INTERVIEW: Mexican Institute Of Sound Opens Up About Music And Politics
In a sit down interview with Lara, he reveals his sudden influence to produce "Politico," an album different from his previous records, "Méjico Maxico," "Piñata" and "Soy Sauce." Lara tells us of his love and hate relationship with his country and his opinions about the newly elected Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto.
In your new album, Politico, you have songs like Revolución (Revolution) and Especulando (Speculating) referencing the current instability of the Mexican government? What was your motivation to write songs like these?
I felt as if politics came knocking at my door versus me searching for it. I didn’t begin writing songs like these because I started reading the newspapers more. I wrote these songs because there are issues I was dealing with in my daily life. The violence, insecurity, the stuff happening with the drug cartels, I felt wasn’t something I was only experiencing, but something my entire generation is dealing with.
I wanted to do something that had that spirit of what we're all feeling and that it expressed the realities happening in the country, but that it would also be a fun album. I didn’t want it to be boring with a heavy and serious message. I wanted it to be fun album to dance to, but with a message.
Do you consider your music as a form of activism?
Yes, in certain ways I do think it's activism. I think that is how it should be taken, but activism doesn’t always mean that you have to be like Bob Geldof and Zach de la Rocha. I think there are certain activist and types of activism that can have another side. I think what is happening is very important, but my life continues and I can write about other things as well.
Since the situation in Mexico has worsened, there are journalists and musicians who have published stories or songs about the war on drugs and the drug cartels. Some have left Mexico in fear of retaliation or due to dead threats. Do you believe that freedom of expression in Mexico is more restricted because of the political instability?
I don’t think so. Actually I think that in this album I probed that freedom of expression is something very close to me. In one of my songs I changed the lyrics of the Mexican national anthem, which maybe in the past I would have gone to jail for it because there is a law that prohibits it.
I did it with the risk of ending up in jail. I think with the issue of freedom of expression, is more than fearing to break the law, but it’s the power of violence. I think that violence definitely controls and censors. The conflict that exist between the cartels, all the groups in power and the government does make the job of a communicator dangerous or if you’re an activist, or simply someone who is just saying things the way they are.
What do you think about Mexico’s current political state?
I think we're still in a deep, deep fall and have not yet reached the bottom of everything. Eventually I think it will have to enslave itself and end in a natural form to be able to move on forward.
It's ugly to suddenly witness the country I fell in love with and then slowly falling out of love with it. Every day you like it less and less. You start thinking that all those fantastic things about it become horrible and dangerous things that harm your people. On that side I'm suffering of falling out of love with Mexico.
But at the end for me that’s Mexican society, and its society continues to be full of amazing people with ideas, with an incredible light. It’s a strong feeling, it's like on one side it’s horrible and on the other I believe in the people and I believe we can move forward.
What do you think about the new elected president, Enrique Peña Nieto? Do you think he has the potential to change the instability in Mexico? Did you vote for him?
Are you kidding me, no, I did not vote for him...hahaha. It is unfortunate that he was chosen, but hey that’s what happened. A big reason for that is because of the influence of television and they were behind him, and well the Mexican people are accustomed to telenovelas (Mexican soap operas) and we chose a soap opera president.
It’s reality and I do not think there is much to talk about that. I do believe that as a society we are all watching him closely to see if he does something wrong, so, we can complaint about it and at least hold him accountable to conform to the law.
What did you want to achieve with this new album?
I would like to photograph what’s currently happening and portray a historic moment that I hope my music can change, at least a little.
If I succeed in bringing in at least a little of change then that’s what is important to me. I do think more than anything my music is a picture of where we were and the state of my country at that moment.
The next MIS performance in L.A. will be at this year’s KCRW Masquerade Ball, Saturday, October 27 at The Legendary Park Plaza.