The Mexican electronic composer, Fernando Corona, the man behind Murcof, on the Latin American electronic music scene, how he came up with the idea to fuse Twentieth Century classical music with electronic music and why ‘Cosmos’ became such a dark and threatening album.
200%: The electronic music scenes in the UK and Germany are quite renowned. Could you give us an insight into what is going on in the Latin America electronic music scene? Is it vibrant, and do you believe that electronic musicians have a different approach to making music? More soulful?
Murcof: Mexico is unique; it has many layers. It’s a big, diverse and complex country in every sense, with many different cultures coexisting. As a consequence this makes the people who are raised there, like me, perceive life (and by consequence sound) in a particular way. Music is seen as a kind of luxury in Mexico; most people have enough on their hands worrying about the basic necessities. I was fortunate to have music in my life from an early age, so it was natural for me to get into it and make it mine.
If there is a scene in Mexico it is formed by very few members scattered across the country, with a greater concentration in the big cities like Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey and Tijuana. We basically all know each other. There is a lot of talent in Mexico, and a lot of raw material from where to gain inspiration – you can dig very deep in Mexico if you want.
200%: Could you name a few talented electronic artists / groups from Mexico?
M: Ariel Guzik, Manrico Montero, Antiguo Automata Mexicano, Israel Martinez, Fax, Manuel Rocha, Antonio Zepeda.
200%: What made you come up with the idea to fuse Twentieth Century classical music with electronic music?
M: Electronic and classical music have been with me most of my life. These two genres have been my main interest, especially Twentieth century classical. It was such a stimulating musical world to discover for me when I was in my early 20s such as the composers Prokofiev, Xenakis, Ligeti, Penderecki, Schnittke, etc. I realized there were no rules or boundaries as long as one can keep things interesting. There is an infinite world of sonic possibilities limited only by one’s imagination, and electronic music seems like the perfect counterpart as with these digital/analog tools one can create a very wide sonic palette with which to work, by synthesis and processing acoustic material.
M: I started making this album just before moving from Tijuana to Barcelona in 2005, and later finished it here, in Barcelona. I was pretty much devastated by the recent death of my mother when I started making it. Also, I was starting to get homesick for Mexico – so this record is a search for a wider perspective on life that would help me get through this transition more smoothly. This new life I was taking, together with my wife and son here in Barcelona, in Spain, in Europe, it’s very different from [my life in] Mexico. ‘Cosmos’ is also like a trip to the stars, to the source, to the subconscious, to look for the common things between people to make it easier to relate to my new neighbours here in Catalunya and in Europe in general.
Interview conducted by Thierry Somers. Murcof + Simon Geilfus will perform at Alpha-ville LIVE on the 6th of October in London.