“It’s a different proposal but people were ready to open up to dfferent ideas,” Says Sanchez.“I had a very clear idea in my head: I won’t be something that I’m not,” adds Quintero, also 40, in a singsong voice that leaves no doubt that English is not her first language. Having begun their music career in the early Nineties in a heavy metal band, Tierra Acida (“Acid Land”), in Mexico City, they moved to Dublin at the start of the last decade to busk as a duo.They started covering hard rock songs in a raw Latin style, including Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven and Metallica’s Orion, both of which appeared on their first proper album, a self-titled release from 2006.“It is surprising,” admits Rodrigo Sanchez, 40, who is now considered such a major figure in Mexican culture that he and Gabriela Quintero played a White House concert at a meeting between Barack Obama and the last Mexican President, Felipe Calderón.Obama told them he had their music on his i Pod; Calderón didn’t know who they were. We are not gonna try to be something else — we are this.”Theirs would certainly be a tough blueprint for copycats to follow.Currently residing in Mexico City, they began their career in Dublin, Ireland, during an eight-year stay.
My young Mexican middle-class generation was trying to become heavy metal rock stars. You and Gabriela went to Europe as backpackers, thinking you'd make a living playing background music. I read that you and Gabriela live a vegan lifestyle and are very passionate about animal rights. I lived in Barcelona for so many years, so I like [team] Barcelona.
He lives in Barcelona My brother worked at an arts centre in Mexico City in the late 1980s, and told me about this cool group of girls taking drama lessons there; he mentioned this girl Gabriela having a laugh all the time, so I arranged to meet her. I told her I was taking guitar lessons and she was like, "I really want to come too." So for us it was always about music, really, even when, shortly after, we became a couple.
Once I knew Gabriela in a more personal way, I thought it would be fun to have her on board with the band, and she really opened up our style.
They're currently on tour promoting their latest album, Area 52 (ATO Records), which was released earlier this year and recorded in Cuba with a 13-piece Cuban orchestra known collectively as C. Why do you think people are vibe so much off your music? The idea was to travel around Europe, but we stayed in Dublin. We have to reconnect with our own self because we're in a society that tells you you shouldn't look inside you, but outside.
It's a different option for them to get away from regular bands. My dad played guitar, not professionally, but all the time. You're part of the Sound Strike, a coalition of artists boycotting Arizona in the wake of the passage of SB 1070, and were introduced by Zack de la Rocha at a benefit concert in Colorado. I think we have to find a balance because otherwise you become a human without being connected with both parts.