Cemican's Tecuhtli says Lots of the Band, Music, and Everything Else!

Mexican folk, metal fusion styled act CEMICAN just got signed recently and have an all new album set to be out and about soon enough. Find out what guitarist/vocalist and founding member of Cemican Tecuhtli had to say about the band, it's music and everything else in-between!

1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in the band.

Hi Tecuhtli (guitarist and vocalist, founding member of Cemican).

2. What is the story behind your band's name, Cemican?

Cemican means all life in Nahuatl, we use it because of what represents all the wisdom and summary of our ideology with duality, worldview, own visions and above all the work in achieving the formation of the band. It is the summary of our ancestral life and culture.

3. You guys are a newer band so many people might know about your history. Would you be able to delve into it a little?

Maybe we are a new band for the old continent and USA, but a few days ago we turned 10 years old, but about 3 years ago we began to get more known around the world. We are from Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico and what helped us to break borders was to open shows for Amon Amarth, Eluveitie, Fintroll, Korpiklaani, Rotting Christ, Arcturus, and important festivals in Mexico such as Hell and Heaven Fest, Force Fest and many others. A few days ago we shared the stage with Tiamat and Ensiferum. The great blow was a documentary that was made in France for the cultural concept and fusion of pre-Hispanic music and way of life with the metal scene. Thus came the invitation to perform at Download Paris, Wacken Open Air and we made our first European tour in countries such as Spain, Holland, Belgium, and Germany. Thanks to the great festivals and other documentaries we have made ourselves known in many more countries. The label that was given to us all over the world was AZTEC FOLK METAL, our image, fusion of pre-Hispanic music, rituals and everything fused with metal achieved a strong recognition to not only listen to us but also to see us on stage and know about our culture.

4. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Cemican is based on the ideology of our ancient empire and the value of our ancestors, not just the Aztecs and Mayans. all our musical influences mixed with pre-Hispanic music and mysticism, based on rituals and tribute to death. In all of Mexico there are bands that are managing to break boundaries and doing it very well, all the bands of different styles, I can recommend Jet Jaguar, Anima Tempo, Obesity, Tulkas, Introtyl, Majestic Downfall, Mutum, Deldesierto that are breaking down barriers.

5. How do you describe your music to people?

A transportation to mysticism and ancestral sounds. Total duality.

6. Who are your musical influences?

How guitarists Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, Jason Becker, Steve Ray, Ritchie Blackmore, David Gilmour, Steve Vai, Jimi Hendrix, Al Di Meola, BB King, Paco de Lucia, bands are many because I like everything but good influences since I was a boy include Iron Maiden, Manowar, Queen, Metallica, Judas Priest, Kiss, King Diamond, Pink Floyd as well as influences from Adagio, Helloween, Rotting Christ, Immortal, Dimmu Borgir, Annihilator, Carcass, Testament, Exodus and many, many more including gothic type bands such as Tristania, Autum Tears, Therion, Theater of Tragedy. In pre-Hispanic music Jorge Reyes and Antonio Zepeda.

7. Do you write your own songs? Can you discuss the songwriting process in detail for us?

Yes I write my own songs, in the composition process I do not have rules, sometimes the mood makes its appearance in lyrics and riffs, it depends on that I can compose something aggressive, dark or a melodious theatrical composition. Sometimes I compose the music first or sometimes based on a finished lyric I introduce the appropriate riffs depending on the theme of the lyrics. In any place where I am, riffs and rhythms occur to me, until I guard them with my guitar. The lyrics are flowing based on everything I have read, studied and researched about our culture. As well as lyrics of my own life. There are also compositions that are already based primarily on pre-Hispanic instruments because they are very special instruments in terms of tuning's. In Cemican we all write and compose.

8. What are your songs about? What specific themes do they cover?

Myths and ancestral legends, our ideals as warriors of life. Experiences transformed with a pre-Hispanic touch. Above all, I respect death and Pre-Hispanic Deities.

