For a new band, Argentine four-piece The Otherness have found themselves rubbing shoulders with some of indie’s brightest stars in a very short timeframe.
After recently appearing on BBC Music Introducing, the leather clad four-piece lined up on the Tramlines bill with Noel Gallagher and Craig David, and they’ll likely bump into a few more as they criss-cross across Europe in the coming weeks.
On stage, lead singers Martin and Gonzalo, drummer Pablo and guitarist Agustin look like The Beatles at a wake, but if anything, they sound more like Gruff Rhys fronting The Beach Boys. “Our music ranges from classic rock ‘n’ roll to soul and pop with a rocky back beat,” Gonzalo explains. “We want music to be uplifting and driven by a positive energy.”
The Otherness, an album by The Otherness on Spotify
They ain’t short of a tale or two either as Alex Turner, Jon McClure and Steve LaMacq have all found to their cost.
What was it like growing up in Patagonia?
Martin: “It was a lonely experience because it’s very windy where we were born. If you weren’t used to art or playing guitars there was nothing to do. You couldn’t even play football it was so windy. We also had no internet so we started to read about our favourite artists through magazines. One thing that stuck with us was Kurt Cobain once said The Beatles were the best song writers and that ethic is something we have always followed ever since.”
Gonzalo: “Music also came a lot later over here compared to the States and the UK. So getting access to it wasn’t easy. You had to really search for it.”
The Otherness with Jon McClure
You’ve met a few rock stars in Buenos Aires. Tell us about your run-in with Jon McClure.
Martin: “We met him at a music convention just to find out that he’s not a (heavyweight) champion, he’s a lightweight. He was preaching about how to succeed in the music business. But we took him out and got him so wasted that he didn’t make a talk he was supposed to give at the convention the next day because he was massively hungover. We’ve become good friends over the last few years and he’s always helped us out.”
The Otherness with Alex Turner
You also bumped into Alex Turner didn’t you?
Martin: “Ha ha yeah Arctic Monkeys were supporting the Foo Fighters at River Plate stadium around about the time they were recording ‘Humbug’. We started talking about video games and Gonza and I loved playing Pro Evolution football at the time. We put together a team of rock stars with the likes of Dave Grohl in goal, Lemmy in defence, Elvis and James Brown in midfield and Michael Jackson up front. We told him he was not part of any of our teams but he just laughed about it, it was good fun. We also gave him a Boca Juniors pennant to give to Jon when he got back to England but Alex never gave it to him. He must have kept it for himself.”
The Otherness with Steve LaMacq outside BBC Radio Six Music
And you challenged Steve LaMacq to a penalty competition too. How did that come about?
Martin: “I went over to Steve LaMacq because a friend said he once played as a goalkeeper. So I thought it’d be funny if I challenged him to save a penalty outside the BBC 6 Music studios and if I scored he would put us on his show. I saw him smoking a cigarette outside and I asked him the question but he bottled it. He was nice and kind though and he always has a chat with us when we come to London.”
Gonzalo: “BBC 6 Music presenter Chris Hawkins has also played us a few times though over the last few years after we met him in Manchester and that’s really helped us over here.”
“Kids shouldn’t be singing about Gucci belts, that’s fucking nonsense. Kids should be dancing and having fun” – Martin
What do you think of the current state of rock ‘n’ roll? Do you think you can save it?
Gonzalo: “We want to bring it back to a younger audience. There’s a drive in rock ‘n’ roll music which is more appealing to kids thesedays but not through teenage angst. I think that idea is over. I think our music is about freedom and railing against what the establishment tells you to do. So there is hope for rock ‘n’ roll.”
Martin: “Nowadays everyone is telling kids you should dress like this or that. Our message to the kids is the following: Don’t let yourself be told how to be or how to express yourself because you are the result of your freedom and you can be whoever you wanna be. No kid can be happy singing about Gucci belts, that’s fucking nonsense. Kids should be dancing and having fun.”