Issue September 23, 2009

B-Sides: Music & Other Ephemera

It‘s a Picnic

Harvey Jones, 26, guitarist for Santiago, Chile, dance rock act Picnic Kibun, responds to our third degree. His father is originally from Kentucky, and Jones has been a frequent visitor here. Kibun just completed their latest album, and Jones’s solo project, Tatsu, has a record in production.

LEO: Have you ever lived in Louisville?
HJ: No, but my father is originally from Kentucky, and I’ve been to Louisville a few times doing one thing or another. I come up there to visit friends more than anything. If you are wondering, I pronounce Louisville the traditional, elongated way.

LEO: How did you arrive in Santiago? Did Picnic Kibun form out of that?
HJ: I wanted to learn Spanish. I had a Chilean friend from before, and she offered to help me get situated out of the goodness of her heart. Her mom set me up with a job as an English teacher in a local school, and I got to working. Through my friend, I met the future group members of what would become Picnic Kibun. Four years later, here I am.

LEO: What’s the electronic scene like there?
HJ: The electronic scene is decent, but not so big that everybody is bouncing to dubstep or grime. If you want to include reggaeton as electronic, the sky is the limit. Chile has some important producers and DJs, and a few Chileans have made some impressive careers abroad. As far as playing, Picnic plays parties. We play at clubs that open at 12 (midnight) and last until about 5 in the morning. As long as there are parties, I guess we’ll have shows.

LEO: What traditional forms of Chilean music have you absorbed since living there, and what effect, if any, have they had on your music?
HJ: I love the traditional Andean instruments. There are some wonderful stringed instruments here such as the Cuatro (four strings) and the Charango. (The Cuatro) is made of armadillo skin and has eight doubled strings that make four “strings.”

Cueca is about the most Chilean you can get. It has a 6/8 tempo and is sort of their “country” music. In PK, we haven’t made any cuecas, but Latin music definitely influences us.

LEO: How big of a hit is “Drop Your Panties” with the ladies?
HJ: Girls love it, because they just want a good excuse. Guys just love it, because of what I just said.

LEO: You invite users on your MySpace to download a cappella versions of your songs for remixes. Has that ever come back to bite you?
HJ: Um, not yet. I guess someone could use the a cappellas to make fun of us or say something truly offending, but in the end, exposure is exposure. Remix us. Bring it.

LEO: What projects are you currently stoked about that we haven’t heard yet?
HJ: Well, I’m about as stoked as you could be about my own solo project, called Tatsu. I’m working with about six or seven different Chilean, European and U.S. producers and am just trimming the edges with the production. The album should be out by the end the year.

Other than that, I’m a huge fan of a Brooklyn group called Apes and Androids and a Japanese break-beat duo called Hifana. Those guys all rock, God bless them. Honestly, I probably get the North American “indie” news a little later than you guys. Some great Chilean groups to recommend are, of course, the classics like Los Jaibas, Violeta Parra or Victor Jara — lots of history behind those artists, to say the least. On the current indie scene in Santiago, I recommend Miss Garrison, and in Argentina, I really dig Frikstailers.

Music ’Cast

Audio engineer/muso/singer-songwriter Brad Cassetto comes on down to talk records, and we hear from his last two releases, Camelbacks & Cul de Sacs and American Landscape. Listen at Bluegrass Catastrophe, bluecat.leoweekly.com.