In 2004, Miguel Di Genova returned to Argentina along with Hugo Satorre (bandoneon), Pablo Lasala (soft, keyboards) and Emmanuel Mayol (drums and percussion) to record the debut album of the band Otros Aires. This album was released on December 11th of the same year (also known as “International Tango Day” inspired by Carlos Gardel‘s birthday celebration) at the Gardel House Museum.
Otros Aires is a Tango / Electrotango musical project which took form in Barcelona and continued in Buenos Aires by the Argentinian musician and architect Miguel Di Genova. With a retro-electronic tango footage, the project combines the earliest sounds of the twentieth century (Gardel, Razzano, D’arienzo, among others) with electronic music and other modern sounds.
After twelve years of career, listing six studio albums and thirty tours in Europe, North and South America, Otros Aires return with “Ratos Luz”.
Miguel spoke to SounDarts.gr about the story of the band, how did they choose their name, their tango creations and their dream collaborations! He also spoke about his connection with our country and his impressions from Greece, and he clearly couldn’t leave out the release of Otros Aires’ new album, “Ratos Luz”. Read everything in the exclusive interview that he gave us ….
How did you end up with your project’s name, “Otros Aires”?
By Chance… I was working as an architect and playing music since years. I was living in Salamanca and working there and I decide to move to Barcelona to keep on working as an architect and keep on playing music but at that time (2003), because of the 2001 Argentinean crisis, the city was full of argentine people… and they were all architects! (lets say almost all). I couldn’t find a place to work. So I start to show the music project I had at that time (the first Otros Aires demos) in bars and clubs in order to make some money and people said… this is great come and play… so what it was a thing that I’ve done for myself (working in tango was a kind of need… a way to bring the frontiers of my country closer) finally became my job. Until today. The name Otros Aires (different airs) really represent those airs I was looking for.
What does tango mean to you?
I was born with tango. It is something that it is part of all people in Argentina but we don’t know it until, in a way, ¨tango calls you¨ and what I really love of it, is that it is for anyone. It is probably one of the most socialist thing that happens in the wold. it doesn’t matter your age, social class, nationality… when you go to a milonga you see pieces of all the human race on it. That’s the reason why I am into tango.It means in a way, socialism.
How did the idea of mixing tango with electro music occur in the first place?
The main idea was bring tango to the present, make it with the actual tools and aesthetics. Trying to bring the essence of that old style to the XXI century.
Which artists are among your influences? Could an artist of another kind of music inspire you the same?
Black music a lot, there is a big connection between funk (and all its relatives) and Milonga, which is the black part of tango. As every musician I listen to tons of music but I have to say that what US3 did on the 90´s was probably the biggest influence on my first Otros Aires record.
Miguel, apart from musician you are also an architect! Which of these professions would you reject if you had to choose only one and why?
Haha Architecture of course! If I have to choose one, but I also like it a lot. I think designing and writing musics are very similar in many ways. But to express why I choose music in simple words, for me architecture is a woman I like, music is the woman I love.
Otros Aires as a project is based on collaborations! If you could choose among all the artists in the world who would you chose to collaborate with? Which would be your dream-collaboration?
Tom Waits, Fritz Kalkbrenner, Leonard Cohen, Daft Punk… sorry probably too eclectic… but I can go on and go on.
Otros Aires was declared of Cultural interest by Buenos Aires city government on November 9th 2018. How do you feel about this honor?
It was nice to be recognized, with a tango project, by the city of tango. We have many problems in our country right now and there is too much noise in the air. It was almost a miracle.
About a year ago you collaborated with Balkan Airs for the album “Otros Aires presents Balkan Airs”. How did this multicultural mix of music worked for you and what did you gain/learn from this work?
It is a project produced by the Bulgarian musician Boyko Petkov. I learned a lot with it because I used to produce my things and this time the main job was made by Boyko. The quality of the project is so much better the all other projects I made myself and in a way it is a perfect and very deep connection between 2 cultures that at the first sight don’t have much history in common but when you listen to it you realize that human race is one and all is connected.
Could tango be mixed with other traditional music from other countries like Celtic or Greek Bouzouki? Could you tell us another perfect combination of tango with another kind of music?
As I said before I think it is perfectly possible. Not doing it as a cocktail (2 parts of tango, 3 of Greek music and 5 of Celtic…) it doesn’t work. You have to find where the connection already exist, rhythm? harmony? melody? but most important it that you know and you LOVE the styles you are working in.
You have visited Athens several times in the past! What is that element that makes Greece and Greek people so special to you?
I have to say that in Greece I feel like home… but also a little better than home. Because It is like a place that I already know but at the same time surprises me. And I really love greek people and their big empathy with other people. It is a place where for sure I could live (and coming from Argentina I am not scare of crisis!)
Your latest album “Perfect Tango” was released in 2016. Should we expect a new album anytime soon?
Yes! we’ve just released (today March 29th) a new album called Ratos Luz. It is a mix of some acoustic Otros Aires classics (with piano, bandoneon, guitar, bass and drums) and some new songs, with light electronic and Spanish guitars (in a trio tango guitars way)
What are your next professional plans apart from discography?
I am working a lot with audiovisuals and mapping. Next project would be an Otros Aires show with big mapping. We’ll see…
Do you have a motto in life?
Life is an opportunity (it is not mine but I love it)
Miguel, Thank you so much for your time! Wish you all the best for the future!
Interview: Theodore Kolliopoulos