Tropic Fuzz: An Interview With Las Robertas

(photo: Zuleira Ch)

Las Robertas are a rock band from San Jose, Costa Rica.  They play hazy lo-fi pop tunes with a blend of wailing guitars, heart pounding drums, and echoing vocals.  This band consists of four ladies named Meche (Guitar/Vocals), Lola (Vocals/Pandereta), Monse (Bass/Vocals), and Ana María (Drums).  With a style that could easily be mistaken for coming from Southern California or Brooklyn, Las Robertas are proof that music is truly universal and you can never be too sure of what’s blasting from speakers in a tropical city and sparking inspiration inside aspiring young artists.

I recently caught wind of Las Robertas and quickly grabbed a copy of their stellar debut record Cry Out Loud.  There was little information available about this band, so I contacted them in an attempt to get the scoop on what’s going on with them down in Costa Rica.  They were happy to answer some questions for us and talked about their inspiration, finding themselves outsiders among local bands, and being excited about the future.

– Tell us a little bit about how you met each other, and started Las Robertas?

Monse and Meche met through MySpace a long time ago…they liked similar stuff (Isobel Campbell and 60’s New Wave among others), then early 2009 they met up with Lola and decided to start practicing and making songs.  Meche used to know Ana M. from school, they both go to the same one, it’s a design-arts specialized university.  So approximately 2 months after starting to play, Ana M. joined.  Since then, we all became great friends, we’re always hanging out together, also with our manager M. Hortensia.

– What has influenced your music and personal styles?

There are as many life experiences and musical bands that have inspired not just our music and “style” but the way we see life everyday.  We all have different likes, but we all meet at key points that lead to what we create, to mention some: Sonic Youth, Fugazi, The Velvet Underground, Black Tambourine, Joy Division, The Breeders…

– Is there a rock scene in Costa Rica?  Or are you sort of outsiders just doing your own thing?

There is certainly a rock scene in Costa Rica, there are TONS of local bands, most of them are prog rock, metal, hardcore or simply mainstream rock (they don’t really like us).  But, perhaps in this type of music we’re the only ones, but there are great bands that we play with and are friends like Detectives Salvajes, Paprika, Niño Koi, Zopilot and The Great Wilderness (Monse plays bass too).  Besides that, people don’t really support our music, probably only friends and family.  If you don’t play long 5 minute guitar solos, then your band is [considered] the worst. It’s kind of sad that in your own homeland people mistreat you.

– There are some popular female indie bands in the US making music in a similar style (Best Coast, Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls…).  Do you listen to these bands at all?

Yes we do, we think they’re awesome. We find it quite exciting to actually hear bands that share a similar musical interest, it feels like a great time to be playing music again; like not too long ago in the late 80’s/early 90’s bands would go out touring in a fucked up van with nothing more than their instruments, trying to make it to the other town, all of it for the sake of having fun and seeing people dance to their music, that’s how I see it coming.

– You offer your album Cry Out Loud for free (which is very generous, thanks!).  Many musicians are unwilling to do that.  What were your reasons for this?

Well we wanted to share it with the world!  It’s been a great place to get known.  But it’s going to be over in a few hours, sorry!!

– Las Robertas has recently gotten some attention from indie blogs in the US (specifically Gorilla vs Bear), and some blogs are pretty influential as taste makers.  Have you had an increase in people contacting you for shows, record deals, something random?

Yes it’s been quite crazy actually, we’ve received great offers from shows and deals, to places to crash too, it’s great.

– Do you have any plans to play shows outside of Costa Rica?

That’s probably our main goal and dream come true, of course!! We want to plan a U.S tour, but don’t know exactly when and where, then we’re going to Puerto Rico for sure!

– What is the significance of June 30th, 1965?

I don´t remember, 1965 seems to have been a lovely year, and june 30th was probably the date that we were creating our MySpace page.

From start to finish, Cry Out Loud is full of energy .  Are you all this energetic in person or does that just come out through the music?

Hmm…good question. We are definitely energetic sure, but it sometimes changes.  Lola is the most energetic of us, she never gets tired, we have some band practice recordings and you can listen to us “Lola! Lola! Stop!, Lola!”

– Can each of you recommend an album, film, and book that you absolutely love?

Mon: I’ve been listening to Sparklehorse’s Dark Night of the Soul a lot, great record.  Movie: Scarecrow. Book: Verano de Colores by Lara Ríos.

Meche: The Rosehips Room in your Heart, probably the most played album on my iTunes during the past month.  Movie: Peter Sellers The Party.  Book: Pantalones Largos by Lara Ríos.

Lola: Album: Kaponz et Spinoza. Book: Le Spéctacle de Prévert. Movie: Christiane F.

Ana María: Album: Hail to the Thief.  Book: Breakfast of Champions.  Movie: Nacho Libre

— Ian Lewis

—————

A big thanks to Las Robertas for taking that time out to speak with us.  Another thank you goes out to Gorilla vs Bear for the tip on this band.  Below are the videos for Las Robertas Street Feelings” and “Back to the End”, check them out.  You can get the album Cry Out Loud from http://lasrobertas.bandcamp.com.  Also, check out their Las Robertas blog, lots of cool stuff on there too.

Street Feelings

Back to the End


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2 responses to “Tropic Fuzz: An Interview With Las Robertas

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