9. You went and decided to take your song "Yaotecatl" and create a live video with footage from your concert experiences. Can you describe to us what this song is about, and why did you want to do a live footage video, instead of a regular video?

Yaotecatl in Nahuatl means warrior and deals with human strength until entering the Underworld. We were going through a slight bump and personal issues, basically the video was to visualize what we had achieved in those years and encourage us to continue with our ideals. A friend proposed us to do it to visualize what we were doing on stage. That video was in 2013 and in 2015 we released our first official video called “Mixteco”.

10. Can you describe your look and the image, that you use when doing live performances, to those who may not be familiar with it.

My appearance is the makeup of duality, life and death linked with dyes of Mictlántecuhtli (the god of death). All the members have the mix of something modern to give that metal touch with the pr-Hispanic, with the exception of Xaman-ek who wears the full costume of a death dancer with copillis (tufts, loincloths, ayoyotls). Everyone has their own makeup and colors depending on their name and ideology. I would be disrespectful to wear plumes and the complete costumes of my ancestors with an electric guitar, that’s why we fuse the dress except for Xaman-ek, who is a ritualist.

11. How about describing your show, both visually and musically for us, what can be said about it?

Each live song is alternated with a ritual, dance and performance by Xaman-ek depending on the lyrics. We have always recreated a sacrifice as a stamp of the band and pre-Hispanic music is taking you to remember the ancestors. We try to make every second important for the audience and keep our show in mind forever. The word mysticism is very important for us and we want the public to feel that presence.

12. Has Cemican ever played in the U.S.A. or plan to do so in the future?

We have never played in the United States, we have had invitations and for different issues it did not materialize, but we plan to be on tour this year, our manager (Irma Iniguez) already had some agreed dates.

13. Which album can "Yaotecatl" be found on?

On our second album, "ticateh ipan miquixtlahuac".

14. Your band has only released two full-length albums "Ometiliztli" (2009) and "Estamos en el valle de los muertos Ticateh Ipan Miquixtlahuac" (2012), why only the two?

Labor and family issues were the cause of taking so long to release a new album. In addition to that we wanted to have the band with all the members stable and with the same vision to finally improve in a matter of sound and the important thing was also to be in search of a record label for better support.

15. Both of these albums, were released independently, not through a record label, why did you want to go with the DIY approach, with releasing your music?

Our dream was always to have a record label to be able to export more of our music and not just export it in download pages as many people currently use, although we are also within them, but having the album in physical is perfect and in many countries is very important. Also to be in the big leagues of festivals also to have a record label opens more doors.

16. So how did you get approached and signed onto M-Theory Audio?

Marco Barbieri contacted us in email and contacted our manager (Irma Íñiguez) to tell us that he had been checking us on the web, he saw the festivals, videos and European tour we had. He realized that we did not have a record label and he was delighted with everything we did and had achieved. Our manager followed up so that everything could be finalized after returning from Wacken. It came to a good deal and finally after so many years of looking for a label we have our seal on M- Theory Audio

17. Whereabouts are you in the working's of your new album?

We are already finalizing the recording and we are finishing the cover design and all the art.

18. What would you say separates you from other bands in the scene?

The fusion of autochthonous instruments defined. Image of each member shown. Ritual and performance show, own sound and not a single approach to a style. Sound of death

19. What does Cemican have planned for the rest of this year?

Presentation of our new album, we also have a show in France in February at The Cernunnos Pagan Fest, also Germany’s Wacken Winter Nights, plus events in Mexico and in June we return to France to play Hellfest. With the new  album we hope to finally tour the United States and make another official video.

20. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. Is there anything else you want to say before I go?

Thank you for the great space and interest to know us more, a hug from of all CEMICAN and great strength to all our warriors around the world. Thanks from Tecuhtli / Tlipoca / Xaman-ek / Ocelotl / mazatecpatl / Yei tochtli.

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