Band Name: La Obra De Marte
(the name and our lyrics are in Spanish as it is our native language, however we might also write fully English songs in a really near future). The translation of our name to English is “The Work Of Mars”.
Current Band Members are:
Jowy Berrios Lopez (Guitar/ music arrangements)
Emmanuel Rivera (Singer/ Lyricist)
AJ Rivera (Drummer)
Pete Holliday (Guitar)
Hilmaris Sepulveda (Bass)
Person Interviewing: Jowy Berrios Lopez
Song name: EXorcismo
Music Genre:: Alternative Rock/ Pop Punk/ Indie
This song is included in the e.p. titled “La Cara” (Aka Las Dos Caras De La Moneda Parte 1)
The song title EXorcismo (or in English EXorcism) it’s a play of words making reference to an EX couple. The person that you loved with all your energy, time, and body, but at the end of the day it didn’t went how you felt it was going and and you had the worst heartbreak you could possibly had because of that person. So now you need some sort of EXorcismo to take this person out of your mind, soul, body, you are trying to live without him/or her and you are basically forgetting this person (even though is being a really hard thing to do).
Our music could be defined as Pop Punk/ Power Pop/ Indie rock. In our first album called “Punto De Partida” we were really going for the pop punk sound but mixing it with hard rock elements (we didn’t wanted it to sound so happy and bright as the usual pop punk bands we have always loved). Flash forward to 2018, in the middle of all the growing, line up changes, and experiences we moved to a more mature direction, and even though the listener can still hear a hint of pop punk here and there, we are not focusing on sound that way, we are striving for a more all around rounded sound, in the Alternative Rock/ Indie Rock spectrum.
The song EXorcismo is a vivid example of how our direction is changing since the last three years as a band and up until 2018. During the first three years of a band, we had a lot of good band experience as people really liked our work, but also in each of our personal life we experienced a lot of lost (our singer and Cofunder’s mother passed away) Some of our former musicians had to go to other countries to make a living, and a lot of other “real life” situations started to mold our lyrical approaches, and our music as a whole. So EXorcismo is a great example of where our music is going.
Our music usually starts one of two ways: I create a basic simple riff with a drum track as well, and I start layering down the overall music Idea, I send that to Emmanuel Rivera and he starts writing lyrics to it. Emmanuel is a really great lyricist and it just comes natural to him.
Besides that approach sometimes Emmanuel has a lyric idea done, and he sends it to me (Jowy), and after I read it and I get the overall vibe of the lyrical content, I make music that matches the feeling of the words in it. Other times our Ideas just happen on the spot, in any practice day. We always try to keep that spontaneous energy going on.
Listen to the Interview...
Discussion: Keeping a band together in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. The importance of raising awareness for your local culture and history with your music platform. Staying inspired and motivated through all the tough times as you build your band presence and take those initial steps forward. How to utilize social media to gain world wide exposure for your music. Ways to take advantage of the music trends to capture your audience.
In the Studio:
After we have created the full songs and practiced with the musicians who are going to record them in the studio (this E.P. where the song EXorcismo is included was recorded by Jowy Berrios. Emmanuel Rivera and Ito Figueroa our former drummer, but he is no longer with us). We recorded this in “Highway Studios” owned by the recording engineer Alexis Pérez (also session musician, and producer). Alexis listens to the whole songs, we record a demo version so that he can sit with each song and pre produce them, and a few days later we just go to the studio with a full song structure that came out of the demo track and we record it.
How do you stay focused and balance creating with life..
Being an Indie artist (or band), has its freedoms, but with freedom comes a lot of responsibilities. Most of the time, we spend more money recording and promoting that what we actually are able to make in shows, and this is a tough pill to swallow. In Puerto Rico even though there are a lot of rock fans, rock is not the music that Radio Stations and TV channels promote, they rather promote “Reggaeton”, “latin trap” or any music that the “big” music companies are pushing (payola’ing) through the radio. This happens even more when instead of having to pay (4 or 5 musicians in a band) they (music companies) just pay a singer and a dj and that is equivalent of more profit to their pocket.
So based on this, we literally do our art out of passion, and wanting to work against the grain (that is the same situation with 80% of the rock bands in the world). Also besides this we all have “real adult life” to live, we work highly demanding full time jobs, some of us have kids and family, mortgage, car, taxes to pay etc. But when creating art and original music is a real passion, nothing will stop you from doing it, not the work, not the line up changes, not the lazy people… nothing.
What piece of music advice forever changed your way of thinking?
From my mother I had learned that in order to do something you don’t need to wait for anybody to do anything. You just go ahead and do it.
Of course this doesn’t mean that you will go ahead and do everything alone. We are not a one man band or something like that. But it is more in the sense of dealing with people who doesn’t have a vision, a drive. If you have people that is lazy, or doesn’t really feel what you are doing, you need to get that people out of your way and just keep progressing with your vision. No excuses, no waiting on anyone. Thanks to the technological advances we have at our hands today a lot of issues that musicians used to deal with in the past are no more issues. We face new challenges though, and that is the part of the magic in this process.
We live in… Puerto Rico, and the music scene here is really difficult.
We are a small island, but with 4 millions of inhabitants, the only thing is that almost all those people just listen to “Reggaeton”, “Salsa”, “Reggae Roots” and not rock. So a lot of times they don’t really get what we do (or what a lot of the other rock bands from Puerto Rico do). Even thou, there is a great deal of great rock and indie rock bands from Puerto Rico, but most of them end up breaking up after releasing great work because it is really hard to go forward when the radio, tv channels, Venue Owners, and even the government agencies, don’t really help that much, and don’t really care, unless you are making a lot of money on your own already and they can profit from it.
Website & social media links: