If you haven´t seen The Secret movie – you absolutely must, and read the book, too. Meanwhile also read our conversation with Erk Aicrag of Hocico, for many THE aggrotech band and a trendsetter of the scene. An EBM party can´t be EBM if at least once Hocico tunes wasn´t been played there. Musically this is the soundtrack to an exorcism movie´s scariest part right before the end, but actually talking to the frontman of this Mexican hit is like a motivational training. No matter all the hardships of their background, spiky comments from and about the Goths and the scene in general, Hocico are unbreakable. Because Erk knows The Secret and the true meaning of life.
How do you like it here, what´s your impression of Finland?
We like it, we like it very much! We´ve been to Finland already in 2002 and 2004 I guess, and we´ve been to Tampere already. Actually the scene is bigger in Helsinki, but Tampere´s good too and it´s always interesting to see who´s showing up, how different each show will be.
The scene here is very different! Must be quite exotic for you too…
We´ve been around for such a long time and we´ve seen a lot, we played a lot. When we perform here, it takes people more time to get into our thing, you know what I mean? But then they´re in and they dance and then it´s all great!
And you´ve also been to Japan and Russia, also quite different scenes…
Yeah! Russia´s wild, really WILD!!! Because they bring back this dangerous feeling, because if you get too close to the audience and they can literally take a piece of you! But I like it, I like it a lot, it´s just wild! Japan is more laid-back people, to me they´re like Finnish, more quiet. It takes them time to get into us but then they can enjoy it too.
You´ve played at WGT also in Germany, the gothic festival. Recently more and more people complain that there are too many electronic bands playing and the original goth scene is non-existent, practically. What do you think about it?
To be honest I´ve never thought it about it like this. I notice that more bands are moving towards the electronic sound, the bands which had more guitars before, like Clan of Xymox, are now becoming more electro, but I don´t know… Probably for many bands it´s more practical, but I think it´s all about good music and if electronic is good – it´s good for us! But I can´t know, it´s like this now and before it was different, do what will it be in 10 years?! I just hope that the bands who play at the festivals are actually good, doesn´t matter what they play, rock or electro.
Among all the many bands in the scene, what do you think makes you good and unique, what gives Hocico personality?
It´s a hard question! It´s hard to see what´s special when you´re inside of it. I think we´re honest and with our music we express exactly how we feel, maybe that´s why people like us because we are not faking anything. We were actually discussing with our Finnish promoter about it, that maybe people like us because we´re from Mexico?! Hey, that´s cool – we´re exotic and people like us! But first of all you must make good music, then people will turn around and look at you. Then it won´t matter where you come from, you´ve to do something good first. People can connect with us because our music is exactly what comes from our hearts and our souls, it´s pure and honest.
In that case, just how satisfied are you with your latest album?
Pretty happy actually, I really think we did the best album ever. We worked a longer time on it and we really picked the best tracks for it, the best we could think of from beginning to the end. To us those were the best. Our songs´ structure has evolved into more complex but at the same time it´s easy to listen. We come to discover ourselves in more complex way and develop new sounds, but at the same time it´s more easy-listening. The melodies play lighter and so on, so overall we are very satisfied with the progress.
What was the hardest song to work on?
That was “Doomed to perish” because with this song we wanted the old, the classic Hocico sound and it was hard to reproduce this 15 years later. We wanted to get back in time and revive this old sound, and I remember re-recording the vocals many times and it was a strange feeling. But I think we´ve accomplished this at the end and I´m very glad.
And this one track, “Metamorphose”, which is instrumental. What were you trying to say with this one?
It´s kind of imagining… Probably it makes sense to us, we wanted to paint with sounds how we´ve been changing in time, so it´s this metamorphic change, like a butterfly, how we´ve been evolving and growing, through all these years. And at the end it explodes…. It´s a personal song, each listener will hear something different.
On this album you´ve more songs in English…
We´ve been writing more in English, it´s natural… I want to be understood by more people. Of course I still write in Spanish too, but in English I can share more feelings and emotions…
Some comment that if you sing in Spanish you´re more unique and exotic…it´s Hocico then!
Right! People ask me this that hey, where did the Spanish go?! Why didn´t you write it… but we just follow our emotions and at that time it felt like that, so I wrote it in English. At that time it felt like the right way, so let´s see how this goes… there´ll be more Spanish songs in the future.
With English lyrics you can also sell better, do you think about this side of things also?
