January has been a bright new start for Mexican indie rockers Chikita Violenta. The band’s third album, Tre3s, makes for their first international release via Arts & Crafts on January 25. Besides a hearty handshake with us, the release could mean a prosperous future for the band.
“It’s a bit of uncharted territory. It’s not common for us, as a Mexican band, to be able to put out material in North America and other territories aside from our own,” says bassist and keyboardist Armando David Ortigosa.
Tre3s was released in Mexico over the summer through Arts & Crafts’ Mexican branch in order to get some national momentum going. Soon after, the noise came north and the album was given the final go-ahead. Just recently, there’s been confirmation for licensing in Japan.
This may all feel fast and fresh, but Chikita Violenta, who are based in Mexico City, aren’t strangers to Canada, especially Ontario. The band has been making frequent trips for over five years to work with A&C heavyweight producer Dave Newfield (Broken Social Scene, Los Campesinos!). That in itself was the band’s first international conquest.
“There was a time in Mexico City where it was really expensive to record an album independently in a studio or work with somebody that more or less was in tune with what you wanted to achieve,” says Ortigosa. “So we started sending emails out to producers who we felt might be good options and who we felt were more in tune with what we wanted to do.”
The band ended up establishing a relationship with Newfield. They went up to Toronto with the intention of recording a short EP, but ended up making more than one trip to create what became the second album, The Stars and Suns Sessions. A few years later, they came back again to Newfield in two or three trips for Tre3s.
Chikita Violenta has already been around for a decade, as Ortigosa and his bandmates Luis Arce, Andres Velasco and Esteban Suarez started out as just friends jamming in high school, wanting to sound like Pavement, Sonic Youth and Tortoise. But with this international release, it’s given the friends a new sense of enthusiasm.
“We feel like a band who started a few years ago, we don’t feel like a band that’s been around for some time,” says Ortigosa. “That’s a really great feeling, it’s very exciting. You feel like you’re discovering new things. We still have so many things coming up ahead and at the same time, we’re so excited and we wish we could quickly start working on the next album already.”
Ortigosa hopes that the band will be able to find an opening in this indie rock international market.
“It’s harder because the industry is so big in the US and Canada and there are so many bands—and so many good bands, it’s a bit weird to see a Mexican band trying to be on par, in the sense that they sing in English. For us, it’s the music we like and being able to share it with an international scene that we feel very close to. It’s the music we’ve listened to all our lives.”