Last week I had the opportunity to have a lovely conversation with Pablo Schmal where we discussed his music, his podcast, and his hobbies. Pablo is a multi-talented musician who doesn't stick to one "box". Pablo is also someone who believes in mental heath and does not shy away from it during our conversation.
During quarantine he's kept busy by painting shoes just for fun. He was very proud of a pair of shoes he painted that were modeled after the new The Strokes album, "The New Abnormal". Not only has he tapped into his artistic endeavors during quarantine, but he continuously hosts his podcast, "Musicologia". He actually co-hosts his podcast with his therapist (www.pabloschmal.com/video). It's everything music related. I actually caught myself deep diving into it. I asked Pablo what prompted him to start a podcast, which involves interviewing fellow musicians and he stated that he started because he likes to learn the "behind the scenes" of things. He mentioned that he will sometimes be listening to a song and there will be an instrument or sound he can't recognize and it's always amazing when he has the opportunity to interview a musician and ask about it. We actually talked about this for a bit.
After we finished our discussion on podcasts, we discussed his latest work which includes his song Universo Inverso ft. Fer Casillas (video below). It's a beautiful song with an even more beautiful music video. The lyrics themselves talk about a love. A love so close yet, yet so far. A love that would have worked in a "different universe". Now the melody itself is soft and Pablo's vocal's really match the yearning in the lyrics. When Pablo talked about his process, he was so excited. Like many musicians, he doesn't have a specific approach on how to make a song. In explaining this, he mentioned that this collaboration for Universo Inverso was aided through a mutual friend who recommended Fer Casillas to him. This is such a beautiful song and the rest of Pablo's music is also that, a nice ride into his mind with a groovy melody.
To end our fantastic conversation, we went through a fast round of questions. Below are the answers to our lightning round:
1. Favorite food? Mole.
2. Favorite Book? El Arte de Pensar by Jose Carlos Ruiz.
3. Top 3 movies? Indiana Jones 2, Forrest Gump, and The Sound of Metal.
4. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be? Hong Kong.
Thank you to those reading this, check out his music! www.pabloschmal.com/music
"We are built to survive and we deal with worse things than someone leaving you."
Tanda is Alex Ferreira's latest album. It's named Tanda "not because of the meaning of the word, but for its percussive sound: two syllables that echo hands on a drum, the cha-ka of seeds shaking in a gourd, the casual slap of bare feet on the floor, or the familiar call of a name from another room in the house." Tanda presents a fusion of warm tones that feel like a warm hug. There is a fusion of many genres and many sounds that take you on a sweet journey. Alex's vocals are great as well. It's always great to feel excited about new music, especially during this time. That is exactly what this album does. The best part of this album is that any generation can enjoy it because it is timeless.
I got a chance to speak to Alex about Tanda and below is a little bit about what he had to say.
Desert of my Eye: How's quarantine hoping? You know, it's wild. We've been in this for a year. Is there anything you have picked up along the way that you didn't do before quarantine?
Alex: I'm trying to turn myself into a chef. I'm cooking a lot. That's my new thing. This situation has made us think about other things in life not just work, work, and work. So yeah, just trying to grow as a human being. I'm good. I actually got the virus. I don't have it anymore. I went through it. And yeah, can't complain.
D.O.M.E: Well, I am glad you are well! I am assuming you didn't loose smell or taste?
Alex: No, I did not.
D.O.M.E: I would hope not. You mentioned doing a lot of cooking.
Alex: Ha-ha. I was not cooking that week.
D.O.M.E: Is there a dish you mastered or really proud of?
Alex: Oh, umm, many Dominican dishes. Caribbean food. Also, things that you do in the oven. I've become an expert of the oven.
D.O.M.E: Speaking of food, we do have a lentil recipe in your album. A spoken word from your mother. Is there a reason (for that)? You know, when I think of lentils... I think of my mom's "lentejas". I think of lent and many other things. Is there a reason why you chose that recipe in particular?
