Freddy Alva is a very interesting person, although not directly involved with cumbia Peruana. Freddy helped release the very famous cassette compilation in the '80s called The New Breed compilation which was recently re-issued on 2xlp in the past year. Freddy also started Wardance Records which documented some of the freshest sounds going on in New York Hardcore at the time.
Freddy was also is from Pucallpa the same city that Sensación Shipibo and Juaneco y su Combo hail from. While in our travels to Pucallpa Freddy gave us some good advice on some hotspots around town and also just wrote the liner notes for Curriculum Mortis' 'Sentencia De Muerte' on Masstropicas sister label ULTRA-SONIDO. Please enjoy our 5 questions with Freddy Alva.
1. What is your first memory of hearing music?
I remember being in Pucallpa, where I was born, sneaking off with my
older cousins to watch my mom/aunts & their friends have house
parties. I was about 7 or 8 & even though I don't recall the exact
songs they played, this was during the mid-70's, they must have been of
the Chicha/Salsa variety, as those sounds we're in vogue at the time.
I've asked my brother, who's 18 years older than me, if he recalls
seeing any of those classic 70's Chicha outfits from the Amazon. He was
like "yeah, I saw Juaneco, Los Mirlos, Los Destellos etc, you name it".
It was no big deal going to a local bar & seeing any of those groups
at any given time. I also remember an older cousin of mine being
obsessed with melodramatic Spanish pop singers like Camilo Sesto/Julio
Iglesias/El Puma always blasting on her stereo, so those tunes are
forever stuck in my head as well.
2. What made you decide to start Wardance Records?
I started Wardance in '90 to document bands surrounding the early Abc
No Rio scene . I did 8 records (Citizens Arrest/Hell No/Rorschach/1.6
Band) the last release being a 7" by the Peruvian band, Futuro Incierto,
in '94. The label lay dormant 'til 2010 when I started it up again to
release an old Abc No Rio '91 scene comp called Fuck Rock. To date I've
done a My Rifle 7"/Johatsu Demo & collaborated w/Lush Life Records
to reissue the New Breed Tape Compilation on Lp & Cd. My latest
release is a split 7" with 2 Peruvian Metal bands: Oxido & Don Juan
Matus. This was done in conjunction with Basilica Records out of Lima. I
next plan to team up w/Lush Life once again & put out a Absolution
7" & Lp of new/re-recorded material. Everything I've ever put out
has been done by people that I've known for decades. I'm fortunate to
have good friends that make incredible music, other projects are in the
works, time & circumstance permitting; they'll come out exactly as I
3. How did you get into hardcore/punk music?
I got into HC my sophomore year of High School, mostly through
hanging out with a bunch of misfit Skinheads/Metalheads & burnouts.
I'd heard punk stuff like The Clash/Pistols by '84, but I didn't attend
my first HC matinee @CBGB's until '85. I was attracted to HC's vibrant
outsider youth culture vibe, it had strong parallels to the Hip Hop
scene I was involved with growing up. I still consider HC a potent force
on my life. I realize that it's impact has diminished over the past 30
years or so years of the genre's birth. Musical tastes are such a fickle
subject; what you're into as a teenager will completely change, for
most people, as you mature. The trick is to hang on to something that
resonates with your core values & HC still does that for me, as well
as many others.
4. What was it like coming from Pucallpa all the way to NYC?
Coming to NYC in '79 was definitely a huge change. I'd lived in
Pucallpa until I was 7, then in Lima for a couple of years, but moving
to the borough of Queens & making new friends/coping with the
language difference took some time to getting used to. I also hated the
winter, which in '79/'80 was particularly brutal. I was lucky to have
unconditional support from my mother & brother who instilled in me a
strong sense of self-worth plus the latitude to follow whatever path I
chose to take. Thank you for that Mom (RIP) & my brother Carlos.
4. favorite NYHC record and why.
That would have to be Kraut's "An Adjustment To Society" Lp for a number of reasons:
- It's the 1st HC Lp record I ever bought.
- Hometown (Queens) heroes that opened up for The Clash in '82, wish I'd been there!
- I saw their "All Twisted" video, 1st HC video to air on MTV, on a local cable channel & was blown away.
- The Lp has fast trash parts/melodic anthems/orchestral intro/great lyrics plus Steve Jones from the Pistols on guest guitar.
- Great B&W Lp cover sleeve, it's just what a HC/Punk record is supposed to look like.
I could go on & on, Kraut freaking rules. Thank you Michael for the
interview & all your amazing reissues of Peruvian Chicha/Trash
Metal/Amazon Shamans etc., it's definitely a labour of love! Much
If anyone wants to read any of my various rumblings, check out my blog at: www.quixoticdreamsnyc.blogspot.com