Making Movies recently kicked off their 22-date Immigrants Are Beautiful Tour in their home state of Missouri with gigs in St. Louis, Columbia and their home town Kansas City. The tour then move through the Chicago, Il; Ann Arbor, MI; then moving to the states of Minnesota, Iowa and making its way to the south through Texas and Louisiana and then west though New Mexico, Arizona and finally moving on to California where they will play the The Parish at HOB in Anaheim on November 15th and Los Angeles at The Mint on November 17th.
Making Movies is an American rock and roll band that captivates audiences with their interweaving of Afro-Latino rhythms and psychedelic rock 'n' roll. The band was formed in Kansas City in 2009 by singer/guitarist Enrique Chi and his brother, bassist Diego Chi, joined by percussionist Juan-Carlos Chaurand and his brother, drummer Andres Chaurand. Making Movies' culture gives way to beautiful dynamic shifts: at times front-man Enrique Chi trades his electric guitar for a folkloric Panamanian mejorana, and the Chaurand brothers hop off drums and percussion to instead supply the rhythmic pulse with dueling zapateados, a traditional dance from Veracruz, Mexico.
Earlier this year, the band released their album titled I Am Another You and the band has also announced the release of a new EP, You Are Another Me, which features collaborations with David Hidalgo (Los Lobos) and Philthy Dronez (SuenaTron) due out Dec 1st. You Are Another Me is an evolving album: not only will it live as the 4th side of the double vinyl release of the band's critically acclaimed 2nd LP I Am Another You (vinyl also out Dec 1), but will also include additional recordings and collaborators, to be uploaded monthly, for a year after its release.
To find out more about the tour and their latest and upcoming releases, we had the opportunity to speak to singer/guitarist Enrique Chi over the telephone and here is a summary of our conversation:
AlterLatino Music (ALM) - Listening to I Am Another You, I found myself putting on my headphones and just spacing out and getting lost in the music and thinking of the first time I listened to Pink Floyd or Quadrophenia from The Who, it is such a musically rich album; but with a Latin twist, which makes it that much richer and eclectic both sonically and musically, was this something you had intended to do, or did it just happen?
Enrique Chi – That’s how I grew up listening to music, Pink Floyd specifically, my dad grew up in Panama and he loved rock; he was the one kid who couldn’t dance and didn’t want to and he loved collecting records; so as a kid, that was my education of music and bands like Pink Floyd, The Beatles and progressive stuff like that and I would also put on my headphone and just spaced out and maybe that’s why I make music like that.
ALM – Listening to the album, there are songs like: “Locura Colectiva” and “Ciudad de Oropel” which make me think of what’s going in the United States with Trump, were the lyrics inspired by what’s going on politically and socially in the U.S. now?
Enrique Chi – The inspiration for the album came long before Trump, I remember talking to my brother about what we were going to write about, on La Deriva [previous album] we had kind of talked about immigrant neighborhoods, so thae new [album] had to progress past that and I had this idea that I wanted to put the feeling that we have, because we are “Panameños” and Americans, we are mid-western Americans, but we are also traveling musicians and that’s like a whole other universe, so we get to touch and be touched by the lives of so many different people. We grew to love people in Los Angeles, CA, San Antonio, TX, or Chicago, IL, we love people in Panama and we love the people in our city and there’s something kind of magical about having that experience and I am thankful for not having been stuck in some small town my whole life and when you meet all these different people, their lives may be so much different than yours, but there are some intrinsic, universal human desires, qualities and emotions and it may sound like hippy shit, but their smile is the same, no matter the language, city or culture and we tried to put the feeling on the album where on the outside each song may be very different, but in the core, the spirit of each song in the album are all very similar and that’s how we see life, because we all may be different on the outside, but within each of us we have a lot more in common with each other.
ALM - For this new album, you once again worked with Steve Berlin from Los Lobos as your producer, how has the relationship evolved?
Enrique Chi – Working with Steve, there is no way to emphasize how much it has shaped our perspective of how to make music; when you first start making music, it is very hard to listen to yourself and to know what you are chasing or what is good out of what you are doing and it turns out that is mostly not playing the right notes; your instinct as musicians is, did I play the right notes?, but there’s something else, did I capture the spirit or that essence or that energy?, and Steve taught us, not directly, but by watching him work, he taught us how to listen for that spirit and he was on board on this crazy album from the beginning, he fought with us all for all our crazy ideas and he really pushed us all the way to the finish line so I can’t say enough about how grateful we are to have the opportunity to work with him again and we love that man, he is a genius.
