Interview: Serpentina Satelite

Words by Simon Hadley.

Photos: Henry Gates and Sandra Villarreal.

The Peruvian experimental five-part released their third offering, Mecanica Celeste, back in October, an album that according to the Lima-based rockers is: “a unique take on psychedelia, conceived by manipulating traditional religious songs, textual ideology and poetry, with heavy fuzz guitars, swirling drones and spaced out wah-solos.”

With this album, Serpentina Satelite has brought their psychedelic teachings into Europe; picking up new fans along the way. Rhythm guitarist and vocalist, Renato Gómez, took a break from his busy schedule, to speak to us about their rising reputation.

For our readers who are not familiar with you work, how would you describe Serpentina Satelite?

We tried to get to heaven but ended up in space.

Who were your biggest musical influences when you were finding your feet as a band and growing up in Lima?

The list is way too long. Perhaps the most relevant for all of us in the band are: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Ash Ra Tempel, Spacemen 3, Loop, My Bloody Valentine, Amon Duul II, Brian Eno, Kraftwerk, Acid Mothers Temple and Iron Maiden.

How did the production and mixing process differ between Mecanica Celeste and Nothing To Say?

We have set more guitar and bass layers, more overdubs, as well as effects, keyboards, oscillations and what not. There is more use of vocals and text all through the record and we did some recordings with a choir. Some are part of the record, while others have not been released yet.

The sound of it as a whole is a bit different, heavy and subtler, but more intricate. There are many messages within the songs for the listeners to find as well. This time we’ve tried to include a wider set of references.

Judging by the positive reaction to Mecanica Celeste, are you thinking about capitalising on the album’s success, by getting back into the studio to record a follow-up album?

We would like to tour Europe for a while some time next year.

A longer version of ‘Sendero’ is yet to be released. Are there any plans to release the track? Maybe as a limited edition download perhaps?

‘Sendero’ is just the beginning or entrance into a way longer trip called ‘Black Meditation’.

Staying on the subject of potential releases, have you got any plans to re-release your debut EP ‘Long Play’ for fans who are curious of how your early recordings compare to how you sound today?

At the moment there are other priorities. I personally think that what we are doing right now is much more interesting than what was going on back then.

That EP, I see more as a demo tape than anything else. Over the years those songs changed dramatically when we played them live. Along the way we’ve learned a lot more about studio production too. Dolmo’s participation in the band changed our sound dramatically.

In my opinion, he was like the missing piece to complete this radiant puzzle. Now both guitars tend to be lines of endless aural parapets, criss-crossing each other back and forth.

How supportive has Rocket Recordings been in promoting you to a European audience?

They’ve done a great job promo wise, as we are receiving reviews all over Europe. They work with great distributors as well. Chris and Johnny are great people, we couldn’t be happier.

Has the thriving underground scene in Lima influenced your sound at all? Are there any home-grown Peruvian bands that you could recommend to our readers?

Yes. Perhaps the one band from Lima that has inspired us the most and you should all be listening to the very second that this sentence is over, should be Hipnoascension.