Alex: Ever since I left the Dominican Republic, since very young, I've been traveling around. I lived in Spain and now I live in Mexico. I've always had this relationship with my mother where she would send me recipes. In some kind of way, food is that thing that takes you back home. In Tanda, it's a record where you've traveled a lot and have all these different influences that got into the record. It's a way getting back home. There's a lot of Dominican rhythms. Just as you can fuse food, you can fuse music. We are trying to do that (in this album). My mom, throughout all these years, has sent me recipes or how she does certain things. I usually listen to them and I think she has a really sweet voice and I thought it would be amazing to do something with this. Like put some music to these recipes. Tanda was the perfect album for that. In the last recipe she gives me, she recommends not to buy pre-made tomato sauce. She is recommending me to make my own tomato sauce. And in Tanda that is the whole thing. We are trying to make a record where everything sounds organic. It's not pre-made. You know, "refrito". And yeah it made sense to put that in there.
D.O.M.E: I think that is wonderful. You know, I even sent the Spotify link (of the album) to my mom. She loved it. It's interesting that you mentioned that you think your mom has a sweet voice, you have a sweet and calming voice. As I was listening to the album, especially the song "No Se Rompe", that songs sounds like what I imagine warmth feels like. "Heat". Was that intentional? Some fans pointed out that it was not the "oh I'm heartbroken" song and it's more like self love and "I am over this". I don't know if you could walk me through the song and explain whether that was the feeling you were going for?
Alex: That song was the hardest one to record. We went through three different versions because I was not happy with them. It started off as a calypso happy-go-lucky song and then it turned into this type of "warm song" as you describe it. I am glad you felt that because we were looking for that cause of the lyrics. The lyrics were trying to reflect the idea that in fact, the heart does not break. You know there are so many songs about heart broken things and "corazón partió" and I was trying to do the anti song of that. I was trying to say hearts don't break and time heals things and it's not bad as you think. We are built to survive and we deal with worse things than someone leaving you. At that time, we put that song out as a single because we were going through this Covid scenario and we thought that was the song in the album that reflected that sensibility and would make sense to put out. So we put that one out first.
Photo by: Sebastián Cabrera Chelín
D.O.M.E: Well that's wonderful. I love listen to a sad song and cry about it but it's also nice to listen to the other side of it. Do the lyrics come to you first or the melody or is it whatever comes first?
Alex: It depends, whatever comes. It's so hard to write a song sometimes. You have to take them how they come. If it's the lyrics, I'll take that. If it's the melody, I'll start with that. I don't have a way of doing things. When I get bored of one type of song writing, I try something else. When I get bored of the guitar, I'll grab another instrument. It changes. It's good that it does other wise you'd be writing the same song over and over.
D.O.M.E: Yeah you know this album was recorded at El Desierto (a recording studio fully known as El Desierto CasaEstudio) and it took separate sessions. Do you think the album would have been the same if it was not written during this time as compared to another time?
Alex: We finished the record in February of last year. So, we finished the record before all this went down. It has that thing, you know El Desierto has a large space where we put all the musicians together and it was recorded live in a way. The musicians were playing off each other. We were trying to capture that essence like you would record in the 60s and trying to connect with that. El Desierto has a lot of windows. A lot of light went in and I think it's a record that reflects all that sunshine we had those days. That was the process we went through.
D.O.M.E: That's wonderful. You know I've seen a lot of Latin artists that post there or record there. It looks magical. When I see pictures of there or Sonic Ranch, those places produce magical things naturally. Out of curiosity, do you have a favorite song on this album?
Alex: It's hard because they are all important. I have to say the first one has the DNA of all he record. It was one of the first songs we recorded and it set the path for the album. Hug this idea of making a Latin record with a lot of ideas and colors. You know trying to smash things together. That first song called "Como Viene Se Va" is important in that way.
D.O.M.E: I can see why you would say that about that song. It really introduces the whole thing. So my next set of questions are a bit more trivial. When I was researching you, I saw that you lived in many parts of the world. You lived in the U.S., Madrid, Mexico City. Is there a favorite place or thing you have? Or that you miss and want to do after lockdown?
