‘Satan pop’ artist Lido Pimienta discusses her new music
January 30 -
“I have no intentions of being your token Latin girl,” Lido Pimienta says evenly, surrounded by recording equipment in her Toronto apartment. She is pointed and irreverent in her self-awareness of what it means to occupy her particular space in this country’s arts community.
She’s a challenging outsider artist making murky electronic music with a strong, outspoken political message, almost exclusively conveyed in Spanish. And she suffers no fools or conventions, so much so that when a young man approached her about collaborating, she told him he’d have to wear a dress.
“With guys and dude bands, I’ve played in so many and they’re just so hetero,” she says, recalling her upbringing in Barranquilla, Colombia where she was in metal, hip-hop, and sexteto bands before moving to London and eventually Toronto, Ontario. “I’m really against hetero-normative lifestyles so sometimes I like to throw stuff like that at people, as a filter.
“If people don’t get my sense of humour, I know we’re not going to get along,” she adds. “So I was just like, ‘If you wanna play with me, you gotta wear a dress!’ and he was like, ‘Awesome! Yeah! What colour?’ It was amazing.”
Pimienta, who opens for A Tribe Called Red at Guelph’s Mitchell Hall on Feb. 7 for Hillside Inside, brings her various influences to the content of her songs. She led a creative life in Colombia but she’s also had her eyes opened in the great white north.
“It’s a love-hate relationship I have with Canada, which, at shows, I sometimes call ‘KKK-Canada.’ Some people stop me in the street after and they say ‘That was hilarious!’ and other people are not thrilled. One guy said, ‘You make me uncomfortable,’ and I’m like ‘Good!’”
“I don’t really write love songs,” she adds. “I have nothing against love or the ordinary but when the majority of music out there is ‘Baby baby baby baby,’ then one must decide if you want to go that route or you want to say ‘I’m a grown-up living in the world, which happens to be f---ed up right now.’ That is what moves me. I’m not inspired by music that has nothing relevant to say.”
A huge proponent of satire as a means to get a point across, Pimienta has only recently become aware of her stage presence. Someone sent her a live recording of one of her shows and she was shocked by how impactful (and long) her between-song banter was. She’s a storyteller often addressing English-speaking audiences who might not receive her Spanish songs the same way they might her brutally honest contextual patter about Colombia’s repugnant history with slavery, for example.
“I make electronic music and I call it ‘Satanic pop,’ ‘melodramatic intense grooviness’—I have all of these crazy names for it because I don’t want to be that token Latin girl,” she explains. “I don’t want to make the music that’s the music done by ‘the other.’ Because once you enter this ‘world music’ territory, you become ‘the other.’”
Speaking of music, Pimienta reveals that work on her anticipated new album La Papessa, is “80 percent done.”
“I’ve been taking my time to develop my new sound so that I assure the people who love me and the new audiences that you can’t put me in this Cumbia/world music box,” she says. “We set a deadline for the end of February. There’s two videos in production, art’s been made. Everything’s moving but I learned the hard way that sometimes you need to take your time.”
Pimienta is sure to play many new songs at her Hillside Inside appearance, which promises to be a genuine, and possibly jarring treat.