May saw Vice taking on a Mexican theme so I headed off to Islington to play the records to a stoned Mexican.
What with it being the Mexico Issue and all we popped over to our buddy Ivan Mendiola’s flat and played him this months records so that we could get a real life Mexican’s view on recorded sound in June 2008.
Ivan is a 24 year old from Monterrey in northern Mexico. He has been living in England for just over a year. He is studying music but told us that he only really liked “playing the drums and tripping out”. In order to prepare for this record playback he took some mushrooms and smoked “a whole load of joints to create the mood” before I turned up.
The Very Best Of
VICE: Do you get much Jamaican music in Mexico?
Ivan Mendiola: No, there are not many black people.
I am pretty sure you don’t actually need to be black to listen to dancehall.
I guess not. Don’t all these guys hate gays too?
A few of them aren’t so keen on the whole idea.
That might make them popular in Mexico. Mexican people are not very tolerant of gays.
Rinse: 04 Mixed by Skepta & Dupstep Allstars: Vol.6 Mixed by Appleblim
What does this sound like to you?
It sounds like being trapped in a ketamine hole. Or maybe a space shuttle launching.
When would you listen to this?
If I was drowning to death.
You know people dance to this stuff?
No way. I don’t believe you.
These guys are from South America just like you!
It just sounds like pop music to me. Very simple. Is this the band with the girl who looks like a cat as the singer?
Oh, I like her.
She is marrying the guitarist from Klaxons.
Oh. That’s a shame. Actually I really like Klaxons so I am very happy for him.
Love To Make Music To
Is hip-hop a big deal in Mexico?
Not really. There are a lot of Mariachi bands. Not much hip-hop.
You mean the guys with hats and the funny suits that look like The Three Amigos?
Did you ever play your drums in a mariachi band?
I did but I got fired. It is boring and the clothes are too hot.
No Sanctuary- The Spiderleg Recordings
Do you get many crusty punks in Monterrey?
A few, they like to drink a lot in the streets and get into fights with the Goths.
Were you ever a Goth in your youth?
No I was into glam metal though. I loved Poison and Twisted Sister.
Did you have big hair and leather trousers?
No, my dad was very strict. He made me have short hair. I did have a leather jacket though which was very small.
Would you ever buy this one?
No way. They sound like they don’t care about what they are doing. Like they might fall asleep at any minute.
What kind of person do you think would be into this one?
A woman who works in a shoe shop.
Have you ever worked in a shoe shop?
No, I once worked in a bar and once in a grocery store. I think shoe shops are for women.
Marc Almond with Michael Cashmore
Gabriel and The Lunatic Lover
He has a nice voice doesn’t he?
Yes I like it very much. It sounds like Casper the Friendly Ghost if he was sad.
It is Marc Almond who was in Soft Cell.
Really? I like them. Do you know that song “Bedsitting”?
Yes, it’s a good song.
I thought that was what England would be like but it is much nicer than that song.
Marc almost died in a motorcycle accident a couple of years ago.
Really? I feel bad that I did not know. I hope he is better now.
This is a pretty summery record. Would it be nice in sunny Monterrey?
Yes I would like to wander around to this on LSD.
Is acid popular in Monterrey?
Yes, it can be a very good time but sometimes it is too much.
What happens when it is “too much”?
It can get very scary and make you want to curl up in a ball and confront your fears.
The Black Ghosts
Have you ever encountered any ghosts?
Not me personally but there is a road that the drug smugglers use out of town that they say is haunted.
You make the drug smugglers sound very amiable. Like pirates or something.
Oh no they are pretty heavy guys you wouldn’t want to mess around with them.
Have you ever had any run ins?
Not really. They are pretty high up the chain but you know who they are and you don’t get involved with them.
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
These are little kids who make all their music at home in their mum and dads house.
I don’t like it.
I just don’t. It sounds like rubbish.
You are currently doing a degree in music. You can’t just say “it sounds like rubbish”.
Well. It does.
When was the last time you were embarrassed?
I play in a band with a girl and we used to see each other but it didn’t work out.
That doesn’t really sound embarrassing. More just plain awkward.
I guess so. She knows all about me though and kind of tells me what to do. It is not nice.
Yeah that still just sounds awkward. Or maybe just a pain the ass.
I once fell asleep at a party and dribbled all over this other girl I liked at the time.
