La Ola que Quería Ser Chau is one of the key underground bands of the Argentinean scence, with a punk and unaffected attitude they have delivered some essential songs such as Ojalá que este verano no nos maten! or Plastic Ono. Their singer and songwriter has a project which does not cease to offer songs and small anthems of the kind that capture and turn into an obsession. Last year he gave us HOP! HOP! for free in his bandcamp, a new collection of irresistible songs. It was not the only thing we could listen by Los Migues, it came preceded by another full length and other series of EPs and singles, all of them full of songs. In this interview, he warns us: “This year 2015 and on the years to come I will continue the same way, ‘doing songs’, ‘recording songs’, ‘singing songs’.”
In 2014 you published two albums on Bandcamp, two EPs and other songs like demos or alternative versions. Where do you get so many songs from?
Beyond the ‘songs’ I think music in itself is present all the time in my life, latent, just there, existing. It is a language, a constant expression. It has already been almost ten years since, through music, I can express or exude vibrations, energy, movement… It turned naturally into a tool, a channel through which I connect with everything that I can.
You just published HOP! HOP! But surely you already have material future plans, what are you preparing for 2015?
In the course of the year I guess I will continue registering songs, recording and eventually publishing them in groups by way of albums or EPs according to quantity and arrangement. There are, always, many songs I want to record and are there, going around in the nothingness, but I find it hard to be up-to-date with that, it is too much material. I would love to be able to have all those songs recorded and wake up one day and have zero and say, well, I finished, now I start… But it is impossible. I am sure I will upload some albums this year, a few videos and I guess there will also be many live touches in different shapes and accompanied by different creatures.
Going back to HOP! HOP!, tell us about this new album. How is it different from the previous ones?
What happened was that some songs were grouped, which I recorded in more of a free way and without thinking about doing an album or anything, so it is a little bit more heterogeneous I guess. It is not like I have a formula to create an album or anything, but sometimes I sort of group some songs together and think about them as a whole or something like that… Then I face it with a minimum criterion or concept (of sound, ideological). In the case of HOP! HOP! It all happened in a less organized manner and I ended up mixing materials that were a little bit different among them, or at least regarding the way of facing the recording of each, it was more individual for each song and later they found each other and met in the album. I liked how it turned out, I get a kick out of it.
Some songs seem like outlines or improvisations… What is your work method?
Actually yes, some of them are outlines, maybe. I simply record when I feel like it, when I have a song and I feel like recording it I do it. Some recordings are more spontaneous and to some others I dedicate some more time and stuff. Anyways, I record everything at home with a pink plastic microphone and a guitar. I like that sound, I polished it the little I could over the years and found a cool color or that at least I sympathize with. In any case, I have thought about recording some songs soon, somewhere else or in other manner, to change because it is also good to play, change, try and all that.
There are two very marked types of songs in your discography. Those which are more punk, furious and direct, like Toda Tu Familia, for example, and another much more calm side with songs like the incredible Sos Vos. Do you agree with that division?
I agree with it although the truth is there is no consistent or determined division, it depends on the emotion or the energy of the moment in which each song arises, which is the ‘mobile’ through which the song travels.
Your lyrics move between nihilism and a romantic tone. What inspires you?
Perhaps it is, or is thought to be somewhat nihilist and somewhat romantic. I really like playing with certain attitudes or symbology having to do with the interpretation or the genre of the song, sometimes even purely romantic. Not writing song lyrics, all I say comes out pretty much on its own, I start playing guitar and at the same time create the melody and the lyrics and it takes shape little by little. It is a nice exercise because I let it flow and I also listen to myself, learn or find out things. There is no isolated thing that serves me as an inspiration. When I feel something hovering inside, maybe it is time to grab my guitar (the instrument with which I feel more comfortable to ‘create’ or whatever) and see what happens.
In albums such as No Está Muerto Quien Menea or HOP! HOP! You have opted for including very diverse sounds like synthesizers or rare effects in the guitars. How you decide that kind of instrumentation which makes a difference?
