Mexican rockers Hombre Bestia have been active since 2010. The current discography includes a self-produced EP released in 2011 and their debut album Claroscuro, released in 2013 with Discos Intolerancia. The autumn of 2015 will see the release of the band’s newest material, an EP called Janus, which will include acoustic versions of songs from Claroscuro, as well as previously unreleased material.
Describe the music of Hombre Bestia.
Hombre Bestia’s sound is filled with extremes and dualities. Chaos, noise and distortion might be followed by tranquility, harmony and clean guitars. Where there is violence and viscerality, happy or gloomy passages can emerge. We try to keep our music fresh and dynamic so there is always something to be surprised about. We have three minute simple songs as well as ten minute pieces with lots of parts and improvisation.
Tell me about the complexities of creating your debut album Claroscuro released in 2013.
Claroscuro was the first material we released professionally, so challenges included picking a final list of songs to arrange and record from all of the band’s previous catalogue, finding a label that fitted both our situation as a new band and our ambitions, trying to find a balance between our needs for budget and quality, and getting that budget of our backs.
Perhaps the biggest challenge, though, was an utter lack of knowledge about how the music industry worked, and this was a struggle that took us time to realize and one that we’ve progressively become more and more aware of. Releasing Claroscuro today might have been a completely different process.
You are about to release a new EP titled Janus. It features some of the previously unreleased tracks, as well as acoustic versions of some of the Claroscuro songs. What can you tell me about this unreleased and re-worked material?
The unreleased material shows both our newest and most collaboratively-conceived track, and one of the oldest songs from our vaults, which we always liked and kept reworking at many stages of the band until it became what we recorded for Janus. In a way, we feel both reflect the way the band has developed since Claroscuro.
The unreleased tracks, for us, feel like a relief, because they give a new perspective to songs that have been constantly on the road with us since the last album. Also, we feel they will open doors many new spaces for us: venues and audiences harder to reach with our usual stuff.
What is your collaboration with Discos Intolerancia like? Are you satisfied with how the promotion of your debut album was handled?
Intolerancia is very true to the concept of “independent label”, and they are very straightforward about this. They gave us useful contacts and very prominent promotion and distribution channels, but it was up to us to keep the ball rolling. In that sense,you always keep a sensation that a more dedicated support would have driven the album a longer way up, but they did help us reach some places we couldn’t have gotten to on our own, and we didn’t get anything less that what we were promised.
Which bands from the scene influence your work with Hombre Bestia?
Our sound being a combination of extremes, reason and viscerality, has been influenced by artists on both sides of this equation. On the side of reason, soundscapes and structures there is Porcupine Tree, Opeth and Riverside. On the side of noise, chaos and viscerality there are bands such as A Perfect Circle, Tool or Alice in Chains. There are also a few Mexican bands that have marked our sound in some way. La Barranca and Caifanes are good examples of this.
Most Hombre Bestia lyrics are in Spanish. What are themes you explore in them?
We like to explore the dual nature in which the human psyche can be explained, and perhaps the concept of duality in general: peace and war, reason and instinct, dreams and reality. Still, we always try to keep a social edge in our lyrics, using this subjects as a canvas to express political or behavioral messages that we consider relevant.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
We think there is no fixed source for inspiration, so we always try to keep our minds open to anything. There have been songs conceived from personal experiences as close deaths and even dreams, while others come from news or stories we find interesting. We try to think of what’s behind the things we see, read and hear of.
What do your studio and live set-ups look like?
To be honest, our studio set up is sometimes quite messy, especially when we are in recording sprees. We try to have our complete gear around to avoid limiting our ideas, but we aren’t overly organized about this.
The live set-up, on the other hand, is much more consistent. Each of us has a footswitch-controlled light to enhance a more theatrical experience. We love to play with shadows and light as much as we do with sound, so being able to control the stage on the run and to improvise both with music and space is quite fun.
On the technical side, both guitars and the bass are hooked to pedal trains (featuring our love for delays and distortions, among other stuff); and we also carry a loop station for soundscapes and sequences.
Name five albums that had huge impact on the musical direction of Hombre Bestia.
This is a hard one! Perhaps this list could do the trick:
- Deadwing – Porcupine Tree
- El Equilibrio – Jaguares
- Anno Domini High Definition – Riverside
- Mer de Noms – A Perfect Circle
- Damnation – Opeth
What is the future for Hombre Bestia like?
Next month’s looking very promising, since we are about to release an EP which will include two unreleased tracks plus some acoustic versions of songs from the first album. We’ll be very busy with many gigs and activities to promote this material so we hope this really gets the attention of new public and media.
Next year will also be very active. We are looking forward to an American tour on summer 2016, which would be our first tour outside Mexico and immediately after this, work for our second studio full length album will begin. So we could say there will be a lot of Hombre Bestia for the next few years!