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Watussi - Do The Watussi

Author: Darryn King
Thursday, 4 October 2007

Local Latin/funk/hip hop act Watussi are about to drop their debut LP, but you don’t have to wait that long to experience the band as play the Surry Hills Festival this weekend. Lead vocalist Oscar Jimenez chatted to 3D about tequila, music and… tequila.

You’ve been called the “love children of Lenny Kravitz, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ozomatli”. Are any of these guys in particular a big influence on your sound, or would you cite others-
Kravitz is a legend but the Chili Peppers made a huge impact in my teenage years when I started playing in a Latin ska punk band. I only heard about Ozomatli when I arrived to Australia and for me they are a clear example of the influence of Latin American music in the States. Before them there is Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Mano Negra and now Manu Chao… These are my mayor Latin rock influences.

As an eight-piece band, you’re something of an army. Does it ever feel too crowded-
Never. I love sharing the stage with the band. Our sound is made of big chants so every single voice is needed. I believe we will keep growing and sharing with different musician. Music is endless.

As a band that churns out original compositions, how does the songwriting work in an act with eight people-
It is not a problem as I get to do it myself and some ideas come in rehearsals jamming. Los Muchachos help me a lot with musical arrangements and many of the lyrics are in Spanish so I’m lucky. I don’t get much critics!

It sounds like your soon-to-be-released debut will be a sonic extravaganza – what genres and cultures did you explore and combine and how-
We have songs that are inspired in traditional Latin rhythms like Candela, that takes pieces of the Cuban Guaguanco and mixes it with that Australian rock orira, inspired on the Cumbia from Colombia but ending in a heavy funk beat. Always trying to create something new and authentic that we can call our own.

Finally, the album’s called Tequila, Sangre y Fuego – what does that mean and why did you pick it for a title-
To name this album we wanted to represent all the elements that create our sound. Tequila, our ritual drink before every performance, sangre (blood), our different roots and cultural background and fuego (fire), the combination of the first two makes our music explosive and rebelde.

WHO: Watussi
WHAT: Play Surry Hills Festival
WHEN: Saturday 13 October