Kinky - Biography



By Marcus Kagler

Taking a cue from the genre bending Latin rock outfit Café Tacuba, the quintet known as Kinky are largely responsible for bringing the Latin rock movement into the international arena. Where Café Tacuba arguably set the stage for progressive Latin rock by incorporating elements of jazz, electronica, punk, and traditional Mexican genres into their albums, Kinky took this aesthetic one step further by infusing nearly all those elements into individual tracks backed up by infectious dance beats and an eclectic electronica influence. As the band constantly straddles multiple genres it’s difficult to categorize Kinky with some claiming them to be an electronic based fusion outfit while others insist the band brought the Latin rock movement of the 90’s to the next level much like Radiohead did for British rock. One thing is for sure, Kinky do not play by the traditional rock rules and by doing so they opened a door for other like-minded Latin American artists like Brazil’s CSS and Bonde do Rolê and Mexico’s Chikita Violenta who followed in their wake.

Kinky initially formed as a trio in 1998 featuring Gilberto Cerezo (vocals/guitars), Ulises Lozano (keyboards/programming), and Carlos Chairez (guitars). Based out of Monterrey, Mexico the band quickly developed a sound combining funk, rock, and pop all filtered through a heavy electronica influence with lyrics sung in both Spanish and English. In preparation for the Battle of the Bands contest at the Latin Alternative Music Conference of 2000 in New York City, the group finalized their line up by adding bassist Cesar Pkiego and drummer Omar Gongora in order to create a more intense band oriented live sound. Kinky performed well enough at the contest to impress producer Chris Allison, who signed the band to his Sonic360 label. Produced by Allison, who also helmed albums for artists like Coldplay and The Beta Band, the band’s self titled debut full length, Kinky (2002 Nettwerk/Sonic 360) was an instant critical hit but it was the inclusion of the track “Más” in a Nissan Altima commercial that brought Kinky to a broader worldwide audience. Riding a wave of critical enthusiasm the band joined the Unlimited Sunshine Tour of 2002 alongside artists like The Flaming Lips, De La Soul, Modest Mouse, and Cake amongst others. During this time Kinky also made their first in-store appearance at Amoeba Hollywood on April 18, 2002.

Kinky sacrificed much of their electronic side for a more organic live sound on the follow up, Atlas (2003 Nettwork). By and large their most rock oriented album, Atlas divided their fanbase despite more critical accolades. After another international tour and a second appearance at Amoeba Hollywood on December 2, 2003 the band went on an extended hiatus for the next three years. In preparation for the release of their third full length, Kinky released the odds and sods collection Rarities (2006 Sonic 360), which featured demos, live tracks, and a few rare gems. The dance floor synth pop of Reina (2006 Kin Kon/Nettwerk) heralded a return to their electronica roots and featured a host of guest artists including accordionist Ricardo Muñoz of Intocable and Men at Work vocalist Colin Hay. A bonus version of Reina followed in 2008 and featured the bonus tracks, “Mexican Radio”, a cover of the Wall of Voodoo hit and a Brazilian Girls remix of “A Donde Van Los Muertos". Kinky joined forces with Beastie Boys producer Money Mark and DJ/producer Chico Sonido for their fourth full length, Barracuda (2008 Kin Kon/Nettwerk). Written almost entirely on analogue synthesizers, the album is slated for a digital download release on September 30, 2008 with a hardcopy release tentatively slated for February of 2009.

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