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Mau y Ricky have never limited themselves to one genre. Throughout their career, the Venezuelan brothers have remained committed to pushing Latin music to new places while having fun doing it. As they get ready to embark on a new era, Mau y Ricky have compiled their recent hits onto the new Desgenerados Mixtape. Alongside acts like Eladio Carrión, María Becerra, CNCO, and Carin León, the guys explore diverse sounds like EDM, regional Mexican music, reggaeton, and cumbia.
“Desgenerados means the liberty to do anything we want,” Ricky Montaner says about their mixtape. “To not just be put in one box. We’re having the liberty of just expressing anything that we’re feeling.”
Mau y Ricky have a very unique perspective as artists. They have multi-platinum plaques as a duo and thanks to superstars they’ve written for like Becky G, Karol G, Ricky Martin, and Maluma. Mau y Ricky also come from a famous musical family with Argentine pop icon Ricardo Montaner as their father. Their sister Evaluna Montaner and their brother-in-law Camilo are musicians as well. Despite growing up Montaner, Mau y Ricky have made a name for themselves as hit-making singer-songwriters.
Mau y Ricky are at a transition with recently launching their own label. Desgenerados Mixtape is a gift to their fans while the guys get ready for what’s next. Over Zoom, Mau y Ricky caught up with Uproxx about the mixtape, the stories behind their big hits, and their future as a duo.
How would you describe the experience of working on music together as brothers?
Ricky Montaner: In our case it’s been amazing because truly we’re best friends. We have this way of working where one’s weaknesses is the other person’s strengths, so we do play better together. We’ve just been very practical with that since we know that we need each other to succeed. We’re also really good at getting along because we don’t want to tarnish that. Not only is our relationship as brothers obviously important but so is our passion. They’re very well aligned, so we found a way of keeping everything super smooth. Truly it’s the best part about my job that I’m able to do it with my brother.
What was life like for you guys also growing up in a very musical family?
Mau Montaner: It’s awesome because we know we all have a lot of things in common and we know that in our own different and authentic way, we’re impacting the lives of people. That’s beautiful to be able to do it as a collective and as a family. The only thing that sucks is that we all have crazy schedules that sometimes we’d want to be able to be at each others’ things, activities, and moments a lot more. That’s probably the downside of it, but it’s for a good purpose and something that’s very positive
Why did you guys decide to put together these songs on the Desgenerados Mixtape?
MM: This is a collection of songs that we had for the last couple of years. They almost didn’t see the light of day and we just decided to do a big mixtape of all the songs that weren’t put on albums. We’re constantly making music, so we’re constantly evolving as artists. That’s a version of Mau y Ricky we thought was very important for our fans to experience and have as well, so that’s why we decided to put these songs out. We really love them and we’re ready to move onto the next phase of our creativity, so this tells a story that helps transition into that.
You guys live up to the name of Desgenerados (Without Genre), so what was the experience like to explore different genres on the mixtape?
RM: It’s amazing! We usually do that and we usually give ourselves the liberty of doing that. We wanted to reinforce it — even with the name of the mixtape. Letting everybody know that we’re not defined by one thing. We’re going to keep changing and evolving because we think that’s important as artists. There’s songs of mine that I have written that I feel are like two or three Mau y Rickys ago. They’re all still part of me, but we’re constantly growing.
One of the biggest hits on the mixtape is “Llorar y Llorar.” How did that regional Mexican music song come together with Carin León?
RM: That song is truly a dream come true for us. It’s a song that we’re extremely proud was successful and that people got to hear it. It was not only our fans who are the best, but also people who don’t necessarily listen to Mau y Ricky everyday. People were connecting with the song, so that’s such a special one. It came together when we were on tour in Mexico. We were living there for a minute and I was in the car and that first line of the chorus and melody came together. We just sat down with the guitar and wrote it and finished it. Then we produced it with Rafa Arcaute, who is a producer I admire a lot, and JonTheProducer as well. We reached out to Carin through a mutual friend we have. We knew about each other, but we never met, and we met through a Zoom call. It was literally friendship at first sight.
Speaking of JonTheProducer, you guys have a history of working with him. What’s the chemistry like between him and Mau y Ricky in the studio?
