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Interview with Aire Como Plomo
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Just buying the family sound system. I mean, it was the 90’s growing up and getting a CD player was the shit, but also exchanging cassette tapes and taking out the elder’s vinyls for a spin. There was a whole lot going on and everything took effort, be it money, time or dealing chops. You just become appreciative and obsessed. Going back to that moment, everything was on track to be a proper IT engineer, but art just stormed in and made its due.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Exercise. Getting the pump in just takes your mind off of things and when you come back to music you get to feel surprised.
How long has your band been around?
Since 2007. 15 years and going strong.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. Our city is a huge influence on the music we make, because we used to have to travel here from our hometown, to pretty much get anything of the goods, especially underground stuff, so it became a place to look up to and now that we’re an established band it’s a place to make a statement. You get the most uncanny stories about the extremes of life in our South American mayhem and that’s gold for craft. It’s a city that constantly tests your limits from the inviting to the hostile.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Starting out, we tried different Spanish/English combinations of the same phrase “aire como plomo”, which translates from a heavy Colombian jargon to “air like gunfire” or “breathing violence”. It’s a very deep reflection of facing something we can’t steer away from, that bad cliché of Colombia in the world’s view, a sort of “dangerous paradise”. Sadly, it’s very true, and it’s daily and it doesn’t go away. The name sparks a strong reaction, and we’ve found out it becomes something highly personal to any person thinking about the choice of words, so it’s also a unique story in the eye of the beholder.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Colombia has Rock al Parque, a free festival that’s an insane open air for tens of thousands of people. and we’ve always dealt with the turmoil of not being the straight-forward sounds like metal, looks like metal band, and we had to go on stage after a sounds like metal, looks like metal band, so we ended up in front of the most hostile crowd just giving us a hard time. It was near to 20,000 people and fucking intimidating, but we came out like maniacs, and by half of the show we had multiple pits going on and got to do this really sick wall of death with a huge-ass crowd. The whole show was recorded and broadcast on national TV. Everyone was talking about it and afterwards it was back to the dive bars. The contrast. It was a highlight because time passes by with you thinking some moments are only reserved for the big guns, but being resolute and having a strong drive pays off.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
We get the most out of the mid-sized location. The band has a reckless stage, and that doesn’t sit too well if the gig is too massive and overly protected. Still, we try to be pros everytime, even though our upbringing was in a very punk, hardcore and DIY environment: we’re used to setting up fast, being really close to the crowd and hanging out afterwards. After touring the US, it’s become a priority to reach out as far as possible, so the world’s a stage, but right now we need to go back to Mexico and continue with a tour that got canceled in the middle of the Covid strike.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Tough question, so we’ll play the never got to see card: Pantera with the Abbots, Type O Negative and Death.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
To treat the band as something with an agenda indifferent to ego. A professional approach to exposure and logistics can guarantee that you stay passionate, focused on the creative and having fun without picking a fight with the world, because the first thing that’s going to happen is not being able to control the outcome.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Refer to the answer above. I mean, we used to have such a hard time when reacting explosively to the inevitable, that it took a lot of time to find that balance of dealing with the ugly to enjoy the beauty.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
“Perro sin palabras” of our debut EP. It’s this one furious short burst of a track that’s about Julian Prieto, a friend and peer that was killed in a senseless fucked up episode of urban violence. The song reminds us of the quarrel of being Colombians, while also paying tribute to a soul that was too young, driven and full of life. That’s “aire como plomo” right there.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Right now “Erase the One”, our new single and music video, has been a solid request with the rest of the new batch of music and it feels spot on. We had been off the stage because of the pandemic, so the best sensation is to have people, and ourselves, looking forward to the future and not thinking about better times that are long gone.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
The songs usually come out of very precise demos that Miguel, our guitarist, writes. We have as stable a band as possible, but we’re all adults dealing with our own midlife responsibilities, so time is of essence and it helps to arrange something that arrives in a concise package. The inspiration usually comes from the interaction between each band member’s skills, personality and musical taste, and how that mixes with the concept of that “aire como plomo” we’ve been talking about.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We’re very outspoken about the status quo and appreciate art as a medium to control the bias. In a broad sense, a theme of survival and revolution has a commonplace since the core of the band’s personality comes from a place of negativity. We can address different topics, but the idea that one can face adversity and thrive is something that’s also 110% true to being Colombian.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Inevitable, but in a more occupational way. Dealing with the inner workings of the band being sustainable. We usually get past by just connecting with the core of it all: rehearsing, playing, producing and releasing material. Over the years, we’ve been in and out of a fair share of friends, talented musicians and human beings, so we’re careful to have the people approach the band with guarantees, like they’re joining a cool business.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We’ve got a couple of shows to close the year and after that it’s straight to the studio, because the plan is to go back to Mexico with a new record to make up for a tour that got cut short because of Covid, so be on the lookout for A.C.P.
Miguel Jiménez, guitarist for AIRE COMO PLOMO