Argentinian producer Pedro Canale, better known to your Bandcamp collection as Chancha Via Circuito, is currently touring the U.S. with a brand-new album in hand. Amansara is his third, and his first for the New York-based Wonderwheel label, which is spearheaded by globe-trotting DJ Nickodemus.
Cutting his teeth with the ZZK crew of Buenos Aires’ digital cumbia scene, Chancha’s blending of traditional folkloric music with futuristic sounds has forged ties with fans of electronic music around the world. On Amansara he reaches beyond the boundaries of his motherland to incorporate styles and influences from neighboring South American countries, too.
Bandcamp: It’s been 3 years since your last release. What have you been up to?
Pedro Canale: I’ve been composing new material and touring around Europe, Russia, Mexico and Nordic countries. I’ve also been teaching Ableton Live here in Buenos Aires and traveling for pleasure. This year I visited the jungle of Belize, and I went to the jungle of Peru for the third time.
BC: How would you describe the difference between Amansara and Rio Arriba?
PC: The spirit of the music is the same, with many different influences that start a dialogue in each song. The main difference between Rio Arriba and Amansara is that for this new album I didn’t use samples. I used to sample a lot before and sometimes I still do, but now if I use samples in a song, I just put the song up for a free download. This is why I dropped a free EP called Semillas after Rio Arriba.
BC: Is it important to you to preserve traditional sounds, instruments, songs, and rhythms of your motherland?
PC: It’s important to me to play with traditional sounds, to reinterpret and mix them in a new way. I consider this the best way to preserve the traditional—the best way of keeping these ancient rhythms alive.
BC: Where did you grow up and what kind of music did you listen to there?
PC: I grew up in José Mármol, a quiet and beautiful city on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. My parents played a lot of different music in our home—folklore, jazz, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Violeta Parra, Urubamba, the Beatles, classical, etc. I think it was very important for my musical education to have had this background.
BC: The collaborative track with Mariam Garcia is a great example of how your music marries traditional and future sounds in a really organic way. Garcia is a unique singer and her vocal style seems to fit your music perfectly. How/when did you start to work together and what is the process like?
PC: When I heard Miriam’s voice for the first time in the track “Pintar El Sol,” I felt something very deep and special. I didn’t know she was alive and living in Buenos Aires, so it was kind of a miracle to find this out. She had already heard my remix of “Pintar El Sol” through a student of hers and liked it a lot, so I didn’t hesitate to invite her to my studio. We have been working together ever since. The process is that I show her some beats and she simply starts singing and trying some melodies.
BC: How is the digital cumbia scene doing in Argentina? Are you pleased with its reception around the world?
PC: The scene of digital cumbia was related to Zizek parties, and this is how this movement got stronger. Nowadays, Zizek doesn’t exist anymore; a lot of new cumbia parties took its place (with a bunch of new producers also). So I don’t really know if we are still talking about a scene, but this is something that has gotten bigger as an influence here in Buenos Aires and all over the world. I’m very happy to see that cumbia, including digital cumbia, has won a deserved place everywhere.
BC: What can you tell us about “Sueño en Paraguay?”
PC: It’s a song that’s inspired by the harp music from Paraguay. I haven’t been there, but I really want to—maybe some day. A curious thing in this song is that I used, as a percussive element, some loops that I made by colliding stones in Sun Island, Bolivia. It’s a meeting between countries.
BC: In addition to “Sueño en Paraguay,” there are other references on the album to South American countries outside of Argentina. What was the aim of reaching beyond your home country?
PC: The curiosity and the desire to know new places and music pushes me in my search. There are many magical places in South America.
BC: Your remix of José Larralde’s “Quimey Neuquén” played a big role in the final series of Breaking Bad—Walter White buries his millions in the desert to the soundtrack of your mix. Were you a fan of the show and did this license open the door for more interest in your music?
PC: I’m not a fan of the series; I only watched the first season, but I know I should watch it entirely. Yes, this license opened the door, as you say. Many people reached my music through it. It was a big step in my career and I’m pleased.
BC: Can you talk to us about the artwork—who did it and what’s the story behind the image? What are you hoping to convey?
PC: The artwork is a painting from Paula Duró; she is responsible for the art of my last three releases. This image evokes some magical and spiritual situation, something very typical in her art. I don’t know if it has a story behind it, but it really inspired me. Maybe this question is more for her. We should ask her! It’s a mystery!
BC: What is the significance of the title, Amansara?
PC: It has no translation, really. Amansar is a verb more related to calming animals through love when they are a bit nervous or anxious. The meaning of the title for this album is the same, but for people.