Posted July 1, 2022 by Jeff in Tunes

Puerto Rico’s Los Rivera Destino Explores Different Musical Genres on New Album

Los Rivera Destino
Los Rivera Destino

Since 2018, when their bolero interpretation of “Te Boté” went viral, Los Rivera Destino have been on the radar of listeners around the world. Four years and millions of streams later, the acclaimed Puerto Rican group has finally released its anticipated debut album, Besitos Y Besitas.

In a recent Zoom call, Carlos Figueroa, Fernando Terrazo and Antonio Sanchez spoke about the album.

How did you all first meet one another?

Sanchez: Carlos and I went to high school together. When we went to the university, we met Fernando. We became friends. When you enter university, you have to go to the same classes in the same building, and we started hanging out together.

What did you have in common initially?

Terrazo: It was pretty evident that we had the same background and the same sense of humor and motivation to do comedy and content for YouTube. That united us since the very beginning.

You started doing comedy but then gravitated to music. Talk about how that happened?

Figueroa: I was learning to play guitar at the time, so I was going to college with my guitar on hand. Fernando is a guitar player, so when we started hanging out, we began playing music to make our classmates laugh. That’s how we started.

The video for your cover of Bad Bunny’s “Te Boté” that finds you playing dominos and pool is very funny. How did you come up with the concept?

Sanchez: That year, we performed reggaeton and trap songs in other genres. One of them was “Te Boté.” We did it in 30 seconds. We recorded it and sent it to one of our guitarists, and we did the video to promote a show. Bad Bunny shared it, and it became so popular, we had to quit our jobs.

Terrazo: A small promo video jumpstarted our career. It was a huge surprise but a pleasant surprise. We recorded it at a chinchero, a little place to go and drink cold beer that’s like a hometown bar. That’s the type of place we love, so it just made sense.

What did you think when it went viral?

Terrazo: We were surprised. In something like an hour, the whole island here knew who we were. In places like Mexico and Colubmia, they knew us too. It was such a huge deal and hard for us to comprehend. For about 24 hours, we were in shock.

There are many influences on the new album. You channel Anuel AA and Bad Bunny, Calle 13, Tego Calderón and Les Luthier.

Terrazo: We always tried to experiment with different types of music. We all have different influences. There was people who inspired us to make music. When it came time to making our own album, it wasn’t about making one type of music. It was trying to express what we wanted it to sound like at the time and whatever was right for the song. We experienced with different genres.

How did Nirvana influence the band?

Terrazo: They had the punk attitude. Most of that attitude is doing what you feel in the moment. It’s what we want to do with what we want to do when we make music. You can’t just think about what’s good for other people. You have to think about what’s good for you. Nirvana was really energetic and expressive. It’s what we do as well.  

Ismael Cancel produced the album. What was it like to work with him?

Figueroa: He is a genius. We started with an idea for the record and a version of the song. He would take that song and make it his own and took it to a whole other level. He also advises in the business too.

Sanchez: He’s a funny person, and we love to hang out with him.

Figueroa: He’s family to us.  

Did you record during the pandemic?

Terrazo: Right before the pandemic, we started to arrange some songs, but then the whole pandemic started. That summer, we signed with Sony, and we had the opportunity to use the time to create artistically. It was really bad for lots of reasons, but it gave us time to work on the album. There’s not much stimuli from the outside world, so in terms of artistically expressing yourself, it’s hard in those terms. At the same time, my influences are sometimes my friends, and so I drew from them.

The album features guest appearances from Ile, Ñengo Flow, Guaynaa, Riccie Oriach, El Kanka, Paula Cendejas and Pedro Capó. Talk about their roles.

Figueroa: We are found of all of them. Ile is a big influence. The song with Ñengo Flow is a cool mashup. Guaynaa is a gangsta rapper here in Puerto Rico. The first time we did a show outside of Puerto Rico, we did a show with Riccie Oriach. We felt like we have the same type of fans. Pedro Capó is from the same neighborhood. It was a special collaboration with all them. We just thought, “Why not?”

Talk about the single “Castigo.” It’s a really beautiful song. I love the vocal performance on it.

Terrazo: We recorded it in Miami with Pedro Capó. It was fun. He’s just one of the guys. He’s from our own neighborhood. He went to my high school. We have things in common. It made sense to make music with him. He is the grandson of one of the greatest songwriters in Puerto Rican history. He wrote a lot of boleros. It made sense to write a song that encapsulated the things that he loved and that we loved too.  

What’s the story behind “Edgar Allan Poe”?

Terrazo: We’re not necessarily huge fans but when it came to making the song, there was a line that said he was “cool like Edgar Allan Poe. It was just a funny thing to say, and that become the title of the song. It’s just a funny line.

What was it like to play “Pancakes” as a Tiny Desk Concert?

Sanchez: The Tiny Desk is a big surprise for us. We used it as promo for the album. We wanted to do a single in that scenario, so it would be more surprising for the people who hear the song on the album.

Terrazo: We had four or five days to make the song. The whole album was something we made and then we sent to the musicians and they did it on their own. It was the first time we were playing as a band. Doing that for Tiny Desk was really cool and to put that song out there was great.  

What are your tour plans?

Sanchez: We are going to have a release party for the people here in Puerto Rico and then announce the tour dates. We did this album to perform it live. That’s the thing that we love more.


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].