The Musical Metamorphosis of Kinky on their new album, “MTV Unplugged”

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Kinky continues their crossover success since their formation in Nuevo León, Mexico, in the mid-90s. They’ve just released a new album of acoustic hits, covers and new material in a live recording, “MTV Unplugged.”

[dropcap]K[/dropcap]inky have established themselves as one of the most successful Latin crossover acts that formed during the musical Avanzada Regia movement of the mid-90s in Monterrey, Nuevo León. They’re celebrating more than 15 years of hits with a new album, their first acoustic recording “MTV Unplugged,” (Nacional Records) a compilation of some of their biggest hits, covers and four new tracks.

The genre-defying musicians that form Kinky include Carlos Chairez, Ulises Lozano, Gilberto Cerezo, Omar Góngora and Cesar Pliego. They were part of the Mexican wave of Regiomontano triumphs that gave a much deserved spotlight to bands like Control Machete, Plastilina Mosh, El Gran Silencio and Inspector. EXTRA spoke with Carlos Chairez, the band’s guitarist, about their musical metamorphosis on their first unplugged album.

“This MTV Unplugged recording gave us the liberty of going in different directions on previous songs. We were able to do a little bit of everything we like. We tried completely new arrangements for some of our favorite songs. It was an amazing process overall because we experienced the transformation of our songs and we had the pleasure of doing regional covers as well. Plus, we recorded four new songs. It’s been really great,” explained Chairez.

The 13-song album includes a funky, horn-heavy version of “Negro Dia” featuring the queen of Spanish hip hop, Mala Rodriguez; an electro-banda, tamborazo-styled orchestral version of “Bien Pedo, Bien Loco” featuring Banda Los Recoditos; and, a EDM-pop tribute of Ramon Ayala’s norteño favorite,“Para Poder Llegar A Ti,” with Voz De Mando and Beto Zapata.

Kinky’s always been at the top of the game when it comes to exploring alternative sound amalgams and these fresh renderings serve to reconfirm the alternative quintet’s ingenious and ageless relevance. There’s crafty science in the ballad transformation of “Soun Tha Mi Primer Amor,” and in the sweet, ethereal lullaby recreation of “A Donde Van Los Muertos,” delicately voiced by Baja California native Carla Morrison.

“The ideas regarding collaborations were discussed as we initially began to think about the recording. In Carla’s [Morrison] case, we thought about her right away because we really liked what she did in her first album, that feeling, and how she expresses her voice. Once we invited her and began to rehearse, the melody of the song changed. It’s a beautiful pairing because despite the song being joyful in nature, its lyricism is melancholic,” explained Chairez about the song’s intrinsic duality.

You can hear the progression of their unique style evolution since their debut recording, the self-titled “Kinky” in 2002. They followed that up a year later with “Atlas,” then “Reina” in 2006, “Barracuda,” in 2009 and “Sueño De La Maquina” in 2012 before they released the chart-topping acoustic single “A Donde Van Los Muertos” with Morrison. They’ve also found success with music licensing in pop culture entertainment. Their music has been heard on television shows like “Weeds,” “Gossip Girl” and “Dexter,” as well as soundtracks for films like the recent documentary “Hecho En México.”

“We’ve always been a very eclectic band. We enjoy so many musical genres and their unique styles. This recording was great because it gave us a double challenge of not only making over our old songs, acoustically, but also performing them live for the recording. We didn’t just want to play those songs unplugged, we wanted to break the song’s structure and remold it. We didn’t just want to do a regular cover of a popular song either. We reconstructed them and found a way to make them our own. It was an exciting experience,” explained Chairez.

The band continues to tour, bringing them global recognition. Breaking musical boundaries has always been part of Kinky’s repertoire yet they’ve never succumbed to the industry’s ego-altering fame game, as alluded to in a passage of J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher In The Rye.” “If you do something too good, then, after a while, if you don’t watch it, you start showing off,” the passage reads.

Well, Kinky’s doing it really well, watching it and breaking the mold on that saying too.

For more information on their new album “MTV Unplugged,” as well as their upcoming tour, visit KinkyMusic.com.

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