Lara’s massive vinyl collection (estimated at around 45,000 albums) and his insider knowledge of the music industry gave him an advantage, but it was his schizophrenic mixing of cumbia, mariachi, Norteno, rock, pop, mambo, hip-hop, electronic and anything else he could get his hands on that really made people take notice of what he was doing.
Camilo Lara: Good. I took a little break in December, and now I’m finishing my new record. Getting ready to do these dates. Things are very good.
CL: I’m still working on it. It should be out by summer or so. But that song really has the vibe of the new record. There is a lot of trumpet, more mariachi, and it’s a little more punk rock.
CL: When I go out alone, it’s usually a DJ set. And it’s always cumbia-driven. The live show is still cumbia-driven, but it’s a live band with a drummer and a bass player, so it’s much more punk rock and has a whole different vibe. I like going out and playing with the band.
CL: It’s been almost a year since I left EMI. And I’m very happy. They were bought by Universal, so I don’t know what would have happened anyway. But I started there when I was so young, and one way or another, I ended up running the company. It was great, and I spent 14 years there, but it was time.
CL: Yeah, yeah, of course. [Laughs] It’s funny: The same day I bought three records, and I bought them at the supermarket. I bought the Billy Squier record with the big single, Quiet Riot Cum on Feel the Noize, and the third one was the soundtrack for a child’s program. The first CDs I ever bought were the Smiths Strangeways, Here We Come and Prefab Sprout's Steve McQueen.
CL: That was a great cover.
CL: I haven’t done it for a couple of years. It became, like, a big thing. I was doing about 100 for friends and people I like. But then it became like an industry. I think three years ago I was doing probably 1,000. Wow. That was too much. But eventually, I’ll probably do it again. A couple of times, I’ve been in other cities, and I’ll run into people and go to their houses, and they have my compilation CD. It’s funny. I don’t even know these guys and they have a copy of it.
CL: When I started doing it, I bought an old computer from a friend in a band called Plastilina Mosh. They did a record on that old computer, so I just bought it to check out Pro Tools and to see if I’d be interested. Then I started doing remixes. And I never thought about doing a record. Then when the record came out, it was stuff that I had already been doing for some time. But I wasn’t being asked to do live shows, so I put together a band and started playing. I did some laptop shows, but they were pretty boring and not the ideal. I guess I kept the process open. I like Kraftwerk’s first album and I like Never Mind the Bollocks and the Stone Roses, so I put it together, and every time I did it, it ended up sounding Mexican. So I had to face that I had all of these Mexican sounds and decided to make it more proper and formal.
CL: I’ve been doing a lot of music. I’m working with some bands here to help and produce. With my own thing, I’m doing a lot of projects. My novel is ready to be published, but I’m waiting to have a final edit.
CL: It’s was fun. [Laughs] He’s a genius. In the beginning, he was a repair guy, so he knows everything about how to fix things with nothing. It was super fun to get together and do some art. We got invited to do a piece, and we did a massive thing with boomboxes, and we wired everything together so it would make actual sound. And we went into the studio and did an album that hasn’t been released yet, but eventually it will be. We got together with a bunch of musicians from Mexico -- Julieta Venegas, the guys from Café Tacuba -- and basically did a psychedelic record. It’s crazy.
CL: No, this time I was actually being serious. But I really hate when artists get political. I just want to speak about what I think, but I’m trying to be less hard-core.