In recent years, new and refreshing pioneers have entered the Cuban rock scene; bands with contemporary proposals and styles, in tune with the current times and voices of the island. The massive use of the Internet – quite new for Cubans – has enabled us to know international art’s most updated movements. Indie Rock is one of the top genres that has seen an explosive surge, and one of the bands that have enjoyed a growing popularity in Cuba is, without a doubt, the young ensemble Ruido Blanco.
The band’s first steps date back to 2013, when love for music and the desire to create something of their own were enough reasons to bring together three of the current members and embark on the path that would lead them to what Ruido Blanco is today.
The lockdown time has also been very favorable to us despite it all; during this time, we did thorough research on the music sound we like to listen to, mainly Spanish Indie, which is our referent and, in some way, the foundation of our sound.
“The path of an artist is never easy; there have been great economic difficulties, hard times, resource scarcities”, Marcos J. Gonzalez, songwriter, singer and band leader tells us how “studies didn’t allow for much time and at the beginning we could only rehearse on weekends. Plus, the University didn’t pay”, which was why he had to drop out and fully devote himself to the band. Nevertheless, his major in Philosophy, and the knowledge he acquired while studying it, have served him to undertake a search for what he means to say through his songs in the clearest way.
The band has performed in prestigious local venues and has been invited to share the stage with more experienced and famous groups such as La Vieja Escuela, which put them on the map and made them known among those with a taste for more alternative music. But it was undoubtedly the Mis fantasmas (My Ghosts) video clip, directed by the young filmmaker Fernando Almeida, the one that filled all of us, who knew their work, with joy: the clip received six nominations at the Lucas Awards – the most important competition of its kind in Cuba – including the nomination to the Best Video Clip of the Year; it ended up winning three of them.
These laurels, as well as the band’s performance on the award ceremony, were the necessary boost for them to reach the national mainstream media and massively spread their music across the country, thus embarking on an ascending and unhindered path to sneak into the hearts of this genre’s fans in Cuba.
Currently, the band has taken advantage of the pandemic lockdown to focus on the production of their next record: Canciones para sombras, and released an EP revealing what they are up to: songs lyrically loaded with concepts of Carl G. Jung’s analytical psychology, sound experimentation; all influenced by Indie Rock bands in Spanish such as Izal and Vetusta Morla and classic ones like Radiohead.
On this point, Raúl A. Nápoles, lead guitarist, responsible for the band’s musical sound, tells us: “The EP is just a way for us to premiere and commercially and extensively release part of our music on main streaming platforms. This EP titled Sombras is made up of three songs that are also included in the record Canciones para Sombras, which we are currently recording. Within the recording process we’ve had no constraints when it comes to experimenting and taking advantage of all the production tools we have found, and somehow this has helped us in our search for the album sound. The lockdown time has also been very favorable to us despite it all; during this time, we did thorough research on the music sound we like to listen to, mainly Spanish Indie, which is our referent and, in some way, the foundation of our sound. All these creative and practical tools have been used freely during the recording process because our production is totally independent and no one but ourselves decides what’s right or not in our music.”
“So far, the EP has been quite welcomed by national and international audiences. Still, its reach is limited due to the band’s slow activity because of Covid. Several radio stations, professional Instagram profiles and some digital magazines have shown interest in what the band is doing, and due to this exposure to international media, we’ve received very positive feedback from foreign audiences, which is the EP’s main goal given that the local audience was familiar with the songs; for them we thought of releasing through non-traditional means, considering Cuba’s issues using streaming platforms. Notwithstanding, our beloved national audience, one of the most faithful and committed, was the first one to have the songs”, adds guitar player and co-founder, Alejandro Brito.
Ruido Blanco has plenty of immediate future plans filled with ideas and creativity, which, together with their willingness, make them overcome any difficulty without major damage. Among their immediate projects is the production of a promotional live DVD for the release of Canciones para Sombras, as well as the shooting of a new video clip directed once again by Fernando Almeida. Now we, the fans, just need to wait and be pleasantly surprised by Ruido Blanco’s artistic endeavors and be ready to return – when this necessary isolation is over – to their concerts and sing and cheer from the crowd.
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