Photo By: Jonathan Thorpe
Wes Dimond and JeanPaul Figueroa, who make up Circos y Magos, are living proof that music brings individuals–no matter their place of origin–together. Though they come from two different countries (Dimond from the US and Figueroa from Peru), they manage to combine their musical talents to create a one-of-a-kind sound. In early October of 2010, they released their first single “Sonríe” from their EP titled “Primer Acto: Hasta Que No Lo Tienes Mas” and have since created a following in Central and South America. What makes Circos y Magos a truly remarkable band is the combination of their strong lyrics, which are recorded in español, along with their North American Rock sound. Fortunately, the North Virginia based duo took time out of their hectic schedule to inform Cheap Sushi readers about their music, what inspires them, and about their adventure in New York.
Free download of their song “Sonríe” at the end of the interview.
So tell me a little bit about yourselves.
Wes Dimond – JeanPaul and I met each other from a previous band and we really clicked. Since then, we have become good friends and band mates. I was born and raised in Northern Virginia, whereas JeanPaul was born in Lima, Peru. JeanPaul had an idea for this band called “Circos y Magos” and wanted me to be a part of it. I agreed to help and we have made some awesome music since. We both have very different influences, but some of the same as well. Fortunately, our differences really compliment each other.
Where did the name Circos y Magos come from and what does it mean?
Dimond – The name translated into English is literally “Circuses and Magicians,” and we both have our own meanings for the band name. My meaning for it is hard to explain. To me, I see it as us being performers–we see the industry from the inside. People in the crowd only really see the glam (or magic) of the performance and don’t really see all of the hard work that we do to put together these performances. Although it is a lot of hard work, we ENJOY it and want to keep working harder and harder to really give the fans a great experience.
What is the Lima, Peru indie rock scene like?
JeanPaul Figueroa – The indie scene [in Peru] isn’t as established as it is in the US. Music is definitely huge in Peru so fans act accordingly by supporting new and established bands. As for fashion, I feel like Peru is heavily influenced by North America. So what they wear is very similar to what we wear here in the states.
Out of all of your musical influences, which would say you derive your music most from? Why?
Dimond and Figueroa – We feel like our alternative-natured sound is influenced by many different bands, which makes it very hard to pinpoint just one or two. Our influences range from bands like Animals as Leaders, Foo Fighters, and The Almost—all of which are all some of our favorites. I think that is why we have the sound that we do.
Do you guys have any upcoming musical projects that our readers need to know about? If so, please explain.
Dimond and Figueroa – We are in the process of writing/recording our second EP (which isn’t named yet), which will be made up of 6 new songs. We aim to release it by late April.
What quality do you guys posses that make you stand out as musicians in Lima? Please explain.
Dimond and Figueroa – We believe the sound our band possesses is much different than the sound of bands in Lima. North American bands are very popular in South and Central America, but they don’t speak English as their first language so it is a lot harder for them to understand the music. What we have been able to do is combine the sound of pure North American Rock with meaningful, yet powerful lyrics en espanol. It is an easy concept, yet very effective. Other than that, we are very down-to-earth guys who make music for the love of it and for others to enjoy. We don’t feel or act like we are better than any other bands. We are all trying to accomplish similar goals, which we respect.
What inspires you guys as musicians?
Dimond and Figueroa – Our family and friends, who have always been so supportive of our love to make music. Our fans are also a huge inspiration, and it is cool that we are able to have fans that speak both English and Spanish.
What would your dream life as musicians look like? Please explain.
Dimond and Figueroa – Seeing that our fan base is all over the world, we really want to travel and play music in different countries. Sure money would be great to support us, but it’s obviously not our main priority. We just want music to be our careers and continue to provide great music for everyone out there.
What did you guys love most about your stay in New York?
Dimond – I really love visiting New York. I have been able to spend a lot of time there this year already, which has been amazing. JeanPaul feels the same, as he lived there with his mom for a while and really grew accustomed to the lifestyle.
What gave you guys the idea to approach people randomly in the streets of New York to get them to listen to your music?
Dimond and Figueroa – We really wanted be able to hear feedback from people who had no idea who we were in a place where so many different cultures influence musical preferences. Talking to people from Russia, China, Germany, Spain, and many other countries really gave us an idea of what people like with music and inspired us to write music that isn’t just appealing to one market.
Photo by: Matt Szymanski
I understand that you guys play all of the instruments yourselves. Out of curiosity, why did you guys choose that route instead of going with a band?
Dimond – We really feel like you can get more from less. Previously being in a band made up of six members (I Saw a Ghost) really made the writing process harder and it was less effective than what we have been able to do with just the two of us. We both have a lot of experience with the different instruments, and our chemistry for writing meshes very well. It is much easier and more relaxing writing with just the two of us sitting in JeanPaul’s basement. If anything, it’s more like we are just hanging out and having a good time, and at the end of the day we create great music without it seeming like a task.
Since we’re on the subject of the recording process, how does the writing process work?
Dimond – I usually come over to JeanPaul’s house and we start out by watching some TV and maybe jam a little on our acoustic guitars. Next thing you know we find ourselves saying stuff like “Why don’t you try this? I think I have something that would sound good right there.” All of a sudden we start writing our next song. Afterwards, we usually record it on his computer so we don’t forget it the next day. Very chill process.
And what do your lyrics reflect?
Dimond and Figueroa – Our music reflects real life events that have happened in our lives. If you read (translate) the lyrics, we believe that they are really relatable to peoples’ every day lives and feelings. The first EP really stuck to the topic of “You don’t know what you have until it is not there anymore.”
What inspired the recording of your first album “Primer Acto: Hasta que no lo tienes mas?” How have fans reacted to its release so far?
Dimond and Figueroa – Well, translated to English, it basically means “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” The songs really follow that idea, and the fans love the fact that the lyrics are easy to relate to their own lives. We have all of our music up for download for free and the numbers have been looking really good thus far. We feel like we have really gotten our name out there already.
Why do you guys choose to record your music in Spanish? Will your second album be bi-lingual?
Dimond and Figueroa – What we are aiming to portray with our band is the fact that we are bringing two people together from two different cultures and bonding with our music. For the first–and most likely the second–we will be recording our music in Spanish, mainly because that was the plan from the start. There is absolutely a possibility that there will be songs in the future that combine both English and Spanish.
How well is your upcoming music project coming along so far?
Dimond and Figueroa – It’s going well so far! It has only been about four months since we’ve put out our first song online, and we have been working our butts off writing new material and getting everything together for what’s to come in the future.
Do you guys have any last words you’d like to tell your fans?
Dimond and Figueroa – We just want to say thanks for everything that you have done this far, and we hope you keep supporting us like you have been. We love you guys!
Thanks a lot, guys! We hope to hear more great news from you in the near future!
Circos y Magos – Sonrie