Published in Blog. Tags: Interviews, Music.
All Victor Jorge wanted to do is show his fellow Argentineans how good his children were at playing heavy metal. But when the television producers of a video-clip show rejected the submissions he sent in, Jorge didn’t know what else to do. So he put his kids on YouTube.
Three-and-a-half million viewings later, Jorge’s kids–better known as Los Gauchos–have become an Internet sensation. Online, these sweet-faced cherubs have been melting faces with their furious rock, blanketing YouTube with their covers of Sepultura, Iron Maiden, and Cradle of Filth. And now they’re moving offline as well, recently performing at Cosquin Rock 2007, one of Argentina’s outdoor festivals, which had more than 20,000 attendees over the span of three days.
Record labels have begun courting Los Gauchos, who are working on original music. Their popularity has grown so widespread, they’ve even attracted the attention of the Argentinean government, which is supplying the band with sound equipment. We checked in with Martin, the Pokemon-loving 10-year-old singer-guitarist; Agustin, the 11-year-old drummer; and Emilio, the group’s 14-year-old elder statesmen to see how their newfound fame has changed their lives. (Their dad helped with some answers, too.)
What’s it like being famous?
It’s really incredible when you know that millions of people know you from a site that has so many videos, and you are being watched and that they value what we have done without equipment, without teachers, without help, everything from home, amateur and without money. Only the drums and one guitar are ours–the rest is borrowed. And, well, aside from that it’s a very big responsibility. In a sense we are representing our city, Salta.
When did you first realize people were watching you play?
Well, we noticed after a week and we were not expecting to be watched so much, especially in a site filled with so many videos of different things.
In these clips… are you guys really playing next to a set of bunk beds?
Yes, that’s our bedroom. But now we have started to go out and play. The next videos are live, where we play in Cosquin Rock, a festival of 20,000 people. It’s probably the largest festival in Argentina.
Is that your sister in the video for Iron Maiden? Are you grooming her to be your lead singer?
Well she’s my niece, not my sister, but in any case we would really like that she sing with us. Although now she is too young, but we hope that she will like heavy metal. She’s four years old.
Why is your band called Gauchos?
Our band never had a name. What happened was that since our YouTube name was “gauchosalta,” people started calling us Los Gauchos, so we asked them to give our band a name. Our official name now is Gauchos de Acero (Gauchos of Steel).
Are any record labels showing interest?
Many people that have called us to record an album, so now we’re composing songs–we want to record our own songs. Also, it’s complicated because we live 1,600 kilometers (994 miles) from Buenos Aires and if we record an album, we’d have to go and promote it and we have school.
This year, we’ll see what we’ll do. Remember, this band has only been around for five months–before we would only play for fun. We’re very surprised by all this. The first thing we want to do after Cosquin is get an agent so we have help when we have to play or go on tour because of our age and school. Also we want to buy some semi-professional equipment, 100 watts give or take, and during that be recording.
How many instruments can each of you play?
Emilio: I play guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.
Martin: I also play guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.
Agustin: I play drums and vocals.
When did you first learn to play your instruments?
Emilio learned when he was 12 years old. Well, that’s when he started getting into this music thing, and then, well, the others joined. Martin and Agustin both started two years ago. But as a band, about 6 months.
How often do you practice?
We didn’t practice for two months because we didn’t have our own equipment. We couldn’t buy them until now. When we have the equipment, we practice every night.
A question for Martin: Which do you like more: heavy metal or Pokemon?
I like them both equally. And I like them both very much.
Who are your favorite bands?
Our favorite bands are Sepultura, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Horcas, King Diamond, Almafuerte, Metallica.
Which band would you most like to play with?
We’d love to play with Sepultura—that would be a dream come true. Sepultura introduced us to heavy metal.
How does it feel to be seen three million times?
It’s really good. We know we can’t mess up. We have to take this serious but always have fun, too. But from now on, we have a very big responsibility.
This is probably a dumb question, but what do you want to do when you grow up?
[This article was first published by Esquire.]