Drumming for hate S.A.
02 Jul, 2012 | Naomi Cohen, Eleanor Warnick
An interview with Christian Paredes
BX: Who was the first musician that inspired you?
C.P.: The first musician that inspired me was Igor Cavalera. He’s a heavy metal drummer. I liked his energy, what he expressed – it was more original, something you can’t explain, that was larger than life
BX: What qualities do you find are most important in a drummer?
C.P.: To me, solidity is important. A drummer has to be the heart of a band. It’s the rhythm that liberates. Some say the drummer is secondary. But I don’t agree. I think the drummer is on the front line; he’s the one that brings the rhythm. He’s the most important. And he has to create. He has to reach the people, beyond technique.
BX: Were you always a drummer?
C.P.: No, I’ve played a couple of other instruments . . . guitar, piano . . . But I don’t see myself as much of a guitarist or pianist. The drummer persona suits me well.
BX: Were the other members of your family musical?
C.P.: No, and they never supported my career as a musician. My father thought it was just a phase and saw me as a bit of a rebel. Fifteen years after I started playing, my dad finally came to my concert and now he accepts what I do.
BX: Where is your favourite place to play?
C.P.: The Open Air Theatre in La Paz, ‘Jaime Laredo’. I played there once in front of a crowd of 4,000. I was really nervous beforehand but as soon as I started playing, I began to enjoy it.
BX: Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
C.P.: Yeah, I have some Pumas – some shoes I bought in 2005, which I always wear even though they are a bit scruffy. But I don’t drink backstage or anything like that.
BX: How does it feel to represent Bolivia for such a well-known brand?
C.P.: I’m the first Bolivian drummer to represent a brand like Mapex and the truth is that I don’t really know how to handle it. It’s cool. But sometimes it’s a lot of pressure. It is a competitive industry and I’m honoured to represent my country. Things like this show Bolivia is taking its art and culture more seriously
BX: Are there any movements to promote Bolivian music?
C.P.: Bolivia has quite a diverse music scene. There are all sorts of bands, from metal, folk, cumbia and rock-pop to electronic music with loads of covers. But most Bolivian bands are pretty anonymous outside Bolivia.
BX: Why did you choose an English Band name (Hate)?
C.P.: We get asked that question a lot. We chose that name in ’94 because metal comes from England so it makes sense to have an English name. I didn’t help choose the name because I joined the band later. But we sing in Spanish not English. We added the letters SA to be distinctive - Hate SA (which stands for Sudamérica), so that we stand out from other international bands.
BX: Do you think you have a responsibility as a national symbol?
C.P.: Yes, I think so, but it depends on the artist. For instance, there’s a drummer that’s very famous, but he isn’t responsible, on a personal or a public level. So you have to be responsible and always give your best. And only you can do this. Someone can tell you, ‘No, you just have to play well’– but it has to come from you.
BX: You were talking about your teacher?
C.P.: My teacher was Geri Bretel. He plays cumbia. Cumbia is very popular, tropical music. They play it a lot here in preste parties. He plays cumbia, I play metal, but he’s the best drummer I know here – he’s excellent, excellent, and he was my professor.
BX: And do you want to be a teacher yourself?
C.P.: I love teaching. I love it when people don’t understand something, and ask, because it helps me to become a better musician – study more, research something on the Internet, learn new techniques. So I prefer it when someone doesn’t understand something – it’s better for me because it allows me to grow.
BX: How much do you practise?
C.P.: I don’t practise alone much. But I practise all day with my band, so I’m always playing – about five hours a day.
BX: Any final words?
C.P.: Discipline is most important for a musician. But you don’t just have to practise, practise, practise. You have to be active. That’s my advice: be disciplined, and if you want to be a musician, you really have to want it from the bottom of your heart. To me, it doesn’t matter whether you have practise for many years. You have to want it from your heart.