With Chilean bands Föllakzoid and The Holydrug Couple each releasing an excitingly ‘cosmic’ album in the past year, record label Sacred Bones have tapped into a burgeoning krautrock scene in a place you’d never expect to find it. We wanted to figure out more about what was going on at the foothills of the Andes and turned to Föllakzoid guitarist and filmmaker Domingo Garcia Huidobro to give an insight into the music scene of his hometown Santiago


Email interview by Gerlin Heestermans, photos shot by Alexis Mandujano and Carolina Sandoval


‘The main gig circuit is very boring and unexciting, people are always finding new places to do shows’



Is there a big difference between the music scene in Chile and, let’s say, a random European music scene, you think?

Chile isn’t all that different from Europe in terms of how it’s structured now. The origins may be different. Chile was under dictatorship for years, which made it hard creatively. It meant that everything culturally went under the surface or was shut down. For 17 years there was no free expression and only fake fascist art existed. But that situation provoked the underground scene to have solid roots, which was very important for bands like us. We are the generation that came after those underground bands.


Do you feel there are still artistic restrictions, because you live in Chile?

I believe being in Chile helps us a lot by giving us perspective about the effect our work has around the world. It’s cool to be far away and to focus our energy towards music and art in general. I would feel restricted creatively to be living in NY where everything’s happening all the time.


Any particular music-related places that are special for you?

There used to be a bar called ‘Mist’, where everyone started playing. Now a huge building rises from where it used to be. There are some cool record fairs and stuff, but mostly the good things happen in a pop up way, like some dude’s house where a sick DJ is performing or an abandoned warehouse where shows are being organised, things like that. I definitely have a close group of likeminded friends and musicians here in Chile, but there’s not much of an audience for what we do in Santiago and we’re making more of a name for ourselves in the US and Europe. My buddy Juan (bassplayer in Föllakzoid, ed.) organises shows and he’s also planning a Sacred Bones (Föllakzoid’s label, ed.) showcase, but it probably won’t get much attention. The main gig circuit is very boring and unexciting, so people are always finding new places to do shows. We’re doing a lot ourselves, but that’s actually really exciting to me. Juan and his brother also started a record label called BYM that releases our records, but also records from friends like The Holydrug Couple. They work from a small office space in this two-story flat that used to be an old nun monastery. If I’m not busy participating in any film projects, I help them out where I can.



You mentioned you also make films and your most recent one, Partiro to Live, is being premiered at ATP festival later this year. What to you is valuable about filmmaking?

Filmmaking for me is about experimenting with new ways of playing with perception. I try to make it sensory instead of rational. I want my audience to be confused and to think and I achieve that by mixing different media, I try to make sound provoke image and vice versa. I also co-directed the music video for Pulsar that’s coming out soon. I like to keep busy with several things and it’s exciting for me to mix music and film.


There’s this quote on the web: “We find, in the cosmos, a source of inspiration where everyone, no matter where he’s from, can be separated from his body. He can separate physically within the music”, which is a really interesting quote.

It’s common knowledge that humans also belong to other spheres of existence, mentally and spiritually. We try to achieve certain atmospheres with the music we make where the listener is lifted from the dimension of the body to a more introspective out of body experience. This is also an experience that’s important for us as musicians. It’s like being in a trance.


Does that maybe have something to do with the traditional music in Chili? And does that music inspire you?

Of course. You should check out the South American Andes cultures like Incas, or Mapuches in the south of Chile. Our sound heritage comes from the Andes, rituals…. We are unconsciously influenced when it comes to harmonies by their ancestors’ rhythm patterns, very trance-like music.


Would you consider moving away from Santiago someday?

I’ve lived in Lima and have spent some months in Buenos Aires and New York, but I don’t feel like leaving Santiago at the moment. For now it’s great to get to tour four months a year and then to go back to our roots and nourish our souls with family and good food. We’re actually about to embark on a two month tour in Europe, which we’re very excited about.


Bands from Chile that Domingo recommends:

Electronic: Ricardo Villalobos, Nicolas Jaar, Sanfuentes
Folk: Violeta Parra, Domingo Cura (he’s Argentinian though)
Rock: BYM records, Föllakzoid’s own label
Also, a musicalized psychedelic children’s book done by some crazy odd Chilean people.


Föllakzoid take you along for a ride through their cosmos on 4 November at OCCII. British post-punk quartet Eagulls open up on the evening. The show is free for Subbacultcha! members. You can also catch both acts at Hit The City in Eindhoven the day before.