The Alma Negra Live Band – San Jon EP

Alma Negra is back, this time with the first release from “The Alma Negra Live Band“. Although the band has had many international gigs, this is the first release that Alma Negra recorded with their musicians live in the studio. Cooperation with musicians has become an important part of the Alma Negra Sound over the past 5 years. “Mombasa to Lagos” is a straight Afrobeat with electronic influences. “Mombasa to Lagos” is a straight Afrobeat with electronic influences. A journey from east to west from Mombasa to Lagos. “San Jon” is a streetprosession in Cabo Verde to celebrate the Saint Jon (John). It’s a 3/4 rhythm played with drums and people dance. Taxi Radio is a wild taxi ride. Uptempo beat, reggae, wild percussions and nasty synths are combined in one track. With his remix, Mehmet Aslan expands the
rhythmic variety with a Soca interpretation of San Jon. The song is a trippy track reminiscent of long club nights. Alma Negra’s Night Mix rounds out the EP with a deep version of the original.

The Alma Negra Live Band – San Jon EP – Release date: 2.9.2022 – listen / buy via Bandcamp here…

The amazing sound of Alma Negra in a live performance. What could be better! How many members are there in your ensemble and what parts do you all play?

We are 5 musicians, we have a drummer (Luca Glausen), keyboard player (Cedric Vogel / Jose Braide), percussionist (Alberto Garcia / Dersu Figueria), synth player (Mario Robles) and guitarist (Sandro Corbart). Since some of the musicians have their own projects we sometimes have backup musicians.

As a live band with many facets, who is the leader? Who takes control when things get out of control?

The twins Dersu and Diego usually do the interviews, but since I’m in charge of the band, it was easier to come out from the background and report. I’m Mario Robles and I have been taking care of the back office (label, some productions etc.). I no longer DJ since I became father, the live band is now my new project in the Alma Negra Project and I organise the sessions and lead the musicians on stage. I play synths and samples from the tracks. And I translate the productions that often come from Dersu and Diego in the Live Show.

How do you handle the decision making process collectively? Does it ever get heated?

Actually not, we are always very much in agreement on the whole and can criticize each other well. Of course, the twins Dersu and Diego tease each other like siblings do. In the beginning we did but now all three of us have an understanding of music we want to achieve.

Who do you think are one of the greatest live bands of all time?


I don’t know there are so many great bands out there. One of the last concerts I saw that I liked a lot is the UK/Sudanese Scoprios (Afro7). The concert was in a small location and was quite a trip. One of the most fun concerts I recall was Baba Zula. And it’s always a pleasure to see Antibalas Live.

What do you think are the elements of a great live performance for you?

When a band has fun on stage, I think that’s more important than when everyone downplays their solos in a military manner.

Do you have a ritual before you go on stage that you always follow?

No, although there is usually a very funny atmosphere before the performance.

Is it hard to convey the live aspect in a recording? What elements do you need to consider?


They are all top musicians, and the productions are usually very mature when we record. That actually always works very well. We usually want to record as many songs as possible in one go and try to move forward as efficiently as possible. If we could we would also have a brass section live. Bodo Maier is our trumpet player whom we also did a remix for his Jazz Band and frequently records for our records.

How do you capture the sentiment and vibe in the studio when recording? What do you do to create the vibe?

We give the musicians a lot of freedom to bring in their style and are open to suggestions. This usually leads to a cool vibe and good results.

There are many live recorded records over time, the sound quality is obviously different. What would you say to a listener to help them to understand more a live recording?

For us, live recordings should usually be more lively, but usually not produced as fat as a computer production. That’s why the record is also called The Alma Negra Live Band. Of course, the same musicians are also recorded on the usual Alma Negra releases, but then maybe only the keys and percussion in one song and the rest produced on the computer.

As a band, do you find challenges in releasing music? What are those challenges?

We waited two years because of corona to release this record. It’s a bit weird to listen now to it. Pressing vinyl has become a challenge as well, that’s why release digital at the moment. But we now release everything on our own label so we can handle our own agenda.

Moving on to your stunning new release. Is San Jon a place? Tell us about the title of the EP.


San Jon is a holiday in Cape Verde that is accompanied with a ceremony of special drum rhythms. The track ‘San Jon’ is our own interpretation of this rhythm combined with synths, bass and drums

Mombasa To Lagos is a killer track. Tell us about how this track came about?


Diego named the track ‘Mombasa to Lagos’ because he was in Mombasa when he had the basic idea for the track. Lagos because the rhythm of the tune is more reminiscent of Nigerian afrobeat. Later we worked it out with the band and added modular synths and live drums.

‘San Jon ( Mehmet Aslan Soca Dub Remix)’ is a track that pulls you to the middle of the dancefloor. What can you tell us about the remixer.

Mario: We started producing together at the very beginning of our music careers and organized parties in Basel before he moved to Berlin. Since then, we have maintained a constant exchange.

Describe to us the perfect setting, for this music to be played?

I would play this music outside in sunny bar, maybe at a beach or a nice place outside on daylight.

The Alma Negra Live Band – San Jon EP – Release date: 2.9.2022 – listen / buy via Bandcamp here…

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