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Montréal, Quebec, Canada | INDIE

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | INDIE
Band World Latin




"Colectivo Especial"

If the bus ain’t broke, don’t fix it—but feel free to trick it out. Now that this local supergroup side-project has nailed down its vivacious, trilingual Latin-reggae-rock formula, they’re free to fine-tune the individual songs and each member’s contribution. Big, boisterous, beachfront anthems still dominate, albeit with a bit of bite—the Colectivo gene pool is punks and matalloids, after all. But then there’s numbers like the dark, funny “They Go Wild”—imagine a goth Fishbone. Overall, Colectivo’s sounding more collected than ever. 8/10 (Rupert Bottenberg) - Montreal Mirror

"Colectvio hasta la fiesta siempre!"

With roughly 15 members in a mega-side-project context (including Arroyo and Grim Skunk’s Joe Evil), the thing is surprisingly coherent. Mixing up mariachi madness, ballsy salsa, Bay Area Chicano roca clásica, punky reggae and Fishbone-flavoured funk, Colectivo prime themselves to become Montreal’s pre-eminent party band. - Montrea Mirror

"Collect ’em all"


The assemblage of 15 musicians culled from the ranks of such heavy-duty Quebec bands as Grim Skunk, Overbass, Redcore, BARF and Capitalist Alienation would suggest such a concentration of heaviness that mishandled, it might punch a hole right through the Earth - from Chibougamau to Shanghai.

No fear, though. As their already numerous shows (and fab debut CD Hasta la Fiesta… Siempre) prove, heaviness ain’t where Colectivo is at. Mixing up various Latino styles (cumbia, salsa, tango etc.) with reggae, ska and a pinch of rockiness, they aim to get the party started, pure and simple. The brainchild of Overbass members Shantal Arroyo and Joël Tremblay, Colectivo have in two short years made a name for themselves, here, in Mexico and across the Atlantic too. The Mirror rounded up about a third of the band for a somewhat chaotic collective chat.

Mirror: So tell me how Colectivo began.

Shantal Arroyo: It was an idea I had, and in 2000, I began looking for musicians. Joel Tremblay was the first I approached. It started slowly enough, but we asked more and more people. A couple said no, but we quickly had 15 or 16. We didn’t say we wanted 16 people, but we did want a big band. We wanted to seek out all the leaders in the underground scene to do reggae and Latin music, only with our roots. None of us knew how to play these styles of music - we were used to doing rock ’n’ roll, hardcore, metal and so on. So Colectivo has a vibe, a colour that’s different from other Latin groups.

M: But the focus isn’t on loud, distorted electric guitars.

Joël Tremblay: We’ve played acoustic sets on the beach.

SA: We can play on the beach, the metro, in a field, by a pool, wherever. It’s a group that can adapt to anything.

M: You guys sing in three languages, and mix in reggae and rock, so it’s hard to call you a Latino party band.

Serge Morin: You can say party band, anyway. That’s okay.

SA: I think world-punk is one of the best terms to use. World because it encompasses all our backgrounds, influences and styles, and punk because of the mentality, the values.

South of south of the border

M: You guys took a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, last year, which really glued the band together. How did Mexicans react to Colectivo?

SA: We’ve got three blacks in the band, Mexican, Spanish and Italian members - it’s a very colourful band. For them, that’s not québécois, not a mixed bag of races like that. So when we told them we come from Quebec, they were like, “What?” We were presented as coming from 15 different countries. Right, we practice by Internet! Personally though, before we left, I was scared. I’d been down there with Overbass before and I’d seen how touchy Mexicans can be, in the sense that you can’t play the star. You can’t have an attitude. It doesn’t wash, and if they don’t like you, they’re throwing bottles at you right away.

M: How many of you speak Spanish?

JT: There are four of us who speak it properly, a few more who don’t speak well but understand it, and are learning at the same time.

SA: The fact that we were forcing ourselves to sing in Spanish, for them, was already a humble gesture. They said, at least they’re not doing our Latin music in English. That would have been a big insult. From there, they really accepted us. It was a crazy party everywhere we played.

JT: We were number two on the radio down there for two weeks, and that was only a demo recording!

M: Did you guys check out the music scene there?

JT: We did the rounds a bit and caught some other, local acts, and they were missing the kind of tunes we do. It was missing because many Mexicans have a tendency to do like Americans.

