A little isolation hasn’t put a stop to Armando Perez and his creative flow seeing how he just premiered a new video for the ESSO single, “Animal.” The home-recorded video is a charming take of Armando as somewhat of one-man-band – while one moment he slays on guitar, another he’s getting down on keys/sampler/etc in an array of animal masks, with an owl looking on at all the shenanigans. Oh, yes. Magic!
The music is bright and powerful, rich with everything you expect to hear from ESSO, some rockin’ tropi-funky goodness… and more.
We asked Armando a few questions about this new release and a couple other things.
How has this pandemic affected your creativity or your mental health and life in general?
It has been a real challenge. When the pandemic hit, I became an incredibly active uncle by caring for five kids in the family. Their parents are essential workers (thank you all for the work you do!). When school and daycare were cancelled, I became essential at home. I love spending time with them, but kids are kids and they usually march to their own beat as they discover more about themselves. Dedicating so much time to them has taken a lot of my space and energy, but I feel blessed to be able to grow with them and teach them as much as they teach me.
Have your life’s dreams changed? If yes, how so? If not, what do you dream of doing the rest of your life?
I can’t say my life’s dreams changed. I just want to be satisfied with my everyday. That means I want the people I love to be healthy, happy, and safe, including me. I’m one of seven. My family is big. In many ways, their well-being comes before mine. I’d do anything to protect them. I see myself feeling like this forever so the answer is: I live the dream as I aspire to take care of my family for the rest of our life while being as creative and productive as I can on the side for my own spiritual and mental well-being and satisfaction.
You’re one of the best huggers I know… how are YOU handling this?! Ahhhhh!
I’m doing ok since I have the kids to quarantine with. I like my alone time, but the kids help in that regard. I look forward to hugging the adults in my life too, but I’m doing my best to keep my distance and play it safe about this virus. I don’t want to risk anything with anyone. It’s funny you ask about hugs because anytime someone would asked me, why do you hug so long? I’d say, you never know when the next time might be. No regrets.
Would you have released your new recordings this way if not for the pandemic?
I think we would have done the vinyl release show and toured behind the record. This pandemic has definitely made us rethink the way we share our new music. Live music performance is our preferred ritual and without that, the best way to perform for our people is online. Playing it safe and keeping our distance has brought us to this plan of steady online releases. This is a full record and we are proud of our work. Now is a great time to do things at a new pace. Most people I know consume music pretty quickly. I assume everyone can appreciate the time it takes to digest one song at a time. It also gives us something to look forward to and work toward. Thank you for having me. #besafe
About “Animal” by ESSO
The first release from ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat’s 2020 album “Xicago.” ANIMAL features lead guitar by Armando Perez and a full horn section featuring Kevin Miller, Matthew Davis, and Bo Osinski, live drum kit and Moog by Dan Lieber, and vocals including Diana Mosquera and the ESSO coro. Building from natural found sounds and a minimal dance beat, this work gradually ascends with sounds of howling animals, and spirals in psychedelic musical textures; finally arriving to the prayer chant “God of Sun, God of Moon, bring me fortune for my pain.” Rayo de luna, rayos de sol, traeme fortuna pa mi dolor.
Musicians: guitar, bass, drum and percussion programming – Armando Perez drumkit, moog synth – Dan Lieber saxophone – Kevin Miller trombone – Matthew Davis trumpet – Boleszek Osinski coro vox – Armando, Diana, Logan Lu, Dan, Kevin, C. Ezra Lange credits: from the album “Xicago” – track releases May 15, 2020.
Produced by Armando Pérez for Sonic Octopus Records Recorded at Belmont Electric Studios Chicago IL Mixed + mastered by Rollin Weary Video shot and edited by Oso Gigante Additional vibes and CC by Sal Catanzaro All music and lyrics written by Armando Pérez with additional lyrics by Diana Mosquera.