Venezuelan party starters Los Amigos Invisibles are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. Yes, that’s right, the sextet’s fusion-fueled grooves have been filling dance floors for the last two decades! They’re marking the occasion with a cross-country tour that kicks off on Monday. We had a chance to chat with primary songwriter and guitarist Jose Luis Pardo, and here’s what he had to say:
Congratulations! Twenty years is a long time.
Can you believe it? It’s a miracle. I am 38. I’ve spent more time with Los Amigos than without.
What’s been the career highlight?
The biggest highlight was being signed by David Byrne (of the Talking Heads). It totally changed us from playing nightclubs in Caracas to playing all over the world.
The six of us sleeping in a van. That’s the way you learn to appreciate how far you’ve come.
Your last album, Commercial, won a Latin Grammy in 2010 for Best Alternative Album, was that a game-changer for the band? Why do you think that album was so successful?
It was amazing. It helped make the band’s name more popular. People in the music industry have given us more credit. In material terms, it’s nothing different. We’re still the same musicians. It was more commercial, more of a pop album with lots of hooks and not so trippy, more down-to-earth pop songs.
We love the song “Viviré Para Ti” with Natalia LaFourcade. How do you choose your collaborators?
When you connect with someone musically, the first thing you say to them is that you need to do something together. That’s what happened with Natalia. We feel for her music, and she feels for us. She’s so talented and brilliant, and she took the song to another level.
You’re the band’s primary songwriter, what’s the inspiration behind the music?
I’m a music addict. The truth is I feel so lucky that I have been given this gift. While I can, I’m going to write as much music as possible. I find inspiration everywhere. I play music 24 hours of the day.
How would you describe your latest album Not So Commercial (out March 15 on Nacional Records)?
When we did Commercial, we had a concept of making a commercial album with pop songs. We did all these tracks and some were left out, so we decided to finish them and put them out together. “Corduroy” is one of my favorite songs on the album.
You’re about to go on tour, what are you looking forward to the most?
We’re [co-headlining] with Trombone Shorty, which is a party band from New Orleans. It’s going to be a big party. We’re being exposed to a different crowd, and so are they.