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Maleso says goodbye to love

He defines himself as a pop singer-songwriter, but the label does not quite fit. The SevillanMaleso gives a new twist to his music in his new LP Adiósparasiempre, nosvemosmañana (Goodbye forever, see you tomorrow) in which he plays the protagonist of a journey to himself, in the context of personal turbulences whichstand in contrast with an album that is simpler than those preceding. Lyrics with a comical meaning, common spaces and everyday situations accompany a sound that does not negate the influences on their author but rather give the final touch to all of them, all the while respecting the principal theme: love in all its stages. We talked to him about his plans, about the edges, anecdotes and banalities that surround this new production. Though from an optimistic position, obviously.

How does Maleso define himself in this new album?

How I define myself? Well, it’s true that the music has changed over time. I started making pop with roots in the 60s and influences from the Spanish 80s. Later, I got interested in country, I even made a country disc (SaborCampestre y el Oeste Americano) until getting to the point of No esMaleso (this is not Maleso), the strangest thing when it comes to style because it has elements of everything, a bossa nova, a foxtrot, even a sevillana. A series of slip-ups, like some kind of “everything is fine here” because I like so many types of music. In this new album, in contrast, everything is better assembled, pop with two or three lighter endings, more of the boring singer-songwriter in some parts. It’s more thematic, about the loss and disappointment of love of an adult person, of course, not about being 16 years old.

How is this theme of love presented in the whole of the disc?

All the songs are about lost love, but in the end, they’re about love, all the different phases through which you pass from getting to know until losing a person. The disc in fact follows this direction – I searched the many songs I had finished at the end of the last summer and in the first months of the new year and took all those that fit the topic and put them together in this new disc. Even though it tends a little towards the melancholic and the sad, I see it as an optimistic end: you get away from everything, as we say.

So much about the theme – on the other hand, talking about the music, I have always been a little insensate: one day, I do this, now I do something else, later I go for this or the other… And what is certainly true is that,from the first to the latest discs, the lyrics of the songs are the factor that has given unity to the discs. After all, the lyrics are what seems to me most personal. In the first disc, you didn’t notice it that much, but now they sound more like singer-songwriter, or so they tell me. To be honest, I don’t really understand these things.

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In the video of La peorcancióndelmundo (The Worst Song in the World), you empty your shelves in order to reveal a whole catalogue of influences. Does this disc taste like retrospection?

In this aspect, it certainly is a bit nostalgic. But the principal idea of the video was that it doesn’t cost money and is simple, exploiting all possibilities in a single recording. The idea of the records seemed good to me because they are something very important in my life. They represent an era in which music was something you touched with your hands, in which you bought a disc and you smelled it when you opened the plastic, wanting to open the cover in the bus back home. It was something that had its own weight, a wicked thing. Now, in contrast, if you’re really boring, you just get the CD or whatever you like. But in that era, that moment was like the birth of a new being.

And the title of the song – La peorcancióndelmundo – do you think that that is the fate of past and present artists?

No, well, that was a joke; I was referring to the number of songs that I was releasing this last year. I started to think that it has to be very hard to make so many songs and they all happen to be good. The more you release, the more must come out to be bad until there is a moment in which you release the worst song in the world. Even though the title has nothing to do with the discs that are released, as far as I know the people have listened to most of them and there are things that are worth the pain in almost all of them.

In almost all of them?

Well, I haven’t been able to listen to the one about the IndiosTabajares, but the cover seemed well-suited for making the gesture. Or the one by Bonny M which I suppose stands out of the canon [laughs].

Taking apart the topics of the songs and looking for influences, El amor a los 15 años struck us because it has a sound that almost reminds us of the Mexican romance.

Look, I’m still thinking about what the hell this song is because it is a ¾ and I said “it sounds a little Italian to me” – even though I don’t have a clue about Italian music to identify it as such. But concerning your point about Mexican influences, in the previous disc, in No esMaleso, there was a song called Keith Richards esguay (Keith Richards is great), which has this thing too. And now that you say it, it seems true that this ¾ Mexican has come to fall in love again.

Now that these blues-rock elements of the beginnings have been diluted, it seems that you have come to take other paths.

Yes, this one is completely white – the one about Keith Richards had a tiny bit more blackness to it.

Adiós para siempre, nos vemos mañana, as some of your previous discs, comes back with references to pop culture that various generations share (in earlier phases, the lead was played by names like King Kong, Keith Richards, La madre de Nobita…). Now there are things like the forehead of Calamardo or the neckline of Ava Gardner or the yellow dog of the search engine of XP –are these winks still indissoluble parts of the message of your lyrics?

