Inspired by The Beatles and The Kinks when selecting their name, Chilean rock and folk band Los Bunkers have enjoyed much worldwide success. Customarily playing to crowds of thousands in Mexico, South America and Lollapaloozas stateside, the “Best Rock Album” nominees at this week’s Latin Grammy Awards will resume touring to support their critically acclaimed eighth album, La Velocidad de la Luz in a few short weeks. I connected with band bassist Gonzalo López recently about their eclectic blended inspirations, living in Mexico and his thoughts on their loyal fans. Check out his answers below and follow Los Bunkers on Twitter and Facebook !
How has being from Chile influenced your sound?
We’ve listened to Chilean music since birth. My father played guitar in the house and listened to folk music and pop music of that time so we heard it when we were little. We grew up watching people dance the Chilean dance- La Cueca. We would also go to national musical festivals and hear all kinds of bands in Santiago. There are a lot of rock musicians that can’t say that.
What is about the 1960s that inspires Los Bunkers most?
What inspires us is the pop aesthetic. We love folk, rock and mod music-The Who, Small Faces. I think the whole package inspires us- the majority of the groups in the 60’s played and sang well together and we want to draw attention again to that and it’s easy for us interpret their songs our own way.
If you were trapped on a deserted island and had to listen to five records for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Oooh, five albums! I would first listen to “Alturas De Machu Picchu” by Chilean rock band Los Jaivas who mixed in progressive rock and magical folk music with an extract of a poem written by Pablo Neruda. I would also take “The Beatles” by The Beatles and “Al Final De Este Viaje” by Silvio Rodríguez. Last but not least, I would also take a “Blonde on Blonde” by Bob Dylan and “Mind Games” from John Lennon.
Are you excited about the Latin Grammy nomination?
Yes, we’re excited and honored to be nominated for “Best Rock Album” and the nomination is a beautiful prize and the culmination of all the hard work we’ve done this year. Whether we win or lose, what matters is we’re honored to be mentioned.
Do you live in Mexico? What’s the best thing about living there?
Yes, we live in Mexico and have lived 5 years here. The best thing is the culture and it’s incredible. They’re accepting of people from different countries and I walked in the streets and found all different things- a mix of colonial influence, the ancient Aztec architecture and indigenous folk traditions and the preservation of the separate cultures is beautiful.
What do you miss most about Chile?
I miss the people and the distinct Chilean food you can only find there. I wish it were closer.
How crazy was it to play in front of 120,000 people?
Incredible. Incredible. We’ve played to super large crowds like that three or four times. All the people were singing along and knew our songs and it shocked us. It was also beautiful that we had the chance to play for a lot of people in Chile in a show marking the 30th anniversary of the death of Salvador Allende. We’ll always remember that.
I’ve seen videos of you guys performing with women and girls in the crowd, crying and screaming. How does that make you feel?
It makes us feel really good! (laughing) We do this for the music, love our fans and love to interact with them and tell them about what we’re doing. They are very important to us because without them, we’re nothing.
What are your plans for 2014?
We will continue to promote La Velocidad de La Luz and want our music to reach as many people as possible with our music in other countries. If we are invited, we’d love to play in more countries!