Extended! Cyber Monday Sale | Shop Now »

Sebastian Krys’ Favorite Songs from Elvis Costello to Carlos Vives

Sep 08, 2016

5-time Grammy®, 12-time Latin Grammy-winning producer and engineer Sebastian Krys shares 6 key songs that “give voice to the voiceless,” by his favorite artists and from his own career.

The Argentine-born, US-based audio engineer and record producer has worked with music greats Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Alejandro Sanz, Carlos Vives, Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin and many others. In this personal playlist, Krys shares six key songs that cover his wide knowledge, taste and sensitivities. Hear his chosen voices of home, social protest, artistic liberation and cultural fusion.

1. Elvis Costello, "God's Comic"

This is one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite artists. From a production standpoint it's impeccable. It’s very different from Elvis' earlier albums, but the thing I love the most are the lyrics. The idea that "God" is wrestling with the fact that he screwed up in how he made humans, and what they've done with his creation of the world, is brilliant (at least that's how I interpret the song). This came out when I was 18, and it really opened up my mind about how limitless an artist can be. Elvis didn't have to stay the "post-punk" angry young man he started out as: he was able to evolve and challenge his fans.

2. Mercedes Sosa, "Gracias a La Vida"

It's hard to pick one song by any artist, let alone by one of the most important singers of popular song in history. Mercedes Sosa was known as the "Voice of Latin America." She sang many protest, folk, and tango songs. Here she interprets a beautiful song written by the legendary Chilean songwriter Violeta Parra. The translation of the title is "Thank You for Life." I was born in Argentina, and her voice is simply home to me. She was the voice of millions of people in the ‘70s and ‘80s who couldn't have a voice because of oppressive dictatorships. This is the manifestation of the true power of music.

3. Midnight Oil, "Dreamworld"

I love this fiercely independent and political band from Australia. I never got to see them live unfortunately. From a production standpoint, their sound and their use of acoustic guitars was really different when this came out in 1987. This album, Diesel and Dust, is a masterpiece from top to bottom. Bands simply did not and do not sound like Midnight Oil. Pure energy, conviction and power.

4. Carlos Vives, "Carito"

This was the first big album I produced. It was a real challenge. To me Carlos Vives is to Colombian music what Bob Marley is to Jamaican music, and that is not an overstatement. He created a new fusion that combined Vallenato and Cumbia from Colombia with pop and rock. I collaborated with him on three albums (together with co-producer Andres Castro). It was an education and an honor. This track was mixed by Javier Garza and mastered by Bob Ludwig.

5. La Santa Cecilia, "Nunca Mas"

I discovered this band while they were playing a two-song showcase on a Monday night at the Chinese restaurant Genghis Cohen in L.A. La Marisoul, the lead singer, reminded me of Mercedes Sosa. We've now made three EPs and two albums together. This song talks about violence: "Remember that my face has a name." They've collaborated with Elvis Costello, The Roots, Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top, Pepe Aguilar, and even John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin has sat in with them. Again, they use the power of music to have a positive change in the world and give a voice to the voiceless.

6. Los Rabanes, "Money"

I love punk. I love ska. I have worked on three Rabanes albums. I feel like this was a little bit ahead of its time, combining practically every style of music we could think of into a three-minute song, from punk to ska, reggae, salsa, reggaeton, hip hop, cumbia and metal. It's so liberating to work with artists that are up for anything.