We decided to map countries, that might not be typically associated with goth but where the scene is no less vivid and kicking. Let's start our journey in Ecuador with our guide Emilio from La Calle Morgue…
Photos: Emilia Sotomayor, Francisco Galarraga, Nocturnal Creatures
SANCTUARY.CZ: EMILIO, HOW CAN A GOTH SURVIVE SUMMER IN THE LAND LOCATED RIGHT ON EQUATOR?
Emilio: I think it is a really good question. As you said, it is important to understand that we are located in the middle of the word, and that means the sun is 90 degrees over our heads. That also means that we have a lot of light. However, a big difference between Ecuador and the other countries that share the equator line is that we have the Andes crossing our country. This is a huge difference because that makes Ecuador not only a sunny hot country but also mystic and cold (one of my favourites places is called Polylepis in the Ángel region, spooky beautiful place!). The Andes modifies the weather and creates microclimates inside our country.
I think you are worried about how we dress, aren’t you? Hahahaha. I always dress in black. Not everyone. It is completely understandable because we have drastic weather changes. Here in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, in the morning we have a lot of sun, but in the afternoon and night, it usually rains, and it is also colder.
SANCTUARY.CZ: SO PLEASE, TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THE GOTH SCENE IN ECUADOR. ARE THERE MANY BANDS, PEOPLE, MUSIC ZINES OR WEBS?
Emilio: The major goth scene in Ecuador is located in Quito. Of course, it is not as big as Lima’s or Bogota’s scene because of the population size. We only have approximately 2 million citizens in the capital. Talking about gothic scene, other important city is Cuenca. They have a huge metal community and inside of that, goth. However, I am not sure if it is pure gothic (rather fusion of goth and metal).
It is important to notice that the goth scene is basically located in the Andes region. Of course, there is a goth scene in the Coast, but it is really small. I am always looking for new bands and supporting the scene.
However, in total there are no more than 20 bands in Ecuador that I can say there are goth related (not talking about “goth metal”). These are not necessarily my favourite ones, but they are some of the most important Ecuadorian bands in my opinion because of their history, time, and achievements: La Calle Morgue (Quito), Electro Shock Therapy (Quito), Bleeding Corp (Cuenca), Ectoplasmikos (Guayaquil), Orden Post Apocalipsis (Cuenca), Instint Noise Corp (Quito). I think the goth scene in Ecuador is growing slow, but it is growing. Usually there are goth events at least once a month. I know it is not too much, but at least we have a space to express ourselves.
There used to be a great magazine called “Historias del lado oculto”, but not anymore. Talking about web sites, I think BrumaWave is the only one in Ecuador, and the only one that creates content about our own scene (Ecuador and Latin America). There are many blogs, but none of them is updated. There are other collectives like BatCult or Quito Siniestro. They have been active for many years supporting the scene, but they are focused in goth worldwide scene in general.
SANCTUARY.CZ: CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THE BEGINNINGS OF THE GOTHIC SCENE IN YOUR COUNTRY? WHEN AND HOW GOT GOTH INTO ECUADOR? IN ADDITION, COULD YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THE ACTUAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE SCENE, TOO? IS MORE AND MORE PEOPLE INTERESTED IN THE DARK BANDS OR ON THE CONTRARY?
Emilio: It is difficult to talk about dates. And the goth culture involves a lot of art manifestations. For me it is important the architecture. For example, here in Quito we just have two neo-gothic churches: the Basílica del Voto Nacional and Santa Teresita. These were built in the XIX and XX centuries. As a country, in our history we didn’t have a real gothic movement background because the Europeans came here later (XVI century).
Talking about bands and modern scene, I have to say that we have a short history. La Calle Morgue is the first gothic rock, post-punk, death rock of the country. Some people think different. Some argue that there were other gothic bands before LCM, and it could be true if we open the spectrum. However, I have been involved in the scene for a long time, and the only band that not only plays but still lives in the scene day by day is LCM. Of course, other friend bands have also walked close to us in the past of the years.
Nowadays the scene is growing because of the ´80s revival. When someone throws a ´80s party, it is always is packed. That doesn’t mean the real goth scene is growing, but it is more visible for other people just because we share our spaces and music.
Bleeding Corp. - Noise Generation
SANCTUARY.CZ: IS THERE ANYTHING LIKE AN ECUADORIAN MAJOR GOTH ACT OR EVENT THAT WOULD LEAD THE WAY FOR OTHER BANDS?
