The new electronic Spain has found its way to the rest of the world thanks to some names who make the freshest brews with instantly recognisable ingredients: pop, spacey textures, house, and bright synths. After Delorean, El Guincho and John Talabot, now it's time for Lasers. They are a Barcelona threesome with big ambitions that involve integrating irresistible melodies (they’re so hot, they’re melting) into almost symphonic constructions.
The trio started to cut their teeth by participating in different contests, winning the Levi’s Unfamous Awards in 2010, and almost without warning, they released a self-titled EP in 2011, laying the foundations for “Juno”, their first album on the Irregular imprint, in November of that same year. The debut turned the band into one of the revelations of the year, with its soothing loops and cosmic placidity, and we thought it would be a good idea to get to know them a bit better, and ask them for a PlayGround Mix of their favourite house and space-pop tunes.
You started with an EP, and went straight to recording an album after that. The result is “Juno”. What was your purpose when you started working on it?
When we released the EP, we were already thinking of recording an album, as we took too long finishing the EP. We were hoping to find a label that would release it.
For a young band like yourselves, what does it mean to be under the wing of a label like Irregular? Is it decisive, do they help develop the band, or is it simply a platform for your music?
With the EP we realised that it's really hard for a band to do everything. We did the whole process, from sending promo copies to covering our vinyls with magazines about space, which was silly anyway. We quickly understood that a band needs people to help out so that things work and you can do things to get more gigs, distribute the record properly and create some order in the chaos. Irregular then appeared by coincidence and it was a match made in heaven for us.
If you hadn't signed with Irregular, would you have released the record yourselves or would you have taken things easier?
We would probably have tried to release it on a different label, because releasing it ourselves would have been too much, and, to be honest, it's very nice for a group to dedicate their time exclusively to making music. We're very thankful. We most likely would have taken longer to get it out; they made things go much faster.
In your early days you were often tagged as a “space” band. These days the label seems to have vanished from the reviews. Did you feel limited or influenced by it, or did you feel the tag didn't cover everything Lasers stand for?
In a way we did feel limited by it. At first we thought it was funny, but we wanted to break loose from the “space” tag, as we felt it would be sad to limit the concept of a group to that sound. There's always a cosmic sound in our music, but we like so many other things, too. The material we're working on now goes in other directions besides the spacey stuff.
You recorded the album with Marco Morgione. How did the producer affect the album’s final sound? Did he help you, did he lead you to sounds you didn't know, or had you already got a clear idea of what “Juno” would sound like?
The sound and mood on the “Juno” demos are very similar to the record. We mostly had it figured out in our heads. With Marco we recorded the acoustics and we processed all the tracks with his presets, and we improvised some things that we kept in the end. Marco works really fast and sure, which helps a lot. But anyway, we had most of it figured out beforehand, mostly because we have a limited budget and we have to use our time in the studio well.
Marco recorded with El Guincho and Delorean. What do you have in common with those bands?
We all use loops and samples, it’s true, but we start off from a different idea. We wanted a very laid-back sound for some of the tracks. There are already people telling us the album has an air of chill-wave and things like that, but the truth is that we aren’t going for that sound at all. I can tell you that we’ve been listening to Teengirl Fantasy a lot, we love them. And Four Tet, Metronomy and Pional, apart from the more classic house.
“Juno” is a leap forward, compared to the EP. How do you look back on those first steps now? Would you do anything differently?
We wouldn't change anything, because you learn from everything you do. We have experimented a lot with the way we write songs. We didn't really know how to make the sounds we wanted to make, so we just learned the process, bit by bit. The EP sounds dispersed, every song is different. Since then, we've been listening to new things and our sound may change accordingly.
Why are the vocals in your music less important than the dense textures and synthetic layers?
It just turned out that way, really. When we started recording we realised we had a lot of instrumentals, and we liked it.
Why do you use loops as a starting point for your tracks? What does that method contribute to the final result?
It's just a way of building a song. Looking for a loop from any kind of audio source can give you unpredictable, unknown sounds, often with weird textures. That's why it's really exciting to find the roots of a track like that, with something that you stumble upon that inspires you. Nevertheless, we are refining that process a bit, too; we would like to build tracks in a purer way, starting with only a few elements. If you make too much use of a loop it can be asphyxiating.
What's with the swimming pool on the album sleeve?
Our idea was to transmit total calm, and our mate Raúl who does all the art, had the idea of a spa when we did the album. Something like being in a swimming pool with no one else around. He found a photo series another friend did and it was perfect for the idea.
What did you want to do for this PlayGround mixtape? Could you tell us the concept, how you mixed and recorded it, and so on?
We're not really DJs, so we just selected a couple of songs we've been listening to recently. They're all electronic and the mix goes from something very chilled-out to classic, fun house. From Anna Domino to Joakim and from Joakim to Masters At Work. We recorded it with Live, which is the software we always use.
What are your plans for the near future?
We're building our recording studio, which has been taking up much of our time lately. We’ve also got a lot of analogue equipment and we're starting to make new songs, but we're taking it easy. We'll have more time now, so we'll be able to try out our ideas and work on them. We've got a few gigs coming up before the summer, which we're pretty pleased about. We're going to Paris, and we've got a small Spanish tour coming up, clubs and some festivals. We'll be putting up the dates on our Facebook page and other social networks. And we're also doing a remix for Boreals. We did one for The Suicide Of Western Culture, and it was a very nice experience.
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