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Demian Bichir is part of a family that is acting royalty in Mexico and he dedicates much of his Guest DJ set to his artistic upbringing and his loved ones. His tastes range from Radiohead to the traditional sounds of Pedro Infante. Demian has impressed U.S. audiences with his role in Che and his Oscar-nominated performance in "A Better Life". He stars in the upcoming Robert Rodriguez film “Machete Kills” and the comedy “The Heat”.
For more: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0065007/
1. Beethoven: Symphony #7
2. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman - Aretha Franklin
3. Las Mañanitas- Pedro Infante
4. How to Disappear Completely- Radiohead
5. Prohibido- Francisco Barrios (El Mastuerzo)
Raul Campos: Hey I'm Raul Campos from KCRW and I'm here with Demian Bichir. His family is basically acting royalty in Mexico and he has impressed US audiences with his role as Fidel Castro in Che, his Oscar nominated performance in "A Better Life" and his role on the Showtime series “Weeds”. So today, we're here to talk about music that's inspired him over the years as part of KCRW's guest DJ project. Demian, how are you? Como estas? Welcome.
Demian Bichir: Muchos gracias, it's an honor to be here. I've been a big fan for many, many years so it's really cool to be able to talk to you.
RC: We're here to talk about music that's inspired you over the years so lets get into it. You are a big classical music fan.
DB: I am. There are some really fantastic pieces of work that I grew up listening to. My father used to wake us up on Sundays with some of the greatest pieces. Of course, the most famous ones and all that -- the 5th symphony and the 9th. But the 7th, for some reason used to be a really, really nice a really mellow way of waking up on Saturdays.
RC: So were the arts a big part of the entire household growing up?
DB: Everything, yeah. My parents met each other studying theater in their hometown, in Torreon, up north, Mexico. When they arrived to Mexico we would be in touch with all kinds of experiences regarding the arts in general. We would go to museums all the time and the symphony orchestra shows, to some operas, and, of course, theater all the time. Films and everything you needed to know about acting and the many art subjects were right there at home. It was a language that we spoke 24/7. But it's in general, the experience of knowing that all those instruments are real, there are no synthesizers involved or anything like that. When you attend one of these concerts, it's really powerful.
RC: Well let's check it out, Beethoven's 7th symphony right here on KCRW.com. Our guest is Demian Bichir.
Song: Beethoven's 7th symphony
RC: Somebody that can really sing, Aretha Franklin. Talk to us about and why (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman is on your list.
DB: My mom, being a singer herself, she was a big fan of Aretha. We call her Aretha Franklin (says in an accent). So those tunes were always there at home.
I remember this song being played many, many times with my mom. She used to have many different albums from Aretha's work, but for some reason I have this memory whenever I hear it on the radio, I go back to those times when I was 3, 4 years old. But basically, what artists like Aretha provoke is, it has the same affect as any piece of art has on a human being: Your life is not the same after you see a Von Gogh in front of you. Many things change. You are affected forever. When you are in touch with a beautiful piece of art, like a painting or an opera or like a play or a nice, beautiful novel, poem, that's what happens with Aretha. It makes you feel that you belong to the same "Rasa", "mana".
RC: Yeah, the human race, all one.
DB: You belong to that same thing. It's like watching the Olympics. You know that those people are the same as you: two eyes, two legs, and two arms. And they do fantastic, amazing things with their body. Just the fact that we know that we belong to the same race makes you very proud and happy.
Song: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin
RC: That was the one and only Aretha Franklin. Our Guest DJ is Demian Bichir and we're going to flip it. We are going to go to an all-time classic coming out of Mexico, this is Pedro Infante.
DB: We've had so many great singers throughout our history in Mexico, as you know. But from that particular time - Jorge Negrete, Pedro Infante, and a little later on Javier Solis -- those three guys were ruling the world.
But Pedro Infante was not only making the best films ever; fantastic characters and being such a beautiful, wonderful actor, but he had this voice, without being the powerful voice of Jorge Negrete, who was trained as an opera singer, and all that. Pedro Infante's voice is both warming and tender. He had something that would move you very much. Every time it was our birthdays, my brothers' or mine, sometimes they would sing along with Pedro Infante and my mom and my father, maybe my brothers also, and we would do the same to them.
And then I learned to play guitar so I would sing the mananitas with my guitar and one day my father brought a trio -a real trio- into my house and I remember, I thought 'wow, we bought new stereo equipment, this sounds great, it sounds like real, man, I want to see that’ and so I went almost in my underwear to the living room and that was the trio, a real trio. But before the trio came, Pedro Infante was always there.
RC: That's such a great, gorgeous rendition of it, so great let's check it out, Pedro Infante doing "Little Mananitas" right here at KCRW.COM.
Song: Las Mañanitas – Pedro Infante
RC: Our Guest DJ Demian Bichir. We just heard "Las Mananitas" and now we are going to go into Radiohead.
DB: I find this band so particularly fantastic because if you take a look at all the work, it's really, really powerful. You see, all these bands, they become the soundtrack of your life in many ways, because as soon as you hear one tune, you go back to that exact time where you listened to that tune for the first time.
Radiohead became a really important part of these last two years of my life because that's when I met my girlfriend, Stephanie, and we used to bond with them playing in the background: spend hours talking about many, many things so it's emotionally really powerful. This particular song: "Como Desaparecer", you know, how to disappear completely, that's the whole name, right? It's like an enchanting kind of mystical tune, it almost makes you feel like you are under some kind of weird drug or something, not that I do drugs, but you know, it makes you feel really, really like floating almost. I just love this thing about that me, that's not what it is that's not even me, I'm not even there.
Song: “How to Disappear Completely” -- Radiohead
RC: That was Radiohead doing "How To Disappear Completely" right here at KCRW.com and you're going to have to school me a little bit on this: Francisco Barrios "El Mastuerzo" - Prohibido.
DB: I love Francisco. He belongs to this vast variety of fantastic underground musicians from Mexico -- songwriters, singers that are so far away from any record company or any of that world of craziness.
I have a special connection with Francisco Barrios because I directed a play in Mexico a few years back and there was this scene where the characters fall in love and actually make love on stage, not for real of course. I ask him listen, you have this song called "Prohibido" perfect to fall in love, perfect to understand many things in life and it's perfect for everyone. It's perfect for anyone who feels like an outcast and it is a beautiful, beautiful song and he said "I'll give it to you, it's yours, do whatever you want with it, please, it will be my honor" and it is a beautiful, beautiful song "Prohibido".
RC: Let’s get into this final track, it's called "Prohibido" and once again, it's Francisco Barrios "El Mastuerzo". What does El Mastuerz omean?
DB: The thing is, these guys, they call each other names…and it's a really long explanation that I don't think you want to go into that…
RC: Well, we'll save that for part two, then but let's check out this final track, it's called "Prohibido", right here our guest DJ Demian Bichir.
Song: Prohibido – Francisco Barrios
RC: "Prohibido" is the song by "El Mastuerzo", Francisco Barrios. Our Guest DJ has been Mr. Demian Bichir, thank you so much for coming through, really appreciate the time.
DB: Man, thank you Raul. When I first moved to Los Angeles and started listening to this station I always thought at the time that the day they invited me over then I'll be "in", really "in".