SA: Yeah, bad ’80s top-40 stuff. That pissed me off the first time I went to Puerto Vallarta. I’d go to bars and hear Mexican bands doing American covers. I asked if there weren’t any Latino bars, and my friends said yes, there’s one. We went there and it was a DJ playing Latino dance-pop. It was unbelievable.

JT: It’s a bit like what once happened in Quebec - we took our music as kitsch, we thought it wasn’t good enough.

SA: You know, even Ritchie Valens, back in the day, when he did “La Bamba,” everyone said, “No, no, no, you can’t do that kind of music!” And then, boom! It was a hit. Also, the Mexicans don’t want to be treated like third worlders, so they imitate Americans. Look at Fuchs, the president of Mexico right now - he was the head of Coca-Cola in Latin America before. It’s ridiculous. When he was elected, he organized concerts all over Mexico, and they were all sponsored by Coke. And again, it was American music. It’s really ingrained.

Home field advantage

M: Now back to Quebec. It seems the reactions have been good so far. Apparently you’ve been getting more people each time you’ve played le Swimming.

SA: Yeah, we were playing the second Tuesday of each month there. We didn’t do much publicity other than announcing it on our Web site. We didn’t put out posters or flyers. We wanted to see what our draw was on its own. Each time, there were new faces there. And suddenly, we realized there were a lot of anglos there - something we didn’t expect. Oh, and a lot of girls! We all do punk and metal, so we’re not used to so many girls at our shows either. We’ve been building a following over the last year - when we did our CD launch at Parc Jarry, there were 2,000 people there!

JT: It’s moved really fast. We’ve progressed in two years as much as most bands do in five.

SA: We have the advantage of coming from established bands like Grim Skunk, Redcore and Overbass. Our fan bases from those bands come check us out because they’re curious. They often expect it to be super heavy. They show up and they’re so surprised. It’s not what they expected.

M: I think Colectivo fills a space in the local scene that’s been empty since the days of Me Mom & Morgentaler, or at least the big ska explosion of a few years ago. There isn’t anything alse on the big, brassy, funtime party band tip

SA: No, there isn’t. I mean, there’s la Chango Family, but they’re more hippie. Tomas Jensen, same thing. When I did an interview on Bande à Part, I said that Montreal has never really been represented for its multiculturalism. That’s not right, I forgot about Me Mom. They were the first smack in the face I got in that respect. I remember seeing them at Parc Berri and thinking, “Wow!” But since they broke up, there hasn’t been another local group with the same high profile which pushed that idea. It’s important that, in music and in life, you have some positivity. We need to dance, go crazy, forget your problems and party. That’s what we’re trying to do with Colectivo.

JT: Without bottoming out into kitsch.

Sandy clause

M: What’s next for Colectivo?

SA: We’re currently trying to book a 15-date tour through Quebec in January and February. That means 15 people have to work out days off work. That’s where it starts getting difficult, giving us headaches. It’s a sacrifice, but we tell them that we’ll stress out over this and then return to Mexico - that’s a good motivator. We’re planning a big show in the spring, Club Soda maybe, and possibly a tour with King Chango.

JT: It’s hard to say what the future holds, but we’ve been getting a lot of offers, and from all over. Compared to before, when we just doing alternative bands - those were harder get booked. With Colectivo, we get offers for corporate gigs, film-fest openings, all sorts of things. It’s so open.

SA: It’s up to us to decide, but you know, I’d really like to do a summertime tour of all the beaches in Quebec. We played two acoustic beach shows last summer just for fun, and I swear, everyone was dancing around us. I decided then and there that my goal was to do a beach tour. A tour of South America would be nice, though - we could tour in a big colectivo. You know what “colectivo” really means, by the way?

M: A collective, I thought.

SA: No, it’s like a big taxi van which will take people all over the place. It’ll be full of people, with more up on the roof, and still it’ll pull up by the side of the road and pick up more. :

At Foufounes Électriques’ Psycho Beach Party
New Year’s Eve event, with DJs Carbone, Mutante,
Dirt, Tiki Munster and more, on Tuesday,
Dec. 31, 9pm, $30. Open bar till 11pm, one
free drink for people in beach wear - Montreal Mirror

"Colectivo best fiesta in town"

"There is something typically Québécois in this way of adapting the latin rhythms and of amalgamating them with their influences"
Eric parazelli - Bande à part Fm

"It's a party, it's always very pleasant and that why I speak about the Bran Van 3000 of 2005. One feels in fact all the Latin-American mobility rock'n'roll which exists and which really took to an incredible width"
Alain Brunet - Espace musique

