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Son Veneno - Latin Connection

Author: Matt Unicomb
Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Noticing a newly acquired hip hop lean to their sound, 3D’s Matt Unicomb fields a few queries to Son Veneno, the multi-talented Latin collective supporting Batucada Sound Machine at the factory theatre.

With ten of you, how does the writing process work-
Most of the band members are composers so songs come about in different ways and with different influences. Some songs are written individually, while others are collaborations. We all have different musical tastes and influences so it makes it interesting when we put ideas together.

Branching into hip hop territory was a brave move. Is collaborating with musicians across genres something you guys will continue doing-
It was definitely a fun move. We’ve worked with two MCs over the last few years (Mystro (UK) and Maya Jupiter). Our music is influenced by many non-Latin styles. Hip hop is one of many genres we have experimented with. We do enjoy collaborating with different musicians. It’s definitely something we will keep doing. It’s a great way to learn and play new things together. 

You guys have gradually moved away from Latin’s traditional sound. Has this differentiation been present from the beginning-
Not as much at first. We did start out with a strong ‘traditional salsa’ concept. We were very influenced by Cuban music originally and tried our best to learn songs that we would listen to from other bands. But living in such a culturally diverse place as Sydney definitely had an effect on our music so it was a very honest transition for us.

You guys have stated that Latin music in Australia is gradually becoming more recognised, but audiences still need something they can relate to, like English lyrics and a cross genre performance. Is this something that you guys are conscious of when writing music-

I do believe Latin music is more recognised. At least the more popular Latin styles have made a bigger impact over the last decade… salsa, son, reggaeton, merengue, cha cha cha, bolero, and Latin jazz… I think that’s generally the case around the world. We don’t really go out of our way to ‘de-Latinise’ things for the public to relate to us, we mainly go with what we think sounds good!

You’ve become veterans of both the festival and club circuit. How do festival shows compare to the more intimate locations-
Festivals are great… not that club shows aren’t, but there’s always an amazing atmosphere at music festivals, especially in Australia. The crowds are really receptive and really get into the spirit of things.

For those who have caught Veneno’s live performance, what can we expect at the Factory show in February-

New songs! We managed to write a lot of new material on our last tour (which we will be recording soon as part of a new album for 2009). We will be joined by Merenia Gillies (featured guest on the night). We worked with Merenia in Asia last year and we’ve written some funky new tunes for our Aussie fans.
All that plus the same high-energy music we enjoy performing for our fans. As we like to call it: organised chaos!!!

WHO: Son Veneno
WHAT: Supporting Batucada Sound Machine at The Factory Theatre / Bondi Festival / Olympic Park / Byron Bay Blues and Roots Festival
WHEN: Friday 13 February / Sunday 15 February / Saturday 21 February / Thursday 9 April
MORE: myspace.com/sonveneno

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