Daniel Flores – Todo hombre es una isla Interview
Redstar73 Blog: Please can you introduce yourself.
Daniel: My name is Daniel. For the last twenty years I’ve played keyboards and written tunes in Satelite Kingston, an old ska band from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’ve also played with a bunch of other people around the world. Put out a solo album called “Todo hombre es una isla”, through the always amazing Liquidator label. I’ve lived in Washington DC when I was young and I also make a living as a travel journalist. I’m the father of two little kids. They seem to like ska so far.
Redstar73 Blog: On bandcamp I found an album by Blancos Fáciles. You are listed as keyboard player. Is the band still active?
Daniel: That’s me also, yes. Blancos Fáciles is a band I like a lot. Different from Satelite Kingston, although in the ska, reggae, rocksteady field as well. A compact unit, no brass, more like a “rock band”. We haven’t been exactly active lately, but (funny) I just got a message from the guys to get back in the rehearsal room. That’s the latest.
Redstar73 Blog: You have published an interesting book, ‘La manera correcta de gritar’, about the history of the Ska scene in Buenos Aires. How did you get the idea to write about it? How was the feedback?
Daniel: That was a few years ago. It all started with a blog I have, satelitekingston.blogspirit.com. Back in 2006, Madness came to Buenos Aires first time ever. That generated a wave of “nostalgia” about the heydays of ska in Argentina during the 80s, a phenomenon that you could not find anywhere else in Latin America. Ska was HUGE here!
So, Madness comes to Buenos Aires and people, mostly old rude boys, come out of the shadows! And many of them start commenting in this blog of mine. And start telling stories. So I see something happening there and decide to get in touch with as many of these guys as I could. These are rude boys from an era even previous to Satelite Kingston, you know. And I start collecting their stories rather obsessively.
And then something else happens: I find out a lot of stuff about a certain Ronnie Montalban, an unknown Argentine singer who put out a ska vinyl record in the late sixities, which I truly recommend you hunting down as soon as you get a chance to. A total mystery, suddenly unveiled. I ended up meeting his widow, his son and some of his musicians from back then. That’s when I really had a story to tell: from this 60s oddity, to the chronicle of the 80s and 90s. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun, actually. The book is still available through its second edition. Look for it through the “Piloto de Tormenta” book label in facebook. After that, me and some other colleagues did a couple more books on odd stories from the punk and post punk scenes in Buenos Aires.
Redstar73 Blog: Please tell us more about Satélite Kingston. How many records have you done?
Daniel: We did six records. We’ve played a lot, really. Here, in Argentina, but also in Brazil (many times), Chile, Europe… We’ve been taking it a lot easier lately. We only do what we absolutely want to do. Most of the guys involved in the band happen to play in other (demanding) projects, have families… Myself, I travel quite a lot. It’s kind of hard to book many gigs. But we did manage to put out a new CD late last year: “Todo el tiempo”, with a little help from the kind and passionate people of Una Isla Club Records. I’m quite pleased with it, I must admit. We went for a different road: all in Spanish, almost no guest musicians, no cover versions. It’s more… us!
But right now we’re on that phase when what we do best is get together to eat and drink, you know. We laugh quite a lot whenever we’re around each other. And then someone pops the word “rehearsal” and everyone looks a bit uncomfortable and then we remember something funny and start laughing again. That’s kind of our little routine there. I’d say it’s perfect.
Redstar73 Blog: Back in 2012 you have released a solo album, Todo hombre es una isla. Could you tell us more about it.
Daniel: Great experience. I recorded ten tunes with a bunch of gifted musicians, not the same line up in two songs. Some Satelite Kingstonians, Victor Rice, Smooth Beans, some Crabs Corporation, Los Hamptons (check em out!!), Atsushi Ukito, J. Pezzimenti, and my good pal Jochi Descalzo, from Aggrotones and Gigantes Magnéticos and Kingston Factory.
Funnily enough, last year, the title track was used as the theme song for a big time TV series in Argentina! It’s called “Signos”, it’s about a serial killer, something that never ever crossed my mind when I wrote the song, of course! It was kind of a “Satelite Kingston out take”, kind of song I didn’t dare exposing to the band. Everyone in a band knows the feeling. But I knew I had to do something with it. So I recorded it with Atsushi Ukito, from Japan-New Zealand, whom I met through Chris Murray. It was so quick and unpretentious that Atsushi does not even remember he played on this thing. You can find the trailer in You Tube, it’s actually kind of funny to hear this deep bass reggae stuff along with this serial killer blood fest.
Redstar73 Blog: How is the Ska scene in Argentina at the moment?
Daniel: I think it’s healthy. Many bands. Many GOOD bands. I’m into it. Aggrotones, Gigantes Magnéticos (OMG, they just did an awesome record), Ska Beat City, The Crabs Corporation, Staya Staya, Los Hamptons, Sombrero Club, there’s so many good ones. I only wish there would be more audience for them, for everyone, which is not really the case. But I guess it’s the same thing everywhere, right? I was back in DC last month, went to a reggae party and it was ten of us! But I’m not complaining at all. I kind of got (and stayed) into this kind of music, this little ska world, because of its underground DNA. I love that, that’s also in me, would it be different I would be doing something else, I would not be comfortable nor interested.
Redstar73 Blog: What are your plans for the future?
Daniel: Mmm, I hate talking about stuff I end up not doing. But… we should play a couple of gigs with Satelite later this year. I have to record some keys for Ska Beat City, otherwise they’d kill me. I think I might have a new book or something, almost finished, but I don’t know who might put it out. And many more things will come in the way, as always. I haven’t been bored in the last 25 years, believe me.
Redstar73 Blog: Last words!
Daniel: See you around!
Buy Satelite Kingston CDs here:
Satélite Kingston – Algo Tiene Que Pasar CD
Satélite Kingston – El Enemigo CD
Satélite Kingston – Mensajes CD
Satélite Kingston – …Una Isla CD