Argentine Rule-Breakers Eruca Sativa Talk Honesty, Why 'Glee' is 'Abuse'

Eruca Sativa
Luciana D. Attama

Eruca Sativa 

When it comes to the Argentine band Eruca Sativa, the group abides by no rules. Or maybe it does have one, which implies breaking every one of them.

Lula Bertoldi, Brenda Martin and Gabriel Pedernera find the playfulness in flirting with different genres, from folklore to EDM, from grunge to hard rock. But obviously, since it's only a wooing game, they don't get hooked up with any. In other words, Eruca needs the signs, the labels and the clichés to ignore them.

The band weaves the genres and combines them with the raw riffs that infiltrate in the technical virtuosity of their fifth album, 2016's Barro y Fauna, recorded in Los Angeles. Dedicated to Emilia Rufino and Julián Sorín -- Brenda and Lula's children, respectively -- the album revives the wildness of the first three LPs and adjusts it to the electronic sound in Huellas Digitales, recorded live in 2014. It's in that fusion that the secret of their originality resides. 

With Adrián Sosa's work, this is the first album by Eruca that has not been produced by them. It was a good decision: Their song "Nada Salvaje" was nominated as Best Rock Song for the 2016 Latin Grammys. It also won the Best Videoclip award in the Argentinian Gardel Awards the same year. Barro y Fauna also won Best Group Rock Album and Production of the Year at the 2017 Gardel Awards in June, where they also were nominated for Song of the Year.

Do you think that nowadays production is winning over songs?

Brenda Martin: It should not happen. The word "winning" implies an imbalance, and at the time of composing, one thing shouldn't be more important than the other. In our case, some of the songs in Barro y Fauna needed more work than others to embellish what we were trying to say. We indulged ourselves with dressing our songs in a way we had never thought of before.

There's a change in the music paradigm, in the way of consuming, composing and selling. The tendency in composing is gearing towards a more digital and electronic way. Do you agree?

Gabriel Pedernera: These tools should be used for an artistic purpose. The problem with technology is that sometimes it's used to cover flaws… the same happens with Auto-Tune or Photoshop. Photoshop is an incredible tool if you use it to improve something that's already good, but if you want to make someone who's 70 look like 18, well… that's a little more complicated. I have a personal fight against Auto-Tune in cases such as Glee, where they tune the voices to perfection. Nobody can sing like they do in that TV show: It's impossible to maintain a note with that precision for 45 seconds. That's abuse.

You have a very close relationship with your fans. Do you think of them when you compose?

Lula Bertoldi: Not at the time of composing. We are aware of our fans, but that doesn't mean we compose for them. The truth is, we always think of the music we like, that which represents us… and then it's up to them to like it. The idea is to be musically honest and not always go for the safe bet… we want to step outside the boundaries and see what happens.

Pedernera: Even if we release some material that we like a lot, but some of our fans don't, it's also positive. It means something has changed. And that's great, because we hate to repeat ourselves.

You expose your views on certain social issues. Lula, for example, participated in an event in favor of Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, against the reduction of the sentence of ex-military officers convicted of human rights crimes during Argentine dictatorship four decades ago. Have you ever thought about making political songs?

Pedernera: Our songs express our views on the world in general. All the same, they are free to interpretation: the artistic process starts in the artist and finishes in whoever receives it. If you limit your listener too much, you're cutting their wings.

Would you consider yourself a conceptual band?

Martin: The word "concept" breaks spontaneity. Our concept has to do with what Gabi says: the receiver has to finish building it. We have gone through albums in which we worked with an aim in mind, and we strung it all together in such a way that everything had to do with everything.

Now, we are going through a stage of "non concept," to see what comes out, the spontaneity in it all… we even chose the phrase "Barro y Fauna" (Mud and Fauna) as the title of the disc at the end of all the creative process. It was the first time we had worked that way: the previous albums had a name from the very beginning.


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