We recently caught up with Helado Negro’s mastermind, Roberto Carlos Lange, an Ecuadorian singer and producer born in Florida, and residing in New York, who eradicates cultural barriers and seamlessly flows between English and Spanish in his latest album, “Double Youth”. The ten-track collection is Helado Negro’s fourth full-length album and follows a series of EPs entitled “Island Universe Story.”
The release of this latest Helado Negro album is climatic in a similar way that seeing a recurring dream come true would be. The album unfolds patient melodies with rapid techno pulses and inspires dream-like sounds and sequences. Lange took a few minutes to speak with Kesta DC about the journey to making his latest album and why his childhood played such a big role in its existence.
Kesta: Congratulations on your latest album release “Double Youth”. I was enthralled by the inspiration for this album, can you tell me more?
Helado Negro: Thank you. Yes, it started soon after I finished my last record last year. I knew I had an idea in my mind and it really came together in an indirect way one day when I was going through a box of mementos in my parent’s house. There was an old tattered poster of me in a carnival type pic with another boy. It brought about so many questions, because I couldn’t remember the origins of the picture at all. It started an exploration of memories and thoughts of getting older. I started thinking about all the experiences we forget about, the ambiguous trajectory that we end up building memories on top of, it inspired me to start composing and that’s how Double Youth was born. I knew right away that that childhood picture would be the cover art of the album.
Kesta: So you wrote the entire album at home?
Helado: Yes, I typically make the music at home. In this case I put the picture on my wall and it was there staring back at me while I worked on different songs on the album. Eventually, I had a vague memory and put this together that the picture was from a County Fair in Miami. As some memories started to come back I wanted to capture the exactness of the moment. Double Youth is about that experience of interpreting those special moments in our life that we’re excited about. That started the ball rolling and then I started to tackle all the pre-created traditions on what are “supposed” to be the important milestones in your life (i.e. weddings, births, funerals, and religious occasions)… and so many other significant things in your life that happen that get pushed to the side.
Kesta: I noticed that the songs fluctuate between English and Spanish? Is that how you hear the songs in your head?
Helado Negro: Because I live in a place where I speak English and Spanish, the aspect of Spanglish and having these two cultures is constantly in my head. Sometimes it feels like the languages are working with and against each other. This duality of being a Hispanic American and speaking both languages and going between these two personas, is what I’m about.
I treat my voice in a general as an instrument in a sense. So I’ll be writing a song and make noises with my mouth to sound out what I want the song to sound like. After I’ve done that I go back and add lyrics to the song and depending on the sound I want, it can be in English or Spanish. Speaking both languages is very useful when you’re tying the picture of the music and the lyrics together…
Kesta: Do you have a favorite song off the album?
Helado Negro: I like them all but if I had to pick I guess it would be “Ojos que no ven.” Ojos que no ven was inspired by something a friend of a father said, he used to be able to see and then lost his vision, “the interesting thing about becoming blind is your friends never get old.” It’s such a lovely thought and an optimistic way to embrace something.
Helado Negro, is currently on tour nationally with dates supporting Son Lux (West Coast) and Sinkane (East Coast). Helado Negro plays DC9 on 10/8 with Sinkane.
For more information visit: www.heladonegro.com