If you haven’t already heard, Los Amigos Invisibles is headed to Houston this coming Tuesday, October 20th at Numbers on Westheimer. I interviewed José Rafael Torres, aka “el Catire,” the bass guitar player for Los Amigos. Read on to hear what he has to say about the band, the music, NYC, and Numbers.
Lauren Ignited: It’s fitting that you are playing at one of Houston’s oldest dance clubs, since you view yourself as a high energy band with a non-stop beat, similar to a DJ set. Are you familiar with the history of Numbers?
José Rafael Torres: Wao, we had no idea!
LI: I saw that your album, The Venezuelan Zinga Son, Vol. 1, was produced by Little Louie Vega. Myself and many of my readers are fans of Masters at Work, Kenny Dope and Louie Vega. In fact, he recently came to Houston and I had a chance to chat with him about his set. One highlight for him was the embrace and energy of the Houston crowd. Do you keep in contact with Louie, do you have any future projects planned with him, and how would you describe the Houston crowd, thinking back to your previous visits?
JRT: I think that project with MAW was sort of being at the right place at the right time. After that album we kept working with Louie in several other projects like “Elements of Life”. It was more than 10 years ago. Haven’t been in contact with him in a long time.
LI: How did you first meet Louie Vega, Kenny Dope and Dimitri from Paris?
JRT: When we first heard “Nuyorican Soul” we said “that’s what we’d love to do” so when we moved to NYC in 2001 we started going to the clubs he was spinning at. He was very accesible. Eventualy we convinced him to come to one of our shows and that was it. We met Dimitri through Louie. He introduced him to us at a recording session. We worked with Dimitri until our last studio album “Repeat After Me”
LI: What is the most noticeable difference between touring in the US vs touring outside the US? JRT: In latin america our audience is much bigger than in the US and they sing along every song. Nevertheless we enjoy a lot touring the states. The audience just come to have fun.
LI: What is your fondest memory of growing up in Venezuela?
JRT: It was a very peaceful place and an amazing place to grow up. Sadly not anymore.
LI: If Los Amigos hadn’t worked out, where do you think you’d be working right now? Or what type of musical project would you see yourself being a part of if working a normal job just wasn’t an option at all?
JRT: I would be working in a 9 to 5 job like everyone else, I guess trying to be as close as possible to the music scene. It was just a lucky strike being discovered by David Byrne, and it changed our life forever.
LI: What is your favorite restaurant in NYC?
JRT: We don’t live in NYC anymore but my all time favorite is “Cafe Luluc” in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.