Well yes, I talked about that just recently. It kind of opened my mind a little to put everyday things into my songs, something I ended up copying from KikoVeneno, without a doubt – it’s not that I invented it. When I heard the phrase “la cocacolaessiempreigual, peroyo no, yopuedocambiar” (Coca Cola is always the same, but not me, I can change) in one of his songs [Reir y llorar – Laugh and cry], I thought it was wicked. This guy just put that phrase out there and it’s a phrase that will stay there for the rest. Something that’s ordinary and that everyone knows about or has an idea of in any part of the world. And from then on, I started to put in things that are in my life: the yellow dog of XP, Calamardo… any of these things that are in your life. Sometimes it is difficult to find something to talk about in a song; at least if you haven’t dedicated yourself to picking cotton in the fields of the American Southeast, bearing whiplashes… there you could find a vein. But those of us who lead a normal life just like this, getting up, going to work, be careful – they have left your car double-parked… the topics have been dealt with more than enough. In the end it’s this: “Keith Richards is great, but my dad is better”. All those Rolling Stones, the Beatles, all those rockers were born – when? – in the 40s or 30s. More or less of the same age as your father. And still you look at your father… and it’s a bit disappointing [laughs]. But well, with time you realise that all these people were a bunch of bitches, who had children all over the place without even caring about them. And, yes, that in the end your father is better.

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Going back to the introduction with which you present Adiós para siempre, nos vemos mañana, an alien happens to find the album and carries out a meticulous study of this museum piece. The conclusion is highly absurd. Is this lyrical effort of all musical pieces absurd in itself?

From the moment the song comes out of your head, you put it on the internet or you play it for someone to listen to it and take it out of its context. The people start to make the most distant interpretations, something that happens to all of us, including me when I listen to others. And others can do the same with what I do. It seems that they talk to you about something with which you can later identify, and you can then mix it with something that came to your mind or with your way of understanding things. And then you find out that it is not like that.

Are the transcripts of “Bisbal/Locomía V.03” still predominant when it comes to understanding pop?

These transcripts were safety transcripts for the listening of certain discs. I suppose it will consist in putting on suits of biological warfare and protect oneself from what can come out of the speakers. I hope that it’s not necessary to put them on for my discs.

In Tren, Tren (Train, Train) you point your finger at some of those “demons” that trouble our lives: from the social networks to the ex-monopolies of RENFE and Iberia.

The thing about the train is that it’s something that has always been there in my life (partly because I exceeded my traffic violations with thirty-some years). It’s an element of transportation from one place to another (from one phase in your life to another) and moreover it’s a monosyllabic word that remains great in every place. It has to be because of that that there are so many trains in songs.

Current events, however, (with the exception of a goblin called Zapatero) seem to have been dissolved.

No, in this album, there are no social or political topics. It’s not that I have dedicated myself to social song nor to defending anybody, but it’s true that I have taken a little break and I have left room to talk about this, which is what interests me most these days.

Nevertheless, 300 advocates seem to be a plea for this modern style, sophisticated, always up-to-date and captured so that we all let ourselves be taken along. How does this noise affect our lives?

This is an example of things that cling to your songs – without that having been your intention. What happens with the advocates is that they have one of those professions that people don’t like, just like Yoko Ono, Zapatero or Courtney Love. One goes to an advocate because they have no other choice; it’s the same as with having to go to the doctor. I have always been prejudiced towards advocates and still they are always needed for some things, there’s nothing you can do about that. The original anecdote is much simpler: it’s being in the office of an advocate processing a divorce. And being seated there, my ex-wife leaves the room for a moment to go to the bathroom or whatever, and I notice the number of people in the graduation photo hanging there. She answered me that that was just the morning shift. In total, and we calculated that, there were about 300, and she told me anecdotes about the photo – like about that colleague who they put in the suit of the student orchestra because they didn’t like her. And there you have the song, which describes this tense, uncomfortable situation better than anything. Out of desperation, comparing them to those 300 Spartans, who fell – just like any other memorable defeat.

How much importance would you give to the figure of the singer-songwriter, to the one who tells things, in these times?

He is always important. Now and before, there has always been the need for someone to talk and narrate things, someone who opens your mind. Like Bob Dylan, for example, who sounded the bell for a generation of musicians – which means that they started to thrive.Great people who exist within and outside of Spain, like Javier Krahe. It’s a way of taking your life, compressing it and putting it into a song, thus finding out new things about your life, not just about political or social topics. KikoVeneno, whom we mentioned before, is capable of taking a little part of your life and giving it a different perspective.

To finish off, and before saying “Goodbye forever, see you tomorrow”, we wanted to ask you whether this statement is a sign of a break or the beginning of a new chapter of Maleso.

I wanted to take a break last year in January. I told myself that I had already made five discs and this one doesn’t bring a progress I’d call “outrageous”. What’s all this effort for? But you already see, almost a year later, I have released two more discs. It’s like a natural thing, songs start to come out, and the joy of it came back. This “goodbye forever” isn’t directed to music. I keep composing and working in order to be able to release the next disc.

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