After performing for two consecutive nights at Estrella Negra and the House of Blues, the guys of Latin rock band Making Movies were thrilled to be playing once again at the Cobra Lounge for their weekend tour in Chicago.
Making Movies, originally from Kansas City, Mo, is made up of Enrique Chi on lead guitar and vocals, Juan-Carlos Chaurand on percussion and keys, Nic Kolar on bass and Brendan Culp on drums. The band's set for the night included songs off of their LP, "In Deo Speramus", as well as a salsa classic, a catchy cumbia cover of "Float On" by Modest Mouse, and a few of their new songs.
The guys strive to maintain a personal and friendly connection with their fans, making them feel right at ease.
"We're never standoffish with our fans," said Chaurand. "We're very appreciative, and we thank them for all of the support they've given us these past two years."
With no publicist or manager, the band makes its goal of being independent much more clearly.
"Our goal isn't to sell as many records as possible—we just want to make the best music that we can for everyone and travel," said Chi. "We're not trying to get signed; I mean, it'd be awesome if someone came up to us and said, ‘Hey, we want to sign you guys to our label and let you make music the way you want to,' but that never happens. But it's nice to be able to manage ourselves."
Chi, who was born in Panama, remembers growing up listening to the English rock band Dire Straits, whose album "Making Movies" serves as the reason for the band's name.
"My dad would play their songs, and I'd go around singing along without knowing any English," he said. "But I always liked how the name looked, so I guess it just stayed with me."
His cultural roots also stayed with him, since the band's sound is an interesting one of alternative rock mixed with a tropical flavor.
"I try to steal some Latino rhythms, which I think are the best in the world," said Chi. "Then from there, we create our own artistic touch to make modern songs."
Chi mainly writes the lyrics based on experiences, or stories, and characters that he creates, though there's much of a collaborative approach in the overall process.
"The songs are like Enrique's blue prints—his brainchild—and then we add to what he comes up with," said Culp.
Meeting Perrozompopo, the brother of salsa singer and Latin Grammy winner Luis Enrique, inspired Chaurand to want to tour with him in the future—as well as having taught them a thing or two about Grammy after parties.
"He actually snuck us into a party after the Latin Grammys," said Chi, as he and the guys laughed at recalling the memory. "We were on a rooftop with all these famous people, and had an amazing view of the city."
Making Movies also recognizes social injustices towards Latino communities, and was involved in activism as support in getting the Dream Act passed. The video for their song "Tormenta" featured statistics about undocumented youth, as well as children from the Mattie Rhodes Center in Kansas City, a non-profit organization that offers community services, created especially for Latino families.
The band hopes to be a part of the continuous fight for social progression for Latinos.
"We're very disappointed that the Dream Act wasn't passed, but it's a future goal of ours to include [immigration reform] in our music," said Chi.
Playing in places like New York and California and having a current line-up of Minneapolis, Nebraska, and Texas, the guys have each gained their own insights that traveling in a band has helped them attain.
"I grew up having brothers, and being in a band is pretty much the same thing," said Chaurand. "So, I always remember it's important to take care of my brothers—of my family."
"I've learned there are so many different ways to live life and to view the world," said Chi.
But there certainly is a suggestion that the guys agree on, and it's geared towards bands trying to make it big.
"Learn and practice as much as you can, because no show is ever too small," said Culp.
"Yeah, you never know who you'll meet," added Chi. "Sometimes you'll play for two or three people, but one of those people can end up being someone who's going to host a music festival and wants you to play in it."
Shortly after, Making Movies took the stage. Fans and friends alike came out to support the members, whose vigor before the show was unquestionably visible during their dynamic performance.