this year. We’re looking forward to taking music beyond.”