Aterciopelados returns with first new album in 10 years

Aterciopelados, the Bogotá-based band long-considered Colombia’s biggest musical export, are back together.

After last releasing a studio album in 2008, the duo of Andrea Echeverri and Hector Buitrago released their latest collection, and the pair’s eighth together, Claroscura, on May 30.

Releasing solo albums in the decade in between, the pair initially reunited at the urging of organizers for the 20th anniversary of Rock al Parque — Colombia’s largest music festival that takes place in the duo’s hometown.

The result of that performance, 2016’s live CD/DVD release, Reluciente, Rechinante y Aterciopelado, brought Sony Music on board and new life into the band.    

PACIFIC recently spoke with Echeverri from Los Angeles where she and Buitrago were still getting ready for their current U.S. tour — which makes a stop at the Music Box on Saturday night.

PACIFIC: This is the start of the tour for you guys, right?

Echeverri: We’ve done a festival in Bogota. We played, like, five new songs there. First time, sí. And that was like 15 or 20 days ago. Then on Saturday, we were in Carmen de Viboral, which is in Colombia as well, close to Medellín. But, sí, this is the start.

Exciting to play all these new songs for the first time.

Yes! We’re very happy.

First Aterciopelados record in 10 years. Did hitting that mark have anything to do with it or was it just time to make another album?

We had Río in 2008. And we had solo albums. The thing that got us back together again was Rock al Parque in 2014. It was (the) 20 years of Rock al Parque (show) when we started playing again. Then we did the live DVD — Reluciente, Rechinante y Aterciopelado. And now, Claroscura.   

Did you know in 2014 that it was going to be more than that one special festival date?

We were comfortable in our solo projects. But then they started to insist that we played (together) at Rock al Parque. And we weren’t so sure on how the thing was going to work. So we thought that we’d play Rock al Parque first and see how things flowed.

That went well, and because of it, everything started to happen, no? Como, all the doors started to open. Sony wanted to sign us, that’s why we made the DVD, but we really wanted a new album a long time ago. But, sí, it’s like things started to happen and that DVD made us play everywhere. And as you play and travel the years go by, no? (laughs)

Can you talk about the songs of Claroscura?

We have all kinds of songs. We have old songs — Piernas, for instance, I used to play that with my solo project. But there are new songs as well.

Play was made for the precise moment that we decided to make an album because there is all this pressure! The record label wants a hit! Sí, 10 years and you start to get nervous, no?

This song is about trying to get away from all of that and just enjoy music. That English word, play, is perfect because it involves playing an instrument. In Spanish, you don’t have that. No juegas un instrument. (You don’t play an instrument.) You touch it. In Spanish — tocas. You touch the guitar. So I love the “playing” thing.

How did the solo projects affect the process of working together again?

I think it contributed a lot. We’re both more structured artists now and there is room for both of us in Aterciopelados.

I think that’s reflected in the title of the new album. We’re not just one united thing. We are two different people and there are many differences between us. And I think that enriches the proposal.

Activism has been big part of the band in the past. How big of a role will it play moving forward?

That is one of the differences between Hector and me. Hector is devoted to activism. He is into it. He goes to the Environmental Ministry often. And I’ve found that my activism is through the songs. Sí, because I’m a mother and my time is absolutely full, I don’t have time for anything. But through the music, you can really make a statement.   

Have you given any thought to what comes next? Or is it all about Claroscura for now?

There is another album in the contract with Sony. Pero, in this moment, we are really still rehearsing the new songs. That’s what we’re concentrating on.

Aterciopelados w/ Los Hollywood

When: 9 p.m. June 9

Where: Music Box, 1337 India St., Little Italy

Cost: $35

Online: musicboxsd.com

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