Interview by Andrés Alvarado
Music is the most uniting universal language, historically speaking. It revolves around rhythm and pace, croons and growls, instrumentation and scatting, and, ultimately, what each passing song makes its listeners feel. It is simply one of the finest tools of humanity. As a melodic unit out of the beautiful country of Uruguay, ensemble No Te Va Gustar has over 25 years in the art of producing sounds and anthems. Though their lyricism rests on the complexity of the Spanish dialect, their sound has transcended borders and gained momentum in not only our Southern neighbors from Mexico to Argentina, to Spain and all of Europe, but also our territories here in the United States. In celebration of their quarter century of existing as a band, No Te Va Gustar has released a live record and special named “Otras Canciones.” With several famous friends partaking and plenty of buzz surrounding the new offering, trumpeter Martín Gil took time off his busy schedule to chat with LoudSound Magazine. Enjoy.
Martín, thank you for your time. Congratulations on 25 years of utmost musical greatness. How has the band taken in the celebration and the milestone, and just the simple day to day changes that come with reaching new heights?
Thank you for the kind words. Our lives have been hectic lately. From our new special and record with plenty of big-name friends within the musical sphere of Latin America, to simply taking in the accomplishment has been surreal. It has been organic, nonstop, and tiring, but it is a blessing to practice what you love on a daily basis and make a living. It sounds a tad cliche to say, but it is true. I would not change it for anything in the world.
Speaking of big-name friends, the new special has characters like Julieta Venegas, Flor de Toloache, Hugo Fattoruso, Catalina Garcia, and the great Draco Rosa. That is simply an insane group of features. What was it like to work with such a group of artists that all wanted to help NTVG celebrate?
Ufff, that was a little intimidating. There is just so much respect to each and every one of those talented artists. They each bring such crazy energy in their own ways, and elevate our tunes to newer and greater heights. It was truly humbling and just such a highlight of our careers in No Te Va Gustar.
What was Draco Rosa like? Were you starstruck?
Draco is just a genius of his craft. Swift and spontaneous. Little known story, Rosa partook in the rendition of our song “Poco,” and just minutes before the special he tweaked it a bit — which can be scary in a live setting — but it was magical to see this man work. It made us, as a band, sound better, sound more experimental. It was organic, and we felt euphoria, nervousness and admiration all at the same time.
So, Otras Canciones, give us the spiel on why and how it came about?
“Otras Canciones” was in the making for quite a bit. Nonetheless, it was during the realization that we were No Te Va Gustar for 25 years that it became evident it was the right time to work on the project. We wanted to thank our loyal fans with a new take on our more popular songs, in an unplugged sort of way. As the project kept gaining momentum, more and more artists wanted in on the taping. It snowballed. But, it was a great and beautiful experience.
Now, touring comes in. Ready?
Of course, reuniting with fans is always amazing.
Speaking of touring, what is the biggest takeaway for the guys in No Te Va Gustar about traveling?
Easy. Soaking in the different cultures and perspectives. Just developing our ears to listen to new influences on a global setting. It gives us new ways to explore music and create fusions.
Favorite destination so far?
That is a difficult question. Probably Cuba. It just felt like visiting a different time. A time that our grandfathers came up in. Simply eye-opening the see the differences to our country. Plus, the Cuban people are quite friendly and curious. We felt blessed to visit their gorgeous country.
Craziest fan story?
Well, my take on fans is a bit different when it comes to the word “crazy.” For me, the wildest fan story is an ongoing one. It is to see generations within families come see us. When we started this whole music thing, it was our contemporaries that came to our shows. Now, it is the same folks, but with their wives or kids, maybe even their parents. It is a great feeling to see and feel that our music can attract more than just our age demographic. To see our base grow in that sense is as amazing as it gets.
Favorite track to play on a live setting?
Like every musician I should say that all of them, right? Ha! Not for me. I have a favorite one; it is “No Era Cierto.” For the most part, it is the closing song at our shows. It is when I smile widest, when I play with the most joy. We love to play it, and we love to listen to our fans sing it back at us.
After 25 years, what motivates No Te Va Gustar now?
Uruguay does. We are from a small, but beautiful nation. We want our sound and brand to expand to a global platform. We want the world to want to know more of Uruguay and our music.
So, last question, what can we expect from No Te Va Gustar moving forward?
Hopefully, another 25 years doing what we love. Travel more, explore more, play for new fans, play again for old fans. Rebirth our music in new ways — like with this unplugged show — and continue to collaborate with our colleagues within the industry.
There you have it, folks! Be sure to support this amazing band. Catch them live at a town near you, or head over to your streaming service of choice and get a hold of “Otras Canciones” — It really is a small gem of an album.