"Extremely well carried out, a great unit, diversifying with happiness and good fortune the Latin rates/ is quite special in the musical world from here as welcome!"
Jean Beauchesne - Journal de Montréal - The gazette

"Buena vista Montreal social club"

La tribu est enfin de retour: le groupe montréalais Colectivo a lancé il y a quelques jours son troisième album, toujours ska, reggae et latino, toujours en espagnol, français et anglais, toujours festif, foisonnant et chaleureux. Avec tout de même quelque chose de plus mûr, 10 ans après ses débuts et quelques confrontations avec la réalité, ici et au Mexique. Ça donne Tropical Trash.

Il y a quelques jours, le serveur sur lequel on peut acheter la version numérique de Tropical Trash a «planté» d'aplomb: trop de téléchargements en même temps! Car si on ne les voit pas à la télé, si leurs morceaux ne tournent pas à la radio, les musiciens de Colectivo ont leurs fidèles: les deux premiers albums, sans soutien médiatique, se sont vendus à 10 000 exemplaires. Pas mal pour un «combo» aussi coloré et épique que les fameux autobus collectifs (les «colectivos») qui sillonnent l'Amérique du Sud.

Il y a 10 ans, ils provenaient de groupes rock alternatifs (BARF, Overbass, Grim Skunk et compagnie) et sortaient en gang un premier disque bigarré (Hasta la fiesta... siempre, 2000). Il y a 5 ans, ils étaient 15 sur scène, ils donnaient des spectacles au Québec, en Ontario et au Mexique (7 tournées en 10 ans!) et ils sortaient leur deuxième disque (Especial, 2005). Les musiciens de Colectivo vivaient à fond leur rêve de faire une musique joyeuse, qui mêlait ska, reggae, rythmes latino, avec de l'accordéon et des cuivres en masse. Et puis...

Et puis, la façon de faire de la musique a changé: le groupe avait investi beaucoup pour concevoir le CD Especial à un moment où tout le monde se tournait vers internet. Et puis, il y a eu la bataille pour garder le nom de domaine de son site internet (qu'il a remportée). Mais surtout il y a eu la mort. Celle du guitariste et accordéoniste Sean Fox Fraser dans un accident de la route, en juin 2008. «Quand on a joué aux FrancoFolies en 2007, explique la très énergique Shantal Arroyo, on avait déjà composé deux nouvelles chansons, on était prêts à travailler au troisième album, on venait d'enchaîner trois tournées en trois ans au Mexique. Mais quand l'un d'entre nous est mort, ça nous a ébranlés. Certains ont décidé de prendre une autre orientation.»

Aujourd'hui, ils sont 10. «Et c'est toujours aussi compliqué, gérer l'emploi du temps avec une formation aussi nombreuse, poursuit-elle. En plus, on travaille sur deux territoires immenses, le Canada et le Mexique... C'est aussi pour ça qu'on a eu besoin de temps pour décider si on continuait ou non. Et on continue. Bon, on sait qu'on ne sera pas le prochain Shakira (rires), mais c'est correct!

«Tous nos textes sont inspirés par des anecdotes pas toujours belles qui nous sont arrivées au Mexique, reprend-elle. Les temps durs et La valse des bouffons, c'est pour parler des différences entre nos deux mondes, ici et là-bas, sans faire dans le pathétique ou le moralisateur, mais avec une petite critique de la façon dont nous agissons, nous les Nord-Américains.»

«La toune Tropical Trash, elle, est inspirée d'un snack à tacos où on aimait beaucoup manger, à Guadalajara, dit-elle. En revenant au Québec, on a lu dans le journal que c'était de la viande de chien qu'on mangeait. C'est pour ça que le gars qui fournissait la viande aux restos la vendait pas cher: parce qu'en fait, il ramassait tous les chiens du coin. D'un côté, c'est drôle, penser qu'on a mangé du chien; mais de l'autre, ça ne l'est pas, parce que ça révèle comment les gens sont obligés de se débrouiller pour survivre au Mexique.»

Non, ce n'est pas à cause de cette anecdote qu'une autre chanson s'intitule My Dog is Dead: «C'est la traduction littérale de l'expression québécoise «mon chien est mort», dit Shantal en riant, c'est pour parler de l'environnement, de la vie, de la façon dont nous agissons et des conséquences...»

