Now with the mix of our newer generation musicians they three have brought up a fresh vision with their own set of influences. Not only musical influences, but also their way of thinking and seeing life as a whole. You can’t imagine how these differences enrich us as an indie band, seeing our ideas in a wider spectrum from each of our members perspective, and then consolidating them as a whole.
Interview by Jacqueline Jax
host of A.V.A Live Radio
Emmanuel Rivera Santiago (Voice/ Lyricist)
Jowy Berrios Lopez (Guitarist, music arrangements)
Pete Holliday (Guitar)
AJ Rivera (Drummer)
Hilmaris Sepúlveda (Bass)
La Obra De Marte was founded in Puerto Rico by Jowy Berrios Lopez (Guitarist and music arranger at the time) and Emmanuel Rivera (Singer and lyricist). The band was founded in 2012. The band pretends to present allegories to the world of written literature, and art in general, and the reflection of those in our real life.
The name “La Obra De Marte” is a world play that is better understood in Spanish.
There is a popular saying in Spanish where people call art “La Obra De ARTE” (“The Work Of Art”), The name makes tribute to art in all its forms, but far from sounding pretentious they decided to change the word “Arte” to “Marte” (Marte in literal English means the planet “Mars”), but also Marte besides referring to the planet Mars, also refers to Mars which is the Roman’s god of war, and he is Father of goddess Venus to their son Cupid (the god of desire, attraction, erotic love).
Besides this, Marte (Mars) represents a surreal plane, as we refer usually to Mars as a possibility to a future earth and new hope. Because of these symbolisms in our name we have applied all aspects to our lyrics.
The first recordings from La Obra De Marte came out as the demo titled “Soñadores Diurnos, Amantes Nocturnos” (Daydreamers & Night Lovers), this was a self recorded demo having just the first 5 tracks composed by Emmanuel Rivera and Jowy Berrios. The demo created such a good impression in the local rock fan base that the next logical step was creating the band.
In 2015 La Obra De Marte released their first full length album, titled “Punto De Partida” (Starting Point) . Punto De Partida contains twelve full tracks. The album was recorded in Highway Studios (Arecibo Puerto Rico) by the recording engineer Alexis Pérez (also guitarist for the bands Kalavera Inc. Holy Crackers and session musician). During the recording of this album La Obra De Marte was formed by Jowy Berríos, Emmanuel Rivera, Xavier Izquierdo, Raffel Cruz, and Hernán Rios). This album was titled “Punto De Partida” as a declaration that this was our starting point for real, and that after this we were going to continue our band’s career indefinitely no matter what happened.
In 2017 La Obra De Marte have been through some line up changes, so they released the E.P. titled “La Cara” (“The Face” or “The Head”). This is just the first part of what was firstly intended to be a second full length album that was going to be titled “las Dos Caras De La Moneda (The Two Sides of The Medal Coin) making reference to the same Spanish saying which implies that every story has more than one side or perspective.
During the recording of this E.P. LODM consisted of Emmanuel Rivera Santiago, Jowy Berríos, and Ito Figueroa on Drums. They recorded the full E.P. in Highway Studios (Arecibo) with Alexis Pérez. After the recording sessions the drummer at the moment Ito Figueroa parted ways with the band in good terms. So the band reformed with three new band members: AJ Rivera (Drums), Pete Holliday (Guitar), and Hilmaris Sepúlveda (Bass), joined with the original members of the band Jowy Berrios and Emmanuel Rivera.
The band is at the moment in the pre-production process for the second part of Las Dos Caras De La Moneda, which is going to be titled “La Cruz” (“The tail” of a coin, or “the shield side of the coin”).
After a year of live playing and touring the band started to fall apart for different reasons, and at the end of it all the only ones left in the band were again Emmanuel Rivera and Jowy Berríos (the original founding members of the band). This was around 2016, so we were in a crossroad of stopping there and leave it all behind, or we could just regroup as a two piece again and continue composing and recording. We decided for the latter alternative.
Usually our ideas are created by Emmanuel and I (Jowy Berrios). After all the years playing together there have been some sort of affinity between Emmanuel and I in terms of composing together. It just happens, without too much effort. I bring on a new riff, and he listens to it, and if he doesn’t have already a lyrical concept created, he will just listen to the whole vibe of the riff and work from there up to the types of lyrics that he would like to hear on top of that riff. Now in our future albums the composition process will change as we have our new member’s input in our music and I can see that it is going to change for the better.
“Every musician starts with the dream of making an impact to each one of all 7.2 billion humans in the planet; But as each of us musicians start growing up and maturing, we learn that even making an impact to just 1 person, makes it all worth it” -Jowy
As a band we learned a lot this last year. But if we are going to narrow it down to three it would have to be these three:
1) It doesn’t matter how much you plan as a band, or how much you calculate and expect things to work, there will always be something that throws the plan off. So it is crucial that as individuals and as a band we learn to shift mindsets fast and adapt to overcome obstacles.
2) People like to root for the underdog. If they saw you struggling all the way up and you were able to make it, they will back you up as they know what price you paid to “make it”.
3) Hurricanes suck. Having to go through the process of being hit by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was a set back for every sector in our island. However, it was a really deep learning experience knowing how you and your people will react in a situation like that.