With our series Northern Resonance we want to introduce you to some truly amazing music produced in Canada. This time we are presenting you to the electronic duo Pelada from Montréal. Pelada is the collaboration project between vocalist Chris Vargas and producer Tobias Rochman, who have resonated with audiences for their re-contextualized take on early Chicago house and Detroit techno, blending these sounds with more abstract modern club music and Vargas’ politically-charged, Spanish vocals.
The show this Thursday in our Club is free, so come by and bring your friends! If you want to get to know Pelada first, here’s a short Q&A done by our intern Xu Moru.
Hi Chris, hi Tobias, thanks for taking some time for us. Why “Pelada”? „Peeled” in Spanish?
Chris: The word pelada has many different definitions and meanings depending on where you’re from or where you learn Spanish. In relation to this project it means to be bare.
Since late April you have been on a big tour through Europe. You have been to Malmö, Amsterdam, Paris, Luzern, Prague and now Berlin. How did you enjoy the tour so far?
Tobias: We have enjoyed the month on the road so far. Intonal Festival in Malmö, Sweden was a great opportunity to play with many artists we like such as Equinoxx, Pan Daijing, Elysia Crampton and others. In Amsterdam, we had the chance to play a live b2b DJ set for Red Light Radio, as confused tourists snapped photos outside. Paris is always wonderful. Luzern and Prague were fire, and it was fun to return and present our new material and see old friends. Usually when we tour Europe it’s 31 gigs in 30 days, a real grind, however this time I feel like we got to explore the cities more and just chill and soak things in.
Chris, you sing in Spanish, but none of the tour stops have been in Spanish-speaking countries. How were the reactions of the audience? Do they somehow understand the ideas you were expressing through the lyrics?
Chris: I do meet people who speak Spanish almost everywhere we tour. For us it becomes a different dialogue because there’s more of a back and forth. Lyrics are just an aspect to the project. It’s an important one but I think many people react to the composition of the music with the performance. I don’t know how many get or don’t get my lyrics but it would appear that the expression of aggression or the high energy set, get some of the ideas across.
What do you miss most about Quebec when you are not there? And what least?
Chris: Chez Tina Gourmet. Best Colombian restaurant in Montreal.
Tobias: The weather in Montreal is only really agreeable for a short window each year. So we’d like to return to catch some of that.
What is the plan of Pelada after the big tour?
Tobias: We’ll return to Canada this Summer for 2 more festival dates (Suoni Per Il Popolo, Up Here Festival). We’ve recently completed recording our first full-length album. So we’re in the process of mixing it right now and making arrangements for it to be released. When it’s out we hope to visit Asia.