RM: Jon is like the third member of our band. He literally knows us the best more than anybody else. Sonically, I trust him so much. He’s a guy that’s studied so much and has just done it for so long at a high level that I think he’s just amazing. Our chemistry is as strong as it is with Camilo, with Mau, and our constant collaborators. Jon is our most frequent collaborator. He’s just incredibly talented and we’re lucky to be able to work with him as often as we do because I know a lot of people want to work with him.
How did the song “Mal Acostumbrao” come together with María Becerra?
MM: We were having to leave Buenos Aires to play some shows in Mexico and María was flying to Buenos Aires. Her flight got delayed, so we ended up not being able to meet at the time that we had set. Our flight was at 8 and we had no time to meet, so we decided to move our flight back for the later flight of like two hours later. We were able to get into the studio for about two hours with María and Big One and we wrote this song. I love the song so much and María is just incredible, so is Big One, and we had an amazing time. This is definitely another pillar inside the mixtape for us.
Your new single from the mixtape is “Ex” with La Joaqui. What’s the story behind that cumbia collaboration?
RM: We were doing The Voice in Argentina. We were having to live there for a minute and we were also in the middle of touring. Every time we would go out after a show, we noticed they played our songs at the club, but they remixed them to this cumbia sound. We decided to do a song that they didn’t have to remix. I reached out to the producers that I feel together with Tini have made that sound be super mainstream. I said, “Hey guys, I have this chorus and I think it would be a great cumbia song and you guys are killing the game with that sound, so let’s do it.” They came back wanting to do it. They wrote the verses and they sent them to me, we cut them, and we just killed it. We sent La Joaqui the song and she decided to hop on it immediately. She confessed to us later that she was super excited because she’s never done this kind of genre before. For us, it was just so natural to invite her and she killed it, so it’s a song we absolutely love.
CNCO is getting ready to split up. How would you describe the experience of working with them on the song “Vivir Sin Ti”?
RM: The experience of working with CNCO was amazing. We’ve been friends since they started. We were trying to make it at the same time and everything started happening close together. We wrote songs together. We hung out at the studio. We had the same management at the time. It was a very natural collaboration for us. Lots of the CNCOwners were really asking for this and I get messages on my social media all the time about this. We finally got together to make this happen. We’re honored to have the official last CNCO song — for the time being anyway. I love those guys and wish them all the best.
An explosive moment on the mixtape is Puerto Rican rapper Eladio Carrión featuring on “No Puede Ser”? How did that EDM-infused collaboration come together?
MM: We were friends and got along in the studio. We had written several songs in the studio together. One day we just came across the producer Palace with this new kind of sound and style of songwriting that we decided to do on the song. We sent it over to Eladio and we told him we sincerely thought he would murder this song. It’s a super unexpected collaboration and an unexpected song to do together. We thought that was the magic behind it and I think it paid off. It’s one of my favorite songs we’ve ever done and one of my favorite [guest] verses. He just kills it and it’s outside of what he usually does. I love that he was able to do that in a song that’s on our mixtape.
I noticed that you guys released the mixtape through Why Club Records. What can you tell us about your label?
MM: Why Club Records is a record label that we dream will eventually host other artists as well, but for the time being it’s us and our new creative place. It’s a place for musicians and artists with their music that has some kind of purpose. Not necessarily a message to it, but they want to impact the lives of people profoundly. They want to impact culture, so this is a house for that. It’s for the liberty of artists being able to do whatever they feel genuinely and authentically.
What can we expect from the next era of Mau y Ricky?
MM: If you mean what’s coming after Desgenerados, you can expect us to do the best music we’ve done in my opinion. We’re more authentically ourselves than ever and just creating from a place of pure honesty and joy. We’re planning a lot of cool and meaningful stuff for our fans and people that are just joining our family. We’re just really focused on our people and making our people feel special as we really hope they do. I hope that you stay tuned.
RM: We’ve been in the studio since November working on a new album. That’s why we called this a mixtape because we’ve rediscovered the meaning of making an album with what we’re working on right now. We’re incredibly excited about it. We’re working, of course, with Jon as well, but we’ve brought in a couple of people that truly have made a huge difference in our lives and in our creativity. It’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Desgenerados Mixtape is out now under license to Why Club Records/Warner Music Latina/Sony Music Entertainment US Latin. Listen to it here.
Some of the artists mentioned here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.