Interview: Cisco Pema

by | Music, music interview

indieRepublik: Tell us a little bit about your musical background

Cisco Pema: I was Born in Argentina and then moved to Europe in my early 20’s. I see my background as a mix of south American volk and traditional music, with the things that my generation was hearing at the time like hip hop, reggae, drum and bass. All that got mixed up with my academic jazz studies and my love for improvisation and got me right here where I am.

indieRepublik: If your music was a movie, which genre would it be in?

Cisco Pema: Definitely on a road-trip movie… Some people in a van with a kind of mission, small parallel stories happening in between. Crazy landscapes, big cities and lot of nature, deep moments and conversations…

indieRepublik: Tell us a secret about yourself.

Cisco Pema: I still have a VHS from 1997 I never returned to “Blockbuster”

indieRepublik: What music do you listen to when you’re touring?

Cisco Pema: Mostly jazz, but depends on the mood and who am I touring with. It can happen that we have to leave early to another venue and we need something energetic like good old fashion Salsa. Or we start talking about an artist so we start hearing that specific project. But the unspoken law is that the one driving has always the upper hand when it comes to the final decision.

indieRepublik: How do you feel about covering a song?

Cisco Pema: I’m not into covering songs. I like making a version of a song. Changing the harmony or/and the groove. Giving something personal to it. But it has to be good. When everyone knows a song, it needs to be something special. If not it can get boring really fast. I’m actually starting to arrange a lot of old Argentinean songs like that, reharmonizing them and changing the groove. I might do an album at some point with them.

indieRepublik: Do you prefer to play big festivals / stages or smaller club gigs?

Cisco Pema: I actually prefer both. I like the mix, sometimes big and loud and sometimes an intime environment.

indieRepublik: In ten years you look back to today and think:_____________

Cisco Pema: Where is that VHS I never returned?

indieRepublik: Do you see your songs in colour or in black and white?

Cisco Pema: in Colour definitely!

indieRepublik: How would you like to see the music industry changing?

Cisco Pema: Artist getting better revenues in the online world is a must. This needs to be addressed. Technology went way faster that laws and musician’s rights. Royalties and profits are most of the time ridiculous for artist in the online world.

But well… that’s also up to us, musicians, to step up and question what’s going on. I believe it will take some time, but it will finally happen. We’ll get the share we deserve. Like it happened in the analogue world a long time ago.

indieRepublik: a. What is your preference and b. Where do you think the music industry is headed: NFTs, mp3s, more streaming, less streaming, CDs, vinyl, cassettes, something else entirely?

Cisco Pema: I personally prefer streaming. As a crazy music consumer, streaming was the technology that I was waiting my whole life. Everything goes with me all the time everywhere. If someone recommends me new music, I can listen to it immediately.

I also think there is no turning back. Yes, there will always be people that prefers vinyl or tape for some kind of reason. But streaming is here to stay and dominate the market.

indieRepublik: How would you define indie? What do you personally think it means?

Cisco Pema: Indie comes from independent. Originally were bands that where not affiliated with a label. Now a days everyone is kind of indie or at least has another relationship with labels and the different people that work in the business.

I think what’s happening now is way more interesting, because a lot of platforms and spaces were developed from the indie movement. This generates (in my opinion) a healthier relationship inside the music industry than the classic pyramidal structure that the main stream labels propose. Not only musicians are getting indie but also a lot of people in the music business.

indieRepublik: What do you like most about indieRepublik?

Cisco Pema: The spirit

Find Cisco Pema here: | Latest release: “3 de oro” Album 2023

Main photo copyright Jana Lopez

Hear the latest Moa McKay Single Heartbreak Billie