ALM – For the Immigrants Are Beautiful Tour you are working with the DACA recipients and are allowing them free entrance to your shows, how did that come about?
Enrique Chi – I don’t remember the first moment we thought about it, but we have been on this trip for a while, I’ve been raising the “we are all immigrants flag” and raising awareness about DACA and when we started doing our music camps about 6 years ago, that’s when it really impacted me. I am an immigrant, but luckily I don’t have those same struggles. I had nothing to do with my decisions, it was my dad and my dad was lucky enough to have American citizenship and he was patient and had access to enough resources to start the paperwork at the right time, he knew the right people to ask the right questions to, he already spoke the language, he had so many advantages and he worked hard so that I don’t have that struggle, but not until I became an adult did I realize that had even happened and none of that was my doing, none of it was my decision and those were things completely out of my control and when I realized that there’s other kids, young people, with the same aspirations, dreams, talent and by decisions not of themselves they are in an entirely different world and an entirely different set of challenges, so we felt we had to do something, so the first thing we did was to go the immigrant neighborhoods and said "let's start a music camp", I know how to teach music, let’s ask our buddies who are great at music to help us, we can do that, it doesn’t require money, infrastructure, nothing that we don’t have, it just requires asking the favor for a space, we can borrow the space for a week to do the music camp and that evolved, so when Donald Trump came into power and all this anti-immigration rhetoric and the complete asinine things he says in a public platform about any people of color, we felt we needed to have a direct rebellion against it and at least in a psychological level, we need to put out this idea that humans are beautiful, regardless if you are an immigrants or your parents or grandparents are immigrants, or whether you are documented or not, you are a beautiful human being and we need to get back to that way of thinking and that’s where the idea came from. Once we started to invite DACA recipients to our shows, it was kind of an experiment, we didn’t know how it was going to work, but it has happened 2 or 3 times in the last few shows that we played where people who signed up to be our guest got teary eyed just because they were offered this gesture, I mean, we are not that expensive of a concert ticket and we are not sacrificing much to do this, it’s more a gesture or a statement, we are just saying you are our guest, we stand with you, but the response has been so powerful. I had this girl tell me “I feel like every aspect of my life has extra challenges and for one day, everybody else had the extra challenges, I was on the list, I could just walk in, everybody else had to pay, buy a ticket on line or do this and do that and it means to much to me that you guys are out there trying to bring positivity to this.” So it has been a great experience and it’s the least we can do in this time of fear for so many immigrants who are afraid they or their parents are going to be deported.
DACA recipients only need to sign up for their free tickets on the band's website: makingmoviesband.com/daca.
ALM – In December you have an EP titled You Are Another Me coming out, tell us about it.
Enrique Chi – We have a collaboration with this guy from L.A. Philthy Dronez, who is from a kind of norteño band called SuenaTron who is really talented and we are doing a version of “Clandestino” from Manu Chao and we are grabbing these songs from different genres and different bands that already have these stories and we want to do collaborations and maybe write some new material, but the idea is that the album is coming out and this is just the first part of it and we are going to keep adding to it every month, so all year long we will have this music coming with songs that have the same spirit and theme. I Am Another You was not intentional, it was just to show how it feels to have friends and to care about people from different parts of the world, and all of a sudden the political path shifted and You Are Another Me is very much intentional, intentionally saying “Yo, we have to change first, change our hearts and let’s get out and raise our voices.”
To catch Making Movies on tour, check out the dates below:
Nov 6 | Austin, TX | Mohawk
Nov 9 | Dallas, TX | Three Links
Nov 10 | El Paso, TX | Lowbrow Palace
Nov 11 | Santa Fe, NM | Rufina Taproom
Nov 12 | Albuquerque, NM | The Cooperage
Nov 14 | Phoenix, AZ | Valley Bar
Nov 15 | Anaheim, CA | The Parish @ HOB
Nov 16 | San Diego, CA | Winstons
Nov 17 | Los Angeles, CA | The Mint
Nov 18 | Mill Valley, CA | Sweetwater Music Hall
Nov 19 | Watsonville, CA | The Appleton Grill w/ Los Angeles Azules
Making Movies music is available on I-tunes, Spotify and Amazon.
Band biography and album information courtesy of The Music Joint.