That’s more like it.
Shit & Shine
This one is kind of metal. Would you have been feeling it in your Poison days?
Yes I like it. The drumming is great.
I still can’t believe your dad wouldn’t let you grow your hair. Is that why you moved to England?
Parents can be annoying yes.
You could grow it now though. What would you go for? Feathered mullet?
I am kind of over the whole hair thing now actually.
Where would you guess these guys are from?
A big city. It sounds confusing. Los Angeles?
No they are from Swindon.
I have never heard of that place.
Some of them actually live in Bristol now.
I have never heard of that place either.
Windsor For The Derby
How We Lost
Do they have horse racing in Mexico?
Yes. People like cockfighting too.
In England a lot of people think it’s a bit disgustingly, barbarically, cruel.
Hmm. They are just chickens.
Chickens can feel pain too.
Maybe. I eat chickens though. I don’t eat horses.
Violent Nun/Peruvian Vacation/Retarded Picnic/Complete Peel Sessions
Tommy Stupid sounds pretty pissed off here. What do you think he is angry about?
I think he lost his job.
What job do you think he had?
I think he was refuse collector for the council and he was smelly.
He actually went onto be the highly respected drum&bass producer Klute.
Oh, I like drum&bass. That is a good job to do.
Albert Hammond Jr
Como Te Llama
What does “Como Te Llama” mean?
It doesn’t really make sense. There needs to be an s on the end.
You think it is grammatically incorrect?
It definitely is yes.
He was in the Strokes though. They all went to posh schools. Surely he knows his Spanish?
Red, Yellow & Blue
This guy sounds like he inhaled a bunch of laughing gas.
I have never tried that. What happens?
It makes your head feel like it has been blown up by a bicycle pump until it almost bursts.
Wow, that sounds great.
It only lasts for about 10 seconds though.
Oh, that isn’t so good.
What do you think of the cover of this one?
It looks like an old military photo. Like your granddad might have on his wall.
Would you ever like to join the army?
No way man. Far too hectic.
What about if you got caught with a load of LSD and you had to choose between jail and the army.
In Mexico you would just pay off the cop. They dig bribes. I once bribed a copy with a Miles Davis CD. It wasn’t even the real CD. Just a CDR.
Hear, O Israel!
A Prayer Ceremony in Jazz
Do you like Jazz?
Yes, the drumming is crazy.
Sometimes to me it just sounds like they are playing whatever they want.
Sometimes they are.
But that means that I could be a Jazz drummer.
Sure, why not. You would probably be a crap Jazz drummer but you could try.
This is a bit like that story you were telling me before about playing in a band with your girlfriend.
What do you mean?
Well this is the band that Kim Gordon plays in so that she doesn’t go mad playing in Sonic Youth with Thurston the whole time.
Oh right. I never really got Sonic Youth.
It just all sounds the same. Guitar bit, sing about being a teenager, blah blah. It’s silly.
Essential Italo Disco Classics 1977-1985
What do you think of this stuff?
Wow I love it!
What do you like about it?
It kind of sounds like the future but also stuck in the 80’s as well.
That is pretty much a perfect description of Italo Disco. Are you sure you have never heard it before?
No never. I will listen to it a lot in the future though. This is the perfect dance music.
If this were an ice cream what would it be?
Maybe lemon sorbet.
It is really sweet sounding but it is bitter as well.
You are pretty good at this; can you do some reviews for us in the future?
I am not sure, I am kind of busy having fun and doing university to be honest.
Were you ever scared of metal records when you were younger? I was terrified of “Ride The Lightning” by Metallica.
Not really. This record is great though!
You like it?
Yeah! This is the best one so far.
Really? It’s hardly “Welcome To Hell” is it?
I have never really listened to Venom. I love it. Can I keep it?
Can you understand the lyrics?
No not really, she sounds like she is whining.
What do you reckon she is whining about?
I don’t know. Probably boys and her hair or something.
You don’t seem to like girls much.
They can be really annoying. Can we listen to Venom again?
The Switchblade EP
This one only comes on vinyl.
That is nice. I like vinyl. CD’s are like travel sweets. They are all plasticy and could break at any time.
What do you think of the actual music?
It is nice. It sounds like Sesame Street but at a crazy disco party.
Would you dance to this?
Yes. A lot.