Sound Check: Q&A with Banda de Turistas

Argentina’s Banda de Turistas is here to stay. The quintet made their U.S. debut in February with Magical Radiophonic Heart (Nacional Records), a compilation of their first two previous albums, and quickly won over critics with their 60’s-influenced cosmic pop. Next up, they’re headed to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas in a few weeks. I recently caught up with vocalist/guitarist Tomas Putruele and here’s what he had to say:

How did you all meet?

We met in high school. We realized we listened to a lot of the same music. We had two separate bands: One was Berline and it was more kraut-rock and the other was Palmeta, which was more conventional. We decided to form one band.

Where did the name come from?

We’re a band without a front-man, a leader. We’re all responsible for the music. There’s no one that stands in front.

If there’s no leader, who makes the decisions? Do you ever argue?

There’s always going to be differences but we fix them in a democratic manner and do what’s best for the group. We leave our egos aside. The songs should be famous; we’re only there to make them function.

Very mature; how old are you?

I’m 20. The others are 22. Most of us still live with our parents. I started when I was 14. This is what we’ve always wanted to do.

How would you describe the band’s sound?

We like to say that we’re big listeners of every kind of music. We’re influenced by pop and rock from the last 50 years. Magical Radiophonic Heart is a compilation of our two previous records. The first record is a bit more psychedelic; we were listening to a lot of bands from the 60’s. The second record has more disco and dance music. For that one, we were influenced by bands like Liquid Liquid and the Super Furry Animals. 

What’s the inspiration to write the music?

Bruno is the main lyricist but all three vocalists write songs. I find inspiration in everyday life; stories that everyone shares. Bruno’s songs are more unreal with lots of characters.

Why are you making the move to the US now?

We’ve always dreamt of making songs that become classics across the world. We played at the Latin Alternative Music Conference in New York and won “LAMC Artist Discovery Award” and things just began to roll from there.

You opened for Coldplay in Buenos Aires; how was that?

We’ve opened in the past for Depeche Mode but Coldplay is the biggest concert we’ve played. The River Plate stadium, where the concert [was] held can hold 60,000 people. We’re really happy. Coldplay is one of the most important bands in the world.

Here’s “Todo Mio El Otoño” from Banda de Turista’s Magical Radiophonic Heart: