A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine recommended me to listen to a song by the Colombian band Surcos. Not wasting time, I searched “Enséñame a Bailar,” the band’s latest single. Just a few seconds in the song, I knew I had to learn the story behind it. That is when I decided to reach out to the band’s leader, Juan Felipe Ochoa. During our talk, he was excited to tell Stereotheque more about his band, and the exciting story behind “Enséñame a Bailar,” which translates to “teach me how to dance.”
Let us start with the band. Surcos is a Colombian band started by Juan Felipe Ochoa and his closest friends. Through the years, its various members have continuously contributed to Ochoa’s efforts: he has not stopped moving forward with passion and determination.
“Accidental Folk” is how the band calls their style of music. The songs, just like the band, are crafted by friends, and with clear influences from pop and American folk music, Surcos brings a commonly English-sung sound, to a Spanish speaking audience. Driven by organic sounds and raw emotions, the band has found a place in Colombia’s musical landscape with its “sad, but hopeful” lyrics, as described by Ochoa.
Their latest single “Enséñame a Bailar,” came to be in an unexpected way. The story of a close one’s loss was the spark that ignited Ochoa’s inspiration. Thinking and wondering about how fragile life is and how our mortality is the only sure thing in life, the single started to take shape.
Juan Felipe, instead of writing a rather “blue” song, decided to celebrate life, celebrate dancing as a symbol of love, and a metaphor to escape with the person we truly love.
One day, Juan Felipe received a call from a Mexican friend that was looking for a new song to sync with a clothing brand. The song had to go with Surcos’ style, and Ochoa decided to pitch “Enséñame a Bailar‘s” demo for the chance. His friend loved the demo so much he decided to sync it with the brand. However, there was catch for the deal: Ochoa had to deliver an entirely produced, mixed, and mastered track just shy of two weeks.
Excited for the opportunity, he brought in the incredible producer and musician Alvaro José Valencia to join the project. The recording and production process took them both to intern at Palosanto Studio in the city of Bogotá, Colombia, for consecutive days. Thankfully for the project, Ochoa already knew Valencia’s work and talents, so the excellent artistic chemistry between them helped all along the way. Because of the lack of time, there was no previous thought plan, and the production happened on the spot.
The producer delivered the finished product after the third day, and Ochoa sent it to Mateo Lewis, the mix engineer. Following the mixing session, the song traveled from the United States to Brazil for its Mastering session at Classic Master by engineer Carlos Freitas, in the city of São Paulo.
Following the fantastic deal, Ochoa released the new single on all streaming platforms and made a simple yet very effective music video to release on YouTube. Juan Felipe gave visual life to the song by showing a group of people enjoying a dance lesson back in the 1950s. In the video, people are shown dancing with a smile on their faces, Ochoa’s aims to display dance as an act of courage, respect, and love.
“Enséñame a Bailar” became the perfect example to show that quality in a song is not only dictated by the time spent on it, but also by the passion and the team of people around it.
Surcos is currently working on its latest release due a month from now. The band has performed at Estéreo Picnic, one of the biggest music festivals in Latin America. Also, the band topped the #1 spot on Colombia’s public radio. Right now, to learn more about Surcos, check out “Enseñame a Bailar,” and let yourself go by dancing to its fantastic energy and vibe.