Expressing the Heart Through Guitar and Glitch

Photo Credit: www.tonyedwardsphoto.com

Interview with Austero

Austero, born Albino Sosa, is an an eclectic mix of Mexican blood and Australian bass culture. He has gained recognition for his expression of the self  through passionate live-tronic stage performances. The Austero project was born out of Sosa’s role in Sun:Monx, a collaboration with Austrailian bass artist Opiou. After years of playing guitar in Sun:Monx, Austero was specifically chosen to be debuted at Symbiosis Eclipse 2012. Now in his fourth Gathering, Sosa has clearly honed his own unique sound. Inspired by his music, we asked him about his cross-cultural influences as an international artist and the passion behind his sound.

Breaking Borders: Your music is a rare blend of melodic guitar and heavy glitch/dub. It has been described as midtempo bass music. How would you describe your sound? What gives you inspiration to create this style of music?

Austero: First of all I just want to thank you guys for your interest and time, it’s always good to know someone is listening. I think I can only describe the sound of my music as the translation of my emotions into melodies and rhythms. I, myself would not be able to put it in any category or musical genre. I’m purely inspired by feelings, thoughts and emotions, you know, the sort of amygdala hijack that brings goosebumps to your skin, nothing less. Remembering a past experience that carries a strong emotion then becomes a story. I tell my stories through sound.

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You are Mexican but have been very active in Australia with your music. Can you explain your cross-cultural connection? How did you get involved with Australian bass scene? How have each of these locations influenced you?

I guess the warm latin blooded Mexican that I am over-rides everything in my music production. That flavour is always present in my sound, whether it is the guitar dialogue, the social commentary, the salsa in my tacos or my grandma’s leyendas; there is no escaping my roots. Of course, I naturally connect to other musical influences throughout my travels and my fellow creative comrades, but I ultimately try to write freely without attachments to any musical style. I began creating this music in Mexico in 2007 and when I started playing in Australia it really developed. Being outside of Mexico has allowed me to expand my horizons, both as a producer and live musician.

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What is the difference between your two projects, SUN:MONX vs Austero? What drove you to start them and what is their significance? How did you start collaborating with Opiuo?

I met Oscar in my second week in Melbourne, we both had similar ideas of how to spend our spare time, so we just spent it together and soon enough Sun:Monx was born. Sun:Monx is a really fun and rocking project that has been one of the most significant ways of expressing basically anything that we have in our minds, its free and its fun as fuck!! And well, Austero is a very personal expression of my heart. Here is where I sit down and just let go of everything. At the beginning I was bringing politics into my music, but nowadays I just let go completely and allow my inner self do the rest. Every piece of music created as Austero has a personal significance, whether its how the world affects me or how I affect the world.  

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What’s your opinion on the independent music and art scene today, specifically within global festival culture?

It is not easy out there, especially for music and art – it is as simple as that. It’s hard to find something fresh, full of life. Festivals such as Symbiosis are a creative hub that both unite and inspire artists from around the world to keep stepping up their art form. These creative communities that are built by music lovers are a platform for artists to express themselves fully and connect with an audience that we could only find in this space.

Do you see festival culture functioning in a way that challenges to “break down” social norms? And if so, in what way?

YES, I believe that they do break down social norms and I have a perfect experience of this. I once took my Mom and Dad to festival here in Australia. At the beginning they didn’t know what to expect. As 70 year-old conservative religious Mexicans, they were terrified. But within a few hours of being immersed in the festival they were poking their heads into giant kaleidoscopes, and strolling through the art spaces with animated full-body expressions of awe. By the last day they were standing on top of hay bales on the dance floor, talking to strangers and new friends, in full admiration of the culture. They loved it! Barriers fully broken…

 

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Symbiosis is a unique global gathering where you have performed 4 times, what makes it special to you and how does it stand out among other similar events? Why did you choose this festival to debut Austero?

My first Symbiosis, Pyramid Lake Eclipse, was also my debut performance as Austero. I was so honored to be there in sacred Paiute land to witness an astrological phenomena and share the conception of what I had been working so hard to create, a sonic reflection of my own self, I still find it amazing. I never thought that someone with my background, coming from a little town lost in the Mexican gulf, would make it there. That being said, now I believe that anything is possible. The Symbiosis crew continues to create something so special every time, it is hard to put into words. It’s like a musical home to me, and I’m amazingly humbled that I have been invited back every year since that first experience. They really have grown exponentially and anyone that’s been knows why.

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Your live sets are quite heartfelt and immersive. What is your intention for these performances? How does it feel to fuse live guitar with electronic production?

I really feel that something in me changes during every gig, something from inside switches on and just takes over, I can’t really remember my gigs, it’s all in, just pure passion, emotion, feeling, like unfolding that “other me” that is actually the real me, to embody the person behind the music, not the robot that operates in the “normal world”. My guitar is like my voice – it’s the story teller of my soul. If I don’t play with my guitar I feel lost, I feel I’m just standing up there without a purpose, without a home, without a voice. I know that there is an intention behind what I do, I can feel it when I’m making and playing my music, I can feel it at my essence and I believe we can all connect with that.  

Any new projects, tours or collabs to look forward to?

I’m working on an Austero Album. It will be released next year and feature a few colabs that I’m really proud of. A Sun:Monx EP will be done in January and a full international tour for the Austero album release is in the cards for next year.

Noo pues quien sabe!!

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