mexico 101: a playlist

Erdem Gelal: Seeing your Mexico 101 playlist, we have prepared some options for you. Large festivals or small venues?
Nicolás Díaz: My best memories come from small venues: The Cannanes playing at a club, or the first lineup of Nine Rain playing for an audience of ten. The night I discovered one of my favorite local bands, Uvilov, they were playing at a small patio that had a water well and a tombstone. I can enjoy festivals, mostly for non-musical reasons.

EG: Respect to the maestros: Carlos Santana or Juan Gabriel?
ND: Juan Gabriel, of course! Actually, my choice would be between Juan Gabriel and José Alfredo Jiménez.

EG: Mexican pop or American pop?
ND: Synthpop. From all over the world.

EG:Your Mexico 101 playlist had some really cool tunes, showed how rich Mexican music is. What aspects of your music do you like/dislike the most?
ND: Mexico is the Bermuda Triangle of music styles. I like that. Some styles fall out of favor in the rest of the world and later have a revival. In Mexico they never fell out of favor in the first place. We've always been prone to this. Our norteño music is a distant relative of German polka; Colombian cumbia arrived decades ago and never left. Now we do the same with subgenres of rock, electronica, etc. I dislike our silly humor in general, but especially in songs. In the last decades, each Mexican generation has had its famous rock band with a sophomoric sense of humor, stealing the spotlight from other types of music (and humor).

EG: A little bit about how you see music. When do you enjoy music the most?
ND: I was raised by wild mixtapes. To this day, when I listen to "Atmosphere" (Joy Division) I think of "Starblood" (Cranes), because in my teens I had those tracks together in a mixtape. The same thing has happened in the last years with playlists and streaming music. I listen to music during all kinds of activities but I don't associate certain music with particular activities. First you associate Swans with deep pools of angst, then you find out that they have the best songs to clean your house to.

EG: If you had a time machine, which music event would you go back to? Why?
ND: Sheffield in the late seventies. Any of the gigs at The Limit: Cabaret Voltaire, The Human League, etc. Some nights The Human League played after Def Leppard, because there weren't many bands in the city.

An interview for cubicfm (November 2014). Cubicfm is no longer with us, but there are other versions of this playlist at Deezer and Spotify.

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