Normally, viruses approach people. Instead, Calle 13 proposes for its audience to approach the virus. That is why on November 5th the band announced that in a few days their fans would be able to hear their new single, after almost four years of not releasing new music. “Multi_Viral” is the first single off their fifth studio album to be released in 2014.
The song features the participation of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, who is a renowned activist and accused of being a hacker and leaking classified information. In addition, it includes collaborations with Tom Morello, deemed by RollingStone magazine as one of the best guitarists of all time, as well as Palestinian singer-songwriter and musician Kamilya Jubran. This diversity is what makes it impossible to pigeonhole Calle 13 into a particular genre of music. The same can be said for “Multi_Viral”, it’s a song that belongs to many genres. Through the music and lyrics, fans can identify with particular elements of the song and develop a personal relationship to it.
The concept of the song emerged last June when Residente met with Julian Assange at the Embassy of Ecuador in London. Through a Twitcam they proposed to their fans on Twitter to write the song together. That very day, they received thousands of emails from which they selected words and phrases, which began to fuel the creative process. As Residente describes it, “It was like a puzzle… similar to what happens when one writes, you have all the words in your head and you build what you want, but this time I was actually seeing the words”.
In reference to the lyrics of “Multi_Viral” Residente states, “It represents a universal discomfort, it speaks about courage, about what lights the wick, and it manages to cause a chemical distress in your body. It’s about the actual connection amongst people that exists on a global scale, and that’s the reason for “Yo soy 132” (in English, “We are 132”,) a movement comprised of young people who oppose media manipulation and disinformation) and 15-M (a citizen mobilization in Spain that demands a fairer system and promotes a more human type of journalism) because we have a connection.
When we hear the single, we realize that through the song we actually feel the sound of the interferences, representing what the lyrics communicate.
This very interference is an analogy to the manner in which media conveys information. Although the verses allude to thoughts that have been thought of or expressed about in the past, they become part of a whole. The concept of the message is transmitted in perfect unison through the lyrics and music. It represents the media’s ability to hide or alter the truth and not say things how they really are. In the case of “Multi_Viral”, they managed for this particular virus to communicate everything that is not communicated.