For an absurdly comic idea, Señor Coconut proved to have more than a single note at their — or perhaps his — disposal, managing a series of albums and even planning a U.S. tour. German DJ and producer Uwe Schmidt (aka Atom Heart) had released dance music in his homeland under a number of different aliases during the first half of the 1990s. But he'd become bored with the European music scene and in 1996 transferred his base of operations to Chile in order to begin exploring the possibilities of Latin music, which was, he said, "a pretty much undiscovered planet to me," adding, "It unveils lots of interesting musical worlds to me."
Adopting the ridiculous moniker of Señor Coconut, he first cooked up El Gran Baile, a distinctly Latin-flavored groove-a-thon, and did a remix for former Deee-Lite turntablist Towa Tei. Then he began to ponder the possibilities of a German-Latin fusion, and found his material in the unlikeliest of places — the greatest hits of man-machine band Kraftwerk, best known for their very inhuman, unemotional approach to music (the very opposite of Latin passion). The result was El Baile Alemán. Although credited to Señor Coconut y Su Conjunto, it was purely the work of Schmidt and three vocalists, who took the Kraftwerk machine ideal and tipped it on its head, putting in programmed cumbia, merengue, and salsa rhythms to flavor the Teutonic stew.
Released as a one-off in 2000, El Baile Alemán received a fair amount of critical acclaim in the U.S., more than Schmidt had received for any of his other work. In March 2001, Señor Coconut — now a real eight-piece band — were set to undertake a short headlining tour in North America, but visa problems for some of the Chilean musicians forced a cancellation. Two years later, however, the band released Fiesta Songs, which was followed up in 2005 with Coconut FM, a collection of Latin club tunes. Their next album, Yellow Fever, which not only covered songs by Yellow Magic Orchestra but included all three members as well as other guest artists, came out in 2006. Around the World, released in 2008, expanded the repertoire to include songs from 11 different countries around the world, encompassing everyone from Daft Punk and Eurythmics to Pérez Prado and Antonio Carlos Jobim. ~ Chris Nickson