Alex: I miss so many things. That's the thing, if I am in one of those places, I am missing the rest. It's mostly friends, people, food. I know El Paso and Juarez really well. I actually recorded at Sonic Ranch with Ximena Sariñana and I spent months there. I really like that part of the States and Mexico.
D.O.M.E: That makes me so happy. Speaking of inspiring places and things you miss, is there something that is inspiring you at the moment?
Alex: I always get inspired by other records, books, and movies. Right now I am actually working on another album. I can't go on tour. I can't "defend" the record as I wish to. So right now I am writing songs. It's more of another vibe (than Tanda). That's the thing about me. I have all these influences. I wish I was one of those musicians that plays one genre because that would make my life so much easier. If I were a blues guy, I'd just do blues records. I'm a blues musician and that's. my life. I have this thing where I get inspired by people like Dylan, Silvia Rodriguez of La Fania, The Stones, music in Spain, and music in South America. So I have all things I make that don't fit together and it's my job to make them fit together. Like in Tanda we had more songs. recorded, they just didn't fit this type of Latin-American song. That when you listen to the whole album, it fits. I am trying to do these other things, this other side with my song writing (on the new album). It is closer to a singer-songwriter kind of thing.
D.O.M.E: That's amazing. I am glad you are finding inspiration during this time. Another album form you is fantastic. I understand that. you are saying that if you had that one genre it would make things easier, but that is whaat makes your work very special. And of course your voice. Speaking of your voice, have you ever considered making a podcast? I feel like you would be great in a podcast.
Alex: I would love to. I think I should find time for that. Especially because I like sharing music and I like talking about it. I listen to a lot of podcasts, so yeah. That's something I could do in the future. The issue is when I get into something, I really get into it. If I start doing a podcast right now, it would affect my songwriting. I would get so into it that it would complicate things. But that is a good idea. I actually thought of doing one.
I told Alex that maybe he could reconsider the podcast idea once the new album is finished. He asked me what the podcast would be about and we threw around some ideas. After we discussed the podcast, I asked if there was something that he wanted to talk about. Alex brought up the fact that Tanda is available on vinyl (www.alexferreira.com). It's a limited-edition colored vinyl. The best news is that there is international shipping!
Photo by: Sebastián Cabrera Chelín
I'm excited to write this post! Not only because I Iove Fobia's music, but also due to the fact that I recently watched the Break it All: The History of Rock in Latin America documentary on Netflix. You can't talk about rock in Latin America without mentioning Fobia in the 90's. In fact, Leonardo (lead vocalist of Fobia) actually makes a few cameos in it!
Doing an MTV Unplugged is an honor for many reasons. Amazing bands like Maná, Café Tacvba, La Ley, Zoé and many more have graced the "Unplugged stage". The best part of the Unplugged is that it gives bands an opportunity to present their music in a fresh and acoustic manner.
Fobia is an iconic Mexican band whose career spans over thirty years. It's made up of Paco Huidobro, Jay de la Cueva, Leonardo de Loza, Iñaki, and CHA!. Songs featured in the set list include: "El Microbito", "Hipnotízame", and "2 corazones". Fobia's MTV Unplugged was recorded at the Frontón in México City. As one would expect with an Unplugged recording, Fobia takes us on a journey through their musical trajectory with a new, laid back, and modern take on their best songs.
The set starts with Pesadilla. A great song whose lyrics, in part, say "Esta mañana tuve un sueño. En que salvaba al mundo. Esta mañana tuve un sueño. En que podía volar." Immediately capturing one's attention (besides the lyrics) is Leonardo's vocals, which have not aged a bit. They sound strong yet soft and mature. The band definitely still has their spark!
The Unplugged then goes into another Fobia classic "Hoy Tengo Miedo". This song and Microbito (last track) were my favorite growing up. That being said, I very much enjoyed these stripped down versions. They keep the essence and "energy" of the original. That can also be said of the other songs.
