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Interview Niños Mutantes

«Spanish alternative music is living a spectacular moment, it is going through its time of most prosperity and highest quality.»

Mano, parque, paseo, Todo es el momento and Naúfragos, I think they are really good front covers. Interesting that "futuristic" last one. What can you tell me about its symbology?

Well, it is totally allegorical to the content of the album because actually, what  El Mago de Oz (The Wizard of Oz) is about is the importance of believing in oneself to achieve a goal and in the fact that working as a team and united, almost everything can be accomplished, despite the witches and the bad guys. Brain, heart and lion. Intelligence and courage is the recipe for good and progress and just exactly that is what we talk about in our songs in El futuro, porque creemos en ello.

The intimate warmth of a small venue or the expansiveness of a festival?

That's like someone making you choose which one of your fingers you want to cut off. Tough decision. In a venue, it is obvious you are playing at home and everybody who is there went there to vibrate with you. You can develop the concert that you want better and pay more attention to detail, but it is undeniable that playing for 10.000 people takes your adrenaline level to the clouds and when it works, it is very orgasmic, honestly.

Six years skyrocketing. Along with Las noches de insomnio and Náufragos, El futuro completes a plethoric triad which confirms this is your best moment. How is the creative process for you?

After Las noches de insomnio we involuntarily forced ourselves not to stop and be as chaotic as perhaps we were in previous times and albums. We felt like we were plugged, Juan Alberto just kept getting songs into his head and in those six years we must have put together nearly 60 songs, many of them did not go past being sketches but they are there, in our memory. Our methodology is the same which we understand every band should have, working together in rehearsals very much. Juan brings the songs almost all the time, very rudimentary, and may other times not even that, they come up playing in rehearsals. In any case the four of us work deeply and in communion in every sketch by Juan Alberto so that it ends up being a mutant song. Then, we decide which ones are cool and which ones are not. There are also cases in which Juan brings the entire song almost ready, but of these cases we have less every day. Let's say it was more common in the beginning, now I trust group inspiration very much, always starting from his ideas.

It reminds me of Seattle and Manchester. Los Planetas, Lori Meyers, Napoleón solo, Lagartija Nick, 091, Suéter, Grupo de Expertos Solynieve, Los Pilotos, Bisagra, Pájaro Jack, Doroty Perkins… and of course you. Seriously, what does Granada have to keep giving birth to so much quality?

A recurrent question to which we never have an answer, but we do have various theories. We believe it is inherent in the city. We got here by imitating our idols who at the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s were 091 and Lagartija Nick, at the same time they imitated and were the little brothers of bands like TNT and KGB and they went crazy with British punk and the Sevillian hippie rock scene of the 70s with bands such as Smash and Triana.

New bands in some way have been raised with these bands and with the bands of our generation (us or Planetas), and as is usual, they too want to have a band. It is a generational loop in a small university city in which music is a kind of religion and in which a good chunk of its youngsters does not give a damn about traditional folklore.

Any sonic advise you want to give us, bands to follow?

Toulouse, Egon Soda, Mucho, Perro, Joe la Reina, Maryland, Novedades Carminha. National pop rock is living a spectacular moment.

Many days I remember that Planetary song I like so much, Vuelve la canción protesta. Vetusta Morla, El Columpio Asesino, Love of Lesbian, yourselves. The winning streak is undeniable.

Here we are going to give ourselves a little medal with the permission of our colleagues. We have always a thematic aspect splashed with social matters that concerned us, Gente normal, Oso polar, Días complicados or Las chicas en bikini, La voz, they are some examples but we think Náufragos suprised many people. It was occasionally cataloged as protest pop and it was praised the fact that we were able to say things beyond oneself from pop and the capacity of describing the moment we were living in the epicenter of the criminal crisis we have lived. In El futuro we follow this line but with less rage, we thing there is light at the end of the tunnel. It seems like some colleagues are joining the train to being able to criticize and denounce with their songs and we think it is very positive; always understanding everyone can do whatever they want with their lyrics because this is art.

Any rituals before going out onstage? And, what do you do when you have finished the gig: do you comment on the play and then some good cocktails?

Before going onstage there can be no lack of a big hug or several with the whole team and after it's the four of us alone and always, we always sing a cappella everything we come up with in the dressing room. Then, extensive commentary on tplay as you call it, more hugs if  it went well, and some good cocktails to celebrate.

As Luis Aragonés would say, you have already have your asses peeled from so much touring and so many shows, it has been many years of trajectory. You must have had it every way, any legendary anecdote that comes to your minds right now?

Our most legendary anecdote is that we left the Strokes without transport in Mallorca so that we would be taken first to the fest where we both had to play. Back then barely anyone knew them, we didn't either, and six months later they hit the jackpot which made him very famous. They sure have banned us from more than one festival due to that, we will never know.

Creativity never goes into crisis, and right in the middle of the crisis (of capital), the best art emerges. Luckily we are still surfing a golden age of national sonic alternativity, how do you see the future of Spanish indie short and long term?

The Spanish golden century emerged from one of the worst crises this country has endured. Art and rock are mirrors for the societies which shelter them and crises logically fill artists with arguments, and they are the voice of the people who endure these crises. In this sense, we are convinced that Spanish alternative music is going through its time of most prosperity and highest quality.

Junk TV, Junk music. Who nourishes who?

My God! Clearly they nourish each other, don't they? If it wasn't like this, they would play all of us on TV instead of them.

If you were to be locked in an elevator with any of the ex-triunfitos (from Operación Triunfo)...

We would try not to talk about his music, well, nor about music in general... To avoid homicide I mean.

I would choose Antonio Vega and Kurt Cobain. If you could bring any musician back to life, who would you choose?

Lennon, doubtless. It would be a pleasure to still have him around, and having been able to enjoy many more of his albums.

Niños Mutantes are Juan Alberto Martínez, Nani Castañeda, Andrés López and Migue Haro.

Translation: Irene Soto.