MFD Interviews: Estancia La Mar

This trio from Chile blew us away late last year with the impeccable beauty of an album called “Sesiones de Panamá”. The guys behind it are Pablo Munoz, Mario Martinez (better known under his alias Motivado) and Juan Pablo Abalo, who all share a musical past working with each other in different ways.

The music scene in Chiles capital city Santiago is rich and varied, and has blossomed even more in the last decade. Its seclusion from western and European ears is slowly wearing thin with the city’s boom of psychedelic bands. Estancia La Mar as a group comes from a brew of different styles: clever electronic pop, quirky house and even classical music. This is their story. 

MFD: First of all, I’m curious about the sample of the telephone conversation in “Terminos & Condiciones”, where did you find it and what was the idea behind using it for that track?

– When we were at the studio during the selection process of the recorded songs and we listened to this track, which is, by the way, the most downtempo song of the whole record and unlike the other songs doesn’t have a clear melody, we felt that a vocal track could work as a unit or narrative element to the mix, not a singing one but a talking one.
Pablo recalled that he used to listen a lot, when he was a teenager, to a Peel session with The Orb who had a similar idea in order to get that effect. So, we thought that something like an airport ambient sound could work and we searched for that on Youtube.
We didn’t find exactly that but we found this phone call of this Samoan man to the Ariport of Melbourne call center and we mounted it on to the session and it works. It mixed very well with the song adding some tension that we liked.


The original sample source for “Terminos & Condiciones”

MFD: The tracks for this album were, as I understand it, recorded live. How did that come about? Did it start as just a fun experiment or did you all have a clear idea before of what the outcome would be?

– We think it was a clear idea. We have been listening to a lot of downtempo electronics, ambient and balearic stuff lately and Pablo felt that we could make something good in that style with our gear and our knowledge of music. So, in the beginning it was something like a production exercise because he is a sound engineer and he has his own studio here in Santiago, so it would be easy to produce it.
So, he proposed the idea to the rest of us. We gathered a couple of times to talk about the project and listen to some music. Finally we went to the studio and we connected all of our gear with the idea to play and record a whole weekend without over-thinking too much (Juan Pablo doing some harmonies and melodies, Mario doing the rhythm section and Pablo adding some synths pads and effects).
Then, when we listened to the whole session, which was something like 4 hours in a row of recorded music, we felt that we had something good enough. So if we were to add some proper editing, an artwork and a mastering, that session could become a record and maybe somebody could be interested in publishing it.
So, we did that, and we sent the material to 5 different record labels around the world, including Music For Dreams. Kenneth liked it and responded that he was interested in the project and here we are.

MFD: The three of you have worked together in various projects before, do you have any plans to continue in the shape of Estancia La Mar and record more music together? In that case, what could one expect that to sound like?      

– Yes, we are very anxious in repeating the process and record a second album with Estancia La Mar. As we have been in rehearsal of “Sesiones de Panama” in order to play it live, a lot of new ideas have come up that we want to imprint on our next album.
This next time we probably want to focus a little more on the sounds of the album and make a more elegant mix without losing the essence of the project which is the way it sounds as a band, as played live.
In addition, we will probably work together this year on different levels in ours solo projects: Gargales, Motivado and Juan Pablo Abalo.

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Words and interview by Simon Eliasson for Music For Dreams.