Posted October 14, 2020 by Jeff in Tunes

Como Asesinar a Felipes’ New Album Speaks to Our Dark Times

COMO ASESINAR A FELIPES, photo by Ignacio Galvez
COMO ASESINAR A FELIPES, photo by Ignacio Galvez

Drawing from hip-hop, rock, jazz and electronica, the Chilean group Como Asesinar a Felipes just issued “Hemos Vuelto Del Abismo,” the first single from their upcoming album, MMXX, which is due on Oct. 16. This single is accompanied by two remixes. 

Formed in Santiago in 2006, the group writes songs that address what life is like in post-Pinochet Chile.

In a recent phone call from his Santiago home, drummer Felipe Salas spoke about the band’s history as well as its unique approach on its new album, which finds the group only using synthesizers for the first time.

When you formed in Santiago, what was the music scene there like?Santiago is the main city, and you can find anything you want. In 2011, the Latin Lollapalooza festival started here, and the scene has grown much since then. There are lots of venues and too many bands. We have a lot of musicians here. At that time, we started without the big labels. You have to promote yourself and do everything by yourself. A new movement started with young musicians and a lot of folk and pop and hip-hop and all these different styles of music. The media was not open for this, so we had to find new channels to promote our music 

Your first album, Como Asesinar a Felipes, came out in 2008. What was making that album like?
Our first album was made on tape. It was like a new thing for us. We never have done something like that before. We had to learn everything. Then, on the next album, we met Faith No More in the U.S. and we signed to Billy Gould’s label. He helped us with promotion.

Are you a fan of their music?
All the people here love them. They are very popular here. The first time they came here was in 1981. The crowd loved those guys. In some ways, they are more Chilean than a lot of Chileans. Billy Gould lived here in the past. I can’t remember which year, but they love this country, and the country loves them. 

With 2009’s Un Disparo al Centro, you worked with the National Juvenile Symphonic Orchestra of Chile. What was that like? 
With each album, we try to make something new for us. We make music for us, not for the media or for mainstream radio. At that time, we loved classical music. We went to see them play, and we loved the sound of those instruments. We composed the music and made the arrangement for them. We came from hip-hop and jazz and electronica, but we fell in love with the sound of the orchestra. Our music is very inspired by the songs in the movies. We want to put music over the lyrics from them singing. Our music is very open to this and is very eclectic. We made the album and sent it to Billy [Gould], and he loved that album. It’s very musical for us to put this on a stage. We played like this only one time in 2009.

Cristian Gallardo joined the band in 2017. What did he add to your sound?
We had two piano players in the band. The first one left the band in 2012. The other one quit the band in 2015. We said we didn’t want more piano players because they left the band quickly. We went to find another musicians and we found Cristian. He’s a talented jazz player from the jazz scene in Chile. He’s very experimental. He uses a lot of effects and he matches very well with our music. 

Did you want to go in a different direction with your newest effort?
We started to explore synthesizers. We love the sound. It’s very dark. It’s called MMXX. It’s 2020 in Roman letters. We are trying to represent what has happened with us. It’s been a crazy year for all the world that’s been very dark and very strange. For the first time, we made a record only with synthesizers. I’m the drummer, and I programmed all the drum beats. I didn’t play the drums. We made it all with synths. It was a great thing for us, but it was very hard too. We love the final sound. For us, it was amazing. We recorded on tape, and that gives it the dark sound.

It’s an old school kind of record. 

How did the protests in Chile inspire the songs?
Protests have exploded. The cops were shooting rubber bullets. A lot of people lost their eyes because of the shooting. It was hard. That certainly inspired this album. That’s why it’s so dark, but there’s hope too. It’s a mix of feelings, but the sound is very dark. That’s a representation of what we felt at the time.

I imagine you want to tour in support of the album. What do those prospects look like?
We want to tour, but this album is called MMXX, and the best way to show the new music is to do streaming for the album release. We want to play live soon, but for this record, we’ll make it 2020 style, which is streaming. 

Photo Credit: Ignacio Galvez


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].