Los Amigos Invisibles’ primary songwriter and guitarist, Jose Luis Pardo (aka DJ Afro), is making his solo debut this week with Free (Nacional), an eclectic album that coasts a wide musical landscape. So what can we expect from the man responsible for many of the hits that made the Venezuelan party band a sensation over the last 20 years? The answer is anything, as the record’s title implies. We caught up with Pardo ahead of the release and here’s what he had to say:
You’re launching a solo career? Why now?
I didn’t want to stop when we finished [Los Amigos Invisibles’ album] Commercial, which was made in my studio. I was full of ideas. I wanted to take advantage of that rush. I couldn’t wait two more years to make another album.
How would you describe Free?
I would say it’s a schizophrenic. It’s bipolar. There’s everything from bolero to bossa nova to techno in it. It’s a reflection of the music I’ve been into in the last year.
What are some of your favorite tracks on it?
A few. I really like the second track, “Este Bolero Es Para Ti.” It’s a Latin violin track with an opera singer. The opera singer, Heather Buck, was a trip to record with in my shitty studio. There’s a story behind every track.
You’re also working with an old-school Venezuelan singer, right?
“Donde Estas” is with Guillermo Carrasco, a Venezuelan singer three generations ahead of me who was stepping out of the business. I said let’s do something and it came out great. It’s a beautiful thing when you get together with a musician and find out that the inspiration is music, not money or popularity.
Fans will be surprise to hear you sing for the first time in this album.
I started singing because I had a very clear idea of the melody and vocals and recorded my vocals in order to send it to singer friends. But my friend who was mixing the record said, ‘leave yours,’ so I did.