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Five Minutes at MUTEK with Chancha Vía Circuito

Amidst the hustle and bustle of this year's MUTEK festival in Montreal, we snagged a few of our favorite artists for a quick chat about their impressions of the festival, the city, and, of course, some chatter about their music. Argentina's Chancha Vía Circuito brought something different to the MUTEK lineup this year, and here he talks about his opinion of Montreal, what it means to take part in the festival, and how he feels about his music being labeled as cumbia.

XLR8R: A lot of people might assume that this is your first trip to Montreal, but you have been to the city before, right?
Chancha Vía Circuito: Yeah, I've been here twice before with ZZK tours. The first one was with Fauna. We had a really amazing show that night. The second one was last year with Tremor and El Remolón, and it was great too.

What are some of your favorite things about the city?
I like to see all the people riding bicycles. I like the bicycles themselves, they're beautiful. Also, I like that it's a quiet place to live. It's not too noisy. It's a clean place and the people are really chill. I like the food. I don't know the city that well, but I like these kinds of things. It's full of music culture, too.

Have you tried poutine?
Yeah, I have, but cold poutine. [ZZK label manager] Grant put [his leftovers] in the fridge. It was quite good, but I think it's probably better if it's hot.

Were you surprised to be invited to play at MUTEK?
Yeah. It was great though, because I always wished to be here at MUTEK. Many artists I always admired I found out about through MUTEK. Now I am here and they are in the same place, and it's a great moment for me. I'm enjoying it a lot.

MUTEK has done things in Buenos Aires over the years, right?
Yes, but it's quite different. In Buenos Aires, it's smaller. It's called Micro-MUTEK, with maybe only four artists in one night.

Now that Rio Arriba has been officially released in North America, it seems like the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Are you surprised that the music is being embraced by so many people, especially people who don't normally follow Latin music or "world" music?
I wasn't expecting anything [from the album]. It was a big surprise. I just started watching online and seeing a lot of new reviews and information about the album, and it was more than I expected. I like when the music I make reaches other kinds of people and audiences.

At this point, you've been releasing music for a few years. Are you still okay with people calling your music "cumbia," or do you want people to use a different way to describe it?
I think cumbia digital doesn't represent anymore the music I make now. Cumbia is an influence in my music, but it's one of many. I prefer when it's not called cumbia or cumbia digital.

What would you prefer?
I don't know, really. [laughs] But it experiments with rhythms and folklore.

Do you want folklorico digital?
No! [laughs] I don't feel the need for titles for the music. But it's not really my job anyways.

For more about Chancha Vía Circuito at MUTEK, check out Part 2 of our festival wrap-up.

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