Underground electronic waves from Peru (1985-1991) 

Síntomas de techno by Buh Records & interview w/ Martín Ponce (T de Cobre).

T de Cobre

Síntomas de technoUnderground electronic waves from Peru (1985-1991), is the recent compilation curated by Buh Records.

This compilation presents for the first time various underground techno groups and projects that emerged in Lima in the mid-1980s. Projects such as Disidentes, Paisaje Electrónico, T de Cobre, Meine Katze Und Ich, El Sueño de Alí, Cuerpos del Deseo, Círculo Interior, Ensamble and Reacción were responsible for introducing styles such as techno-pop, EBM, industrial and minimal synth in Peru.

Coinciding with the explosion of punk in Lima and the appearance of the so-called Rock Subterráneo [underground rock], these techno groups shared the same DIY spirit; performing in many punk concerts and even creating their fanzines, and, above all, opening a space for other types of sonic experiences. Meine Katze Und Ich, El Sueño de Alí and Paisaje Electrónico were also the parallel projects of the members of Narcosis, the iconic punk band, one of the founders of Rock Subterráneo.

Disidentes and T de Cobre brought extreme sounds to local electronics: visceral, mechanical rhythms and the use of Casiotones or synthesizers, which resulted in an atypical sound that, in turn, portrayed a critical time in Peru, and which has made them an unavoidable reference for any historical account of techno and industrial music in Latin America.

The title of this compilation is inspired by a concert held in Lima in 1991, considered the first techno concert to have taken place in Peru. Even though not all intervening groups were doing techno at that time, they did share the fact that they all used keyboards. Four of them, however (Cuerpos del Deseo, Ensamble, Círculo Interior and Reacción), were in fact affiliated to an electronic sound (techno-pop, EBM). The concert was a sign of the diversification of musical styles in Lima’s alternative scene and, in particular, of the emergence of a micro scene, for which the concert Síntomas de techno [Symptoms of Techno] represented an important step towards the development of a local culture of electronic music during the ’90s.

Many of the recordings included here are extracted from demos with limited circulation, practically impossible to find. Other tracks are unpublished pieces which come from the private archives of the artists themselves. The compilation was made by Luis Alvarado and is part of the Essential Sounds Collection. This compilation is published in vinyl format in a limited edition of 300 copies, with extensive information and visual documentation. Mastered by Alberto Cendra. Art by René Sánchez. Cover photography by Rogelio Martell. This project was awarded funding from the Economic Stimuli program of the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.

As part of this tribute post we publish an interview with Martín Ponce from T de Cobre. Martín talks openly about how it felt to be part of the underground electronic music scene in the 80s-90s in Peru, he shares some crazy anecdotes from that era and gives some advice on the new artists generation; A great read, filled with inspiring and honest words, with a taste of retro synthesizers and underground parties.

T.O.P: Hi, first of all I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Tell us a few things about T de Cobre and its history.

Martín Ponce: I came from playing in a group called Disidentes that had already disbanded, I don’t remember why. If I remember correctly Armando (Boy) one day when he passed by my father’s printing shop (we were already friends) he took me to a rehearsal where Billy and Alejo were already waiting. He introduced us and we did a Jam, what attracted me a lot was that we only used keyboards and a drum machine and even though we were empirical, interesting things came out and I think that’s where T de Cobre began.

T.O.P: How was the experience of making advanced electronic, punk and ebm  sounds in Peru in the 80s-90s? What was that like?

M.P: It was a totally natural process we were experienced a very hard crisis in everyway and we were full frustated basically…we didn’t play properly nothing in a level we just go for it…we feel like kids with new toys I remember one time practicing in a good studio I don’t know witch menber of the band make that contact but we have a few big keyboards Casio and Roland synthesizers, sequencers and at least 2 drum machines and we just start to play around…we didn’t give a shit… The guy who runs the studio stop us in the middle of one recording jam to tell us that we were playing out of tune and we just reply “that’s exactly what we want to do ” he try to make us a “model”of how is supposed to be and I lay down in the floor trying to make some breakdance shit in the meantime then he give up and we laugh our asses out and then continue with our personal bullshit.

T de Cobre

T.O.P: What are the major differences with the modern status quo?

M.P: Compare with now I don’t fucking know I think it have to be real to have a chance like in any kind of art if it is …the motto I think it will be always the same…fuck them all.

T.O.P: Any anecdotes from that era?

M.P: I remember one concert organized for the Munive Brothers (or it was just one)? And in the middle of the concert Kike Eutanasia (member and leader of the fucking underground they say) jumps on the stage and grabs one microphone and starts to talk bullshit like posers gays and shit like that I think they were jealous or something because we were more cool than them.  I don’t know but I run and kick him down the stage with a kick and continue with the concert and then at the end when we want to leave the people tell us “don’t go out they are waiting for you outside “…I remember we want to go to Barranco (zone of bars and discoteques in Lima) to continue the party then we wait for a while and then I was pissed and go out directly to them and surprised them I was alone and I think Kike like that we talk for a while and then give us free pass to go on. 

T.O.P: Is there anything that you feel is missing from the underground music scene nowadays?

M.P: Well ….no, I’m being always surprised when I go somewhere in the scene here where I lived now in Vienna is like the people always find a way to reinvented…it is part of the evolution…even the revivals are not the same shit, they have a piece of their own time and decade …it is always impressing how creative can any generation can be.

Martín Ponce

T.O.P: What were your influences?

M.P: Ohhhhhh man to be honest the first ones Kraftwerk for me…then Moev, Several Heads, Skinny Puppy, Test Dept, Einsturzend Neubatten,Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Nitzer Ebb, Front 242..etc etc.hahaha there’s so many great mother fuckers out there…

T.O.P: You are forming part of a special compilation Sintomas de techno released on Buh Records. The release presents for the first time various underground techno groups and projects that emerged in Lima in the mid-1980s. How do you feel about that?

M.P: I personally fell thankfully because sometimes I think that we suck but when the last times we receive so much feedback I was really surprise…and well I’m very thankful for that recognition…we were just kind of freaks slamming metals and playing keyboards and making scandal…we hate the fucking system.

T.O.P: What are you up to these days?

M.P: These days I have an atelier where I do printing and painting and I still go to different gigs can be punk electronic or whatever but honest bullshit if I don’t feel that I leave immediately and I try to be a better father too  my oldest daughter is 30 and my younger 11…I have 4 kids.

T.O.P: Would you give advice to the new generation of artists?

The only advice is always same one…be yourself reinvent yourself and confront the fucking system…there’s enough material to work it out.

Martín Ponce

Cover and layout by René Sánchez

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