(promo album photo received by LAS COBRAS)
LAS COBRAS is an invigorating and adventurous psychedelic duo. A pair of mind-intoxicating musicians. Their intriguing debut album TEMPORAL is just one of the most beguiling and one of the coolest debut longplayers of the year in my best-of-2017-book.
As Sofía Aguerre and Leandro Rebella hail from Canelones, Uruguay they inject their musical vision on psychedelia with lysergic sounds of South-America, therefore they’re different from the rest of the pack. Sensual and menacing at the same time. A fascinating mixture of far-out electronics, glimmering guitars and atmospheric vocals. Sonically they explore the past and the present in order to create spellbinding vibrations for the future. Their exciting path is colored with Afro-beats and tropical waves and leave you, at the end of their magical and mysterious journey, in a bewitching trance. Let’s meet the snakes, starting with this audiovisual introduction…
Hello Sofia and Leandro…
LAS COBRAS in English means ‘The Snakes’. Should we be scared?
“A Cobra is a very poisonous snake, so you should be scared yes, haha. The name of the
band came up when we were listening and dancing to the title song of our first album ‘Temporal’, and we felt like we were dancing like a snake would do, wagging and moving
to the sound of music.”
Do you have to make choices about the language you use for your lyrics
to communicate with your homeland fans?
“Most of the music we listen to is in English, so it was an organic and natural decision to sing most songs in that language, although there are two songs in Spanish. We do not really care about the language, we let ourselves be carried away by the song and let the song decide for us.”
‘Temporal’, the title track of your debut album, hit me on first hearing. It sounds like mind-elevating music from an exotic galaxy. What is the song actually about?
“It’s not about something in particular, it’s about a feeling maybe, it’s about that nothing really matters much, not being afraid and going through with everything. The day we recorded that
song there was a big storm outside so we were refugees in our recording room while we were composing that song. The literal translation of ‘Temporal’ would be a ‘great storm’, so the song talks about going through the storm, letting it get you through and follow it until you’re free.”
Do you inject your songs with original Uruguayan music and how does it sound like?
The place where we live influences us and affects a lot, Uruguayan music is based very much on the rhythm and the cadence, especially the Candombe that is an African rhythm that is played a lot in the streets of our city. There´s a lot of great bands down here, for
us the best era of Uruguayan music was the sixties and seventies, bands like El Kinto, Los Shakers, Los Mockers, Totem, Días de Blues and Eduardo Mateo, you have to check them out. There are really good ones nowadays too, Color Horror, Hablan por la Espalda, Los Nuevos Creyentes, Cadáver Exquisito.
Does Uruguay has a vibrant rock scene?
“I can’t say that there’s even a rock scene, there are really good bands, but there´s not so many places to play, so it’s hard to keep you motivated, but making music and playing with
our friends is the best motivation we have.”
I’m intrigued by the cover of the album? Does the psychedelic artwork
has a specific connection with the music?
“The art was created by Sofia, and of course it has a direct connection with the music: psychedelic waves crushing the shore. But it could lead to thousands of interpretations. Sometimes a color, a form, a shape tells you more about a feeling than an actual
picture, and I think that this is the case here.”
LAS COBRAS sounds like a full orchestra at times.
How do you generate that impactful sound?
“Leandro takes care of the basses and the guitars and Sofia of the synthesizers and the maracas, and between the two we are in charge of the sequences, the melodies and the
structures of the songs. Sometimes we ask help from our friends, especially with the percussion. We usually compose and record at the same time, so we go layer by layer
adding different instruments until we see that the song does not need anything else.
We don’t have any fancy gear, a couple of guitars, a synth, a midi controller and that’s it,
limitation is the key I guess.”
What music did you listen to before or while recording the album?
“A lot, we listen to a lot of music. Back then, when writing and recording, we were listening to Suicide, Caetano Veloso, the Tropicalia movement, Moon Duo, Primal Scream, Spacemen 3, BJM, hip-hop, Ethiopian and African music.”
SUICIDE legends: an inspiration…
How do you manage to reproduce your ‘full’ sound on stage?
“When we play live we’re a five-piece band, it´s hard to recreate the music
all by ourselves, so we ask our friends to play with us.”
What movie would you choose to visualize your music on a
big screen when playing a show?
“Documentaries about nature and animals.”
Any rituals before starting a gig?
“There is nothing in particular, it always changes depending on the environment
and the different stimuli that we have.”
Who’s your number one artist/band to go on a world tour with?
“Oh, going on tour with the Primal Scream would be really fun, they seem to be the kind
of people who like to party and know how to have a great time, haha…”
Primal Scream & Las Cobras – I just love the idea…
Vinyl, cassette or compact disc?
“Vinyl, the size, the whole ritual of playing music on vinyl is incomparable
with any other format.”
Social media: a blessing or a pain in the ass?
“It depends. For us it has been a great tool to meet people who have helped us to promote
our music, it will always depend on how you use it and what your intentions are.”
Who you really love to jam with?
“Anton Newcombe is a great reference for us, musically but also in how to approach music, with no boundaries or limitations, playing with him would almost be a dream come true.”
Anton Newcombe – psychedelia expert…
Best album you heard so far this year?
” ‘Our Mother Was A Plant’ by JUJU.’
The Black Angels or The Brian Jonestown Massacre?
“The Brian Jonestown Massacre all the way, we really like The Black Angels too, but the Jonestown are a really important band for us, we saw them last year in Buenos Aires twice and they were incredible.”
The Velvet Underground or Pink Floyd?
“The Velvet Underground. I think it has more similarities with our sound, and we start hanging out as a couple the day that Lou Reed died, so that has to mean something, right?”
Any chance of seeing you soon in Europe for some shows?
“We want to go there next year, it’s not easy for a South American band to tour that far.
It would a dream come true for us.”
What can we expect from LAS COBRAS in 2018?
“Hopefully a new album, and a tour!”
What’s the band’s ultimate dream?
“Keep playing and keep having fun while playing, buy the ticket and enjoy the ride.”
Many thanks to Sofia and Leandro for the Q & A. May the road rise with LAS COBRAS…
Turn off the lights, relax and embrace the full journey…