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Interview: The Cuban Brothers

5th February 2013

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“I'm into nonsense.” When asked to sum up The Cuban Brothers, Miguel is stifled for words. 

The Cuban BrothersAs ring leader of the act that's dominated the festival scene for over a decade he's effectively trying to sum up over ten years of parties, madness and all out... nonsense. 

If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing one of their many live shows across the globe the brothers consist of Miguel, Kengo San and Archerio, three movers and shakers who met in Edinburgh at University bought together by a love of break dancing, hip hop and dance culture. 

The Cuban Brothers have lived every chapter of the rock n roll lifestyle from playing with James Brown on his last ever tour to flying from Las Vegas to China in The Rolling Stones' custom private jet. 

Miguel could not be happier in the run up to the release of The Cubans major debut album and gave me the rundown on fame, fortune and wigs: 

Where did the idea to form The Cuban Brothers come from? 

I used to run a club in Edinburgh called The Honeycomb in the mid 90s. Around that time there was a lot of chin stroking, I wanted to do something a bit left field and have a laugh, I wanted to create a character like Miguel. 

And that's when you got talking with Archie (Archerio) and Kengo San? 

I've always been an mc and I used to breakdance as a kid, I've been b-boying since I was a kid. I actually battled Archie in a club and although I could match him in energy I coudn't match him in skill. So I thought if you can't beat them get them to join you. 

Then what happened? 

We put on nights, I had the great and good of the Edinburgh club scene, we went from taking two hundred pounds on a Tuesday night to about five grand. We actually met Kengo San when we were teaching under privileged kids to break dance, he was a really dope dancer so we asked him to join.

 So it was a want to do something completely different? 

It was me wanting to do something that was fun when I was growing up getting into music in the golden era it was about a jump up and party. People had stopped dancing.

 Who are your five main influences? 

Probably James Brown, Parliament, Funkadelic, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul. 

And you actually supported James Brown on tour with The CB's? 

It was the year before he died. The sickest feeling was being in front of 30,000 people in Sydney, James Brown was screaming and shouting. He was talking to me but i'll be honest I couldn't understand what he was saying. He's on another world. He's off the scale. Popular music and culture wouldn't be the same without the godfather. 

The album, Yo Bonita, is due for release, what inspired you to make an album? 

It was when my eldest daughter, Bonita, was born, I had a romantic motion I wanted to write an album, something that was a moment and milestone to have. 

Can she tell the difference between Daddy and Miguel? 

She sees stuff in shops and says Daddy that would be good for Miguel because of all the Bestivals. She's been on stage she's a great dancer, she's basically a mini version of me, god help her. We used to have a day called wiggy hat fridays. She;d be rocking outrageous wigs with me. Her and my other little girl Lulu are both Cuban Sisters. 

What can we expect from your shows? 

We're a straight up entertainment entity, we play music, we all b-boy. I can't really relate to bands who get on and don't break a sweat. You've got see The Cubans, one thing I can guarantee you won't go home disappointed. 

It looks like a lot of fun. 

We're just trying to have a party. We've played in Cuba a few times, what starts of as five or six guys, then 25 people half an hour later all the drinks have arrived, after an hour there's 100 people on the street. It's a flown blown party. it's that whole carry on of the cats haven't really got much but when it comes to celebration they just have it off. 

Your also regulars of the Gumball 3000 rallies and have starred in the films, how did that come about? 

We did about six or seven gumballs it was fun, next level, after doing about seven I wasn't that keen about getting into a car for nine days, ten hours a day, once you've done a few gumballs. I'm not into cars I'm into nonsense so it was a lot of fun, hanging out with the Jackass boys. I became really close with Ryan Dunn. 

We went into North Korea for 30 hours to attend the mass games. We went from Vegas on the Stones old jet, it's the biggest first class jet, so we went to Northern China into North Korea where they took our phones, passports, I was driving in the kit car with David Hasslehoff and it was surreal. 

Where can we see you this year? 

We're hosting Bestival, The CB's at Glastonbury, Snowbombing, we're all over the place this year, we're going to India, we've got three big shows in India, we're playing to 100,000 people plus. 

You’re going to see more of us on the big screen. We filmed, Cuban Fury, the new Nick Frost film. There's going to be a nice mixture of music, comedy and actings. It's a nice way to mix things up 

The Cuban Brothers debut album, Yo Bonita, is out this month the trio host this year's Bestival 5th - 8th September.

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