Siete Catorce intellectualizes cumbia.
“I think everybody kind of left cumbia, but we’re still doing it in this weird way,” says Marco Polo Gutierrez aka Siete Catorce, a Mexicali producer who fell in with Tijuana’s ruidosón crew after performing his first set as Den5hion at a party in 2011.
“Den5hion is more like mind food,” he says of the glitchy project, which grew out of an ambient experimental collaboration, Dénima. “It’s music you can sit down and listen to. Siete Catorce is a way of getting all that mental bullshit that everybody has and putting it in a way that you can dance to. It’s music that’s really weird; you’re not sure you’re supposed to be dancing, but it’ll make you dance. That’s what I try to do with Siete Catorce. With Den5hion, it’s pure brain music. I want people to listen to my music who like that kind of intellectual music and then feel themselves compelled to dance to cumbia. It’s the lowest thing you can find in Mexico, you know, cumbia. It’s the baile de los pobres, you know, los nacos. I want to get down to that level, but I also want people who listen to cumbia to come up to the intellectual music.”
Now 21 years old, Siete Catorce was a late-comer to Tijuana’s ruidosón scene, but he quickly became a forerunner of the movement with his calculated, crepuscular doombia, which recontexualized and reinvigorated the gloomy vision of ruidosón founders Los Macuanos, María y José, Santos, and Hijo de la Diabla.
“Ruidosón is a real weird way of looking at a party,” Gutierrez says. “It’s not a genre of music. It’s not the way it sounds. It’s a real dark and depressing way of looking at a party. Everybody has their existential problems and we all found a way to bring it out with these same types of rhythms, like cumbia.”
Siete Catorce has since relocated to Mexico City to release EPs with the renowned N.A.A.F.I. crew and Ciudad Juarez’s Lowers, in addition to performing at conclaves such as Festival Nrmal, Vive Latino, and the Boiler Room. On Saturday, December 20, Siete Catorce returns to Baja’s desert capital to play a hometown party at a location TBA at facebook.com/fusemvsic.
“I want everybody to live this moment, to live right now,” Gutierrez says when asked about the future. “You can be who you are, when you are, right now.”