By Pablo Jaime Sáinz
San Diego. Buenos Aires. Barcelona.
These three places might seem like worlds apart from each other, both in culture and in distance, but a group of bands has made a musical experiment that has tried to close all the gaps among the three cities.
The international Sin Fronteras Project [Without Borders Project] brought together the music, enthusiasm, and political statements of San Diego’s Gadfly, Buenos Aires’ Azteca Tupro, and Barcelona’s Go Lem System.
The result was an album of the same name that was released in 2006. It has sold out, but four of the songs can be played through the project’s MySpace site: www.my space.com/proyectosinfronteras.
The songs are a blending of reggae, ska, dub, rock, punk, and electronica. The lyrics are in English and Spanish and anything in between. The four sample songs on Myspace are Apocalipstick, La llorona, Eleonorita, and Piedra.
Sin Fronteras was first planned back in 2001, when San Diego’s Tommy Dubs, vocalist and guitarist of Gadfly, spent some time in Buenos Aires and met Aztecas Tupro. Then, in 2006, they brought along Go Lem System from Barcelona, and the three bands recorded the album in Buenos Aires that year.
La Prensa San Diego interviewed Dubs to learn more about this international music project that might as well be a statement that, without a doubt, music has no borders.
La Prensa San Diego: What’s the main purpose of international bands coming together to create an album like Sin fronteras?
Tommy Dubs: For me Sin Fronteras came out of an incredible friendship that I forged with Pablo from the Buenos Aires band Aztecas Tupro. He basically was my ambassador to Argentina when I was living there. He showed me about so many bands that I have never heard of before like Mano Negra, Manu Chao, Sumo and a bunch of other mind blowing artists. The fact that I had never been exposed to an international superstar like Manu Chao prior to living in Argentina blew my mind and the whole Sin Fronteras Project grew out of this idea. I really saw how musically isolated I was living in the US and decided I did not want language to be a barrier for me with music.
La Prensa San Diego: Although uniting three different cities in one project might in itself be a political statement, not all songs have direct political commentary.
Dubs: There is definite political message to the Sin Fronteras project but it is all up to personal interpretation. It would be easy to say “Bush is an idiot” or this politician is corrupt, everyone knows this, but do we know why there is corruption? It was never an intention to hit people over the head with our political beliefs but rather make a statement like “look at these 3 cultures working together to make music just cause they can”.
La Prensa San Diego: How close have you remained with the other two bands?
Dubs: I’m very close with all of them. Pablo and I are like brothers... we have a crazy connection that makes us feel like close family. I will always consider the guys from Aztecas Tupro my true family. Aleko (Golem System) and I have just begun recording together online. I’ll send him tracks to Barcelona by e-mail and a few days later he sends them back with vocals and I mix it here. In fact he just right now sent me another song. I’m not sure if these songs are going to be the start of the second Sin Fronteras album, but Aleko has recorded some vocals for the new Gadfly album that will be out in February.
La Prensa San Diego: Where can people buy the CD?
Dubs: The Sin Fronteras CD was a physical only release and has completely sold out. We are putting it up for digital distribution very soon and will be available on iTunes.
La Prensa San Diego: Do you perform some of the songs in that album in your local gigs?
Dubs: Lyrics creep into Gadfly songs, but we haven’t taken on the challenge of pulling that off live as just a three piece. That would be amazing.
La Prensa San Diego: Any background info on you and the band?
Dubs: Gadfly has been around for 3 years in San Diego and we mix a style of music called Rock Steady Rock. There is a heavy dub influence and we also will bust out some covers by Manu Chao ever now and then. We are playing December 1 at 710 Club in Pacific Beach so come check us out.
La Prensa San Diego: Did you learn Spanish during the process of recording Sin Fronteras?
Dubs: Hmmmm.... Un poco? I can understand pretty well, but when I talk I basically butcher the language, so let’s spare everyone.