Plastilina Records, the label based in Lima, Peru, has many new releases this year. I thought it was a good time to interview the person behind it these days: Jalito.
++ Hi Jal. You’ve got some new releases coming up after being quiet most of the year. Can you tell me about these 3 new releases coming up? Pinkie, Nubes en mi Casa and Diosque?
Hi! Yes! I’ve been quiet most of the last year because I focused more on discovering Latin-american indiepop bands and promoting my record label in Brazil, where i lived for nearly a year. Now I am back with fantastic new music as Pinkie from UK… This is Alex Sharke’s proyect ( Member of the legendary Brighter. Fosca, Hal, etc…) Plastilina is releasing his second album called “ Somehow It Feel Like Rain” after being almost 8 years hidden. An album full of lyricism, nostalgia, beauty and superlative elegance.
Nubes en mi Casa and Diosque are my newest gems that I found in the South American region. Both are from Buenos Aires – Argentina and bring us perfect oneiric atmopheres that’ll wrap you easily. Highly Recommended!
Also I just released what may be one of the best albums of 2013! “ When you and I were Really Young” from Silver Screen! An álbum with a fluid guitar sound reminiscent of COCTEAU TWINS, married to a gentle pop sensibility very near to the sounds of bands like THE SMITHS or IAN BROUDIE of THE LIGHTNING SEEDS, and, indeed: artists of past decades on the adored Sarah Records label. You really must give a check!
++ I see you are releasing for the first time some South American bands. What does that mean to Plastilina, being a South American label?
Since we started this label around 2006 Plastilina was always looking for Peruvian and South American artists but the lack of bands at that time (in indiepop terms) forced us to look for foreign sounds. Years after we witnessed how this regional scene grew with amazing bands such as Nubes en mi casa which actually was on the last line-up of the SXSW Festival in Austin-Texas. Diosque which has one of the best regard albums in our continent, Eva & John which is our new Peruvian discovery! And many many more talents are appearing!
++ And what about Pinkie? Working with someone who has been involved with cult bands like Brighter and Fosca! How has your relationship being with him?
Alex Sharkey is one of the most talented persons that we have in our home. We have following his work for years and once we figured out that he was in the process of recording his second álbum, we were in touch for at least one year and finally got to release his amazing second album. I’m personally quite surprised how this guy can keep his roots in every different proyect that he has…. “ Somehow It Feels Like Rain” is an album of 11 perfect dreamy songs that reminds me to Pale Saints’s voices, Cocteau Twins’s guitars and Beach Boys’s chorus! Highly recommended!
++ I’ve heard that there are many other releases coming up, seems you’ve gotten busy as of late. What else is coming up on Plastilina for the near future?
Yes… we have a tight schedule this year… We recently released the newest Silver Screen album “When You and I Were Really Young” which goes over very very well in Japan and some other countries in Asia. Also, Eva&John, which is our first Peruvian band on the label! And at the same time we are gonna start a new series of releases on flexi discs. We finally got them! Also Coconut Groove’s second álbum, “How To Build a Maze” will be our next one… and then The Tartans and their full discography, plus unreleased bonus tracks is our new challenge.
++ Let’s go to the early days. When and how did Plastilina started as a label, and did you imagine being around this long? what expectations did you have then?
Plastilina was born in late 2005 when Roque and I, along with two other enthusiastic friends of mine decided to be part of the new change. Unfortunatelly, at that times, Lima (our city) had a monotonous independent pop scene. So our idea was to create a new plattaform to encourage people to make pop music. Since we didn’t have a proper local band to start this project with, we replace that idea with hosting our own events like gigs, festivals, a record label’s fair and themed parties with the few bands and attendants we had at that time. Years after years this has been growing and now we are in the process of making our independent scene even stronger.
++ As years passed you’ve released more than 25 CDs in a country were piracy is number one, where copied CDs are what people prefer. How have you managed to tackle this problem?
CD piracy was never a trouble for us since our prices in the local market are pretty accessible. I personally believe in spreading music through streaming and blogs that share and allow music to be downloaded. I do support piracy in small scales… As long as any third person who is not involved in this can make any kind of profit. I don’t think that that can be trouble for independent record labels since nowadays our objective public is entirely made up of music collectors and true music lovers that truly believe the only way to keep this alive and releasing great stuff is by supporting and buying originals, thus rewarding bands. Just true lovers of music.
++ Running a label is never an easy task, there’s problems, but there are times that are very rewarding as well. Which releases are you the proudest of? And if you were to choose one release that sums up the spirit of Plastilina, which will it be?
Absolutely, during all these years I have experienced lots of anecdotes and have worked with many different people from various countries and cultures. Choosing my most rewarding moment is a very difficult question but I may mention that it was very very cool working with such amazing bands like Twig, St Christopher, Alex Sharkey( Member of Brighter, Fosca, Hal), Diosque and being able to arrange Plastilina shows abroad in places like Brazil, Argentina or Djing in Sweden, Germany and other countries. Definitely, the releases what I feel proudest of are “Life After Ridge” by Twig, “ Bote+Brote” by Diosque and “Lost at Sea” by the emblematic St Christopher! Uff!
++ Are there any labels that you would consider as influential to Plastilina?
Totally. I am very much a fan of the work of Hardly Art, Beko, Matinee, Fuego Amigos, Sincerely Yours, Labrador, Siesta ,Cloudberry, Shelflife and many, many more. I love how these labels have kept their musical aesthetic despite
those rough times when the music industry tries to kill you.
