Sometimes you hear something new and it really grabs you by the ears. Mexican outfit Descartes A Kant is definitely one of those. We were dying to find out more about the Mexican band, so we asked them a few questions about their music and what they have planned for their trip to Iceland!
Do you remember your first festival experience?
Our first big festival appearance was at Vive Latino in 2008. Vive Latino is one of the largest and most important festivals in Latin America and it’s held in Mexico City. We dressed thematically – the women as blood-covered brides and the guys as grooms – except for Memo, the bass player. He was dressed as a priest. I remember it perfectly. I was panicked! Ten minutes before going on stage, my palms became sweaty and I couldn’t say a word. We were a new band and had little experience handling huge crowds. Plus, Mexican crowds are very complicated and can be critical in unsuspecting ways. If they love you they are a warm and most expressive audience. But if they find you annoying, they can be aggressive and rude. There was a massive ovation the second we stepped on stage. That’s the moment my fears disappeared and we were able to have some fun. It happened so fast I couldn’t process it, but the crowd was incredible.
What do like most about festivals?
We love performing in front of new people, especially to those that probably otherwise they would have never discovered our music. I enjoy a powerful collective energy. I think the stage is a sacred space that amplifies who you are and the message you share with the world. Having the power to connect with so many people in the same moment and space is beyond alchemy.
Have you been to Reykjavik before? Do you have any local tips from friends?
Never, ever! The idea that your music can take you to so many places and to all these diverse gorgeous spots in this world is very romantic. I think the first tip was: “Save a lot of money! Everything’s expensive in Iceland!” The other one was: “Pack thermal clothing because you’ve never felt hardcore cold weather like that before”.
What’s your best fall back song if you need to get the crowd moving?
Crowds react differently to our music. So, you never know if they’re going to dance or just stand still acting perplexed, smiling endlessly. But, Hello Tarantino is the crowd-pleasing song where everyone ends up dancing like crazy, Also the same with, Buy All My Dreams.
Have you seen the Northern Lights before?
No, never! We are quite thrilled to experience that phenomenon!
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Our show is very theatrical and very physical. The routine one hour before stage time involves preparing the props, getting into costume, doing makeup and hair as well as intensive body and vocal warm ups.
Where’s been your favorite place to tour and why?
Every place has it’s own magic. But the most remarkable and unexpected reaction came from the crowd at the White Nights Festival in Perm, Russia. We never saw people so intensely engaged with our show before. This may sound like an exaggeration but it felt like we were like the Beatles to them. We were a completely unknown band and it was the first time our music was presented to them. They showed us so much love and respect. Some of the fans made gifts for us, which was really special. It was a crazy experience, and it is living proof that music and art transcend any and all barriers. We will never forget that experience and those fans will live in our hearts forever!
Do you know any Icelandic phrases?
Sadly, we don’t and we must learn! Fortunately, we have a couple of months to learn the basics.
Who’s your favorite Icelandic musical act and why?
There is still so much to explore about Icelandic culture and its musical history. I would definitely say, Björk as a favorite. She is such a genius and has always been a relevant female figure in music and she inspires me endlessly. Her body of work is the definition of authenticity. She has her own vocabulary and her live show is impeccable. Hats off to Björk!
Who are you most looking forward to seeing at Iceland Airwaves?
Fever Ray, The Voidz, Injury Reserve, Ólafur Arnalds, Mavi Phoenix, Snail Mail, Blood Orange, Jade Bird, Tierra Whack, Soccer Mommy.
See Descartes A Kant at Iceland Airwaves, get your ticket here.