Interview with Los Encantados

The Brooklyn Headsets project is a series of live performances filmed on a deck with a view in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and recorded using headphones. You can expect to see many more of these videos through this spring, summer, and fall, as I am the interviewer for each session.

We are very happy to unveil the third Brooklyn Headsets video session & interview. This session features Los Encantados, a five piece band of Brooklyn guys James, Jerome, Ben, Evan, and David. Regular readers should be pretty familiar with them, as we have included their track "Ghosts" in a podcast, and they played the second Those Who Dig Presents show back in January. Throughout 2012, they released the Same Damn Soul EPs and they are hard at work on new music that should be out later this year. You can get their music here at Bandcamp. You can like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Above is a photo of the guys during the interview. We chatted after the session which included performances of "Ghosts," "Dusk," and "XOXO" Visit the Brooklyn Headsets website for the full videos, many more photos, and the complete details of everyone and everything that makes this great project possible and how to be on it if you're a musician. Just click the logo below.

Los Encantados put on an incredible performance even in sweltering conditions, and we had a fun talk after the session. Here are a few excerpts:

Steve: Okay, so you guys just completed a Brooklyn Headsets session. It was hot, but other than that, how did it go?

James: It was beautiful.

Evan: It was great.

Jerome: A good time.

Ben: It was pretty rad.

Steve: Did you have to change your songs in any way for the performance?

James: There was a slight alteration in the arrangements. It was just a little bit more relaxed.

Evan: Definitely less percussion.

David: We added the marimba.

Steve: Of the songs that you played today, “XOXO” has not yet been released.

James: No, it has not.

Steve: When can we expect that to come out?

James: I’m not sure. We’re still working on our record right now. We finished up all of the drums and we are going to be tracking the rest of it over this month and then July as well. And hopefully we get all of that done so we can mix over August.

But, with this next record that we are putting out, we are doing a single and a stop motion video which David is directing for the song called “Home” that we have been playing out live. It’s going to be released around Día de Muertos. David can probably talk a little bit more about that.

David: It’s skeletons and shenanigans, you know? The best kind of shenanigans. Tiny little skeletons. It’s cute.

Steve:  And you directed the Ghosts video?  I talked to James about that before, but I think it's a great video.

David: I did. Thank you.

Steve:  Something I like about your sound, and we heard today in your performances, is you have a mishmash of different styles and eras that all feels very seamless. There's some classic 50's pop and doo-woop, the energy of punk, a lot of what would be called indie rock today. I wanted to talk about the beginning of “Dusk,” one song you played. It has that guitar line at the beginning, is it fair to call that Celtic?

James: You could call that Celtic, yeah.

Steve:  Because I know you're from Scotland.

James: I am, yeah, I am from Scotland.

Steve:  Do you guys ever listen to Ted Leo?

James: I do. A lot.

David: Absolutely.

Steve: I ask because that reminds me a lot of him, that song. And I feel like you mix musical styles in similar ways.

James: Oh, cool.

Ben: I actually thought the same thing when I first heard the demo way back when.

Steve:  Thinking about “Ghosts,” the third song you played, and thinking about, “Let’s lay fear to rest," a line in “Dusk,” I was wondering, what is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you? What is the most afraid you’ve ever been? That you feel like sharing, at least.

James: The first time I went to Six Flags, man. When I was on the Batman roller coaster, that was the scariest. I was frightened when I was young.

Ben: I watched It when I was like six years old at a sleepover party. And then someone told me the Bloody Mary story at the same time, so I was afraid to go to the bathroom. I didn’t go to the bathroom the whole night.

David: There are things that you are afraid of in that whimsical, monster sense, and then there are things that you are actually afraid of. I don’t know, I keep going back and forth between answers. Funny-wise, my brother and my cousin was dragged me into the bathroom for the Bloody Mary thing when I was like 7. This was in the middle of a family Christmas party. I screamed bloody murder. I was flipping shit. My dad like, kicks the door in, “What’s going on in here?!” He was more pissed at me than anyone because I was the one yelling and destroying the dinner.

But was far as real life fears go, moving to New York was pretty scary for me. I’ve lived here about eight years. I moved here when I was finishing up school and I really didn’t have a plan beyond wanting to be a musician, you know? And wanting to fall in love with the city and with a girl, just find my muse and be inspired. You live here a few years and that doesn’t happen the way you expect it to, you expect to fall in your lap. You have an established life here and you haven’t really found that niche, your own place yet, and you have to kind of rebuild yourself. That's pretty terrifying at first, you know? But then you find people that you play music with and that you make art with, videos with, whatever, and it starts getting into a groove. So there’s nothing truly scary out there because it works out in the end if you have a good attitude.  

James : Yeah, finding a place in the world is really scary, you know?

Evan: There are really big, scary things.

James: Like the youth unemployment in Europe.

Evan: Right!

Ben: My apartment burning down while I’m inside of it.

James: The sixty-five percent unemployment rate in fucking Greece . . . That’s fucking frightening. That’s really scary. Fuck Six Flags and Bloody whatever . . . That's crazy.

Ben: Dude – it was quite frightening.

James: [laughs]

Evan: I’ve read a couple of stories about people…what are they called? PSAs, you know? Where they say, “Don’t stand too close to the subway platform because someone could push you on the tracks!” When I’m in the subway, I get really paranoid and get up against a wall because I don’t want to be pushed on the subway tracks. I think that's one of my biggest fears right now –

David:  [laughs]

Evan: Is being pushed on the subway tracks when the train is about to go.

Ben: That's not funny.

Evan: But then there's, you know, the Cyclone. Things that scare me. I don’t know. Yeah, that's a heavy question.

David: Whenever you feel fear, you feel a rush. Adrenaline is a good thing.

Evan:   Baboons. I’m really scared of baboons.

Ben: I’m afraid of being approached by anyone who isn’t Hollywood royalty.

James: [laughs]

David: What about regular royalty?

Evan: I’m originally from Florida and I used to go surfing when I was younger. When I was 19, I was waiting for a set, as they say, and I was bumped off my board by a shark.

Ben: Oh, yeah?

Evan: That was really, really, really, really scary and I’ve never been surfing since.

Ben: That's one of the better rational irrational fears.

Evan: I didn’t handle it very well, either. I saw and just flailed around, just like they tell you to. They say to look like a hurt fish. If you don’t want to be attacked by a shark, flail around like an injured fish.

James: Yeah.

Ben: He just wanted a friend.

James: [laughs]

Ben: He was just looking for someone to rap with.

Evan: “I’m so lonely . . .”

Jerome was feeling very under the weather during the interview, but he wrote to me afterwards with his answers to various questions. For fears, he said "Anyone that watches FOX 'news'–slightly joking–but seriously, disappointing those that are very close to me."