++ Tell me about Plastilina’s setup, your office and stuff? How far do you have to go to the post office? What’s like a day in Plastilina?
Nowdays Plastilina’s office is ran from my home in Chorrillos… a really nice neighborhood next to the beach and 15 kilometres from downtown Lima… A day in Plasilina is pretty mellow… checking emails, creating, designing and discovering artists for the label, emailing distros and customers, listening to demos and new music while I make something yummy for lunch, then again… coordinating the next gigs and festivals , biking to the postal service in the afternoon, which is only 5 minutes from my place, watching movies, planning to trips to new places at night and having some beers with friends on the weekend That’s pretty much my life.
++ And by the way, why do they call you Jalito? Isn’t your name Jose?
It’s kind of a secret….. but I can give you a clue… It’s about the Halley comet! 😉
++ So Jal, how did you get into indiepop? How did you discover it?
I was always so passionate about music and I think this is one of the very few ways to discharge all the tension that everyone gets from living in big cities. I began listening independent music when I was around 13 years old… I was
pretty interested to hear new sounds and I discovered New Order and Cocteau Twins which changed my perspective in life at the time. Then after listening lots of 80’s pop music I got into guitar bands such as Yo la Tengo, Pavement, Built
to Spill, The Pastels, etc… Then Spanish pop caught my attention and led me to discover an unreleased tribute to The Field Mice which was the beginning of all of this.
++ Which would you say are your favourite bands? And if you could, can you give me a top 5 songs of yours?
I really like when interviewers comes to this same question all the time. I’ll take a look into my collection and mention 5 acts that were significantly important in my life.
The Siddeleys ( UK)
The Embbasy ( Sweden)
Aztec Camera ( Scotland)
Air France (Sweden)
Top 5 songs:
Something Almost Brilliant Happened Last night – The Siddeleys
All the Dark Horses – The Trash Can Sinatras
This Chain Won’t Break – Wild Nothing
No excuses – Air France
++ Actually, have you ever been in a band?
My closest experience with a band was back in 2004 when I tried to be the drummer in a twee pop band. We all met via soulseek and arranged a rehearsal (that’s how we met for the first time!) and then we came up with a lightning bolt band called Los Rebeldes Walkies Talkies… This band recorded around 4 songs that were included in some local magazines… Now I am about to take some lessons to produce music on my computer. Hope to have this done soon!
++ You don’t only release records but also organize gigs and club nights in Lima. How do you enjoy doing these? And how successful do you think they are? How big is the indiepop scene in Lima?
To be honest Lima has a small independent scene despite that it has around 9 million inhabitants… Even though this city is pretty big and has about 49 districts everything is summed up in 4 of them. That’s why I am planning to expand my events/organizations to create more accessibility for everyone. Plastilina shows have gone very well in the last few years. I have around 150 enthusiastics followers that always come when I set up gigs, festivals, etc… I pretty much enjoy doing this and even moreso when I see those smiles of happines, or people singing the songs, or simply when people dance with their eyes closed. That’s pretty rewarding.
++ What would you say has been the highlight of Plastilina so far?
The highlight of Plastilina is to have been recognized by people from every country that we’ve traveled to and also to have our faithful followers in Japan! I think that’s pretty much exciting! One of my plans for the near future is
to actually travel over and make a Plastilina pop party in Japan! Can you imagine!?
++ And where do you see the label 5 years from now?
I see Plastilina with a subsidiary in the States or Europe that basically would be in charge of releasing our same albums on vinyls. Also working even harder to make our bands participate in festivals like Primavera Sound, SXSW, etc. Getting more synchronization licensing for our bands to be able to be on soundtracks in movies and more. That would be really cool, indeed!
++ Everytime someone involved visits Lima, you give them a tour. So, what places would you recommend visiting if someone was to go there?
Yes. I love to meet people involved from all over the world and exchange information about our work. That’s very productive! Lima is a such big city… I would recommend to get a bike and make a tour around Barranco which is one of the nicest areas in the capital.. very beautiful, cozy and charming. Also, go around Miraflores’ promenade around 5-6pm to see one of the nicest sunset in the Pacific. I’d also recommend to visit some art galleries like Revolver, Centro Colich, if you are around those mentioned areas … then downtown! And goes directly to Quilca’s galleries to DIVE and look for some Peruvian gems on vinyl from the 60s or 70s. So much amazing music throughout that period. Then keep walking til Queirolo ( one of the oldest bars in Lima) have some Pilsen Callao, relax and keep walking til Plaza de Armas which is the main square and just next to there is the “ Alameda Chabuca Granda” which is a boulevard where you’ll find lots of traditional food and deserts.. I recommend eating e v e r y t h i n g.
++ And what would you say is your favourite Peruvian dish and beer?!
Peruvian food is absolutely great. Actually, It’s one of the few things that I really miss of Peru when I am abroad. I may say that I am really into seafood as I live really close to the sea. Dishes like Rissoto con Mariscos, Ceviche, Leche de Tigre and the best invention of humans: Conchitas a la Parmesana along with some cold Pilsen Callao (beer) It’s just like heaven!
++ And when you are not listening to music, or releasing music, what other things do you like to do?
I like to spend time with my very good friends outdoors or at their places watching movies , cooking delicious food or deserts or simply playing table games with them. Also I really like to explore more about my city and taking pictures… Also relax and read on my bed… that’s how I enjoy life.
++ Thanks so much Jalito, anything else you’d like to add?
Remenber that we all like to dream, but also we must make things happen. .Thanks to you! I really enjoyed answering these unusual questions! See you soon!