25 years ago, without leaving their formal jobs because they did not know if they could make a living from music, six musicians founded Vetusta Morla. Now, on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and in a documentary, the rock band celebrates its validity as one of the few from Latin America that continues to tour Europe and Latin America.
“We had our careers and we were working little by little in the group until we were able to record our first album. I think that with that experience—especially when it came to composing—it worked. We didn’t get a record deal; So, what we did was organize ourselves and found Pequeno Salto Mortal (record label). It is true that we have licensed the latest albums with Sony, which has helped us go a little further, but there is that idea of self-management. I think we were one of the artists who knew how to go (in this way) further,” answers the drummer, David García, responsible for the fusion with Latin instruments.
In their albums, the band has reflected the times they lived in. Vetusta Morla has lyrics like ‘Golpe maestro’, from the album La deriva (2014), that speak directly about corruption and the crisis (“They exchanged peace for debts, they tied knots, ropes and the patrol stopped us for looking”). And its members have also given their opinion in Spain. “You have to go vote, even if it’s with your nose stuffed,” said guitarist Guille Galván in 2019.
Post-pandemic, David García tells us that he agreed with his colleague: “If this is not the case, what we do is deny the system in which we participate. It may not be the best there is, but we must participate. “We will have to say to people who don’t vote: ‘Well, don’t complain about things later or get into politics and try to change things.'”
With Cable a tierra (2021) —an album presented before 35,000 people at the Metropolitan Stadium in Madrid— they get closer to folklore. “It has to do with how we have incorporated traditional music, also with what came with the pandemic. That ‘ground wire’ that is the field. In the world we live more in urban spaces and we have abandoned rural spaces and (the idea) was to focus on that and on the music that comes from those environments. We had him on our backs and we had never paid attention to him. But it belongs to us as much as Mississippi blues and Peruvian cumbia.”
García says that if record companies knew the key to Vetusta Morla continuing for more than two decades, they would repeat it “constantly.” However, he believes that, for them, football had a lot to do with it. “Guille, Jorge and I played together for many years and I think that that way of working, of feeling part of a team, is one of the things that helped to have a record label, being aware that the team is more important than each one.” . We have to work respecting individualities and we have to be in harmony.” The documentary Bailando hasta el apagón premiered a few days ago and the band continues on tour: tomorrow they perform at the Teatro Leguía in Lima. “Having grown up where we have grown up, our folklore can be the Beatles and the Afro-Peruvian cajon.”
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