When Astronauta Jackson, formerly of the Tijuana pop band Niña Camara, wanted to explore getting back to the New Wave sound that made the '80s feel so good, he called up Eric Curiel, a multitalented guitarist (not to mention multi-band-enlisted musician; he also plays in Electric Healing Sound and Shantelle) for some beat-production guidance. What the pair came up with was an infectiously nostalgic New Wave sound project, Dancing Strangers. The pair recently released its second EP, Power. Sex. Corruption, on the Tijuana net label Decaucho.com.
Dita Quinones: The chorus to “The Politcian” repeatedly says, "Power, sex, corruption." Are you talking about Tijuana or in general?
Astronauta Jackson: In 2011, we released our second EP containing the song "The Politician” -- a song that has become emblematic to our set -- with our fist raised, yelling, "Power! Sex! Corruption!" We express what most people think a politician is or can be, whether they're in Mexico, U.S.A., Spain or China. We are not saying something new or something that hasnt been said before; this is not a protest song -- its more like an anthem to us. It's like going to a soccer match and chanting loud to support your club.
DQ: Since you're a two-piece band, who does what to provide a whole band sound?
AJ: We started the band full of random ideas and old unfinished material I had from my previous band that obviously did not work out, because Niña Camara was a pop band and not post-punk. Eric and I had years talking about collaborating. On Day 1 of the recording, we knew we had something, and that's when Dancing Strangers started. We realized we had to do everything ourselves, from making the beat to recording noises and samplers. Eric does all the technical stuff. I just record some of the extras like the keyboards and vocals. But when we write songs, we just play random instruments to get the idea started and make it into something.
DQ: How would you describe the sonics of Dancing Strangers?
AJ: Most people say we sound like Joy Division. We've also heard a bit of the Jesus and Mary Chain. But to be honest, some of our influences are those, and we can see how they can relate them to us as our influence. I feel that every new EP has a different influence, like Fad Gadget, the Chameleons, Iggy Pop, Roxy Music and more bands beyond Joy Division and J.A.M.C., depending on what mood we're in -- our lyrics are based on that. We write songs from anywhere from a broken heart to a broken home to a dead friend to the politician. We are trying new things or things we have never tried before musicwise.
Music. Community. Culture.
DQ: I believe you live in Tijuana. How's the politics of Tijuana's music scene been treating you and what things would you like to see happen/change?
AJ: Just like trying new things musicwise, we are always looking for new audience ... and I feel being a band from the mythical city of Tijuana has helped us grow and get inspired. Whether the music scene is supporting or not, we always get great input from the audience because we are here in Tijuana.
DQ: What are you looking forward to when you perform at the All My Friends Music Festival?
AJ: We let ourselves get seduced by the music and just life! So, whether it's one or 1,000 watching us play, they always let loose and let go. Knowing this is what gets us excited about playing the AMF festival -- different audiences from different genres, different cultures, and not to mention a few surprises we will add to our live set.
Dancing Strangers will in Tijuana at the All My Friends Music Festival on Nov. 17.
Dita Quiñones is a multimedia journalist with a passion for Latin alternative and hip-hop music news. In addition to SoundDiego, she contributes to Latina, FOX News Latino, Poder and HipHopDx. She is also the founder of the infamous music and politrix blog GN$F! Follow Dita on Twitter.