La Secta AllStar
Interview with La Secta AllStar
by Andrew DeWitt & Blaire Nichols
Multi-Platinum Puerto Rican band La Secta AllStar are celebrating the release of their 5th album Fuego (released in the U.S. November 25 on Sony Music Latin), their first new album in three years! They are known for their alternative sound and the unique vocals of Gustavo Laureano and this most recent album is a return to the bands roots with what has been referred to as a more "organic" sound. The band has been together since the 90s and even with Grammy nominations, Billboard awards and a number of chart topping hits the band has always stuck true to one thing, "Our songs and the way we write allows us to sing about the things everyone wants to say, and people are able to identify with our songs."
Virgin Mobile was able to catch up with La Secta AllStar, and we asked them a few questions:
VM: What, if any ringtones or ringbacks do you have set up on your phone?
Mikey: I have two or three ring tones. I have rock n roll from Led Zeppelin and something from ABBA.
VM: What was the first record you ever purchased? What was the most recent?
Mikey: The first record I purchased was with my parents Quiet Riot's Mental Health. The last one is French Miami and Glass Vegas. I really like what they're doing.
VM: Tell us a little about your new album, Fuego? What are your favorite tracks on the record?
Gustavo: This record we did with a lot of love -a lot of passion, long days and long nights. We put a lot of feelings into it. Among my favorites: "Peligroso Amor", "Mi Amor Por Ti", I love "Dejalos que Hablen".
VM: Fuego is your 5th album. How does this album differ from your previous works and what do you think influenced those changes for you?
John: In this album we've matured more in the way that it's a lot easier to get an idea across than it used to be, the ideas are more pure, it's easier to understand each other because we spend a lot more time together.
VM: We read that you recorded this album in your own studio. What made you decide to do this and how do you think being in your own studio affected your approach to recording and the album overall? Is this something you think you will do going forward?
Gustavo: In this record we fine tuned the recording techniques in our studio. We really got into the recording -every body put their hands together to make it happen. We had a lot of time to have the songs grow. Lyrically the songs developed as we were building the record. We're trying to keep it at home. Doing it ourselves is the way that has been working for us. If it ain't broke - don't fix it.
VM: Describe your first practice space in Miami. What was in there? Where did you get your gear?
Mark: Our first place was in the Miami Area in Davie, Florida. It was a regular warehouse with a loft. It was a really fun place we had our beers-every day of the week we would crash there and sleep and have our own space. The next one was in Opaloka- a really nebulous part of town where a lot of bands had their own warehouses and all of them where broken into-except ours!
VM: How about your first practice as a band. What songs did you play?
John: By the time we formed La Secta, we have already done the cover thing, so we started working right away as an original band and it worked out for us, because we stuck to our guns -and fortunately we had people appreciate us.
VM: You guys have been playing together since the 90s and have certainly had you share of struggles in the music business. With so many bands having short lived careers, what do you think has helped keep you together despite the rough times?
Mark: Having the same goal is the glue that has kept us together. Also the sense of family has kept us together regardless of what happens.
VM: What is your favorite food?
Mikey: It depends on the region. If it's the west coast I like Jack In The Box- if it's the east coast- Miami Subs, aside from that- I like Thai food.
VM: We read that the beginning of La Secta AllStar was with a random meeting between Mark (vocals) and Gustavo (bass) at the Orlando International Airport. How did you go from randomly meeting in an airport to forming a band?
Mark: I saw Gus at the Orlando airport, while I was picking up my mom. I had already met Gus briefly by stumbling into him in a side walk in Puerto Rico. When I moved to Orlando I didn't know anyone, so Gus was the only person that I kind of knew- so Gus said that he was going to study sound engineering- so I said what the hell- let's do it! From then on, we became roommates and started forming the band. Everybody came from different bands so there was hunger for playing- that's how the spark started that ignited this huge madness that became La Secta AllStar.
VM: How do your life experiences manifest themselves in your musical creative process, both in terms of lyrics and music composition?
Gustavo: Music is a reflection of what we have inside. So there's a divine, magical connection between your feelings and your thoughts and how you put your fingers on the guitar. Lyrically- it's what every one lives, what you learn, what you've heard. The other part is faith in what you believe in. Feelings come in like butterflies- you try to catch them. In time you learn how to do that.
VM: You have seen success all over the world, most especially in Central and South America. In your experience, how would you compare the reception your music has received from US vs. the Central and South American audiences?
John: Sometimes you get the feeling that a song is being force fed to you- be it by radio or online. Our experience has been that certain areas or countries where for example a radio programmer from Bolivia will call us and say I loved the record- I want to play this song- they kind of choose what they want to hear- which is alright by us.
VM: You have played some pretty huge shows at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in Puerto Rico which we know have meant a lot to you, but are there any other cities or countries you have played that you especially enjoyed or have a special place in your hearts?
La Secta: A few years ago we went to the Canary Islands and it was the biggest show we've ever seen. It was totally out of proportion. We were a bit scared. But at that time we had one of the biggest hits in island- the way the people took us they gave us a great love on the stage- it was over whelming -one of the greatest moments in our careers.
VM: In your career you have had numerous chart topping hits and have been nominated for some major music awards, you even won the Billboard award for Best Spanish Rock Album in 2006! Do all the positive accolades affect your approach at all?
John: We didn't write the record to win an award. We were just trying to write the best music we could for that record. Now -I think the new record Fuego is better than Consejo - but who am I to say. Awards are for fans to decide. Were just going continue to write the best music we can.
VM: Everyone has a guilty pleasure band that they're somewhat embarrassed to be a fan of. What are yours?
Mark: Not only a band but a whole genre-I love Disco.
VM: Are there any artists that you would really like to collaborate with in the future?
John: Tons, maybe Katy Perry, maybe -Bajo Profundo- there's a bunch!