An Interview with El Búho
Can you tell us about your work with Greenpeace?
I have worked for Greenpeace on and off for the past eight years, starting at the Greenpeace International office but working with Greenpeace Mexico and Greenpeace East Asia on different projects including toxic water pollution in Mexico or convincing Samsung Electronics to commit to 100% renewable energy. I am currently working for Mindworks, Greenpeace’s small cognitive science lab.
When we got the remix back, we felt like we were sitting in one of our favorite haunts in Mexico City. We know you’ve spent a lot of time there - any cool spots you can recommend?
I lived there for two years and it holds a lot of special memories for me. I worked for Greenpeace at our office which was down in the back streets of Coyoacan, a very unique part of the city. One of my favourite taco spot was Taqueria Alvaro Obregon the Kioso Morisco in Santa Maria la Ribera is well worth a visit and then just the incredible food from street vendors all over the city. There were a couple of great spots when I was there (Xaman Bar and Foro Normandie) but not sure if they are the ame or even open (I think the Foro just closed) .
Can you tell us about your time in South America studying music. Any specific highlights working with musicians down there?
I spent a year studying in Buenos Aires on exchange (actually learning Spanish language / culture) as part of my degree in Hispanic Studies. I never actually had a formal education studying music but more of an education in the clubs, on the buses and through friends. Highlight was definitely going to the ZZK Records clubs on a Thursday night in Niceto Club in Buenos Aires with my flatmates, having no idea what the music was but realising it was the new flourishing scene of Latin American folktronic and digital cumbia. Super inspiring. Another highlight was meeting and working with Luzmila Carpio, an absolute legend from Bolivia who I had the chance to get to know when we moved to Paris.
Can you tell us about your bird projects? How they came about and how you approach the music on them?
The Birdsong Project had a simple goal: challenge a group of musicians from a certain region to make an original piece of music using and inspired by the song of endangered birds. I have always been fascinated by two ideas: music inspired by nature and the power of music to deliver a message and drive change. This project tied to unite these two concepts alongside some truly brilliant music. The project is 100% non-profit and, to date, has raised over $50,000 for conservation organisations in South America and Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. We are now working on volume III: A Guide to the Birdsong of Western Africa!
You’re in Paris now, where are you living? What’s the plan there? What are you working on?
I currently live in Pantin (in the north-east of Paris). My wife is French and we have a young son. We moved back here from Mexico to be closer to family and the plan is to move to a smaller city sometime very soon ;) I’m working a lot on our label Shika Shika, working four days a week at Greenpeace and just released my new album!!
You have a new album out now. Can you tell us about that and what’s on the horizon musically for El Búho?
A lot! After you release an album there is always a period of exploration, freedom and passion to drive in a totally different direction. I’m working on a few EPs at the moment - one ambient one inspired by trees and another of dance floor heavy organic dem-bow with London based Chilean producer DJ Raff!!