Erick Ramírez attends us by Zoom from Mexico, just a few minutes after his team debuted in the World Cup against Poland. It was 0-0, but his historic goalkeeper Guillermo ‘Memo’ Ochoa saved a penalty from Robert Lewandowski, a feat that tastes like a goal. “Here we are. Nervous, but the game came out”, says the saxophonist of the Mexican band La Garfield, who is preparing to visit Peru.
Because, beyond football, it is music that summons us for this interview. The group from Guadalajara, with its proposal fusion of tropical, soul and funk sounds, has managed to win a good number of followers in his country and throughout the region. And that’s what we’re talking about: the new album they’re preparing, the 10th anniversary of their first album, the recent change of vocalist, their frustrated visit to the eventful Peru Central Festival, and more.
–They arrive at a time when they are preparing their new album. What can we expect from this one? Continuity in the sound or a new direction?
Yes, the first single is going to be released this Friday. It has a lot of continuity with respect to the last album, which was “Todo lo rico” (2018), because it was produced by Cheo Pardo, ex-guitarist of Los Amigos Invisibles. It’s the same Funky, disco, pop idea, although it does bring an important change, because we’re going to add a more nailed jazz. It’s an interesting side with that more jazzy touch.
–In 2023 they also celebrate the 10th anniversary of their first album, “Sin miedo”. How did you imagine the band back then? Have many things changed?
These 10 years have been a total overcoming. Because when we started the band and did “Sin miedo” we were just some friends from high school who got together to play. At no time did the band consider a projection regarding achieving something, making so many albums, touring throughout Mexico, Latin America or Europe. It was just about making music and having music guide everything. But since that record there have been very important gigs, we’ve been to big festivals, we’ve done big tours. So expectations were more than exceeded. In fact, there was not even an expectation. Of course, there have been changes in the process, improvements, professionalization of the music. And it has been very nice, enjoyable and very rewarding.
–Do you feel some kind of musical affinity with other Mexican bands? How do you feel located in the music scene in your country?
We really feel a bit out of the ordinary in relation to what is being done in Mexico. We identify more with Latin American bands like Bándalos Chinos or Los Amigos Invisibles, because of that tropical, pop, Funky, disco sound. At a local level, there may be affinities with artists like Caloncho, but in general I think we are a bit out of what is commonly experienced. Because we also have a bit of soul, a bit of R&B, a bit of jazz… so I don’t find that much to do with the usual Mexican proposal.
–Recently they changed the singer, who is now Valentina Marentes. How does that influence the musical proposal of the band?
As a grouping, we are the same elements. But Valentina is the third vocalist that I work with. We did the first album with María Centeno, the second and third with Sofía Stainer, and this fourth will be with Valentina. She is a very studied jazz person, she has been a chorister for Natalia Lafourcade, and she has her own projects of classic jazz. She adapts to our ideas, but with her proposals. So there is a really important change. You’re going to hear a lot of voice solos, for example, something we hadn’t done. But the essence will continue to sound like La Garfield. We are looking for someone ad hoc to our project, and I think we found him in Valentina, who has a very beautiful musicality.
–You were one of the bands that should have performed in July at the Peru Central Festival, in Huancayo. But it was all a fiasco. What happened?
I had contact with an associate of Janet’s [Amaya]. Within a week of the event, we had no scheduled flights. So I tell them that I needed them right away, because in addition to the musicians, I have to schedule the dates for the stage manager, the sound engineer, and the entire production team. At that moment, they began to give me longer and longer, until I had to release the statement that we were withdrawing from the festival. We were the first international band to withdraw. In the end they let us down the dates, they did not comply with the cancellation contract according to which they had to pay 50% of the ‘fee’, and the people a little bit who began to claim us. Then they realize that it wasn’t just us, but other bands as well. There was incredible disorganization, communications in bad taste on their part. It is true that if we had at least had the tickets, even without paying the ‘fee’ we would have looked for a way to play. But not that. We were super upset, they treated us really badly, but we preferred to get away from the subject, leave it for good.
–I imagine that this show in Lima has a taste of revenge. What can we expect from the concert?
Yes, after what happened in Central Peru, this concert tastes like revenge, with the pleasure of coming back with more enthusiasm. And we are happy that now they invite us properly. We are going to return after 2019, it is three years with new music, with the growth of the band. And it will also be a solo, complete show, not a festival. We are resuming a ‘setlist’ with the best of the first albums. It will be a super ‘upbeat’ show, it goes up all the time, with what characterizes La Garfield: 90 minutes of partying and lots of dancing.
The Garfield in Lima
The Mexican band will perform on Saturday, December 3, at 9 pm, at Yield Rock Bar (Jr. Carabaya 815, Cercado de Lima). Tickets: at Joinnus.com
I have worked as a journalist for over 10 years and have written for various news outlets. I currently work as an author at 24 News Recorder, mostly covering entertainment news. I have a keen interest in the industry and enjoy writing about the latest news and gossip. I am also a member of the National Association of Journalists.