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VMP Interview with Divino Ñino

On June 10, 2015


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Consisting of members, Camilo Medina, Javier Forero, Guillermo Rodriguez and Pierce Codina, Chicago-based Divino Niño is the type of band that in two years you’ll proudly tell your friends, “I knew about them before they got big.”  Mixing the hypnotic psychedelic sound of Tame Impala & Devendra Banhart with a nod to their Latin American roots, the band, both in sound & visually via their videos, comes off as effortlessly cool.

VMP: I’m a sucker for anything even remotely psychedelic, so you pretty much had me at hello.  BUT, it wasn’t until I saw your video for “Te Doy La Paz” that I felt like something went off inside of me…I was hooked.  Was that your first video? How did it come about?

Camilo Medina: Javier and I both grew up in Colombian catholic homes and “Te Doy La Paz” was an attempt to mix a Hispanic church song with and Elvis/Harry Nilsson ballad. The song never made it to the record but we wanted to find a way to release these demos to the world, so we made our first video by compiling Colombian childhood memories with footage of us having a summer trip to beautiful Stevensville, Michigan.

Javier Forero: Yes, that was our first video. One night, we were hanging out with our friend Shawn Rosenblatt of Netherfriends, and he made us realize that we didn’t have any videos on the tube. So Camilo and I made a collage of clips from wild parties and our trip to Michigan during Thanksgiving. It just seemed to fit the mood of the song.

VMP: What music did you grow up on?  Did you start with cassette tapes? CDs? Vinyl? What was lying around your house that got you hooked?

JF: I grew up with Latin American groups such as Los Cincuenta de Joselito, El Grupo Niche, Menudo, and Guillermo Buitrago. My mother often played some Elvis and Ray Charles as well. The first record I ever owned was on CD format, and it was “Backstreet’s Back” by the Backstreet Boys. Ya no, there was just always something sexy about them.

Guillermo Rodriguez: My father’s CD collection was, and continues to be, a pretty influential source for my music tastes. I probably can’t go a week without listening to some bright latin tunes; Haciendo Punto En Otro Son, Roy Brown, El Gran Combo, Andres ‘El Jibaro’ Jimenez, Silvio Rodriguez, Mercedes Sosa, Illapu. And then of course I still haven’t stopped tripping over Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. I will continue to trip for the foreseeable future, and will not apologize for it.

CM: I was born in the 90’s so CDs were the coolest thing back then. We had a large collection of Diomedes Diaz CDs growing up, who could easily be the best songwriter Colombia has ever had.

Pierce Codina: My father is Cuban, my Mom is from Alabama and I grew up early on in Southern California so it was an odd mixture of Buena Vista Social Club, So-Cal ‘70s rock like Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles and then a bunch of Muscle Shoals artists. We moved to Detroit when I was seven and it was Motown drummers on those early Berry Gordy recordings that made me want to start playing drums.



VMP: Are any of you vinyl collectors?  If so, what’s your most prized LP?

JF: I just got my own record player so I recently started my collection. Most prized LP’s vary from sentimental to sonic value in present time for me. I am always trying to listen to new stuff so it really depends, but as of now it is Paraiso by Haruomi Hosono and The Yellow Magic Orchestra. The LP came straight from Japan with those cosmic, postage stamps they got. damn. dats hawt

CM: Hurricane Smith self-titled has been the coolest, spontaneous find I’ve ever had. It’s truly an under appreciated record. A smooth humble beauty.

GR: My budding collection right now consists of mostly St. Vincent and our very own brand spanking new LP. So I’d rather not say which one I prize most, just in case she reads this.

PC: I started collecting vinyl about seven years ago. We’ve been traveling a lot and it’s been great because I’m finding a lot of smaller towns actually have the best record shops. Everything in Chicago and big cities is really picked over.  Recent prized LP’s: Purchased Bruce Springsteen “Nebraska” which I’ve been trying to find for forever from Dead Wax Records in St. Louis.  And I bought Elvis “Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite” at Siren Records in Doylestown, PA mostly because it has one of the most ridiculous album covers I’ve ever seen, even for Elvis. I impulse buy vinyl based on album cover at least three times a month.

VMP: You get to pick 3 bands to tour with in the next year, who are they?

CM: Shintaro Sakamoto released an amazing record two years ago, so I’d love a tour with him, David Byrn and hell, Bowie would be badass.

JF: I am really into the sounds of, Of Montreal, Angel Olsen, and Mac DeMarco

PC: Devendra, Tame Impala and Christopher Owens with a reunited Girls.  I kind of like the idea of dinner and a show, so I’m also gonna throw Gordon Ramsey in the mix.

VMP: What do you parents think of your music?

GR: By now we’ve had the lovely pleasure of seeing our parents dance at our shows, and none of them have disappointed, so I take that to mean they dig the jams.

JF: My mother has always liked everything I do, but she didn’t really understand it until we went to the Dali Museum in St Petersburg, Florida last year and she saw the painting First Days of Spring. She took me there as a surprise. All she said was: “I think you’ll like this.”

PC: My dad just got on the vinyl bandwagon again so they were able to play our record the good ole’ fashion way. There was a lot of discussions about how we sounded like a latin Motown meets Elvis which made me smile.




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