We chatted with El Comanche of Los Master Plus and discussed #covers #pulque #mustaches, and the future of #cumbiatronica! Comment for your chance to win tickets for tonight's show at Artisphere!
Hailing from Guadalajara, Los Master Plus are everything you love about Mexico in one succinct sexy package. Sombreros, Mustaches, flashy chains and belt buckles? Check. Your favorite songs from Daft Punk, No Doubt, Radiohead, Dr. Dre converted into Mexican cumbia with a hint of norteño, electronica, hip-hop, and je ne sais quoi? Triple check!
We had a chance to chat with El Comanche (as his friends nicknamed him) to talk about what makes Los Master Plus the best thing to hail from Mexico since the margarita.
Kesta Happening: Welcome to DC again, have you had a chance to check out the sites?
El Comanche: We got here yesterday, and we’ve been here twice. We arrived at night and went to eat Indian food and to a couple of bars. We’ve been to the White House, the pointy monument and the Capitol. But still want to visit the monument where you see Lincoln sitting, that one looks cool.
KH: When you go out do you wear the full Master Plus wardrobe?
Comanche: (laughs) No we go out very quietly. Maybe just wearing the hat or a cap, but with normal clothing.
KH: How has it been going with this latest “Legal Tour” of the US?
Comanche: We’ve toured the bigger cities in the U.S. before but this is the first extensive tour where we are going to smaller cities like Arlington, Richmond, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Chicago. It’s 11 dates and bringing the party to cities that may have never heard of us before. We’re getting some cool reactions from the crowds though. It’s been good.
KH: When I first heard the Sex is On Fire cover, I loved it. Followed by the Radiohead “Creep” Cover, and “Mami” the Don’t Speak/No Doubt cover. It’s amazing how much you changed the melodies and lyrics but still kept it true to the original. How do you find that balance? What has been the reaction overall?
Comanche: Thank you! We love it because we like to bring Mexican regional music like cumbia and norteña to cultures who may not be familiar with it and mix it with music from their culture. People react in a couple of different ways. Some parties get super intense when you play these covers because people are in party mode and they’re hearing something they know and like and go crazy! But you also get those that cannot believe what they are hearing and don’t stop watching the show, but definitely kind of freeze and look stunned. At first we used to think those people weren’t into it, but then we would hear from them that they loved it too so it’s interesting.
KH: Do you have a favorite song that another artist has covered?
Comanche: I like a cover of “The Night Chicago Died” that La Banda Toro did. I don’t know who sings the original (quick google search says it was British band Paper Lace) but it’s an old song but I love, their version is great.
KH: I know you have varied music tastes, but which artist or song do you have playing on your playlist right now?
Comanche: Well I don’t have many right now because my phone memory is burnt but let’s see. (Comanche fumbles for his phone). Okay I have songs by The Doors, the Rolling Stone, Fito Paez, the rapper Nelly, Marilyn Manson the Dopeshow, and la banda Los Recoditos.
As you can see we like older music. I like to listen to new stuff too but both Larry Mon and I grew up listening to We like the old lady music we highlight this New but we like the little old things our - I like Mike Laure (he’s a cumbiero from Chapala) and I remember listening to him and things like Sergio Vargas (Salsa) when we would go on long road trips with my dad. So I grew up with that and then started having access to Daft Punk, and Dr. Dre, and so we automatically mixed cultures.
KH: At first I thought you and Larry Mon were relatives you seem very close, how did you two meet?
Comanche: (laughs) We’re definitely not relatives, but we met because Larry Mon was a DJ back in Guadalajara. He used to DJ at this bar near my house where he would spin and they would have all you can drink pulque for like 100 pesos (that’s less than $10 ya’ll). So I became friends with Larry and he would sneak me in for free. The parties there were great people would dance all night and eventually Larry would pick up the mic and sing along with the songs he was playing. He would rap and sing and the girls would go nuts. So I told him we should make this into a show and start a band and so we did.
KH: Wow, sounds like we need some of those all-you-can-drink pulque parties here in DC!
Comanche: (laughs) Yes! No but seriously, anyone can have a good time without having to drink or “take” anything, sometimes music alone can make you feel high and act like a drug. Those parties definitely felt like that to us… it was a rush.
KH: Electronic cumbia has become quite popular with you and bands like Kumbia Queers, Nortec, Bomba Estereo, La Banda Nueva Ola and others, what do you think is the future of the genre? Where would you like to take it?
Comanche: Cumbia is here to stay. It’s universal, it existed in our childhood, our parents', and will exist in future generations. You’ll hear it at weddings, parties forever it can’t be erased. I think that what’s happening right now is definitely the future of cumbia mixing it with electronic and now with rock, hip-hop, tribal, and other rhythms.
Above all we don’t want to be stuck into one format. We will always love the covers and will continue to play them in our shows, but we also have been writing songs for an upcoming full-length album that we feel will revolutionize the genre.
We’re super excited about it and will be releasing it this year sometime in July 2014. It’s been three years in the making so we’re very proud of it. It will feature a mix new sounds, and also feature some special guests like Gil Cerezo (Kinky), and Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound). We’re actually going to release a new video in May which will feature a new song for the World Cup!
For the new album we’re also teaming up with our buddy El Saloncho who will bring a new sound to Los Master Plus. We’re blessed to be so busy touring but we are finally going to have time to release the album this year. It’s going to be the album of the year!
We thanked El Comanche for a fun interview but couldn't end without our popular “5 Preguntas" where we ask our favorite artistas some fun "what if" questions. El Comanche was mas puesto que un calcetin.. so here it is!
5 Questions with El Comanche (Los Master Plus):
- If you lost a bet and had to perform without a Sombrero, Sunglasses, or Mustache, which would you hate to lose more?
The mustache! I wouldn’t feel like me without it. If I could lose anything I guess it would be the sombrero!
- Which of the three drives the girls wild the most?
Definitely the mustache. There’s a saying that says, “A kiss without a mustache is like a taco without salsa.” I don’t know firsthand but I believe it to be true.
- If you were stranded in the desert with the last Coca Cola, and could wish for three more things, what would you wish for?
Umm..Water because I’m probably still thirsty. Then I would wish for a helicopter to get me out, and a cold beer while I’m waiting.
- If the Master Plus were a drink, what would it be called and what would the ingredients be?
El bigotón! It would have tequila and mezcal on the rocks, with a splash of club soda, orange juice and hot sauce, and garnished with a jalapeño.
- If you had to spend a whole day without technology, what would you do?
Relax! Enjoy the moment....with someone (laughs). Maybe go relax in the woods, or the beach, or even just a park. Even now when I go somewhere and forget my phone I feel like I’m free. Of course you still wonder if you’re missing an important message or call but usually you don’t miss anything, nothing bad happens.
Comment below with keyword "Los Master Plus" or your favorite Los Master Plus song to win a pair of tickets for tonight!