In The (Armory) Studio with Hunters Of The Alps

Last month, we kicked it at The Armory Studios with local musician and performer Mario Giancarlo (Modernage) and our friend and local photographer, Daniel De Las Casas. We went out for some wine, but we stayed for the music…

The studio is dope and Mario brought out white wine so naturally, we stuck around. We caught some of the new sounds by Hunters of the Alps, Mario’s latest project, and I’ve gotta say, I LOVE what I heard! The sound is fun and upbeat, the lyrics dark and twisty. Mario and Jorge briefed us on the project and Daniel got some nice shots of the rehearsal. Mario also put together a little video teaser from some video I shot on my iPhone. Look…

What is Hunters of the Alps (HOA)?

Mario: Hunters of the Alps is Jorge Velasquez and I. I’ve collected a bunch of ideas over a long period of writing music that didn’t exactly fit with Modernage. When we took a break about a year ago I realized that I wanted to bring out those songs up for public scrutiny. But, I was slacking on it because I didn’t know how to go about it. I call myself  a limited creative musician because I create music without really knowing how exactly how to explain it to anyone, I just come up with something.

Jorge and I toyed with the idea of collaborating, but it wasn’t until I sent out a couple of demos to open up for Twin Shadow that we really got it together. To my surprise, those demos I had done and had just been sitting there did the trick. When I was told that the opening spot was mine, that’s when I really put HOS in motion. I basically had a month to put together a live show from these demos.

JorgeI’ve been playing guitar since I was very young and I’ve had all kinds of different music in my life and HOA is what I was looking to work on in terms of what’s out there.

I met Mario through my older brother who is also a musician. We’ve been friends. He told me he wanted to start a side project and I said okay!

So you’ve already performed your music publicly? How has Miami received HOA?

Mario: Yeah at Bardot. I borrowed Garcia from Modernage who isn’t not here today but yeah, we had a pretty decent debut.

I didn’t want to go all out on promo because I didn’t think we were ready for an official debut since we hadn’t put out any music yet.

Jorge: The band started in early November 2011. Mario mentioned the gig and I said yeah, let’s do it. I love Twin Shadow and Bardot so…

Mario: Twin Shadow is what really made the gig, the opportunity to open up for them. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for that, it pushed us to finally get it together.

What music are you into and how does it influence HOA?

Mario: I’m in love with everything fresh and new. But I also love a few kick ass song from five years ago that are still relevant today.

I love synthesizers. They have always been a part of the music that I’ve written and that’s why HOA sounds the way it does — more electronic.

Jorge: And progressing into more electronic…There’s a song format that I think is very important for this band in particular since there are so little analog components.

In terms of music, Mario listens to a lot of contemporary bands. I do too, but I also like going back in time and listening to music people don’t ordinarily listen to like Argentinean 80’s rock — Soda Estero, Charly Garcia….

Mario: I’m always going to be a fan of everything dark. Everything obscure from the 70’s and 80’s. I’ve always loved that time period.

Jorge: The word dark may be misunderstood, it applies more to our overall aesthetic than our actual sound.

Where are you from?

Jorge: Peru, we’re both Peruvian and it has definitely helped bring this project together.

Mario: Off the bat there was a certain chemistry because we are both Peruvian.  The way Peruvians talk and relate to each other brings us together. This also applies with Garcia, who we borrowed from Modernage, he gels with how we work.

It’s weird, I guess since we’re all from the same place we know and get each other regardless of how much or how little we may actually really know.

Any shows lined-up?

Mario: For now we’re focusing on writing stuff. Little by little. I’ve become more confident with time in what we’re doing. The opportunities are there it’s just  a matter of gathering the arsenal for a full live set.

Jorge: Yeah, the offers are out there but we just need to focus on creating material.

Daniel Wills from The Armory Studios was as nice as the space so I thought we’d share some more deets with you all… The Armory Studio is a rehearsal and recording space located in our favorite neighborhood — Wynwood. It’s also used as a media sound stage and event space. We actually first had the opportunity to visit them back in December. We walked into a killer Art Basel party with plenty of live music and a great crowd of locals slamming down tons of complimentary booze.

Photography by Daniel De Las Casas (MiamiMayhem)