Making Movies makes music that matters: Built upon a heavy foundation of Afro-Latino rhythms and experimental rock, they have created a bilingual, psychedelic re-envisioning of the “son” (a traditional Latin American song form). Watching a crowd ignite as the band breaks into a traditional cumbia while opening for Cold War Kids, there is a strong sense that Making Movies is pioneering the soundtrack for the new America.
The band’s second album, A La Deriva (“adrift” or “swept away”), produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and re-released by United Interests, tells a story based on the struggles of an immigrant family that tragically falls apart in America and the consequential impact on the following generation. Taking cues from their diverse background, the band’s sound swings intensely, at times sounding like Compay Segundo being played by Jimi Hendrix and at other times like The Talking Heads digging deep into a Dembow. Their broad appeal has led them to share the stage with bands such as Arcade Fire, Los Lobos, Cold War Kids, Ozomatli, and Tennis.
The band’s strong lyricism and deft ways of straddling two cultures flowed easily into becoming a bilingual recording. “Since I was six years old my life has been in both English and Spanish, so I find it natural to make music the same way,” explains singer/guitarist Enrique Chi.
“I was struck by the effortless way they moved between musical styles, all the while managing to make each their own. It was instantaneous that I knew I wanted to work with them.”—Steve Berlin (Los Lobos)
“[A La Deriva’s] 11 new songs are tough to classify into one genre, which … makes them that much more appealing.”—CNN en Español
Enrique and his brother, bassist Diego Chi, grew up in Panama, listening to American classic rock from their Papá’s collection. Mama on the other hand, loved to dance to the traditional sounds of salsa, merengue, and cumbia. The brothers’ tastes grew to include Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, and The Mars Volta. The one thing the entire family agreed on was the inspiration of Panamanian musician Rubén Blades. “A huge influence,” says Chi. Even as a child, he understood the Blades epic, “Pedro Navaja,” to be a dark song you still could dance to, and he turned a paradox into a personal credo: “Music should have a deeper meaning, more than just a feel-good time; it needs to make you think a bit.”
“… the young band Making Movies (and its producer, Steve Berlin of Los Lobos) shows us how deeply thought-out lyrics sound next to a rhythm track that somehow both propels and floats without violating the laws of physics.”—NPR
The brothers formed the band in Kansas City in 2009, with percussionist Juan-Carlos Chaurand and drummer Brendan Culp. Upon releasing their EP, Aguardiente, in 2012, the band’s sound was described by Ink Magazine as “Cuban dance hall merged with blasts of guitar straight out of Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, as if reinterpreted by Santana.”
“Kansas City’s own Making Movies is quickly becoming the band to pioneer Latino Rock in middle America.”—American Latino TV
“I feel fully confident saying that the band synthesizes what’s happening in … Latin music better than anyone else out there today.”—MTV Iggy
The members of Making Movies are socially active both inside and outside of the band. In 2012, they established M.U.S.I.C.A., a summer music camp in Kansas City for low-income students from immigrant families.
“Kids of immigrants, especially the undocumented, grow up today with a lot of challenges, worried about their parents, worried about how the family will pay the rent, fully aware of their place in life and their limited options. When you limit a kid that distinctly, all kinds of terrible things can happen, and a child can easily be cast A La Deriva.”