“I was sure that this was going to start to happen”, says Catriel Guerreiro with a calm tone while smoking a joint on the sidewalk of a Palermo grill in front of a plate of French fries and a glass of beer. It is a Thursday in autumn at noon and it seems be about to receive the first meal of the day, under a blue cap with ear flaps starwars that softens the impact of her fuchsia hair. “Everyone told us, so I believed her.”
Catriel has been without a cell phone for two days: she cannot scroll on Facebook when she travels by bus or keep up with the publications on her Instagram account with 53,000 followers. She says that she walks without a weight and that the world is shit. But, beyond that, the truth is that it has never been better: together with Paco Amoroso and the ATR Banda, Catriel is growing at the speed of the trap, selling out tickets in Niceto, La Plata and Mar del Plata riding “OUKE” , his latest song, which has a video starring Esteban Lamothe and almost two million views on YouTube.
At 25, Catriel and Paco ask for clues in an urban scene that they dominated as outsiders, after seven years of playing in Astor, their rock band. “If only I had known that this circuit was so accessible for a barat like me…”, says Catriel. “At Astor we were all ragpickers, I swear to God, we just didn’t know.”
Ulises “Paco” Guerriero (yes, almost the same last name as Catriel) arrives 20 minutes later and orders a bondiola sandwich for breakfast. Dressed in a red T-shirt from the Güerrín pizzeria and green and white pants, he seems more optimistic than his partner. “Did you get the passport?” he asks in a big brother tone before the first bite. Together they maintain a long brotherhood that began in primary school, at the beginning of 2000, when, after classes, they would get together to play or go to the music workshop together –Catriel studied guitar and Paco the Suzuki Method for violin–, or burned hours from Counter-Strike in a cyber in Paternal or Villa del Parque. “We flashed with everything,” says Paco, the son of a dance teacher at the UBA and an amateur guitarist and composer of tango and folklore. “But as we got older, music became more and more present.”
Catriel was born into a family of artisans (his father also had his own “fine rock and roll” band: El Tinto Mandamiento) and as a boy he wore the red Fernandez strat that his father would leave him before he died and that he still uses live, obsessed with the metal of bands like Pantera and Megadeth and the speedy gymnastics of guys like Steve Vai. “I just wanted to play fast and loud,” he says.
In high school, when he separated from Paco to attend the Juan Pedro Esnaola School of Artistic Education in Music, where he would graduate as a music teacher, he began to try himself as a session player and in some cover bands. “I took a lot of trouble playing the guitar, so I had to learn pineapples: that gave me a hard time,” he says. “Those who play D well are always rather serious, so I would teach them how to tell jokes, and they would teach me how to play.”
His musical spectrum began to open up thanks to Ares and Emule, file download programs from a primitive era of the internet, more or less in 2011. At that time, Catriel called Paco to join as drummer for Astor, a band energetic and expansive rock that had elements of progressive music, funk and reggae. Along with Alan Alonso -on vocals, guitars and samples- and Felipe Brandy -on vocals and bass-, Catriel and Paco began to walk uphill in the local underground, loading equipment and drums on trains and buses for sporadic dates in the Capital and the Conurbano. “That’s where everything started,” says Paco. “Rap didn’t even exist in our lives yet.”
But then a childhood friend came back from a trip turned into an MC, and Catriel pricked up her ears. In fact, he confesses to having gone to try out the Fifth Step, the already legendary freestylers meeting in Parque Rivadavia; but the experience was unfortunate. “I was beaten by two chubby nine-year-olds, two shits,” he says. “Re chest cold.”
At the same time, while working as a session player for unknown artists and cover bands –he even played Whitney Houston songs at the Faena in front of celebrities like Brunos Mars and Sting-, and also as a guitar teacher, Catriel recorded experiments on the same PC home where his mom checked the mails. There he began to shape Ca7riel, his rapper alter ego. “I did it more to spit, I didn’t even want to transcend that, I tell you the truth,” he says. “I wanted to play in River with Astor, but well, things turned out differently…”
When he saw that Ca7riel was taking shipment thanks to the progress of rap in our country, Paco began to do the second one live. “I played the shrimp because I was alone up on stage, throwing some lousy stand-ups,” says Catriel. The only thing missing was for one of the members of Astor to leave the project for them to decide to dedicate themselves fully to urban music. “We ask ourselves: ‘What are we going to do now?'” says Catriel. “And we became rappers, forget it.”
Catriel says that she was having a hard time when she composed the songs for poor, a dark and anti-establishment trap EP which was published in March of last year. “The hippies around me were like, ‘You’re never going to get out of poverty if you put that name on the record,'” she recalls. “So I listened to them and the next one I put Free. I freed myself from that dark shit that is needing money. Now I need it, but that’s it, I declared myself free: it’ll come”. to Paco, who lives in another doorbell of the same building, they made “Piola”, the first of a series of tracks that they composed together.
“When the video for ‘Jala jala’ came out, everything changed,” says Paco. “In February we had a date at Recoleta, free, with clues, re caveman, and it was deadly. There were 8,000 people singing our songs. Suddenly, we began to see a completely new movie.”
During lunch at the grill, the interview is cut several times to attend to occasional fans who come to ask for a photo. One of those holding back is Aitor Graña, former musician for Ulises Butrón and current drummer for Juana La Loca, who saw them in one of the two Nicetos they did in April. “My girlfriend took me and they blew my wig off,” he says with a respectful bow. “Don’t put it in her bun, put it on quietly, because they have it all ahead of her…”
Driven by the overwhelming potential of the ATR Banda, a tight ensemble that can do trap without clues and go from jazz-rock to progressive music with nods to Serú Girán and La Máquina de Hace Pájaros, Catriel and Paco begin to glimpse a possible horizon of massiveness in the soapy territory of Industry, where, they say, “the illuminati” rule. Thanks to them, Catriel says that she got her iPhone (“With that I built my empire”) and thanks to them, too, she is about to begin to discover the world: when her passport finally arrives, she is going to go to Mexico to play with Wos, and then he will continue his trip with Paco towards Ecuador. In addition, in July they will arrive in Europe to play at the Sónar festival in Barcelona together with Bad Bunny. “What we like the most is traveling,” says Paco. “My dream would be to have a program like the one with Marley and Florencia Peña, because we also have the illusion of having fun.”
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Ca7riel and Paco Amoroso, two rockers infiltrated in the trap scene
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