INTERVIEW: Uruguay’s Motosierra chat about their new 7″, Director Fede Álvarez & their love of Turbonegro
Motosierra‘s a Uruguayan punk ‘n roll band that’s been around for nearly two decades. I chatted with Marcos Motosierra back in September to talk about their new 7″ released through Atlanta’s Spaghetty Town Records. Motosierra’s sound is fierce, balls to the wall, and not to be missed.
Chuck : Tell me a little about Motosierra.
Marcos : Motosierra’s been a band for 16 years. Shit actually it’s almost 17 years since we started in November of 1999. We’ve released 3 full lengths, splits and we’ve done some covers for tribute albums. We started playing out in early 2000 in Buenos Aires. We’ve played in Brazil 5 times, a couple of which were independent festivals, we also played the largest music festival in Uruguay in front of 120,000 spectators [laughs] and no one knew who the hell we were.
Shit, that’s pretty awesome.
Oh yeah, it was great for us and horrible for them. After a bit we took a hiatus. I moved to Brazil and was there for four years. Our original guitarist moved to Spain permanently and our bassist moved to Argentina so for a few years we really didn’t do anything. Our trajectory’s been really weird but we got together again at the end of 2010 when I returned to Uruguay and played a show minus our original guitarist who still lived in Spain but we got his brother to play guitar and that really started our second era if you will. We’re in great form now because we’re celebrating ten years since our last record.
How’s the scene in Uruguay?
Don’t Breathe was fantastic!
Álvarez is a fucking bad ass. I’m a huge fan of horror or at least that kind of horror. He always puts little Uruguayan easter eggs in his movies.
What are some the best cities for music in Uruguay?
There’s only one real city and that’s Montevideo. I mean there are other cities but really we’re a country of slightly over 3 million people. Demographics don’t really change and people aren’t fucking!
Well that’s why you’re around man!
[Laughs] Seriously though I know more about cities in Brazil than I do here because everything is in the capital. It’s just easier to play in other countries when you’re in a hardcore punk band because unless it’s reggae or touristy shit there’s not really a scene for that here outside of Montevideo.
[Laughing] Have you considered opening up a tourist club by the beach?
[Laughing] No no I don’t care to lose any more money than I already have. We focus on playing in Argentina, Brazil and I guess we’ll play a few of the rural towns in Uruguay. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
You guys are pretty well known in the punk scene in Buenos Aires right?
Yeah we’re established there. We’ve been playing there for the last 15 years so we’ve built up a great fan base there. It’s like a huge family in Buenos Aires every time we show up. Argentinians are really good people in that regard. Once you’re their friend they’re your friend till death man. They’re awesome.
I’ve always heard great things about the scene there.
Yeah and there’s a scene for everything. It’s changed a bit. I mean when we started playing there all those years ago punk kids and hardcore kids would come out to the show. Nowadays the same folks that came out before still come out but all of the sudden we’re really big with the stoner rock kids. Stoner rock is like a worldwide phenomenon that came out of nowhere. Since our bassist lives in Buenos Aires he’s helped tremendously keeping up with bands and the local scene.
I can see how Motosierra totally compliments stoner rock. I mean you guys aren’t a stoner rock band by any measure but I can see how’d it be a good mix for a show.
We’ve got some heavy metal influences but our foundation is definitely in hardcore punk. It’s just kind of funny sometimes because we’ll show up to play a stoner rock festival and like 5 bands that smoke 3 to 4 tons of weed and everybody’s just kinda staring at each other.
Yeah and then they play for and hour and a half! It’s like never-ending. We’ve got the same shit here in the states.
Yeah! Meanwhile, we’ll play for like 20-30 minutes.
How many Motosierra songs is that? Like 60?
No more like 83 [laughs].
Motosierra’s like a coked out super-fast Motorhead. Are they an inspiration?
Well they definitely provided speed and drive for us. Lemmy’s inspired us all.
I hear the Motorhead connection but you guys make it your own. It’s unique.
When we started there was literally no one doing anything even remotely close to what we do in Uruguay. There were a couple of bands before us like Chicos Electricos and Cross and those bands played throughout the ‘90s. Cross were heavily influenced by Black Sabbath and Chicos Electricos were influenced by a lot of ‘70s Amercian punk like the Dead Boys mixed with a bit of The Damned & Radio Birdman and those bands succeeded in getting a following here in Uruguay which is a very difficult thing to do because this is a very traditional country, sure people like rock ‘n roll but it’s always mixed with local cultural sounds. It makes it even harder when you’re playing rock and singing in English. Motosierra’s bassist and drummer came from those bands when they broke up and you can say that Motosierra arose from the ashes of those two bands.
So what were the early days of Motosierra like?
The band started with a very simple concept, let’s play everything faster and shittier. When we started no one took us seriously and would call us clowns. It didn’t help that I was constantly doing stupid shit. It cost us a lot in the beginning. Touring and putting out releases internationally is what got people back home to take us seriously. Our track in the Turbonegro Alpha Motherfuckers tribute record helped us out a lot. We really blew up in Brazil and Argentina because both those countries have way larger populations and they’re more welcoming to touring bands.
The new 7” single is out on Spaghetty Town Records based in Atlanta. How’d that come around?
I met Ted (owner of Spaghetty Town Records) via a mutual friend from Peru named Cathy. We all share a love of Turbonegro and Turbojugend throughout the world Cathy put me in touch with Ted based on totally just talking about Turbonegro; we weren’t ever trying to push our music on him we were just fans of the same things that was three years ago and we hit it off really well he’s a hell of a guy. I’d keep him up to date on what we were doing and eventually we started chatting about doing a vinyl release because making CDs made no sense to us in today’s environment. He seemed to want to get back to putting out music and lose money I guess (laughs) so we did this 7”.
[My apologies to the band, label and you dear reader as we had tons of technical difficulties on getting this interview out earlier. -Chuck L.]
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