Chico Mann Talks New Music and Returning to Miami: "First Stop Is Palacio de los Jugos"
Chico Mann's new album, Magical Thinking, sounds like a mix of Company B, P-Funk, and every freestyle song ever. It's a style characterized by classic machine drums, catchy synth lines, funky guitar chops, thumping bass, and party-ready female vocals.
The Brooklyn producer has been making waves throughout the States since joining the New York-based Afrobeat band Antibalas in 1998. But it's been a few years since he touched down in the MIA. So now that he's headed back south, we here at Crossfade caught up with the Jersey-based artist to find out what he thinks about the touring life, broadening horizons, and smoking weed.
Crossfade: Wasup, man? How's it goin'?
Chico Mann: Good. Yeah, just hangin'.
What's been the holdup, yo?
Why has it been so long? Man, it's a long story. Basically, I mean, just lineup changes, and touring with Antibalas, and working on a new record. Before you know it, years have gone by. My last time in Miami was probably 2010 for Shake at The Vagabond.
What's your connection to Miami?
Well, I have a lot of family there. My family is Cuban. Everybody that's Cuban has family in Miami. I been just visiting to see family all my life, growing up. But the first time I played in Miami was with Antibalas at that same club, but back when it was called I/O.
Lots of acts seem like they ignore us.
Miami is not in the path of a lot of touring. Some years we get there, other years it doesn't happen. Which is a shame 'cause it's a great place and so very receptive to the music I make. But unless you're gonna fly down, it just doesn't make sense.
But at the same time, this is the gateway to so many other countries that would probably like your shit.
Yeah, that's true. Then, obviously, it would make sense. Antibalas only played Mexico for the first time a few months ago. I would love to be able to tour in Latin America. It's been a slow process making that happen. But if that were the case, Miami would be the first stop.