Today I it is my pleasure to have an interview with the Mexican Melodic Death/Folk Metal Band Aztlan from Mexico City. First of all would you please be so kind and introduce your band to our readers?|
“We are Aztlan, we mix Mexican folk music with the powerful sound of metal.”
What’s in a Name
Can you please give us a little bit more insight into your bands name Aztlan? What is the meaning of the name, what does it stands for? Why did you chose this particular name with its meanings for your band? How was the foundation process?
“Aztlan is the mythical city where the Aztecs came from. They emigrated to the south to found “Tenochtitlan” which today is known as Mexico City. Aztlan has several meanings, among which is “The place of whiteness” or “Place of purity” also known as “Place of the herons”. The process was quite long, the first composition we made with this style was in 2006 when we wrote the song that today is known as “Mexico Inmortal”, but we could not continue with this style due to musical differences with the other members, and we decided play another style with another name to the band. Over time we wrote several songs in this Mexican Folk style, but nothing formal until then, the opportunity was given until 2018, it was when we finished playing with our previous bands, and we saw the opportunity to do something serious and formal under this mix, from there we started under the name of Aztlan.
We chose this name because we feel it encompasses everything we play, the name caught us from the start.”
Mexican Folk Metal
Once I heard your first album ‘Mexico Immortal’ the first time your music immediately got me. However any attempts to put you into any genre I know was failing, as your style is very unique. How would you describe your music by yourself? And what would be your biggest influences when writing new songs?
“The definition we have given is “Mexican Folk Metal” with elements of Progressive, Death Metal, Heavy Metal, Thrash and Black Metal.
Our influences are various, on the Metal side such as Cenotaph, Luzbel, Shubb Niggurath, we are also very influenced by the Mexican rock bands such as Santana, Ritchie Valens, he published the famous song called “La Bamba” which is a traditional song of the genre “Son Jarocho”, he put the seed to start mixing Mexican folk with Rock and Roll, Peace and Love, Fachada de Piedra, Dug Dugs, the latter made a mix of rock with Mariachi, they only published a song called “Stupid People”, it can be said that they are the first to mix rock with Mariachi, a completely homogeneous mixture, also mexican bands like “El Gran Silencio” they mixing cumbia with rock, La Maldita Vecindad they also mix the Latin style like the “Danzin” musical genre from Cuba with Rock, We also have influences from “Control Machete” Mexican rap group that mixed elements of Mexican music, and above all inspired us for to make lyrics. The influences of Mexican and Latin folklore that we have are bands like Los Cojolites, Los Vega, Tlen Huicani they play the genre “Son Jarocho”,
Los Folcloristas, Chilean bands like Los Jaivas, Inti Illimani, Victor Jara; Los Kjarkas from Bolivia, the Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, and many more.
In 2021 you released your second album “Legion Mexica”. Congrats for the same! How was it taken so far by your fan base? How was the general feedback?
“The response of the people has been wonderful, apparently they have liked this new album, they have let us know with good comments on our pages, all this has given us the energy to continue on this difficult path of Metal, and we will continue working for all the people who have supported us.”
In the Metal genre it is quite common that bands are using different methods to underline their music in using Corpse Paint (Black Metal), Celtic/Nordic War paint (Folk Metal) and in your case Aztlan decided to use Mexican Corpse Masks including mainly Ponchos, Sombreros or Mexican/Aztec clothing. How this idea was born?
“The idea was to capture the traditional “Day of the Dead” with skull masks, the bullets represent the Mexican revolution, an armed movement that took place in 1910, all this as I told you with the concept of “Day of the Dead”, which is our maximum inspiration for our clothes and image.”
Since your foundation you already did 7 Music Videos, which I really think is a very big amount for two releases. Had it been planned from the beginning to produce them or could that be considered as an extra for the fans during the worldwide pandemic?
“At the beginning, the idea of Aztlan was to release only singles accompanied by video clips, we were not sure about the idea of publishing an album, but thanks to the Mexican label Metal Inside Records, it was when we decided to publish a complete album, we are fans of the videos, and we always wanted to record one for each song. They have also told us that our albums last a long time, we do all this because we only have one life, and tomorrow we do not know if we will still be alive, life ends in the blink of an eye, and already dead, obviously we could not make more music. We do all this not for commercial purposes but for the true love of art and promoting Mexican culture throughout the world, that’s why we always try to give everything we can, and we don’t care if there are a lot of videos or songs for an album, we want to take advantage of the time we are alive to make all the music we can.”
I do not really know the situation in Mexico in respect of the restrictions of the ongoing worldwide pandemic, but was it possible for you to already perform some gigs? As we all know with or without the pandemic the main income for the bands are live gigs and selling of Merchandise, which is often very strongly connected especially if you are a young band. How far is this a topic in your band?
“Living from music in Mexico is very difficult and more so in the Metal genre, almost impossible. There are no media, there are almost no pages, magazines, etc, many of the organizers in Mexico do not respect your work, and they only want to pay you with a few beers, and that for us is an insult, since we formed this band we decided make our way in Mexico on our own, that is, we organize our own events, own our business, since sadly the few “professional” organizers that exist in Mexico only do events for their friends, that is, there is always a Mafia, in international events they invite Mexican bands to open the concerts but only if you are part of that mafia, regardless of music and quality.
Can you please give us a little insight into the Folk Metal scene in Mexico in general?
“It is very difficult to find Mexican folk Metal or with Aztec sounds, most do Viking metal, which is the closest thing to folk here in Mexico, most that have mixed Mexican folk are rock bands, not metal, and it can be noticed In our influences, most of the bands we said are Rock.”
What music you are listing privately to? Are there also some bands, which influence you, when writing music for Aztlan?
“The ones we mentioned earlier are the ones that motivate us to make music, ironically to mix Mexican folk with metal, we had to get away from listening to metal bands a lot, we got into the world of Mexican and Latin folk.”
Any last shout outs to the Folk-Metal.nl community in general?
“Thank you very much to you and the Folk-Metal.nl community for the support and space on your page to promote our music, we send a big greeting from Mexico to all of you.”
Muchas Gracias for the interview!