For five days in July, the New Yorker hotel in midtown Manhattan hosts the daytime sessions of the Latin Alternative Music Conference (or LAMC). Each afternoon there are talks, gear demonstrations, lots of networking, and a general pulse of excitement in the air, but one of the best things about attending LAMC is the chance for unexpected encounters and chats with artists creating music all over the globe: From bands that are coming to the US for the first time, to industry veterans with Grammys lining their mantles.
The one uniting factor drawing all of these bands to LAMC is their affinity to the term "Latin Alternative." It's a phrase that serves as a catch-all for many different styles of music, and perhaps it used to carry a bit more weight when there was a greater divide between bands that were backed by major record labels vs. bands trying to cobble things together on their own. But as the music industry evolves, and indie acts all over the world have more leverage due to social media, it begs the question: "What does the term 'Latin Alternative' mean in 2013?"
For answers I turned to the bands themselves. The groups I spoke with hailed from Mexico City (Dapuntobeat), Miami (Elastic Bond), Barcelona (The Pinker Tones), and Lima (Bareto).
When asked if they thought of themselves as "Latin Alternative" the answer from all four groups is essentially "Yes!", but their reasons why are as varied as the sounds they produce and the cities they come from.