While few Americans are likely to be familiar with the sample that bookends M.I.A.’s “Warriors,” Spanish listeners were quick to identify the source of those minor-key rave stabs: Chimo Bayo’s “Así Me Gusta a Mí (X-Ta Sí, X-Ta No),” a 1991 song that went from mákina clubs and the Ruta del Bakalao — a weekend-long rave circuit in and around Valencia — to the top of the national pop charts.
Surprisingly, the 52-year-old musician had no idea that his music had been used by M.I.A. — nor, indeed, who she is — until Iago Fernandez, of Vice‘s Spanish edition, called him up for comment.
Bayo’s initial reaction is one of mystification. “Do people really listen to this?” he asks. “Do they put it on at breakfast, or what? I think I’m getting old. It sounds like the music they play in my dentist’s waiting room.” (Read SPIN’s review of Matangi, which begs to differ.)
When the reporter asks if Bayo has plans to contact M.I.A.’s management, he says that he has not considered it — and it doesn’t sound like he harbors much of a grudge. “Why don’t you contact them yourself?” Bayo asks Fernandez. “Ask her where she got it. Or who recommended that she put it in there. Find out who told her, ‘Hey, put this in the beginning — it’s an electronic-music classic from Spain.’ I’ll bet that neither she nor the person who gave it to her know who Chimo Bayo is. Tell her that I’m a loveable sonofabitch.”
Twenty years on from mákina‘s heyday, Bayo is enjoying a slight boost in his stature; he’s preparing, he says, for an exhibition at Valencia’s MuVIM (Valencian Museum of Illustration and Modernity) that will display costumes, flyers, and ephemera from his career. “But don’t think that just because my suit is in a display case, I’m going to stop performing,” he tells Vice. M.I.A.’s music may even serve as inspiration for his own music, he says. “In fact, it gives me ideas, because what I’m doing now is a little harder, more like Steve Aoki, but if the young people are listening to that, maybe I should do something like that too. Something boring.”