On Subiza, Barcelona's Delorean best all the other acclaimed bands (Tough Alliance, jj) who've resurrected the spirit of Madchester, creating something exhilarating with a poignant undertow. Before last weekend's French Open final, I posted member Ekhi Lopetegi's thoughts on Rafael Nadal. Now, on the eve of a Thurs/10 performance at Popscene, it's time for the rest of the interview with Lopetegi, whose relaxed cadences, cigarette voice and thoughtful answers made for a pleasurable conversation.
SFBG One review of Subiza described it as "luminiscent," and I thought that word was fitting. Were you trying for that kind of effect within the album's sound?
Ekhi Lopetegi It was a conscious choice. Not that you sit down to try and make a bright, luminescent sound, but there is a feeling or atmosphere you are looking for, and when the record's on, you recognize you've found it. We wanted to make it bright, but not silly. We wanted the sound of enthusiasm.
SFBG "Grow" is one of my favorite songs on the album. The melody is quite immediate and catchy, but it's also complicated, and so is the sentiment of the song. Could you tell me more about it?
EL It's one of my favorites. We built this song out of a sample of a British pop rock band, Prefab Sprout.
SFBG I love Prefab Sprout.
EL It's a sample from the song "Bonny" (from Steve McQueen, 1985). We started to sing over the sample, and build from there. It's a completely different song. I like the lyrics and the vocals and how it blows up.
There's a line taken from Holderlin, "Where danger grows, well that's what it saves." It's about love, and keeping up with it. It's ambiguous -- it can save you and also put you in a situation of total danger.
SFBG Some of my favorite songs on Subiza, like "Grow" and "Real Love," use a female vocal sample as a hook. Was that a conscious decision when writing and recording?
EL We love female vocal samples. We usually use (samples from music) libraries. We'll take a line, chop it, reverse it, transpose it, pitch it up, pitch it down. It's almost like homework. We make our own melody.
In "Real Love," the melody is made from chopped-up vocal samples. In the end, we have this melody that usually works almost as a theme. A lot of songs are built out of this -- a small loop. We keep on working until we've made a song.
SFBG It might be cliche to reduce what's happening in Barcelona to a scene, but I wanted to ask you about music there right now, and about Pablo Díaz-Reixa of El Guincho and Coconot, because I'm also a big fan of his music.
EL We love El Guincho. He's a great musician. A real one. I honestly admire him. We aren't close friends, but we know each other.
The scene in Barcelona is very vivid, very heterogeneous and spread out. It's not totally united, but it's a community. Extraperlo, who El Guincho produced, are an amazing band. We're all doing our own thing, we each have our own universe.
SFBG The photo collage of the band on the sleeve of Subiza remind me a bit of a recent movie by Albert Serra. Do you like him, or other contemporary Spanish directors like José Luis Guerin?
EL To be honest I don't know much about Spanish cinema. Though one director I'd really like to start watching is Victor Erice.
SFBG He's great.
EL I don't like Spanish cinema as much as films from other countries. My favorite two directors are John Cassavetes and Werner Herzog. To me, they're the two most important ones who I'll always watch.
SFBG I'm ending with a subject that you probably hear about too often, but I'll try to talk about it in a different way. New Order has been an influence for Delorean, but more than that, I'm struck by how hugely influential New Order is on a lot of music being made today. Last year I thought their influence had crested with bands like Memory Tapes, but here we are in 2010 and I'm hearing their spirit and sound in a lot of good music right now. What do you think of them?
EL New Order is always going to be an influence on us. They definitely were a great influence in the past. We identify with them.
They were the first punk band that literally embraced house music. They started to use electronic stuff, not just keyboards and synths, but (instruments used to make) house music and club music. They're very down to earth at the same time -- they're not fancy people. Their shows are shitty. They're a bunch of hooligans trying to make great music. We don't listen to them as much as we used to, but I feel very close to them in a certain way. Not that I like to do shitty shows, but I embrace their attitude.
SFBG What are you listening to now?
EL I've been listening to a lot of Roedelius and Cluster. Last year, a lot of Anna Domino, Cocteau Twins, Durutti Column and UK funky dubstep. And Cubahia -- my friends here in the States listen to a lot of it.
With Teengirl Fantasy
Thurs/10, 9pm, sold out (a limited number of tickets will be available at the door)
330 Ritch, SF