This whole MTV Unplugged is fantastic! The piano and acoustic guitar are indeed a main feature throughout. Yet it's the synths and "magical" sounds heard either at the beginning, middle, or end of the songs that makes this experience so cohesive in sound and "vibe". It's sweet and addictive and you want to keep listening over and over again.
Overall this Unplugged is a whimsical journey through Fobia's repertoire of hits. It's a fresh take on Fobia's classics. It's something new to listen to. It's an escape to a private concert in a time where concerts can't take place.
Fobia's MTV Unplugged tracklist:
2. Hoy Tengo Miedo
3. 200 Sábados
4. Mi Pequeño Corazón
5. No Soy Un Buen Perdedor
6. Caminitos Hacia El Cosmos
7. 2 Corazones
10. Veneno Vil
11. El Diablo
12. No Eres Yo
13. El Microbito
Available on all music streaming services!
Gone is Gone is comprised of Troy Sanders (Mastodon), Tony Hajjar (At The Drive-In), Mike Zarin (Sencit Music) and Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age). This multi-talented band has been around since 2016 and is getting ready to release their second album, If Everything Happens For A Reason… Then Nothing Really Matters At All on December 4, 2020. This new album was produced by Tony Hajjar and Troy Van Leeuwen and has been part of a creative process that took place over the last five years. If Everything Happens For A Reason… Then Nothing Really Matters At All will be made up of twelve songs including the singles mentioned below.
The band recently released their new single "Death of a Dream" which starts out in a dream-like manner. Very Brian Eno-esque for lack of a better word. It slowly works up to a louder and stronger rock sound. It's a very nostalgic sound and very fitting for the title.
As mentioned in a press release, when talking about "Death of a Dream" Troy Sanders stated that, “I believe that going full throttle with an idea, a project, a relationship or a marriage... you put all energy into moving forward, trying to achieve this 'dream like' scenario, fairy tale ending, happily ever after, everything is perfect type of fantasy. If, or when, it were to fail or become an illusion, or delusion, rather than viewing it with regret, you feel as though you tried your best, gave it your all, and exhausted all positive and forward momentum possible. Hence, the death of a dream. After this life altering change of events, it can be viewed with celebration, as we hope to grow together, but quite often grow apart. All efforts were given”.
"Breaks" is also a latest single by Gone is Gone. The video and sound of the song match this static undertone of the song. The sound of the song is sexy and dangerous (in the best way possible). It's great for blasting in the car or just immersing yourself in the sound. The more I listen to it, the more I can imagine myself in a futuristic setting. It's fantastic and cinematic!
This new album is definitely everything you need to fulfill your rock needs during quarantine. I definitely urge you check out their latest singles and keep an eye out for their latest album!
Que rico ese flow. That's exactly what Gianluca's new mixtape will make you say. It's delicious beats are chill and easy to listen to. A chill-trap if you may with a hint of lo-fi.. That's coming from someone that generally doesn't listen to this style of music. You will be in for a treat either way!
With three mixtapes under his belt and after attracting the attention of the international press with his debut album, "Yin Yang", Gianluca finally returns to that early sound people loved. He has worked with artists like Gepe, Javiera Mena, and Pablo Chill-E. All prominent artists in the music scene.
As Gianluca once put it, "I think it is a characteristic of my works that they differ from each other. I feel that it's fresh, but it still connects with the Gianluca from 2016. It has a lot to do with "G Love" with its love themes, but with much more sexual and explicit insinuations. I also think it has to do with my growth and that it's the closing of a cycle. It is less dense than "Yin Yang" and it's music to feel good, to have fun. Something that seems important to me at this moment we live in."
This 11-track mixtape really reflects Gianluca's maturity in sound. It's FRESH. The first track on the mixtape, " UNO", is the type of song that you want to vibe too at a party. The rest of the tracks just go on from there. I included the vide to MAS (below) so y'all can see what I am talking about. I bet if you play one of his new songs at a party, you will be asked who is this?
Please check out his songs! Links below:
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Interviews and playlists of local bands and international artists.