We are Going to Talk Porter
By Carlos Guillermo Garnica
Porter’s enigmatic and inventiveness have their own doors, through a mix of soundscapes of popular synth rock, reminiscent of ancient and pre-colonial Mexico. Their music offers nostalgia but with their own vision of what a generation’s statement and feelings, minds, and mostly of our own perception of what it is like to be Mexican nowadays. Having 4 albums in their artistic career, effort and persistence have been key to changing people’s opinions of their artistic proposal (including mine).
Donde pastan los ponies (2005) and Atemahawke (2007) were under the arm of their first vocalist with the pseudonym of JuanSon. The music has a lot of influence from European and North American alternative and indie music with which they coexisted, as well as many electronic music arrangements. They managed to catch the attention of the local public for generating a quality similar to that of oreigner. Its audience grew rapidly but at the same time, there were doubts about the consistency that the band could achieve when its sound gave the sensation of being influenced and not influencing. Espiral, Daphne, Cuervos, Host of a Ghost, Bipolar were huge hits on local radio stations and gave them the opportunity to appear at major festivals like Vive Latino and Coachella.
Then Moctezuma (2014) and Las Batallas (2019) appeared. With it was the exponential leap that took them to get to the next level. Juanson left the band and David Velasco appeared to the rescue. Coming from a family with strong artistic roots, David brought a voice timbre like Juanson's but with a different mystique. The sweetness in his voice and the strength of his lyrics generated a strong impact towards what the band was looking for; they did not know he had greatness.
The truce ended with justice for all: Juanson sounded better without Porter, and Porter sounded better without Juanson.
In 2015, Moctezuma was nominated for the Latin Grammys for best alternative album., The album tells the story of the Conquest of the Spanish Crown in Tenochtitlán. Murcielago, combines a rhythmic base typical of pre-Hispanic music with guitar riffs that create an atmosphere of pain and vertigo while they tell us the story of how the Mexican people discovered the arrival of strange vessels to their territories, which gave rise to bloody colonization.
La China, tells the legend about the discovery of the promised sign on the eagle devouring the serpent; nowadays, this symbol is the Mexican national shield. And so, each one shows this in the entrails of the band; they found David, and they knew that in addition to looking for him, it was an inner call to show their roots and love for their land. They found enough influence not only to refer but to innovate and look towards the future of music in Mexico. They described the process as something similar to seeking to make music with the spirit of pre-Hispanic Mexico. its sensitivity and environment today represents existing in the result of the historical process in a mestizo Mexico (with all its consequences).
Las Batallas, a direct reference to the novel Las Batallas en el Desierto (1981) by José Emilio Pacheco, aims to reinvent itself under the mystique of having previously achieved one of the best albums released in a long time by a Mexican band. Play with changes of instruments, roles at the time of composition in songs, avoid repeating formulas and above all do not separate from the promise already achieved: Make music that fills the soul. Love, melancholy, pride, frenzy and emotionality are the guiding threads of the journey on the marks and stigmas of a contemporary person who is sensitive to the world around him, an essential narrative premise of the album that shares the conceptuality of its predecessor.
Pájaros, Cuando lloro, ¿qué es el amor?, Himno, Para Ya, Hombre Máquina, have themes that mark poles in aesthetics but end up finding themselves in that human capacity for the feeling they provoke. After listening to it, this album deserves a lot of reflection.
This is how Mexico, from its contemporary cultural vision, is found today in the sound of Porter. Its most descriptive reference is to show itself to the world as what we are - a people that live fighting for what was and dreaming of what is to come.
Allow yourself to live the experience of living Porter.