Nortec duo plans a fusion fiestaby Rogelio Yubeta Olivas on Aug. 23, 2007, under Calendar, Local
It’s 10 a.m. on a recent Thursday when Nortec Collective’s Pepe Mogt answers his home phone in Tijuana and the interview begins.
“Do you usually wake up this early?”
“Yeah. Sometimes I even get up at 9.”
“Wow! That’s unusual for a rock star.”
(Laughter) “I’m not a rock star.”
He may not consider himself one, but the founder of the alt-Latin group definitely got the rock-star treatment when he and his bandmates performed recently at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark.
The largest music event in northern Europe, the four-day festival featured 170 bands on seven stages and attracted such major stars as the Beastie Boys, Björk, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Who.
At the festival, one of the organizers went out of his way to accommodate Nortec Collective, whose name wasn’t even on the concert flier. The band was originally scheduled to play on one of the smaller stages, but the organizer did some reshuffling after listening to material Nortec sent him.
“He was so enthusiastic. He changed the whole lineup three weeks before the festival,” Mogt says. “He took a gamble with us.”
The gamble paid off. Fans embraced the group’s fusion of techno and norteño music and clamored for two encores.
After the show, the organizer, who could have skipped out to schmooze with the bigger stars, instead chose to personally say goodbye to each member of the group.
Mogt is hoping to get that same kind of treatment Friday when he and fellow band member Ramon Amezcua perform as duo Fussible y Bostich at Club Congress.
The two will play their own material, as well as music by Nortec Collective. Instead of using live instruments, they will play sounds from a computer, and the music will be accompanied by visuals.
The result will be a whirl of techno and Mexican music complemented by animation, drawings and photos of Tijuana and norteño musicians projected around the stage.
The concert should give those unfamiliar with the band a good introduction to Nortec Collective, whose novel sound has been embraced by both music fans and critics. (Norteño + techno = nortec. Get it?)
On initial consideration, the concept of fusing the disparate genres of techno and norteño sounds like a drunken prank or music experiment gone horribly wrong. It would be akin to mixing rap with classical music or Red Bull with Coors.
But the combination works, with the percussive dance beats melding perfectly with the accordion and horns of the Mexican music in a fun and funky fusion of old and new.
Nortec Collective will continue that tradition on its follow-up to 2005′s “Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 3.” But Mogt says fans can expect some changes on the new disc, which could be released by the end of the year.
“This sounds totally different,” he says. “The first album, Volume 1, it was more made up of samples directly cut and pasted from the computer. And on the second one there was collaboration with norteño musicians, but it had only a few instruments. We also started including a few vocals on the tracks.”
The new album is more expansive and will feature some tracks with instruments and vocals by guest norteño and electronica musicians.
Also included is tambora, usually performed by ensembles of 18 or more and heavy on tubas and percussion. Norteño, in contrast, is played by smaller bands on accordion, bass, snare drum and 12-string guitar.
Fans expecting to hear note-for-note versions of the songs on the last album – which Mogt describes as a “chill-out record” – might be in for a surprise.
“When we play live, that record transforms into a fiesta, a party,” he says. “We make it more upbeat and do a lot of mixing with the sounds.”
Rock stars, even reluctant ones, can always be counted on for mixing things up.
IF YOU GO
What: Fussible y Bostich of Nortec Collective in concert
When: Doors open at 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St.
Price: $10 in advance, $12 at the door
Info: 622-8848, www.hotelcongress.com