SEIS

Mon Laferte

SEIS

“It’s a quarantine record, made in deep Mexico, surrounded by a very rural landscape and the sounds of folk music,” Mon Laferte tells Apple Music about SEIS. For her sixth album, the Chilean singer-songwriter embarks on a musical journey through her adoptive country as she takes a trip down through the long months of the 2020 lockdown. “I had never had that much time to contemplate things in silence,” she remembers. Her new songs come from a lifelong fascination with the folk form, the earthy urban poetry of José Alfredo Jiménez, and classic love stories. But these tracks all sound tied to the present as they subvert, with stirring lyricism, the old myths of romantic love. “I’m a woman in 2021,” she explains, “in a very different world from the one where those songs came—and they were mostly written by men anyway. Mine are very traditional on the outside and very current inside.” Although SEIS is an intimate record, and strays from the nocturnal electricity of her early days, there is nonetheless room for pointed political commentary disguised as cumbia (“La Democracia” nods to the Chilean wave of protests of 2019) and a return to the time when Laferte channeled the spirit of Amy Winehouse (her Gloria Trevi collaboration “La Mujer”). “Each song lives in its own universe,” she says, “but they all mix stories from the past with the melancholy of lockdown.” Here she guides us through SEIS one song at a time.
“Se Me Va A Quemar el Corazón” “It’s a monologue. Like any of the other other songs in the album, I wrote it on the deck, with a glass of wine and smoking like a chimney, although I quit cigarettes six months ago. Halfway through the song, I realized I had to change paradigms. There’s a line that says ‘quiero dar amor, desaprender’ ['I want to give love, to unlearn']. It’s something that I always remind myself of. Unlearning that romantic love—that love that’s harmful and needs you to suffer. The song is a complete contradiction, because I end up saying goodbye, but in a spiteful way. It’s me saying, ‘I’m leaving because I have my dignity, but so that you know it, I hate you.’ I tried to be as honest as I could. I didn’t want to be politically correct or send a message out to the world. I just want to be myself and get my demons out in the songs.”
“Amigos Simplemente” “This one comes from a personal experience too, but the viewpoint is different. I used to live in the Roma neighborhood in Mexico City, and there’s a corner there, Álvaro Obregón at Avenida Insurgentes, where I would always notice teenage couples kissing. Every time I walked by, it seemed like a really beautiful and poetic meeting point. I think I almost turned into a voyeur. I would observe the couples that hung out on the corner and make a bunch of stories up. The song came from that obsession, and not really because I had a friend that I was hoping would become something else.”
“No Lo Vi Venir” “This is one of the last songs that I wrote for the album, and it was more about the music than the story. I love listening to what they call corridos tumbados, which is something fairly new. I love them because they mix trap with 12-string guitars and all that folk universe. I wanted to do my own corrido tumbado, and the lyrics came out the way I’m feeling now, really happy and in love.”
“Amado Mío” “It’s a bolero with a Brazilian touch in the harmonies, which I find very cinematic. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album. I wrote it at the peak of the pandemic, and it has an air of resignation, which is how I felt. The cicadas would wake me up at night with their horrible noise, and it was the same every day. My partner back then was far from being the love of my life. In fact, he was more like torture. I was resigned to living like that and trying to keep it cool. ‘Amado Mío’ sums up the album in a way. It’s very beautiful, very traditional, and very romantic, but also very melancholic.”
“Canción Feliz” “This was written in the middle of the pandemic, and it has that same Brazilian vibe. Strangely, it is very sad. I remember feeling devastated during the pandemic, with so many empty hours ahead that my head wouldn’t stop. I’m not sure I want to spend that much time with myself, to see myself that much. The lyrics mention fados because back then I was blasting Portuguese music at home. Same with the tangos. I would sit down and cry with a glass of wine. It was kind of a masochistic thing, but rewarding in a way. I needed some of that drama.”
“La Mujer” (feat. Gloria Trevi) “I wrote ‘La Mujer’ a long time ago; that’s why it sounds more like my older albums. I used to play it live, but I dropped it because I found the lyrics too self-destructive. People never stopped asking for it, so I decided to put it on the album, changing a few things to give it a completely different meaning. Because it was an older song, although only my hardcore fans had heard it, I wanted to refresh it a little bit. I needed a really powerful woman to sing it with me, and that’s when Gloria Trevi came to mind. To me and a lot of people my age, Gloria Trevi was a turning point. After Gloria, I felt like I could do anything I wanted. She would come on stage with ripped tights, mopping the floor with her hair. Gloria Trevi gave me so much power.”
