As Making Movies delivers its 4th album, XOPA, the Kansas City band proves true the maxim which, in English, is like an encouraging version of “reap what you sow.” Meant to inspire to push forward, the phrase is chanted on the LP’s multi-movement epic, “La Primera Radio” — but it’s exemplary, too, of the band’s musical odyssey. This is a band that makes American music with an asterisk: because Making Movies’ sound encompasses the entirety of the Americas, not solely the country inarguably centered in mainstream everything. It’s through this broader perspective that they have crunched classic rock into Latin American rhythms — African-derived percussion & styles like rumba, merengue, mambo & cumbia — in a way that feels oddly familiar, yet delivers the invigorating chills of hearing something uniquely new. Each member: Enrique Chi, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter; his brother Diego Chi, bassist/experimental vocalist; percussionist Juan-Carlos Chaurand; & Duncan Burnett, newly incorporated into the band on drums, is enthusiastically committed to music history, to uncovering connections between genres & cultures both their own & otherwise. They’re all lifelong musicians too, hailing from disparate yet similar backgrounds, parents that cherished music, fathers that kickstarted cultural movements, families in which gospel is critical to their very existence. The band’s collective desire for exploration has attracted a several connections, many of them legendary players, like friend of the proGram Mr. Steve Berlin of iconic rock band Los Lobos, a recurring collaborator & steadfast champion of the band. An approach from beloved Panamanian musician Rubén Blades led to joint songs like “No te Calles’‘ & “Cómo Perdonar.” Making Movies has also created with indie-folk band Hurray for the Riff Raff, trumpeter Asdru Sierra of Ozomatli, Puerto Rican salsero Frankie Negrón, and all-female mariachi group Flor de Toloache. On the heels of Making Movies’ 2019 album ameri’kana, the band worked on a documentary series, through which they connected with the legendary organist Reverend Charles Hodges, an soul music pioneer who played alongside Al Green, and fellow Memphis, Tennessee, musicians the Sensational Barnes Brothers. At their live shows, they are wholly present, feeling every original groove with the same rush of as when they first found it. This approach has prompted many to proclaim: ‘This IS my new favorite band’.
I had the opportunity to catch up with family to the proGram, Enrique Chi ahead of the Making Movies sets on the weekend of August 13-14th at the McPike Sessions – the Pursuit of Happiness. We got into why coming to Madison is a no-brainer, we dive deep into the technology and songwriting sides of the new record ‘XOPA’ and we touch base on the give back the band is art of with a discussion around the upcoming AMERI’KANA Music & Arts Festival. Check them out live, listen to the music but definitely figure out a way to find out that the difference is why.