No one can ever deny the fact that when a metal band dives into their national culture, be it through the lyric topics, outfits or simply the usage of traditional instruments, that it's not awesome. Because it bloody well is. Bringing their own folklore and stories to the fore are Mexico's Cabrakaän who are steadily in the process of relocating to Canada. Despite their transition from the sunny south to the Arctic north, this quintet remain in high spirits, come taco-loaded and are ready to face the music as they deliver the Jarabe Tapatío metal-style. The Mexican quintet spoke to GMA about their love for Mexican folklore, their relocation to Canada and how important it is to reflect your national culture.
"We also like to use pre-Hispanic mythology in our songs as an analogy to the economic and social issues Mexico is going through nowadays"
For those who don't know, could you give us a brief history of Cabrakaän and the meaning behind the band name?
"Cabrakaän is a project formed in 2012, in Toluca, Mexico by Pat Cuikani and Marko Cipaktli. We had the idea of making a metal band in which we could add a little bit of our culture in it. Since Mexico has both Indigenous and Spanish roots, pre-hispanic and symphonic elements were something we definitely wanted to combine.
Regarding the name, Cabrakaän is the Mayan god of mountains and earthquakes and he is mentioned in the sacred Mayan book known as 'Popol Vuh' (considered a bible to them). Based on the strong meaning of Cabrakaän, we thought it would be suitable for the project, we just added a second 'a' to make it look more interesting."
How does it feel to sign with Sliptrick Records? What is support for metal music like in Mexico? Was it easy/hard to relocate to Canada?
"It’s amazing to have the support of a label such as Sliptrick Records. We feel very pleased and way more confident in working with them. Mexico has a huge metal scene. There are even a couple of festivals that are considered the biggest in Latin America, but they have a huge preference for foreign big bands, which is sad considering that there is so much local talent.
You can find many bands with a very interesting sound all around the country. Although there is not much support for those bands and that's why most of them (including us, of course) look for more opportunities abroad. That’s something that needs to change in Mexico.
And yes, some of us are still in the process of relocation, it’s not easy, it takes time. Plus, it is always hard to leave one's homeland and adapt to another place and culture. The cold is another thing that is not easy at all… haha."
You sing about Mexican folklore alongside Meso-American mythologies, what inspired you to choose these themes? How important is it for metal bands to reflect their national culture and heritage?
"Spirituality is something we grew up with, its part of our lives even though we are not religious of any kind, we feel connected to our land in soul and heart. And instead of just telling an ancient story we also like to use pre-Hispanic mythology in our songs as an analogy to the economic and social issues Mexico is going through nowadays, so Mexican people can relate somehow. We want them to remember that once, we used to be the great Aztec Empire, and we can always be reborn as a new and much better nation. We think every metal band reflects a little of their roots and countries not only in their sound but in the message behind their lyrics as well."
With that in mind do you feel people can learn things they never knew from listening to metal music; so for example stories told within Mexican folklore?
"Absolutely, that’s the idea. Mexican folklore is quite different from the European, its indigenous roots make it quite interesting. And the mythology is so vast and rich that people will learn many things they never heard before for sure."
How did you get into metal music in the first place? Does your family members play metal music or any instruments?
"We all got into metal for different reasons at some point in our lives, but the truth is we listen to all kinds of music just because we love it. Although we all found a great way to express ourselves through metal, that's for sure. Some of us have a few relatives who are musicians but not in our immediate family. The biggest influence we had that really got us into music, I guess, was just our records we listened to since we were kids. We also used to play in different metal local bands since we were very young."
With your new album "Cem Anahuac My Home" due out next year, will you look to tour North America and maybe Europe in support of it?
"Oh yeah, absolutely!! We are looking forward to playing either North America, Europe, or both if possible."
Are there some phrases metalheads could say in Spanish at your shows to show support for the band?
Yeah, of course. A couple of phrases would be:
Are there any greetings or thank you's you wish to send out to friends, family, fans, etc?.
"We would like to thank all our fans for supporting us and being a part of our family to this day. The feedback we get from you allows us to keep improving and making what we love the most. Music. Thank you so very much, and stay tuned because great things are coming next year!"