*Download the mix here
“Delirio Específico”, the latest album by Extraperlo, marks a before and after for the Barcelona band. The nine songs are in the same tropical pop vein as 2009's “Desayuno Continental”, but, even though the arrangements are more carefully crafted, they're even catchier than their predecessors. We discussed it with singer Borja Rosal, alongside talking about El Guincho's role as a producer, the changes the band faced when making the songs and the reasons for their changing labels (from Mushroom Pillow to Canada), which took us all by surprise a few months ago. To celebrate the release, they recorded an exclusive mixtape for our DJ series, featuring many of their influences, old and new, from Franco Battiato to D’Eon.
You took three years to make “Delirio Específico”. Did you want to take more care of the new songs than ever?
We wanted to take it slow, but we were also forced to in a way, because Aleix and I were on tour with El Guincho. When we were at home, we worked on the demos, some of which were from 2010. The songs have been around for a long time and you can hear that on the album. Once they were finished, we went into the studio for a year and recorded them, with equipment we rented from Brian Hernández, who's also the engineer of El Guincho.
After the relative success of “Desayuno Continental”, did you feel a bit under pressure? To many artists, the second album is a big challenge.
We wanted it to be better than the first one, so we put the pressure on ourselves. It may happen to other people, the fear and doubts about what people who liked the first one are going to think, but we didn't go through that. You have to forget about that stuff, otherwise you can't be yourself. It's absurd to think about what other people might think. Our goal was to focus a lot on the production.
"We're not into
the whole 80s
the 80s influence
So what do you think people who loved the first album will think?
I suppose there'll be some who love it, and some who don't. If someone liked the previous album because it sounded un-polished, they won't be happy with this one. But anyway, even though now everything sounds much clearer, the group's personality is still intact.
These new songs are actually much more accessible when you hear them for the first time. The 80s pop influences are more obvious, much like on El Guincho's “Pop Negro”.
That reference is always there when we start making the songs. We like the music from that time a lot, not the bands everybody always mentions, but others, who brought something new to that era. We can't deny that's our starting point. However, we're not into the whole 80s revival thing. Like on El Guincho's latest, you hear the snares, and there was no band in the 80s making them sound like that. And the kick drums, in those days they didn't have that sub bass sound, they actually sounded quite small back then. Production-wise, the 80s influence doesn't exist.
The lo-fi sound of the first album is a thing of the past now. Was the bigger sound on “Delirio Específico” something you intended?
That's because the two records were made in entirely different ways. The first was made in the rehearsal studio with four guys playing their instruments, while this one was built on a computer. The songs aren't born from the four of us improvising, but from the arrangements each of us came up with, adding or removing things, depending on what we felt the song needed. Over the course of two years, each track might have been opened four hundred times.
The Canada label's press release said that the album sounds darker, but in general, it isn't, really.
Maybe the note refers to the pads. One thing we wanted to do from the start was to generate a really great background, which responds to your previous question. The record is full of synth pads, which may cause the feeling that it's dark
It's probably the most obvious towards the end, on tracks like “Saxo Azul” and “A Nivel Carnal”.
That part refers a lot to Roxy Music, especially in the sense of generating a characteristic space.
Another novelty is Alba's bigger vocal part on the album. Have you ever considered letting her sing an entire song?
In fact, she's singing on some of the tracks that didn't make it to the album. We want her to do that a lot more. Seeing as my voice is quite roaring, a female counterpoint like her voice works really well.
Your way of singing has evolved as well, don't you think?
Yes, I changed it a bit. Three years after the first album, you don't really try to imitate Edwyn Collins that much anymore. You could say I sound more like myself now.
With regards to the production, was it obvious to you from the start that Pablo Díaz-Reixa (El Guincho) was your man?
We already talked about it for the first album, but he happened to be on tour in the States all the time. He recorded some percussion back then, but we wanted him to properly produce an album for us. It was simple, really, we just planned it and it happened.
Do you mind people associating the Extraperlo sound with El Guincho?
We have our own personality, but it bothers me that people say we don't, and just describe us in vague terms like that. I'm not denying there are similarities, because it's obvious. But beyond that, we do have our own identity.
Have there been moments of suffering because you didn't know how to finish a particular track?
Yes, mainly when we were working on the demos. That process took us longer than the actual recordings. We've had to shelve a couple of thing on the way, though they will probably come out later, like the piece on which Alba sings.
"We hope it
that long the
Did the demos sound very different from the final versions?
That would be fun to find out. The demos are full of different arrangement tracks, because afterwards we picked the ones we liked the most for the album. That's precisely the role of the external producer: to clean things up, not to add anything.
We were also surprised by you signing with a different label. What made you switch from Mushroom Pillow to Canada?
That's the question everybody's asking us [laughs]. We just needed a change. We've had a great time with them, but there were a few differences of opinion and in the end it was for the best that we just went our separate ways. Canada is fresh for us in that sense, the good feeling of being with a different label and with people we feel really comfortable with. Canada, as a label, is still growing, just like we are. We like that.
Are we going to have to wait another three years for a new album, or are you going to work on your third immediately?
We hope it won't take that long the next time. However, we have to find a different way of working first. We want to do each record differently, to keep the creative spirit alive.
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