Emilio: Years ago there was a gothic festival called “Goth Valley”. It was a good stage for new and old bands. I don’t know what happened with the festival. The biggest local concert I think it was the La Calle Mogue Neferu release concert. More than 300 people (not only goths) came to the gig. It sounds funny, but for Quito’s goth scene it is a lot of people. It was an incredible night. We invesed a lot of money in sound, lighting, projection and because of the support of the people, the show was a total success.
SANCTUARY.CZ: IS IT EASY TO GET GOTH RECORDS THERE? WHAT IS THE MOST POPULAR FORMAT – VINYLS, CDS, CASSETTES OR MP3s?
Emilio: It is not easy to get good records. Here in Quito we have a couple of underground stores where you can find some good stuff. As everywhere in the world, the easiest and cheapest way to buy music is online. Some of my friends buy music from Europe and North America, and they wait months to have a record. The most common format is still the CD, but as you know, the vinyls are back to the market.
Orden Post Apocalipsis - Morgan Morgue
SANCTUARY.CZ: WHAT MUSIC DIVERSITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ECUADORIAN SCENE? IS IT MORE ABOUT THE TRADITIONAL GOTHROCK/POSTPUNK OR IS IT MORE ABOUT HARSH ELECTRO LIKE LET’S SAY IN COLOMBIA? ARE THESE GENRES JOINED UNDER ONE DARK SCENE IN ECUADOR OR NOT AT ALL?
Emilio: I think we have all genres, but just a few bands for each one. Because the scene is still small, we try to support all artistic branches of goth. In most of the shows and parties, we tried to mix all genres in order to have more people and also to keep the scene united.
SANCTUARY.CZ: HOW MUCH CAN YOU ENJOY THE GOTH SCENE IN ECUADOR? LIKE HOW OFTEN THERE’S A GIG OR A PARTY YOU CAN GO TO? ARE THERE ANY DJS NIGHTS, TOO?
Emilio: Here in Quito we have gigs or parties once a month. There is only one bar that plays goth music every Saturday, but it is funny because it is not a gothic bar. I think it is hard to enjoy the goth scene here. You must know the right people to take you to the events. Moreover, it is hard because we don’t have a single goth bar or club in Quito. It is still a very underground scene.
SANCTUARY.CZ: HOW IMPORTANT IS GOTHIC FASHION FOR GOTHS IN ECUADOR? DO FANS OF THIS PEOPLE DRESS LIKE GOTHS OR NOT AT ALL?
Emilio: It is really hard to buy clothes here. There are just few stores, and all of those are more rock than gothic. I usually make my own clothes. In parties and gigs, we are all dressed in black. However, as I said before, not everyone dresses in black everyday because of the weather and other common reasons like jobs.
SANCTUARY.CZ: HOW OFTEN LA CALLE MORGUE PLAYS LIVE AND WHAT ARE THE REACTIONS OF THE CROWD? ARE YOUR FANS MOSTLY GOTHS/POST-PUNKERS OR IS THERE ANOTHER AUDIENCE (ROCKERS, “NORMAL PEOPLE”), TOO? AND HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE COMING TO A REGULAR SHOW OF YOURS IN ECUADOR?
Emilio: We try to play at least once a month. This year was a good year for us. We went on tour, and we performed in Ecuador major cities to promote our new album.
Our fans are mostly rockers (goths, death rockers, punks), but in the last couple of shows “normal” people also showed up. It was a big surprise for us!
The crowd is usually good for us. Many people already know the songs and sing along. I have no complains about our crowd. Always supportive! In a normal gig, usually 30 to 40 people show up to support LCM. If there is party, maybe around 60 people come.
Ectoplasmikos - El Pueblo De Los Malditos
SANCTUARY.CZ: ... SOUNDS SOMEHOW FAMILIAR TO MY EARS... HAVE ANY “BIGGER GOTH NAMES” BEEN TO ECUADOR? IF YES, WHO WAS THERE AND HOW MANY PEOPLE CAME TO SEE THEM?
Emilio: The biggest bands that have played here in Ecuador are Christian Death, Hocico, Amdusia. More mainstream shows were Marilyn Manson and Lacrimosa. The last great concert in Quito was Eyaculacion Post Mortem. It was a beautiful underground show in a spooky old house at Centro Histórico.
SANCTUARY.CZ: ARE YOU IN TOUCH WITH THE SCENES OF OTHER SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRIES? DO YOU COOPERATE ON GIGS AND PROMOTIONS OR THERE IS BASICALLY NO CONTACT AT ALL?