“Calaveras” “The arrangement is genius. My producers did a great job with that. For reference, I played them Cuban music and Toña la Negra, an artist from Veracruz that sang Agustín Lara’s songs. Some time ago, I had a very toxic relationship, all these power games with a very sexist partner. As time went by, I realized that he had consumed me so much that I had turned off completely. I stopped believing in myself and in art, not with a healthy questioning but in a destructive way. Then I thought about how many women must have gone through the same thing: How many of them have had partners who need to destroy the other person to find validation? What I’m talking about in this song—and it’s a word I didn’t know until recently—is sorority.”
“Aunque Te Mueras Por Volver” “This sounds very much like me. As a singer, I like long choruses with long notes. Here I set myself the task of hitting some extreme highs. I already had a lot of songs about longing, and I wanted to have something more powerful, a good-riddance kind of thing. I was very inspired by [Spanish singer] Raphael, ‘Yo Soy Aquél’ and that big orchestral sound. I’m a huge fan, and I look at his videos just to copy his moves. I love his over-the-top theatrics.”
“La Democracia” “You can totally hear the South American in me here. I realize that the song doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the album, but it had to be on it because I wrote it during the pandemic, which is the common thread that connects the tracks, even though it’s really a protest song. Cumbias are different in every country, and this is a very Chilean one. It’s my little South American present.”
“Esta Morra No Se Vende” “Things return to the general spirit of the album, which is a lot more Mexican. Years ago, I had an experience with a guy that had money, private jets, the whole deal, which is something that I find very embarrassing. I feel that a lot of people are hypnotized by this bling culture and they need to validate themselves with expensive brands or whatever they wear. I find it very sad. That’s what ‘Esta Morra No Se Vende’ is about. You can have all the money in the world, but I couldn’t care less. You can’t buy me. It’s a personal statement.”
“Que Se Sepa Nuestro Amor” (feat. Alejandro Fernández) “This is something that maybe I wouldn’t have thought about. It was my label’s idea and I think it was a good one, because this is a very Mexican record and Alejandro Fernández is a Mexican music icon. I’m a new voice in Mexican music, and this was a gift I very happily accepted. It’s been great because it brought my music to different people.”
“Te Vi” “Kany García is a friend of mine and a great Puerto Rican songwriter, very much in a writing-on-the-acoustic-guitar kind of way. Like a year or so ago, right before the confinement, she came to my house and we were drinking wine and talking about life. We wanted to write a song together, but we didn’t know what about. We ended up talking about our moms and we found out that we both had complicated stories with them. When I was younger, I had this stereotype in my head of what they tell you a mother should be, and I used to think, ‘How come every mother in the world is perfect and does everything for their children, but my mom doesn’t?’ Now, from an adult point of view, I realize how heavy motherhood can be, with all the pressure of being perfect and never failing. I loved writing this song for her. When I showed it to her, we were both in tears. Being a mother is not what defines my mom—she’s a woman first. Now I see her as a brave, courageous woman. This is a song that helped me heal our relationship.”
“Se Va La Vida” (feat. Mujeres del Viento Florido) “This is a very special one. At the end of 2019, I played for imprisoned women in Valparaíso, Chile, and this melody came to me when I was leaving. It was a big moment recognizing them as equal women and not these criminals they make them out to be. When I wrote the song, I thought it would be nice to collaborate with other women. Mujeres del Viento Florido are just starting in music. They are women that are coming out of a different kind of prison, because they couldn’t play music before; orchestras used to be just for men in Oaxaca. It turned out that they too had played in a women’s prison, Santa Martha in Mexico, and they felt just the way I did. It was a beautiful coincidence and a magical situation.”
“Se Me Va A Quemar El Corazón” (feat. La Arrolladora Banda el Limón de René Camacho) “Banda music from Northern Mexico is completely connected to a very sexist culture. I wanted to go into that sexist world, collaborate with a band as amazing as La Arrolladora, and maybe understand why it is that there are no women in the field. Banda Sinaloense music is just delirious. You put a song on and it’s an instant party. I wanted to cover all of Mexico in the album. A lot of it is missing, because it’s such a big and diverse country, but banda had to be here.”

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