‘Erk Aicrag’ (Erik Garcia) and ‘Racso Agroyam’ (Oscar Mayorga) set up Hocico in 1993. The Mexican duo rapidly became one of the references when speaking about dark-electronic music. They released an impressive list of successful album and got numerous hits played by DJ’s all over the world. Hocico definitely belongs to the dark-electronic music history. They now released their new opus “Artificial Extinction” (Out Of Line), which has something refreshing while carried by an impressive, mature sound production. I contacted singer Erk Aicrag to get more details about this album.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: It’s the first time Hocico fans had to wait such a long time for a new studio album. How do you explain this hiatus of four years and when did you start the writing of “Artificial Extinction”?
Erk: We already made our fans wait for about the same amount of time between the albums “Wrack And Ruin” and “Memorias Atras”. Besides being busy with the family life in the time between “Ofensor” and “Artificial Extinction” we were busy touring the world as usual plus we released our first “Best Of” record (cf. “The Spell Of The Spider”) in 2017 along with an EP full of fresh songs entitled “Spider Bites”. In 2018 I was busy recording a new Rabia Sorda-album and playing shows with this band too. There’s no rest for the wicked!
Q: What is the new album all about? What have been the main sources of inspiration and how do you look back at the writing and recording of this album?
Erk: The title deals with two concepts, ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ‘Human Extinction’. The idea that we, humans could go extinct due to unforeseen events in the development of our own technology, precisely ‘Artificial Intelligence’ has captured our attention since it might not seem a threat right now, but it might be in the future.
Bright minds like Elon Musk or Stephen Hawking warned us about it and they both think (thought in the case of Stephen) it is already too late for humans to reverse the effects of artificial intelligence in the future. This is the overall scenery that this album presents, especially the self-titled song. It is a way to describe how the world is turning to a dark place due to the misuse of our technology.
We wrote this album during the winter of 2018 and 2019, and it was real fun to achieve it. Somehow, we feel we are getting good at making records, we are fucking proud of it!
Q: I personally experienced “Artificial Extinction” as one of your most innovative releases in history; the production of the vocals sounds more polished while the sound treatments reveal some new elements as well. It all feels like something has changed and I even dare to say it’s one of your most accomplished works to date! Did you feel the need to try something new and maybe different?
Erk: We have learned a lot about making records along the years; everything from the technical side of things, like recording and producing to vocal techniques and song-writing. We made use of all of that on “Artificial Extinction” and fortunately the magic happened.
Ever since we started making music, we have always tried to make something different on every album, but it seems we managed to do it this time. We really prefer to fail trying something different than repeating the same formula from album to album.
Q: There always has been a strong cinematic element in your music, but here again “Artificial Extinction” reveals a few great songs in the genre, but especially “El Ballet Mecanico”. Tell us a bit more about this song and the cinematic side of the album? What would you think about releasing a real soundtrack?
Erk: The title was inspired by Kurt Schmidt’s theater play from the 1920’s; it is based on the mechanic movements of the body. The song brings to mind the movements and sounds of a doll music box.
Hocico has always explored the cinematic music because basically you can express feelings without words in it. We have already contributed with music to a couple of films like “Perfume De Violetas” and “The Guest” and certainly it would be cool to be involved in a soundtrack of a full movie.
Q: Artwork has been always an important element, but what can you tell us about the artwork for “Artificial Extinction” and the link with the lyrical content?
Erk: Last year we discovered this amazing German artist called Jochen Schilling; he had the perfect artworks to express graphically what we wanted on this album. Basically portraits of humanoids, that give the impression to be part humans, part machines living in a dark world. We contacted him and he was willing to collaborate with us. The rest of the design and artwork was made by our long time designer and collaborator Userdx.
Q: There’s a new live tour in the pipeline. After all these years of touring do you still feel the same sensation when playing live and especially when playing in your homeland? Can you give us more details (setlist, image, live visuals…) about the new shows?
Erk: Oh yes, one of the most exciting things about being involved with Hocico is that we get to play all these shows around the world and besides the hassle of security at the airports and traffic on big cities, it is still worth traveling to be close to our fans. It always is special to play in Mexico as we get to meet our families and old friend’s there. Our live set is composed of 30% songs of “Artificial Extinction” and 70% of songs from almost all our history, including the songs that our fans regard as ‘hits’. We created brand new visuals for it and we hope some of you will join us on one of the shows!