Tout ça sur des musiques enjouées. Parce qu'il faut aussi danser, s'amuser, chanter, ça fait aussi partie de la réalité. Colectivo sera d'ailleurs en spectacle ces jours-ci, un peu partout au Québec. Idéal pour réchauffer l'hiver.

«Je dis toujours qu'on est le Buena Vista Social Club de Montréal, conclut Shantal Arroyo, on va avoir 70 ans et on va continuer! On est comme une vieille ligue de hockey de garage. La différence, c'est qu'on joue de la musique plutôt que du hockey. L'avantage, c'est qu'on ne perd jamais!»

Tropical Trash de Colectivo, en téléchargement numérique sur le (en format CD plus tard en février). En tournée au Québec en février. Infos sur le site.
- La Presse


Colectivo - Tropical Trash 2011

02-Waiting to love
04-La valse des bouffons
05-My dog is dead
06-Tropical Trash
07-SugarCane Fairy
08-Les temps durs
09-For the next time

Réalisation : Denis Lepage, Colectivo et Kaz Choucri
Ingénieur : Kaz Choucri
Producteurs exécutifs : Shantal Arroyo, Joël Tremblay, Kaz Choucri & Colectivo
Photos : Martin Aubertin
Design : Oscar Souto,

Colectivo - Especial 2005

01-El bus
02-You got to
03-Even for free
04-La china
05-El machito
06-La bruja
07-El presidente
09-Watch out
10-They go wild

Réalisation: Cristobal Tapia de Veer
Assistant à la réalisation: Fermin Muguruza & Joël Tremblay
Mixage, montage & programmation par Cristobal Tapia De Veer
Enregistré par Cristobal Tapia de veer & Ghislain Jacques, Studio Groove
Mastering: Fernand Martel, Studio Victor
Producteurs exécutifs: Shantal Arroyo, Discos del Toro
Direction artistique: Shantal Arroyo, Blacky & Sebastien Nasra
Traduction & adaptation: Shantal Arroyo, Blacky & Mihail
Photos: Jean-Francois Gratton,
Assisté de Jean-François Lemire
Styliste, coiffure & maquillage: Bianca Vaillancourt
Assistante styliste: Mélanie Côté & Vicky Boudreault
Design: Oscar SKAR Souto,

Colectivo - Hasta la fiesta...siempre 2002

01-Baile del Toots
02-Hemp wanted
03-Che la vita
04-Bring me down
05-Hasta siempre
06-Down in Puerto Vallarta
07-Negro Tomas
09-Le délire

Producteurs exécutifs: Shantal Arroyo, Joël Tremblay & Marc-André Thibert
Réalisation: Joël Tremblay & Marc-André Thibert
Ingénieur de son additionnel: Alain Girard, Studio Sigma
Ingénieur Pro-Tools & mixage: Dominik Pare
Mastering: Hugue Normand
Design: Oscar SKAR Souto,



COLECTIVO: A distinctive union of people sharing the same level of passion and values who inspire team spirit and unity, spreading the word of social equality without frontiers or barriers to our youth. They are the symbol of a new musical and social revolution, one which reflects innovation, pacifism and encourages the free spirit in all of us to come forward. Ten musicians migrating from ten different musical backgrounds, which include members from some of Montreal's creme alternative scene, (Overbass, Grimskunk, Redcore, The Funkophones, Barf and many more). One thing that is clear is their message, evident in their music, propelled by their energy: No matter what the outcome is, there is always HOPE. *****

On stage live, Colectivo is a true fiesta for the spectators. The shows are layered with percussive, multi-coloured and energetic rhythms which tantalize your eyes, ears and feet, blending this 10 member band into one unified sound on stage. The infectious vocal stylings of Shantal Arroyo entice you for an eventful evening of hot Latin dancing! The audience always begs, wails and sweats for more! Since the release of their debut album in 2002 entitled "Hasta la fiesta...Siempre", and in 2005 ''ESPECIAL'' Colectivo's eclectic recidivism has given birth to a third album,"TROPICAL TRASH" every bit as dynamic and sizzling. Colectivo : For Mexicans it's a jam-packed bus that awaits you beneath the burning sun. Even if you feel like a sardine in a noisy can , it's always nice to come on board and hitch a ride. Most of the time it even takes you to where you are going. It would seem there is an underlying complex and mystical power driving all this, or it might simply be the Jamaica Rastaman's well known enchanting formula: Once active,you feel the craving to dance as long as you can before the moon dissipates.