We get the lowdown on the current whereabouts of Australia’s past Red Bull Music Academy participants. Or a Colombian living in Brisbane, in the case of El Santo.
Leonardo Parra aka El Santo.
Sound terrorist and pain inflicter.
Bogota, Colombia – now living in Brisbane, Australia.
Which session of RBMA did you attend?
What expectations did you have before participating in the Academy and how did that compare to the reality of actually participating?
I wasn't even expecting to be accepted, so actually participating was a happy surprise. Back then I read all about RBMA, and was rather amazed by the size of it, and I thought it should be pretty cool in terms of music. Attending RBMA 2008 was one of the most interesting things I've ever lived in my life, because it's not only about the music, but the people – that's what you get out of it, a whole new perspective about everything. And lots of love, even if that sounds awfully hippie.
Is there a particular moment or event that stands out for you from your RBMA experience, and why?
Om'Mas Keith had a voice recording studio ready, and when I told him I was interested in working with multichannel settings he went back to the studio and arranged it so I could play with proper surround gear. He taught me how to use Pro Tools when using surround sound settings and I came up with this crazy weird track about sadomasochism, all in 5.1. The track was never released, nor has ever been presented anywhere, but it was great – whatever you needed there, they'll get it for you. RBMA is about expanding your scope and understanding of things. I almost forgot that the food was fantastic, and going to see all my friends play their things was mind blowing. Also meeting Fennesz and Front 242 was OUT OF THIS WORLD.
Which fellow participants stood out to you as obviously destined for bigger things, and have they actually gone on to great success since?
Sonic Brat, Jamie Woon, Desto, Dizz1 (an Australian own), dÉbruit, Alex Tsiridis, Coco Solid, Subeena, Victor Vela, Wild Bill Rickets... the list includes most of them if you ask me. They haven't all been wildly popular, but they do what they think they have to, and again, it's about the music and the people.
What influence did attending the Academy have on your musical endeavours since?
Where do I begin? You have to be open to welcome your fellow neighbour, there's always something interesting about her/him that you could integrate in your own work and make it richer and interesting. The RBMA really opened up my mind to what life is, it really changed my life, and don't think I'm joking about it, it really did.
What projects do you currently have on the boil?
There's this abstract-reggaeton I've been working on for a while – that keeps coming back to me every now and then. I have a few unfinished tracks on the works, hopefully I'll put them out there soon. And by the way, I don't really know what abstract-reggaeton means, it just sounds right.
Check out El Santo’s 2009 set for RBMA Radio @ http://redbullmusicacademyradio.com/shows/1664/.