I always worked with songs that way, recording guitars and real voices, but which I later edit with my computer, adding effects and that stuff, I also use programmed rhythms, the bass is the same creole guitar played as a bass and pitched downwards. I don’t have a synthesizer and possibly I will never have one, sometimes I use a few keyboards a friend lends me or that I happen to have by some kind of chance. And well, since I started recording until now I have used diverse sound elements, according to the specific case, although what prevails are the guitars and the voices. Everything comes up quite naturally, depending on the song I test and decide on arrangements, sounds, textures and shapes.
You have also done quite a few covers or, rather, appropriations with a very Los Migues-like style of people as different as Nirvana (Una Pena) or Syd Barrett (Bombones y Pan de Uva). How do you choose the covers you do?
That also happens one way or another, in the case of Bombones y Pan de Uva I had a borrowed small book somewhere about the first period of Pink Floyd and in the last pages there were some songs by Syd translated into a weird kind of Spanish. When I read the translation of Bombones I loved it, I felt something special right away, then I started playing guitar and sing those lyrics on top, adapting some words and phrases because they were written in a way that would not fit or I didn’t like. And well, I did the song, it is a new song with Syd’s lyrics, a little modified but it’s Syd’s lyrics after all.
The cover of Una Pena, I simply used the final voices of On a Plain by Nirvana, which is Kurt doing vocal harmony, I turned it into loop and started playing two chords also as a loop on top of that, and singing whatever came to mind. After, for the chorus, I used the phrases of the chorus of On a Plain and I sang it in Spanish. Some people think I am as big of an idiot as to confuse “On a Plain” with “On a Pain” and furthermore think that I believe that “On a Pain” means “Una Pena” but it is all a pun and one thing I do about re-signifying and stuff. I like playing with the order of things, recycling words, I don’t know… that is a little bit what everything is about, isn’t it? Playing, being free and expressing yourself, it is all at our disposal for us to constantly create new meanings and universes.
You are part of La Ola que Quería Ser Chau, a more traditional band than Los Migues, your personal project. Some of La Ola’s songs have already been songs by Los Migues before. Does this mean that your personal project is a testing ground?
Not necessarily. Whoever wants to interpret it that way has a right to do so. Originally La Ola started as a personal project, over the now six years it has been active, many members passed by. At some point La Ola is a more definite band I think. They are all my songs, the thing is that Los Migues is entirely me in the sense that I do what I want, when I want, where I want and how I want. In La Ola we dependo on the time that everybody has to rehearse, record, play, move forward, etc. Then it becomes more complicated because I am constantly composing or with ideas in my mind and feeling like playing and getting out all I am doing or feeling in real time. With La Ola the processes are much more stretched. I go and record at home when I want and if I want I release it and that’s it, and if I don’t want to, I don’t, and that’s all as well. Before that happened a lot, that many of La Ola’s songs already had a previous register in the Los Migues version in some of the many dials I was working with during the last five years. In fact in the next album by La Ola something like that is going to happen with some songs, but I guess that will be the last time because for some time now I have been facing this a different way so that, to the extent possible, it won’t happen anymore. In short, perhaps I don’t care much, they are songs that come from within me and it is good that they exist in whatever way, names are just names, what matters is that energy is on the move, travels and transforms into something, right?
How do you decide on those songs by Los Migues that you have used in La Ola?
I simply like some more than others and I feel like playing them in a band format sounding to the max with drums, bass, guitars, or when the song comes up I imagine it or feel it like that, with a proyection to be arranged and executed by a band. Now, when that happens, I just save them and take them to the rehearsals right away, without doing the demo at home to work on it live in the rehearsals with the guys of La Ola. Before I used to record a demo on my own first and then that is where material started to be generated and amassed. Now I prioritize that idea and that’s good.
What are the plans for La Ola? Are you releasing anything in the next months?
We are finishing recording the next LP, very calmly. I estimate it will be ready in a couple of months, we hope. On the other side, we are playing in Paraguay for the first time, we will come back to Misiones, Córdoba and we are feeling like getting to know more places, in Argentina as well as abroad.