What is your name?
It depends… as an artist I´m Red Jesus, I was baptized as Fernando and my family calls me Nan. Sometimes I get a little confused.
What is your genre of music?
That´s always a topic. Most of the time, unless you do something very easily identifiable, it can be very hard and inaccurate to define yourself music wise. I started mixing rock, folk and psychedelia in a very soft way, but the I started to find my own sound closer to what I now call “alternative urban pop”. What I would really love to know is how you and the audience will define in a future the path I started with “Ravotriping”, and that I know continue with my new single, “Siempre sale el Sol”.
Give us a little bio about you.
I was born in Mexico City and my family moved to Chile when I was 6, where I spent most of my life there until I moved to L.A in 2013 and continued my career in Mexico City again, where I’m based right now. Started playing drums at 10, realized that I could also write songs at 17 but didn´t know that I could also sing until I released my first album in 2013, the same year people started calling me “yisus” for my long hair and beard until I decided to rebaptized myself as… red jesus. Before that, I had a pretty normal life dividing my time between advertising jobs, drumming at blues clubs, writing books and being a fairly standard son, friend, boyfriend and citizen.
What made you go in to music?
It is funny how life works cause my first approach was so random. I was buying my Christmas present when I was 10 years old -and had just heard about Santa being scam-, and I was about to buy a skateboard, but then this toy drum set caught my eye just because it was something bigger for the same price, and it was the only instrument that my 13 year old brother didn’t know how to play, so I said to my self “this is my thing”. I spent my whole youth playing and learning drums because they made me feel unique and self-confident, but always thinking I could do it at the same time with an University career, a steady job and a quiet & nice life. But then it was not about confidence anymore… it was about music itself, about making a life out of creating and generating changes in people. This feeling just kept growing stronger until I realized I needed to do an “all-in” if I wanted to something that would really reach peoples hearts. So, at 33 (curiously the age the real Jesus died), I left my job, my apartment and my quiet and well-off life in Chile to record my first solo album: “Coming Soon”. After tasting that, there was no turning back.
Are you a signed?
Yay! Yes, I just signed a week ago with the Mexican independent label Casete. This is my first record deal so I am very excited about it. I´ve been doing everything by my self (and the incredible people that have been supporting me along this path) for almost 5 years and I really need a partner to take this to the next level. The timing couldn’t have been any better.
You released your new single “Siempre Sale El Sol” tell us more about it.
When Casete asked me to define the song I said it had the overwhelming force of a post-depression morning, the grandiosity of a winged greyhounds race and the simplicity of a vanilla ice-cream. But the truth is that is a very straight forward and honest pop song that talks about how we can screw-up a thousand times and there will always be another chance. It talks about being humans. About hope. It was produced in L.A. by my great friend Juan Covarrubias, who is an analog synth wizard, and recorded and mixed by my brother Jorge Costa. This is probably the closest I have been to pop in all my career, and it feels nice.
What was the writing process like?
For that specific song it was fast and epic. Woke up in the morning, and while I was making myself a decaf, I got to overwhelming news that blew my head off. They where not bad news… they where just to much to put up with in such a short notice. I sat in front of the keyboard in a weird emotional trance state and didn´t stand up again until the last word was written 14 hours later. Next morning I called Juan and said: “I have the next single, now we just have to make it pretty”.
What was the recording process like?
Awesome as always. First L.A., producing and recording all the keyboards with Juan. Then my brother Jorge jumped on the field and I recorded the drums myself at an amazing studio outside Mexico City called Soga. After that my friend Ruben Limas played that beautiful baseline in a very relaxed session at my brother´s home studio and finally the vocals in the same place. All very quick, relaxed and enjoyable. The final touch where my nieces doing back vocals for the last chorus.
What message are you trying to get out?
That I am human. That we all are. That we have fucked up a thousand times and we´ll do it again for sure. That we must keep going. It´s not a happy song, but it’s a song for being happy, for overcoming our on screw-ups.
Can we expect an EP or album this year and if so can we have a teaser?
You can expect an album at the end of the year, cause thats what we are cooking with Casete right now. We even have a name for it… but it is a surprise. I can´t shear anything yet cause the songs are in a demo state, but I´ll promise it want be long until you have another single on your email.
Do you have gigs coming up or a tour in planning?
I have an important one next week at the Festival Marvin CDMX 2018 which is a kind of a Mexican SXSW because there are different venues having live music around the city. Bands like The Drums and Gang of Four will be there. After that… I have to plan now because I was waiting to be signed to start working with a skilled booker. But I´m sure there will be a lot of gigs… not sure about a tour yet.
If so where are you thinking of heading?
Chile and U.S.A are definitely on my mind. Spain, England and the rest of Europe hopefully next year.
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any up coming artists?
I´m drumming about one in particular. Actually I´m finishing the letter I´ll send her to see if she wants to jump in, but I am aiming high. I will keep you posted.
Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? and who would they have to contact?
I will love to. I love collaborations when I feel I fit in with someone’s music or the other way around. They can write to Luchy firstname.lastname@example.org or to mi directly at email@example.com
What else do you have planned this year?
Finish the album, get into more festivals, to get better day by day.
Do you play any instruments?
I´ve been a drummer my whole life. I play percussion to, a little keyboard (enough for writing my songs) and the kazoo (lol)
Who are your influences?
The list would be so long… I´ll name Beck, for sure, Gustavo Cerati, Sting (in a strange way), Plastilina Mosh, Prince, The Black Keys, The National and I think LCD Soundsystem changed my life when I heard them the first time.
Which TV channel would you like one of your songs to be played on?
I don´t have a TV… but I guess VH1 still has a great music curation.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
Running, walking, watching. Being outside. Taking different ways to get to the same point just to see if something new happens. I think inspiration comes from meaningless little everyday adventures. Even brushing your teeth with a new toothpaste could be a matter of inspirations just because it tastes different.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
On a big stage with a big crowd. You can choose the place…
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I collaborate with some magazines, act for tv commercials (I´ve even been in a couple of movies) and do other activities to get a little cash flow to invest in my music project. I write, I travel, and I take care of 2 crazy cats.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
When I was a teenager I saw Sting live performing Seven Days with Vinnie Colaiuta on the drums. That was it… I wanted to be a pro musicians no matter what. I listened to that song a thousand times and I still do it from time to time.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
“Nobody is going to perform your songs better than you because nobody is going to feel them the way you do” (my brother Jorge trying to convince me of singing in my first album that I was planning to do collaborative because I had never sang in my life).
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
When songwriting, don´t try to sound like others do, just let it flow until you sound just like you do… it took me years to realize that.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
“Hay que darle nomás” (lol). It would be something like: “we can´t do anything but just go on”.
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
If we are talking about Mexico City I could give you a hundred musts… but you´ll have to start at Museo de Antropología, have a beer around the Roma-Condesa neighborhood (you can stop by and say hi to me) go to Frida Kahlo´s house, have some tacos in the street and visit El Zocalo. Walk around Parque de Chapultepec, visit the pyramids just outside the city. Have mezcal at El Bósforo.
Your coming off tour;
1/ Where do you go first?
2/ Who do you see first?
3What do you eat first?
Ceviche & beer.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
A Snicker and and a 235 cc Coca-Cola
My lyrics (I have a fragile mind)
To have fun on stage
To focus on my voice
My audience… I´m there for them