From now on, ‘La Ciudad en Movimiento’ is not just the title of the legendary song featured on Cromosomas Salvajes (1985) by Aviador Dro, one of the bands that shook the Spanish electronic scene back in the 1980s. Now it’s also a cover by BFlecha with a video directed by Tomás Peña, with Elena Gallén in charge of the art direction and with fashion designer Krizia Robustella. We owe this to Reebok Classic and its tribute to cities as epicentres of inspiration and hotbeds of ideas. We thought there wasn’t a better occasion to interview Servando Carvalla, the leader of visionary band Aviador Dro, one of our top Spanish bands, in the 1980s and today.
Reebok has used your song ‘La Ciudad en Movimiento’ to be covered by four creative directors and make a music video. What was the process of lending one of your more legendary songs to a sports brand like?
It was very simple. They made us a concrete proposal. They told us BFlecha would be in charge of the cover and Tomás Peña would direct the video, which made us feel very comfortable. The aesthetic elements they proposed to us were also attractive, but the best of it all was that the lyrics would remain the same, that the message wouldn’t be altered. Nowadays, in order to institutionalize culture we need patronage and micro-patronage. So as long as the message is not altered, we don’t mind they experiment with the song.
Could we say BFlecha is to 2014 what Aviador Dro was to 1980?
She has different influences, and one of them is the sound of the 1980s. In fact, she’s said a few times we’re among her influences. I don’t know if we are an equivalent for different periods, but leaving a trace in new artists is very satisfactory.
How can you write hits in 1980 and continue writing more hit like ‘Yo, Cyborg’ in 2012?
If we’re still in the spotlight it is because, above all, we like music, we listen to everything, from Jack White to BFlecha. We’ve always been on the lookout. If lock yourself in your world for 30 years—in fact it’s enough with 10—you don’t evolve. But if you never stop choosing, you adapt to the environment. Obviously, there are always ups and downs, but I find it very gratifying that our audience is between 20 and 50 years old or more. We like that ability to influence. Having such a heterogeneous public means the favourite album or song don’t coincide.
‘La Ciudad en Movimiento’ deals with a very specific theme. How have cities changed since 1985? What about electronic music?
We have evolved, but our principles remain the same. We use science and technology as creative and revolutionary tools. We are technological animals and cities remain the epicenter of modern technological and industrial life. This isn’t a crazy thing to say nowadays because our perception as a society has changed; but 35 years ago it was unthinkable. The internet dominates things now and technology as a tool is not a threat. In 1980 science and technology were outrageous; people didn’t understand anything because they were still in the hippy era. They were more into returning to nature. Luckily, that is gone. The truth is that I can only stand the countryside at a zoological level. Leaving the urban environment gets on my nerves.
Do you consider yourself thinkers as well as artists?
We could call ourselves future historians. In 1996 we said people could soon download music from a data network. We predicted future events, but it isn’t very complicated. Just look at the recent past and you’ll be able to guess many things in the present. In Aviator Dro we are futuristic.
Where do your stage names come from?
Our biological names don’t respond to who we are on stage, so each one of us chose one related to their role in Aviator Dro. I, for one, am Biovac N, which is a biological connection to the computer.
Judging by your permanent hyperactivity, we are sure you have something at hand… What are you working on now?
We are working on a new album, although our recent stuff wasn’t just a record but augmented music. Our last album was, in fact, a book written by scientists and popularizers. The tour was highly consistent with the concept: we played in planetariums, museums and schools. We wanted to combine pop culture and science. So we can say that we are planning a multidisciplinary artifact that will be released in 2016 and will be a mix of comics, audio, video and internet. Meanwhile, we are working with Corcobado, who has proposed to several artists to make a 24-hour-song to serve as a chronicle of 24 hours in the world. In addition, we are also involved in Qué Mutada!, a band formed by the union of Aviator Dro, La Monja Shoes and L-Kan. It is a project full of humor with 11 musicians on stage.
We use science and technology as creative and revolutionary tool
Your favorite hotspots?
Malasaña is my operations center. Everything I like is there, the best comic shops are there… I’m not just talking about mine, Generación X, but also others such as Madrid Cómics. I spend many hours there talking with Eloy. I love eating at Foster’s Hollywood because it reminds me of our US tour and visiting the Fallen Angel at the Retiro, the only statue devoted to the devil that I know. In fact, every year during the Book Fair, I take a picture of myself next to the Fallen Angel.
Political corruption. It isn’t been punished as it should and it’s intolerable.
We are preparing an album that will work enhanced music
You never thought you’d end up…
I plan everything, so I guess I haven’t been caught by surprise much. Well, maybe when I became the goalkeeper in a football team.
Being yourself. I would tell anyone asking for advice. In music, for example, you can’t make concessions nor stop doing your own stuff even if it’s not fashionable at any given moment. Trends go by and in the end the loyalty to your project is the only thing you’ve got.