The main aim for us is to express ourselves. Then if people like it – they buy it and this keeps us alive, this allows us to make more music and do more. But I don´t think about it that if we sing in English it´ll sell, we sing in English because it feels right for now and more people can relate to us, but we don´t think about how to sell more records. Never. We need money to eat and to travel and everything, but today money isn´t the most important thing in my life. Of course we are very grateful that our music gave all the chances to travel and experience what we´ve had, but we´ve never focused on money only.
How do you feel when you´re on stage, what´s going on in your head?
Good question… Nothing special, I´m fine actually. It´s like when I´m on stage I become an angry man to expel demons out of me and other people, it´s an indescribable experience. I can´t say much with words, I can only say that after the show is over I can´t remember much of it. It´s like I can´t remember where I was… I can have some pictures or images, but I really can´t remember. It´s a good thing, it´s magical and I enjoy it, every show.
It´s incredible and it´s still like this, after many years and tours, you can still feel like that?
It is incredible – every time! I´m nervous every time, especially a few minutes before, but it´s good for me.
Have you ever forgotten lyrics on stage?
Yeah, just a couple of times… then I try to read the lips of the front lines, they´re hard fans, they always know (laughs) and then I´m like “please tell me what´s coming…” (laughs)
Rax (band colleague Rasco, the ed.) doesn´t help?
There´s never any contact between me and him. He´s in his own world and I´m in mine.
Then what about your status in Mexico? After you bring up all the problems of your country and your society in your lyrics, what do people think of you when you return back home?
Actually we´ve a huge following there. We´re happy to play there any time, people like us and we´ve friends there, we´re supported there. I´ve a feeling we can play every weekend and people will still show up. Many other bands aren´t welcome in their home-countries, but we aren´t that case…
Especially when you bring up the negative aspect about your country…
Mexicans can really connect and understand, relate to what we say.
At any point of your career, did you ever want to quit it all?
No…. no. I am happy with ups and downs, when I´ve been down it always made my head shake and made me want to get up again, and the same way, music has given me everything I have in life and sometimes it has taken everything away from me, but I always win it back. I love what I do and I´m not sorry for anything, for anything bad or wrong I did, I mean, because it all made me what I am today.
When was it that you realized that this band, Hocico, is actually going somewhere more serious than just a project?
Maybe you should ask this to Rax… when was it? To me it was from day zero. I knew we will make it, I didn´t know how it´ll turn out and what will happen. We talked about it a few times… But it was good from the start, I did it then how I do it now: give the best I can and I am happy to work, and it´s working. There´s been many points in our career when it feels good and it´s good, it´s going and we´re glad. When exactly? I really don´t know when it started.
You´re really this kind of convinced optimist?!
Yes, I mean if the next month nobody will buy our records or show up to the show – I wouldn´t care, but I´ll continue doing what I do.
I have to ask: what is the point in life?
To be happy. Everybody´s definition of happiness is different, but if you find out what really makes you happy – there´s no force in the universe to take you away from your dream. You just have to go and try for it, so this is the meaning.
Now that you´ve seen the world, any chance for you to re-locate?
Actually now I live in Germany, for a couple of years now, somewhere near Leipzig. I´ve been taking German lessons for years too! When I knew that Hocico´s becoming known. One of the things that scared me the most – it´s quiet! I miss the noise from Mexico, from home. German nights are so quiet…
What about Rax, what´s the most annoying thing about him?
We don´t have enough time to answer this now! (laughs) what about him… He smokes a lot and I really don´t, so that´s annoying.
And what´s annoying about you? Erk: Me?! Somebody help me! (looks around) Roadie: You talk a lot! Erk: Me?! Noooooooooooo! You don´t know me that well! I don´t drink alcohol, that´s one…
Nothing at all and many people hate me for that. I quit 4 years ago and yeah, I realized that alcohol wasn´t as fun as I thought and it was a point in my life to make a change.
Oh, so every time you go out with friends to party, you´re the one to drive them!
I don´t have a driver´s license! (laughs) But I can have fun anytime anywhere, I don´t need to drink. This also helped me realize who are my real friends, friends not because we can party together, but because we can have fun, because we like each other and they like me for the person I am. It was a good turning point in my life and I´m happy about it. I´m not saying I won´t ever drink again, but right now I´m happy and my life works like this.
www.hocico.com Author: Marina Sidyakina, transl. K. Weber, photos Hocico, Molla Mills Date: 2008-09-02