Las Malas Amistades’ Bogotá lair. Photo courtesy of Las Malas Amistades
Las Malas Amistades is a loosey-goosey collective of Colombian artists who get together every couple of years and make music. It’s all very four-tracky and simple, earnest and poppy. It’s kind of like if the Young Marble Giants sang in Spanish and didn’t fully know how to play. It’s pretty great, in other words. Here Manuel from the band tells us wazzup with how they hang.
Bogotá is really big and diverse. It’s where we write and record our music. Bogotá is always being built and destroyed. There are bakeries on every corner, and people still dress like they’re in the 80s. It’s got some very beautiful mountains and the countryside is close. The countryside is all at war, but we Bogotanians fool ourselves, denying the state of things by going to malls and watching TV. The local news lies about the gravity of what’s happening and show things in a distant, disembodied way. They focus more on beauty queens, fashion parades, and gossip about famous people.
The weather in Bogotá, because it’s high in the mountains, is mostly cold and rainy, perhaps a bit like London in September. But people like hearing music from the coast, warm-weather music (especially vallenato, salsa, merengue, and now champeta and reggaetón). It’s very schizophrenic, like most capitals, because people from all over have immigrated there and don’t feel like the city belongs to them. That’s possibly why it’s so poorly kept and dirty.
We get together in a barlike room on the third floor of band member Humberto’s house. One of the walls is covered with promotional posters from Iberia, enticing people to visit different world tourist destinations. Some walls are all lacquered brick and there is a little bar, but there is no alcohol. There are cans and jars of paint instead.
We eat plantains with cream cheese and beer. Also Todorico—these packages of mixed fried things, like potato chips, corn chips, and pork rinds. We used to go sometimes to this fast-food place called Chopinar (its name is an acronym for chorizo/pincho/arepa) where you can get very decadent, greasy food. There isn’t much variety, but it’s tasty. The best food we had during the last recording session was in Chia, a small town an hour away from Bogotá, where we had roast beef and mashed potatoes and a delicious salad (my mom cooked).
Anyway, that’s more or less what it was like.
Las Mala Amistades’ new record, Jardin Interior, is out now on Psych-o-Path Records.