The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Everything's Connected: Omar Rodríguez-López Favourite LPs
Stevie Chick , September 10th, 2020 08:43

Former At The Drive In and Mars Volta member Omar Rodríguez-López speaks to Stevie Chick about the records that shaped his life, from Latin traditionals to how Janet Jackson got him into punk


Miles Davis – Sketches Of Spain 
I think for most people who love my music, something like On The Corner or Bitches Brew would be a more obvious choice, but this was the eye-opener for me. This is what was played in my house. My parents loved Miles Davis, and they played this one all the time – I remember my dad just sitting in darkness, listening to this record – he'd turn all the lights off and smoke his cigars, and he would have his rum, and my mom would be sitting there with him in the darkness, listening to this record. So to me, it's such a beautiful and emotional record. And it speaks to them and spoke to me because of the cultural identity Miles was tapping into with this record – the feel of it, how it draws upon Latin culture for its influence, how dramatic and emotional it is, spoke directly to me and my family, for these obvious reasons.

I grew up with this record. I never knew this was 'jazz music', and obviously it's just one of Miles Davis's many explorations into jazz music, a blend of many things. Later on he goes electric and gets far out there, but this was my doorway into that world where, at that young age – nine-years-old or so – I might not have understood all that other stuff. But because this record was around, and I was listening to it all the time with my parents, and I was so moved by it, that's what made me recognise the name and dive into Miles' other records and, later, as a teenager, get into Water Babies, On The Corner, Bitches Brew, all that electric stuff. But it all starts here for me, listening in the dark with my mom and dad to Sketches Of Spain.