As part of Modulations, Porteño will host a showcase of their favourite record label - LA's iconic rock n roll and rockabilly collective Wild Records - on Monday 9 June. Recently the subject of international film festival standout 'Los Wild Ones', Wild Records is a talent hot bed, predominately of young Hispanic musicians, with an uncompromising aesthetic that carries the torch from the original rockabilly legends. The close-knit roster is fathered by Irishman Reb Kennedy who we initially invited to contribute a modcast. Acknowledging that he's a purist who is extremely reluctant to embrace the digital age, we quickly realised that this Q&A would be a more accurate translation of his ideas and the true Wild culture.
Wild Porteño features lives performances from three of Wild Records' roster - The Delta Bombers, Gizzelle and Luis & The Wildfires. Tell us about your first encounters with each of these acts and what drew you to working with them.
The Delta Bombers - I caught them opening for another Wild band in Las Vegas (where they come from) and their live show was fantastic. The singer Chris blew me away with his powerful voice and Andrew was playing some savage guitar.
I happened to see Gizzelle singing at a Johnny Cash tribute show. I hated what she was singing but her voice made me feel like I'd just being kicked in the teeth. She was only 15 at the time but 10 years later, she's the best female singer I have ever heard.
Luis was the first act signed to Wild Records 15 years ago. Still one of the world's best live shows you will ever see. At first they had sax (which i cant stand) and were doing some late 50s RnR mixed in with there own stuff. It's Luis' great original songs that grabbed me then and they still do now.
The roster has a large presence of hispanic musicians. Is there a connection between 50s/60s rock n roll culture and the hispanic community?
I think like the Irish (I am from Dublin), we have a love of real music people singing and playing guitars and this is true in the hispanic community where Elvis and the 50s/60s music is still played in all households and people still sing along. It's not seen as music of the past, just music.
You clearly build very genuine friendships with your artists. Is it ever complicated mixing friends with business?
Not really. My friendship with the Wild artist allow me to tell me when they're not doing a good job or are fucking up. They trust me.
How did you find yourself in LA?
I moved to LA to start the record label and work with original rock n roll artists (but still can't believe there is so much amazing talent in the US.
You record, mix and master the label's records. Were you self taught in these departments? Do you play an instrument also?
Yes I am self taught. Mostly by Omar Romero, my best friend and who I do all recording and mixing with. I play bass really badly, but I am really good at playin the fool.
How did Los Wild Ones documentary come about?
The people who ended up making the movie came across the Wild music and wanted to find out more about it. We had some meetings and they felt we had a great story. We're very, very lucky to find a backer who also loved our story and music. They got a crew together and filmed me for 9 months, 5 days a week, 12 hours a day. Then we had Los Wild Ones, a true love story.
What's the wildest Wild Records story that didn't end up on film?
There was enough footage shot to make 5 or 6 movies, so lots and lots of good stuff didn't make the cut. A lot of super difficult times for Wild people. Breakups and lifts up and down.
What's the least wildest record in your record collection?
I will tell you but don't tell anyone. In secret I love Rod Stewart and also like the Carpenters. Haha.
Wild Porteño appears at Carriageworks on Monday 9 June as part of Modulations. Featuring live performances from The Delta Bombers (Las Vegas), Gizzelle (LA) and Luis & The Wildfires (LA) with DJs Rockin' Marc Rondeau and A Man Called Stu. Porteño's kitchen opens at noon, with the Wild Porteño live revue kicking off at 3PM and making a racket till late. Tickets are available here.
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Carriageworks and Modular are joining forces to present four days of exclusive music performances, art and contemporary ideas as part of VIVID 2014. Grounded in music and crossing art and design, Modulations looks at where these art forms intersect, overlap and influence each other.
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