New York – For more than 15 years, Locos por Juana has been wowing crowds with its distinct sound, fusing traditional Latin styles with hip-hop, rock and EDM.
But the Miami-based band is on the cusp of what may be its most ambitious endeavor.
“People don’t do albums anymore, they do EPs and singles, and we were like, ‘No, we are going to do an album,’” lead singer Itagui Correa told Fox News Latino about the group's new album, “Caribe.”
“For us it was to do a concept, trying to do something that would show a little of who we are, showing a bit of where we grew up," he added. "It was magical.”
“Caribe” is the band’s fifth album, released by the small Miami label Rock the Moon Productions, and it explores band-members' bilingual identity as Latin musicians living in the United States. And while the band has performed English covers during live shows, this is the first time they ever recorded a song in English.
“I always said that the day I record English music [it's] because we are thinking in English,” Correa added. “The process has to be natural, and it happened like that. I think it was necessary. [With] all the traveling that we had been doing, we have a lot more fans that are Americans that Latin.”
The first song they wrote in English was “The Cure” – No. 4 on the album – when the band traveled to Cabot, Vermont, to stay in the home of bass and mandolin player, David Pransky.
“We had already written the music and had a couple days off between shows. We started singing the chorus in English – it just came out in English. It just felt right,” guitarist Mark Kondrat told FNL. “That kind of inspired us, and we wrote ‘Summertime,’ which is 100 percent in English … We were missing our Caribbean, we were missing our beach.”
The whole album is very “Miami,” Kondrat said – a little bit of English, a little bit of Spanish and a whole lot of Caribbean flavor.
“We’ve always said that Florida is like an island attached to the United States,” Correa told FNL, “and the more you get down there, the more Caribbean you are going to get.”
Drummer Javier Delgado said the album is a way to show people who have never been to the islands what the feeling and flavor of those amazing places is.
“'Para Siempre’ sounds like arroz con habichuelas [rice and beans],” he said.
And in a strange way, that’s kind of the main idea behind the album – to showcase the flavors and spices that are specific to the Caribbean and Latin America.
“We want to show people, especially those who grew up in the Caribbean, to remember where they came from, how special that place is and not forget that,” Correa said. “It’s always to remember were you come from, where your roots are. It’s paying tribute to these beautiful places and people.”
The band insists that “Caribe” is not intended as an attempt at a cross-over album. Instead, it’s the next step in the band's evolution over the last 15 years.
“I strongly believe that music has no language – music is just music,” Correa said. “Music will let you know if it’s good or not good, if you should be all right, if you should dance. That’s what music shows you with no words.”
He added, “We noticed this album is great when our children can’t stop asking for it. Before they wanted to hear Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift but now they go, 'Dad, can you put on your CD?’”
Reception from fans and critics so far has been glowing, they said.
Top Shelf Reggae praised "Caribe," saying, “No matter your heritage, language, or musical preference, you will, without a doubt, enjoy every song on this album.”
“I think we created an album for every single person,” Correa said. "There is a little bit for everyone.”
"Caribe" is in stores now.