ARTIST PROFILE: Los Encantados

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photo credit victoria stevens

Sitting down with the boys of Los Encantados, you don’t get the sense that they’ve caught onto their own inevitable indie fame. Comprised of six members, Los Encantados is a straightforward, surfer-rock band based out of Brooklyn, and, like many others, practices in a tiny room of a converted Bushwick warehouse that smells like booze and cigarettes. Unlike many others though, they are all good at playing instruments. Additionally, they are cerebral and mild-mannered (though not entirely mild-mannered. One member, whose name I’ve omitted, joined the band once upon a daytime bender when he, “literally stumbled into the practice space…” )

The story of Los Encantados began when front man James Armstrong wrote a bunch of songs about a girl, who, from what I surmise, broke his heart in the summer of 2010. Those songs were then turned into an album, and in 2011, he and his friends got together to perform that album for a live audience. Sartorially, the show involved white masks, and a lot of frantic last minute ribbon cutting. After it was all over they decided that they “liked it way too much to stop”. So they kept playing. And it’s a good thing they did.

The album, Same Damned Soul, was released in three parts, to accompany mood shifts driven by seasonal change. Chapter 1 is the sonic embodiment of summer love and all of its nostalgia-inspiring highs and lows. The first track, “Ghosts”, hits you over the head with its catchiness; however any song that opens with four full bars of kick drum is bound to hook you no matter how you feel about throwback rock. Armstrong’s voice then comes in, drawling and retro, reminiscent of Julian Casablancas ‘though so much better, because he doesn’t take himself all that seriously (nor does he loathe his fellow band members. In fact it seems they all really love playing together). After “Ghosts”, you indeed want to hear more. All three tracks, as well as each from the following chapters, 2 & 3, straddle the line between warm, melodic love songs and loud, insistent, percussion-driven rock jams that take you on the psychic journey of someone who’s been exhilarated and subsequently torn to shreds by love. “Your ghost has chosen me”, Armstrong mourns–a motif as relatable as it is confounding. Without relying too heavily on the theme of love lost, the redemption is in the music: indie gems that keep you pressing ‘play’ again and again.

I was lucky enough to sit down with the chaps of Los Encantados one night, to muse about the band’s happenings around town, what they think about the music industry, and where they see their sound heading over the next year (“we’re NOT planning to make a dub-step or trap album…yet…”), as they prepare to release forthcoming work. You can listen to one of their new tracks, “ZZZZ”, right here.

Los Encantados are all exceptionally nice–though I’m sure it didn’t hurt that I brought them beer–and fun to listen to, just like their tunes. Below is my interview with them in full. Click and hear it all, straight from the horse’s mouth.

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