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A poetic and rocker cocktail

The Sevillian, spoken word quartet is formed by Marta Fernández, Alberto Pielfort, Leo García y Marcos Fernández, and they have just edited their second album, 'Tierra de Fuego.' They are willing to keep experimenting and mixing styles, and they tell us about the band's origin, their goals on their musical career and the creative process behind their songs.

How did the Mapache project come to be? Why did you choose that name?

It was during summer; it was so hot, and I was initially alone. I had sketches for three or four songs, and I did not know very well what to do with them. Three years ago, I brought them to Leo, a former colleague from the Fiebre project, and thanks to him I started wanting to turn them into an album. Then I wanted to turn them into a band; the opposite way in which this usually works. We called Alberto Pielfort, who brought with him his viola, guitars and all of his own amazing universe of pedals and peculiar sounds, and luckily for us then came Marcos Fernández with his drum set. The best thing is that we have created a team in which there is a very good atmosphere. We started by recording the first LP, 'Danza Salomé,' and we did not know if we would create anything else, but we liked our work and have kept experimenting together ever since. Mapache is just a nickname that I have had since my teenage years because of the bags under my eyes and the long face they say I have. I started using it as my stage surname some time ago, and the band inherited it.

How would you define your music? What do you think differentiates you?

"Rock, poetry and cinematographic language" is a sentence we have been using lately and which sums ups the concept very well. Labels are not of much use here because our compositions present quite a mix: swamp and poetry, spoken word, krautrock, experimental rock... We have been told we sound like the soundtrack of a road movie. It has American music overtones, with a good dose of psychedelia, some jazz, etc... It is a dislocated and dark music, a bit addicted to that which is beautiful and decadent; it is sometimes incorrect and many other times critical with the system and the self. We like to evince sources like other songs or literary texts we consume, too; that way we sometimes create strange versions. Poetry is always the main focus; I suppose that could be the difference with other bands.

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How does Mapache work when composing songs and creating stories?

It is a chaotic and free process that happens in diverse ways. Normally, the songs come from the text, and sometimes from a text with a musical pattern that I myself bring to the premises. I am always afraid it will not work in those cases, but luckily the band does its magic and almost everything falls into place. Sometimes, the basis composed by Alberto help me to write. His universe is wonderful, he creates such useful and rich atmospheres with his looper, guitar and viola. Later at the premises, Leo arranges the tracks. He directs very well and usually has a clearer general idea of how the track should be than the rest of us. Let's say that I throw in the first idea and then everyone suggests changes and new ideas. We always complete the work together.

You just edited your second album, how was its recording process?

It is titled 'Tierra de Fuego', and it could be subtitled as blood, sweat and tears. The pandemic is making the process much longer than usual, but that only means that we will wait to listen to the final result, share it with everyone and perform it on the stage with greater anticipation. We collaborated again with Javi Mora and Jordi Gil, with whom we created our first work, and although some parts were recorded at Sputnik, almost everything was recorded at Happy Place Records. This album has been more thoroughly planned: the first one was recorded in a few days, but this one has been given more thought. We wanted to go beyond in terms of sound, as well as to tell new stories. Some musician friends have also collaborated on the recording process: Alicia Colodro with her voice again, Miguel Guinea with the saxophone, Carmen Fernández with the cello on one track, and Rafael Cañete with the piano on two tracks. The truth is that recording is always an experience of learning and growth for the band; the family grows with friends and collaborators, and that makes everything much more enjoyable. The only thing left to see is whether people will like this or not, that's a different matter.

Is there a concert that you will always remember?

There is a consensus on this: the one we gave last year at the Vociferio Festival in the Centro del Arte del Carmen, in Valencia. We knew no one from the audience and we started on tiptoe. The place was amazing; the concert was at dusk and there were bells ringing in the background. We were accompanied by the shadow of the great Fernando Mansilla, who had passed away two days before; the festival paid him an express tribute after his sudden passing and we truly felt that our friend and master was there lending us a hand to keep going. We ended up receiving embraces and an incredible energy from the audience after the concert, many of them were for Fernando. Another concert that at least I will always remember is the one we gave as a group of three for the first time. We were shaking like a leaf. We left with a good feeling that evening, and I think it was important to give a live concert for the first time.

Tell me a place (a concert hall, space, festival...) in which you would like to perform.

There are so many! One of them is an easy answer because we are playing there with Pony Bravo next August 13rd: the CAAC here, in Seville. It is a place full of magic, where we have spent so many good evenings as part of the audience at concerts, but where we have never performed at as a band. If given the choice, it would be particularly special for us to perform at the Lope de Vega theatre, here in our city; it is so elegant and beautiful. Outside of Seville, at any square in which we are allowed to! Marcos starts to daydream and says that he wants to perform at Smalls in New York, which is a jazz club. I would love to travel back in time and perform at CBGC alongside Patty Smith, if that were possible, or at any other dusty club on the Delta. I would love to perform at the San Carlo theatre in Naples as well; at the Granada festival in which they perform inside the Alhambra, at Acrobates, at Irreconciliables, on the Poetry Week in Barcelona, at the Estrella Galicia in A Coruña, where there are good vibes and good cider, etc. Besides, we are eager to see our legendary concert hall Fun Club open again. Concert halls are having a rough time with the pandemic crisis, I wish they can recover from it because they are an essential part of this.

Are there any artists with whom you would like to collaborate soon?

Well, we are not mythomaniacs. One of us is saying that Mapache and Guadalupe Plata would be a good combination; absolute swamp, with rattlesnakes and tumbleweeds crawling and rolling through the stage. I would love to listen to Warren Ellis and our Alberto performing together, it would be a fantasy to see how that ends. Leo says he would love to collaborate with Auserón, he is such a great poet of life. At a local scale, I admire Riverboy a lot; we have already performed together, but I would repeat the experience because Charly is so great. I also like Fusiles, with whom we do not fit very much, but they have such vibes. A concert shared with Abbi Fernández would be great, she has the best female vocals of Seville's musical scene.  Now that we are talking about this, Chencho Fernández, my friend, we are surviving a pandemic and poetry will be needed; come back because this collaboration is pending.

Finally, what is your project for the future?

The future looks strange with everything that is going on... So, for the moment, the project is just to continue creating, to keep moving some consciences and having fun. For now, we must stay in the present and keep short-term goals: releasing the album and presenting it even if we have to do it with face masks. See you on August 13rd!

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