Interview – Enrique Chi of Making Movies

Photo Credit - Brian Slater

Musical collaborations always open doors to new sounds and worthwhile artistic connections. Artists who are willing to explore their sound and reach new territory are sure to unleash something valuable every time. Musicians, Making Movies, are prime examples of this strategy. With their upcoming LP, ‘I Am Another You’ coming out on May 26th, the men have garnered the added production talent of Los Lobos with musical guests that include, Alynda Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff, Alaina Moore of Tennis and Asdru Sierra of Ozomatli. With an impressive collective team, their music is reaching a realm of sublime character that matches both their efforts in the scene. Enrique Chi of the crew was happy to delve into more of this LP and their experiences in the music world.

‘I Am Another You’ had a lot of powerful backing behind it. “A few years ago, I was traveling a lot with the band and otherwise. I started to notice that a lot of my friends were hitting huge turning points in their lives. Three of them specifically were facing extreme challenges and though they were in different parts of the world and complete strangers, their experiences seemed eerily similar. I started to really chew on the interconnectivity of the human experience. These ideas as we searched into our own motivations and ancestral history fueled our journey.”   

Within, the music speaks to a rather strong sense of humanity. “I think the common theme is this search for the interconnectivity of all of us. I sometimes feel like we were musical archeologists trying to find proof that we all shared some common history. We felt like we found that proof in the Yoruba rhythms of West Africa and that if we built music upon that foundation, these ancient spiritual rhythms would glue all of influences together. They already are the glue for all music in the Americas, at least that we’ve found.”  

Musically, there was a lot to be happy about. “I think my favorite part about the album is how dynamic it is. I’m excited by how disparate of sounds we can put together and yet make them feel right for each other. I guess I feel that if you aren’t trying to really do something why do anything at all. There already is plenty of great music in the world, so if you are going to ask for people’s attention you should really earn it.”  

In their discography, Mr. Chi picked out a few of his favorites. “There are a few songs that feel like they were gifted to me in a stream of consciousness. Luna, from our first album, was one of those songs. I wrote it thinking about my parents and I wept as soon as it was finished. On, ‘I Am Another You,’ Tell Me The Truth stands out to me in a similar fashion. The words came to me around four in the morning and I turned on my 4-track to capture the mood before it dissipated.”   

Performance goals are on point. “I would love the opportunity to perform at Red Rocks in Colorado. A lot of my friends have had the opportunity and I am waiting for my turn to play that gorgeous space.” However, not all of their performances have been easy for the musician. “I’ve had a lot of difficult shows due to stress, sleep deprivation or illness but none was harder than performing for my grandmother’s funeral. She was an immigrant to Panama in the 1960’s but kept her American roots dear to her. She loved hearing my Dad play Take Me Home, Country Roads so when she passed, my Dad asked me to sing it at her funeral. It was hard to make it through without breaking down.”    

Enrique explored his thoughts on the industry today. “To be honest, I have mixed feelings. I think in some ways it’s harder than ever to cut through the noise, but I’m not sure if that’s music’s fault or if culture is to blame. Humans seem utterly consumed by their Snapchat feeds, Instagram posturing or Tinder swipes and it’s harder to ask them to focus on deeper human interactions. A lot of people are making great music today and I just hope to keep connecting with people in search of depth.”  

Music as a medium seems to be an endless part of his world. His appetite may never be completely sated. “I’m not sure what I will explore after music, my favorite thing about it is that it’s an infinite well. Just when I think I have a good grip on some element of it, I’m exposed to a new door way that opens into completely unexplored territory. Perhaps I could find a way to focus on my love for those ‘archaeological’ musical discoveries.” Exploring unique sounds continues to thrive in their repertoire. “I feel like all of our work is a work in progress. I find new ways to approach old songs and I feel like there is always something I could improve in our recordings. The band has a laundry list of things we’d love to try that we haven’t gotten around to. We usually try to push simultaneously towards the ancient past and the future.”

Artists to build off of are plentiful. “… I’m mesmerized by Stromae, he’s kind of an electronic artist but he is a true songwriter and performer. I still feel utterly inspired when I watch Los Lobos live, they continue to teach us what it means to be a band. Last year I had the opportunity to see Kendrick Lamar at the Kennedy Center and he moved me deeply.”  

Time stops for no one, let alone this musician. “I just landed from performing in Washington D.C., the rest of the night will be spent relaxing with my lady. Our focus right now is touring, in June we hit the road with Hurray for the Riff Raff but we are in Chicago, Kansas City and NYC to celebrate the album release. We are also working on a documentary film about music’s role in the immigrant experience. It’s coming together, I’m excited.”  

Jam on.