Emilio: I have a lot of contact with promoters and bands from all around South and Central America. We support each other. I have a really good relationship with our brothers of Bat Beat from Colombia. These guys have made an incredible job supporting the Latin America scene in general for many years. I really respect them. For the last couple of months, we have been talking with many producers of South America in order to make a South America Goth Festival. I think it is just a matter of time!
We have invited some bands from Colombia, and we have played in Peru. During 2017 we have been talking about new ways of collaboration between countries, and I am excited about it.
La Calle Morgue – Noche en Vela
SANCTUARY.CZ: HOW DID YOU PERSONALLY COME TO THIS MUSIC?
Emilio: I have always involved in dark music. I don’t know why. As a teenager, I used to play black metal. I had a solo project called “Diantre” and also a two member band called “Malum Incarnatus”. My brothers of La Calle Morgue were a big influence for me. They showed me the good old classics: Bauhaus, Skeletal Family, Rhe Cure, Sisters of Mercy and, of course, Parálisis Permanente.
I think it is important for me to be sincere with myself. And in some way for me it is important to have in mind that all these bands were from Europe and the States, so a couple of years ago I started listening mostly South America and Spanish goth bands.
I believe it is really important to create our own vision about gothic culture if we want this to last for more years.
SANCTUARY.CZ: WHAT ARE THE REACTIONS TO YOUR DEBUT ALBUM “NEFERU” – BOTH AT HOME AND INTERNATIONALLY?
Emilio: Neferu is the first post-punk LP from Ecuador. The fans were waiting for this album for eleven years. We are proud of our work. The reaction here in Ecuador was great, but internationally speaking it was better. We have gained many great contacts from all around the world. Right now, we are expanding our listeners and fans in other countries, and that is exciting for us. Neferu has been played in a lot of radio stations in many countries, such as Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Finland, United States, Peru, Brazil, Italy, Germany, and Spain.
SANCTUARY.CZ: ARE THE RECORDING STUDIOS IN ECUADOR OPEN TO THIS KIND OF MUSIC OR DO YOU HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING ON YOUR OWN? HOW DID YOU RECORD “NEFERU”?
Emilio: Every studio is open if you have the money. Hahaha. Neferu was recorded and mixed in a very cool professional studio called Equilibrio Records in the south of Quito.
The mastering was made in New York City by Fred Kevorkian (Iggi Pop, Joan Jett, Sonic Youth, Phish, White Stripes) in the well-known Avatar Studios.
SANCTUARY.CZ: OF COURSE, WE HAVE VAGUE IDEA OF HOW LIFE IN ECUADOR IS, BUT IT’S ALWAYS BETTER TO ASK SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY LIVES THERE. SO – HOW IS LIFE IN ECUADOR? ARE THERE ANY LET’S SAY POLITICAL RESTRICTIONS THAT WOULD AFFECT THE ENDEAVOURS OF DARK BANDS OR SOMETHING? ARE YOU FREE TO DO THIS KIND OF MUSIC OR ARE THERE ANY DIFFICULTIES?
Emilio: Life in Ecuador is good. We have a wonderful weather, and although it is a small country, we have the privilege of having four completely different regions: Amazonia, Sierra (Andes mountains), Coast, and the Galapagos Islands. Latently we had some political issues, but in comparison with other countries, we are OK. We don’t have restrictions for playing our music. I am usually more worried about people, citizens, Christians, basically. Hahaha. They are more afraid of us than the government.
SANCTUARY.CZ: AND FROM THE OTHER POINT OF VIEW – WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ON EUROPE AND EUROPEAN BANDS (I KNOW THERE’S A COVER OF SIEKERA ON YOUR RECORD)? HAVE YOU EVER BEEN HERE?
Emilio: Europe is very important for me and for us. We all know that the goth subculture and all the great bands were and are from Europe. We have a big influence not only in music but also in all branches of European arts. One of our goals and big dreams is to be on tour in Europe.
Our bass player is living in Barcelona right know, and the singer was also living in UK for one year. I have been in Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, and Switzerland. I hope that this year I am going to live in Spain because of my studies.
Yes, we have a Siekiera cover in our album. It was a huge influence for us. When we cover a song, it is important for us to make it ours. In this case, we translate de lyrics to Spanish and surprisingly it sounds awesome. At least that’s what I think!
SANCTUARY.CZ: ANY LAST WORDS FOR THE PEOPLE READING YOUR ANSWERS 10 000 KILOMETRES AWAY FROM YOU?
Emilio: Thank you so much for the opportunity of letting my show about Ecuadorian scene and what we love and live. We hope to play in Czech Republic really soon! See you there!