The gentlemen in Making Movies are facing a momentous week.
Tuesday, its album “A La Deriva” will be released nationally on United Interests, the band’s new label.
On Oct. 9, it will be in Washington, D.C., to record a session for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series (to be posted online on a future date).
The following day, it has a gig at the Knitting Factory in New York that’s part of the five-day CBGB Music and Film Festival.
“We’re really excited about all of it,” said Enrique Chi, lead vocalist and guitarist for the four-piece alternative Latin-rock band. “But especially the Tiny Desk Concert. It’s a national platform with a lot of clout. It’s our first real step into national music press.”
The Carnaval begins at 4 p.m. Sunday. Chi said the idea was inspired by the desire to be part of a hometown festival that showcases the kind of music it plays, which mixes Afro-Latin rhythms, alternative rock and sounds and accents of Latin American folk.
“There’s really not any other band like us in Kansas City,” he said. “When we play someone else’s events, we’re usually the odd ones out. We thought it would be very cool to curate a festival here that is catered to Latin alternative music.”
Chi said the band wanted to give the inaugural festival a national scope; landing Ozomatli helped.
“If we headlined, the festival would be a more regional event,” he said. “We’ve opened for Ozomatli five times, so we’ve built a friendship with them.”
Ozomatli, a Los Angeles band that fuses rock, funk, hip-hop, salsa and other music, has a week off between gigs at this year’s Austin City Limits festival, which begins Friday.
“We figured out a way to make a Kansas City date work,” Chi said. “We’re super excited. They’re the perfect band to launch our street festival.”
There will also be street performances, including a set by the students who participated in MUSICA, the music camp founded by Making Movies. (MUSICA stands for Musicians United by Social Influence and Cultural Awareness.)
“We’re happy to curate an event like this so we could invite the students to perform,” Chi said. “It’s going to be the coolest recital for a music program.”
Other performance events at Carnaval: a drum circle by percussionist Brandon Draper and a street performance by Ballet Folklorico. Food trucks will also be on site serving up Latin American cuisine.
Part of the proceeds will go to the Guadalupe Center, which will be the site of next year’s MUSICA. Money will be raised by sales of a commemorative Carnaval poster and custom-made T-shirts with a Making Movies logo, all donated by R.L. Brooks, owner of Seen Merchandise.
“We’ll have four colors of T-shirts to choose from and two colors of ink,” Chi said. “Shirts will be made on-site, and you can take them home with you.”
It’s all part of Making Movies’ mission to launch an annual festival that draws bands from Central and South Americas.
“We want to be ambassadors to this kind of music in Kansas City,” he said.
It will be the start of what should be a transforming week. Getting on a label with national distribution and the means to a large radio campaign is vital, Chi said. “A La Deriva” was released in March 2013, but its distribution has been mostly regional.
“Outside of Lawrence and Kansas City, it’s been distributed in Chicago and a few Texas markets,” he said. “Most of our physical sales have been at shows.”
The timing of the national release is perfect, given the ensuing exposure on NPR and at the CBGB festival. It also follows the band’s inclusion this week in NPR’s Heavy Rotation, which posted “Pendulum Swing” from “A La Deriva.”
“I don’t know exactly how big our fan base is,” he said. “But if it’s 10,000 people who follow us and know about us, it feels like I’ve shaken hands with every one of those 10,000 people. We’re excited about people who have never seen us or heard us becoming aware of what we’re doing.”
Also this weekend
Kansas City pop band the Sexy Accident is celebrating the release of its new album, “Lavender 3,” at a show Saturday, and it won’t be your usual album-release party: The only physical merchandise will be a slick 48-page book filled with illustrations, lyrics, interviews and commentary.
The book will cost $20 and will come with a link to a digital download of the 12-track album (in the format of your choice), which will also be available at iTunes, Spotify and other digital sites beginning Saturday.
Jesse Kates, lead singer and songwriter, said the intent was to deliver a keepsake, something more tactile than just a digital release.
“We wanted to do something that would provide a deeper experience than a digital-only release, something that would get people to slow down and savor the music,” he said. “We like vinyl, but not enough people have turntables for a band of our scale.
“The book requires no equipment to enjoy — just time. Lyrics are also a strength for the band, and we wanted to highlight that. Put it all together and a book seems perfect.”
The project was three years in the making, including a year of songwriting, a year of recording and mixing and six months to produce the book.
“The big steps included planning the contents, the crowd-funding campaign, finding the right artists and writers, the graphic design for the cover and interior and getting it printed,” he said. His wife, Steph Toth Kates, contributed several paintings to the book.
Kates said it turned out better than he expected.
“The silver cloth plus purple silk-screen cover design was hard to imagine,” he said. “I’m really thrilled with how it feels to hold, and with the print quality.”
Saturday’s release party is at the Buffalo Room, 817 Westport Road. The music starts at 8 p.m. Admission to the all-ages show is free.
Kates said the book is a physical representation of the band’s smart pop music: “Some music is for dancing. Ours is for poring over, like reading a good book.”
A scary music fest
Carnaval isn’t the only festival this weekend. On Saturday, the Zombie Pub Crawl invades Westport and midtown.
More than two dozen bands and acts will perform. Headliners include Tech N9ne, 2 Live Crew, the Devil Wears Prada and Vaska.
The two main stages: The Uptown Shopping Center, 3700 Broadway. Showtime is 5 p.m.; Tech N9ne headlines at 10:30 p.m. Also, the Westport Stage, Pennsylvania Avenue and Westport Road. Showtime is 4 p.m.; Hearts of Darkness headlines at 11 p.m.
The other stages: Riot Room and its patio, 4048 Broadway; the Union, 421 Westport Road; Kelly’s Westport Inn, 500 Westport Road; Minibar, 3810 Broadway; and Black and Gold Tavern, 3740 Broadway.
The Uptown Shopping Center is the only all-ages venue. All others are 21-and-older. Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 day of show. Tickets are $35 for persons 20 and younger.
For a full schedule and list of performers and to buy tickets, visit zombiepubcrawl.com.
Making Movies’ Carnaval is from 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday at Knuckleheads, 2715 Rochester. Tickets are $20 in advance, $24.50 day of the show. Children 12 and younger get in for half price. Tickets are available via mkngmvs.com.