Sept 16 2016
By Monica Camacho.
I walk into a Southpark home where Orlando has just finished having dinner with two long time friends, one a local Southpark resident who was housesitting the house we were at and the other, a friend that had recently moved from Ensenada to San Diego. We walk back to the enormous balcony that overlooks a canyon filled with green trees. Nature is at the forefront of his new studio living space.
Orlando, tell readers something about about where you’re from and how it relates to you as an artist.
I’m from Tijuana, born and bred in TJ, and I am a San Diego local now. San Diego and Tijuana is the same to me because I grew up going back and forth. Here we live in a region that happens to be divided by a border but it’s really one single region to me. I’ve lived here (San Diego) now for 16 years and I feel that my territory, my turf is from San Francisco to Los Cabos. It’s all part of the same land, only there is politics to deal with. I feel like I can’t separate one space from another. I am a child of the 80’s and back then there wasn’t easily accessible internet and all of these things that there are now. I discovered them as I grew up. But even before it became so easy to gain a more international sense of the world just by using the internet, I already had at least a binational understanding of reality because it’s how I grew up. The way that I like to see it is that there’s more than one border to be crossed, not just the physical political one that we sometimes cross to go to Mexico or come here, but other borders like the genres we work within in music.
How does this idea of borders bleed into your music?
In every sense it does because it’s really hard for me to do one specific sound or one specific genre and stick with it because I love it so much and because I’m not only one thing, one side or other. I can’t really define what I do with only one genre or even one specific language.
What can we expect from your second album?
This is my second real album because I’ve released music before and after my first album, just not officially. I released my first real album Capullo which means flower bud in 2010, so it’s been 6 long years that I have had to come up with my next project and you know, life has happened. I’ve been busy with other things. I became a resident of this country and I’ve been doing a lot of practical life things that are important as well.
You’ve been gaining material for your next album?
Exactly, gaining material for my next album, but this album that I’m working on which is about himnos al mar (hymns to the ocean) is a record in which the idea started when I lived in Mexico City because I lived there for a while, and I remember coming back home really missing the summer or really missing the beach. I would really miss the things that we have here that we take for granted because we’re from here. There was a song that I wrote on the plane on my way home once, that was just about going to the beach and the song talks about flying out here to go to the beach. That’s the first song that I wrote on this album.
Does that song have a title already?
Yes it’s called “ Al Mar”. There is also an old song called Sirena that I never released because I just hadn’t found a place where it made sense within the other group of songs that I had before. It made sense at live shows because it’s happy and upbeat but it didn’t make sense within the concept of my first album. So now it will help round out the material for this album. I received a grant from the Mexican government to do a project I call “ Suite”. Originally for the grant I was going to write six songs all about Baja and that project was called himnos al mar so it was all focused on the coast, and the coastal culture that we have. I wanted to explore a concept that I was developing myself because I had never heard it, which was “ norteno costeno”. There’s norteno culture in the rest of the north that is different from the one you find here because we are a beach oriented part of the north. I don’t really know what the northern culture is all about in other northern states but I know that here in Baja it’s about nature, landscapes, the ocean, the desert and all of these basic natural things that you don’t have to buy. That’s what I wanted to explore because living far from here I discovered that it was such a big part of me.
So how far along are you on this second album?
I’m about 60% done. I’ve written all the music and I’ve recorded all the basic parts of all the instruments and now I’m doing post production.
Who are your collaborators on this album?
I’m collaborating with Roberto Salomon on piano. Also on this first stage of recording I have Julian Plascencia on bass, and Carlos Maria on drums. So it’s basically a jazz trio and I’m just singing, not playing any instruments. On the record I play some acoustic guitar but most of it I left to the other musicians because I really wanted to focus on singing.
When you approached them did you already have chord structures?
On this occasion most of the songs already had harmonic structure, and we built upon and sometimes changed the original harmonic foundation that I had created. Other songs I only had the melody, and working with these guys that are really good at playing and composing great harmonies, we made something more complex. It’s not complex in the sense that it’s hard to listen to but, more interesting and less expected.
Is the album name Himnos al mar?
Well I haven’t decided if album is going to be a full 10-12 song cd because I’m picky and even though I have that amount of songs, in the end sometimes you cut it because it doesn’t feel right for whatever reason. I have the concept which is going to be “ Himnos al mar “ on one side and the other side will be be ballads and a more kind of adult material that I’ve written over the last few years. That side is a sound inspired by a more classic sound of latin music, Mexican music, and old school artists like Agustin Lara. I’m trying to do a more acoustic, pared down sound but it still will have some post production.
I noticed you used the word CD. As far as the artwork and how you will release the album, have you decided that in fact there will be a physical product release?
It’s going to be both physical and digital because I just like the physical. An album, a CD or vinyl would be great but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do vinyl this time around. But I definitely want to have packaging and I have a concept already for the character that I am playing. There’s a character, and its all having to do with this theme of the ocean and of this new sense of self that I have gained by being now in my thirties and having experienced a lot of things that adults my age do. My first album was all about my young and naive time and about growing up and finding out about all of these adult things but not really understanding them. You know I was trying to work through them and writing songs was an easy way for me to do that. Now that I’m older it’s a little less of an emergency songwriting and more well thought. I’m not saying that it’s better or worse, just that it has changed. My way of writing music now is more conscious, not so urgent that you have to get it out and find whatever way to do that. Now I think about it and I sit and contemplate. I’m more of a writer now than I was before. My lyrics are more poetic in a way, not as obvious. There’s a lot going on that’s at the same time more simple. I don’t know i just think I got better at it (laughs). We’ll see. It’s become easier to say things that are meaningful without being ?como se dice? Obvious. This album isn’t particularly relationship heavy even though there are love songs in there but it had to do a lot more with subtle things that we don’t realize when we’re younger. Growing up in Tijuana, for kids there wasn’t too many parks. The beach was the big deal, the outing. We would go very single weekend or as much as we could. It was a very important part of our life, it still is.
Will you release any singles before the album is released?
Yes. I m not sure what song yet. Usually what you do is start with something upbeat for the first single, but I don’t want to chose the single for that reason. I want to give it time to present itself.
Where can fans find you and keep up with you?
On facebook as orlandoinfinitooficial, and orlandoinfinito is my personal facebook page. On twitter you can find me as orlandoinfinito, and on instagram orlandomusic.
Anything else you want to say to our audience?
I’ve been waiting a long time to be able to release this music, I hope that people enjoy it and embrace the new sound because I will say this album is very different than what I’ve done before and I’m very excited to get to show another side of me.