Pictures : Olga Kuzmenko
Interview by: Alan Daly
Alan: It’s nice to meet you. Your show was great this morning.
Juan: You were up early! There were quite a few people there for 12, at breakfast!
Alan: And this is your first big UK festival? What did you think of it?
Juan: Big festival? Yeah. Other ones don’t count. It’s great. It’s like the best metal festival I’ve been to in the last year.
Alan: Were you here yesterday?
Juan: No we were in Germany yesterday, so we just got here this morning and went straight to the stage.
Alan: Will you get some time to enjoy some bands and relax now?
Juan: Yeah, We’re going to hang out now. God help everybody. You’ll see us around.
Alan: Today was the first time I’ve seen you live. You haven’t come here very often.
Juan: It’s rare to get us over here. But we’re getting it done.
Alan: You’ve been going for a long time, and had a long gap between releasing albums…
Juan: Well Donald Trump helped that. Things are getting active over there and we had to start getting back into that.
Alan: When you tried to get the “Fuck Donald Trump” chant going today, I was surprised that people weren’t more vocal.
Juan: They just woke up! We get a good reaction to that everywhere. It’s hard to talk about it. It’s crazy what he’s doing. We’ll see what happens. He’ll know about us sooner or later.
Alan: And his wall… You can’t stop art with a wall, and young people get inspired and motivated by music. What are your thoughts on the wall?
Juan: Well, things like that wall get me going, because it gets people to hate again. For the last 15 to 20 years, the hate was low. It was disappearing. Then Trump comes along and everybody hates everybody. The blacks hate the whites, people driving cars on sidewalks, killing anti-fascist people. All that came back. I’m old enough to know what it was like in the 60’s and 70’s and I see it coming back so fast.
Alan: And are you living in the U.S.?
Juan: I lived in the Los Angeles area my whole life, so I’ve seen it from the hippies all the way to now, and it got Brujeria active again. It gets me mad. I might end up in jail sooner or later, but it’s all good.
Alan: Are you planning to work on more new material?
Juan: Yeah, you’ll hear a song coming out in a couple of weeks called ‘American Czar’, and we’re doing a new record in January, getting it out quick. We want to keep active.
Alan: And maybe some more European tours?
Juan: I love coming over here. We don’t get these festivals over there. It’s not the same. People here are drunk. Over there, everybody’s sober. It’s like taking your kids to the mall. This is the real thing here.
Alan: And there really aren’t any problems at this festival with antisocial behavior or drinking or drugs. Your onstage performance is mostly through Spanish. Not a lot of people here would understand what you’re saying. Maybe in the U.S., More people speak Spanish…
Juan: Oh yeah, it’s half Spanish there. But people get it a bit from the way we say it.
Alan: And that’s a conscious choice to do it through Spanish, even if the audience doesn’t understand everything, and you obviously have perfect English?
Juan: Oh yeah, that’s great. There are people going “What are they saying? It’s about you!”
Alan: Until they hear the word “Marijuana” or “Donald Trump”…
Juan: The metal guys would hear lyrics, and then they take them to some guy who knows Spanish, and it scares the crap out of them or they laugh really hard. So it bonds people, like a metal head with some Mexican guy who just came over the border. It gets people talking to each other and laughing.
Alan: With the recent passing of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, there has been a lot of talk about mental health issues. Have you had to deal with anything like that yourself?
Juan: They got high as hell. To me, it’s just having fun playing metal. I don’t know where they ended up to get like that. I don’t think I have problems like that. I’d rather just hang here and drink a couple of beers and I’ll be good.
Alan: Undoubtedly there are Brujeria fans going through dark times, and music can help people…
Juan: Our music will light you up. If you know Spanish, it’s going to change you for the better. I guarantee it. We’re not a downer type of band. There’s a lot of metal that just weakens you and it’ll end up killing you. Soundgarden was like one of my few bands that make me think “I wanna kill myself”, but ours is the opposite. We’re trying to do the opposite.
Alan: We recently had a chat with The Dillinger Escape Plan, and they have been going for 20 years and have made a conscious decision to call it a day. What do you think of making a choice like that?
Juan: I can see it happening. I can see artists that say it has to be my way or no way, and they’re fighting all the time. We don’t care. It’s hard to get us pissed. We know we have fun together, so that’s the goal. Our band is the one they all end up in! They quit their other bands and say “I want to play in Brujeria”. We’ve got a lot of active guys.
Alan: How do you decide who to bring with you on tours like this then?
Juan: Well, Nick Barker, our usual drummer, couldn’t make it so we had to get Podrido to play drums today with no practice. Just show up and play. I didn’t think there’d be anybody out there at 12 o’clock. He played with us before though. He played alright. It started off rough, but it ended well. Otherwise, we couldn’t have played this show and that would have been bad.
Alan: So what’s the plan for the next few months?
Juan: We’re going to Australia and Japan. Places unknown, we’ve never been there, so we’ll see what that’s like. I’ve no idea what to expect. I had no idea what to expect here, but it came out good, so hopefully the same.
Alan: Well, next time you’re in Europe, please play a show in Ireland?
Juan: Is it like Scotland? It’s crazy in Scotland!
Alan: The metal scene is pretty good in Dublin. Mostly small club gigs. A couple of hundred people, but those that do turn up are enthusiastic.
Juan: Those are the shows I like a lot. The hot and sweaty ones in a little cave. That’s gotta be a must. We haven’t been there before so I can’t wait.
Alan: Great! Well, thanks for chatting.
Juan: Thank you.