Benito Cerati: Unisex and Constant Self-discovery
Benito Cerati is an artist who has earned a special place in Argentine rock with a lot of courage, great talent and a good proposal. Son of the late leader of Soda Stereo, Gustavo Cerati, leads the group Zero Kill, armed with musicians of his generation, with whom he recently recorded the album Unisex (2018).
The work is the result of a period of self-discovery, in which he not only managed to focus his musical proposal, but reaffirmed a queer , feminist, political and anti-idol identity to the four winds . Here the talk with this powerful proposal of dual rock.
Juan Amenábar, your grandfather, is considered one of the pioneers of electroacoustic music in Chile and South America. What memories do you have of him?
None, really. I was not born. My mother has shown me photos and has given me a leather jacket that was the only thing I kept from him. Beyond that, nothing.
Tell me about your relationship with Fabio Rey. from Los Brujos, with whom you learned to play the guitar.
He is an excellent person and an excellent musician. I always liked Los Brujos. I had a patience as a saint, because at the time I was teaching, I was going through “tradition.” I didn’t study, I didn’t practice. Mine was always more the piano, although lately I’m with the guitar but by choice. My sister now goes to classes with him and every so often I meet him at shows or parties that we share. It is a rough one .
It is said that the reason why your parents did not “expose you” during childhood, is because Charly Garcia recommended them: “Once he turns fifteen, they can leave him free.” What does all this mean to you?
I think all of that was a joke that my mother disclosed. I don’t remember being told anything like that, but I do remember reading it, ha ha.
What do you remember playing next to Pacific?
It was great! It was my first concert in public, opening to a band that at that time was an amazing discovery. I remember it with love and tenderness.
“The absolute transformation of everything we know about music will take place in ten years and nothing will be able to stop it,” said David Bowie and I think that transformation is taking place with groups like Zero Kill that began its I walk precisely as a tribute band to Bowie: Blank Tiger. How much have you changed since then until now?
I have changed in absolutely everything. I would tell you that the only thing I have not changed, ironically, is to sustain the idea of changing constantly, which is the foundation stone of the band.
Was “Dizzy” your first song entirely composed in English? Why this language?
No, in fact he composed exclusively in English before. I would tell you that the subjects in Spanish in Triptour (2013) were my first subjects in that language. I think of languages as instruments: if you can play them, why not use them?
Honestly, what does a Gardel Award symbolize for you?
The projection out of the effort, passion and desire that we put on the disc.
Tell me about your interest in anthropology, the one that talks about us, the one that looks for in us what we have copied from others for so long. No longer the exotic but the endotic.
At first I thought that music and anthropology had nothing in common. Then, by becoming a more social and involved being, I realized that they are intrinsically related. There is no music without social context.
On September 14, five years after Gustavo Cerati’s death. In the PH program we can talk , you remembered a key phrase that your father expressed to you: “If there is passion, there is no error.” Tell me about it and how this gave way to Zero Kill.
It was a brief talk, but it really sums up my mental state of music very well. Always the pleasure of doing it has thrown more than any pressure. I also like to put it together with a phrase by Brian Eno that translated would be something like: “Honor your mistakes as if they were hidden intentions.” Those two sentences together guide all my projects.
What is the real message behind your “#Attention Whore” composition?
My songs always have a clear message and then a meta-message between the lines. I could very well talk about a super toxic person and download everything I would say in the song or it could be an anxious and self-punishment analysis. In this way it could be interpreted as: “Everything you touch, you destroy; Always the same, Benito, always shitting it. Nobody loves you ”, for example.
How would you define Unisex ?
As a super personal and super social record. A disc in which for the first time we mutated completely, we tried another sound. Sounds like an ensemble. It is a colorful, simple, sensitive album, but also deep and difficult. Play direct themes, the lyrics are much less poetic and more realistic. We could say that it has a colorful and happy facade, but when you investigate you discover a great anguish that runs inside the disc. It is a work about constant discovery. It is the disc in which I show myself, without characters, or at least aware that I can have them and take them out.