It is in october 2003 when I speak to Juanes. During the night he came by bus from Berlin to Amsterdam for a concert in the Melkweg . “I’m not a fan of air planes so we tour by bus”. He drinks a coffee while he hangs on a couch in the dressing room. “Unfortunately it’s not cafe Colombiano, because that is muy rico“, Juanes says half in English and Spanish. The whole interview will be be-lingual. Me asking questions in English and he answering in Spanish. “Lyrics are important for me. So I have to express myself in my native language.”
Un dia normal
It’s his first European tour, and his first visit to Amsterdam. The concert is sold out. “That’s amazing, my album ‘Un Dia Normal‘ has just been released here. Most people don’t know me yet. A year earlier Un Dia Normal (a normal day) was already a success in Latin America,. Isn’t it strange to promote an ‘old’ record? Well, in some way it is, but I’m very happy of course that people in Europe have the opportunity to listen to it now and buy the album. (note: this interview was done in pre-spotify times) Juanes (short for Juan Esteban) has mixed feelings about touring. I love to be on stage, and have the opportunity to bring my music to a new audience. But I also miss my country and my family when I’m far from home. When i’m on tour I feel like a ‘vagabundo por el mundo‘.
Before Juanes started a solo career he was the lead singer of the heavy metal band Ehkymosis . “Yeah man, that type of music was quite popular among the youth those days. It was a way to express our anger and frustrations. Juanes came of age in a period in which Colombia suffered from violent actions by domestic terrorists, para military forces and the narcotrafic maffia. “It’s a dualistic life”, he says. Colombia, and in particular my hometown Medellin is a really great place to party and have fun. On the other hand, when you woke up on monday morning after a weekend of celebration, you could wake up with the news that something terrible had happened.”
“Music is always important in Columbia. I grew up in a musical family. Me and my brothers always played music together. Lots of traditional songs. On the album I pay tribute to a Joe Arroyo song La Noche . I like the mix of folklore and rock music. This is the new musical road I travel now.