After a long winter, the Primavera Sound festival makes us feel excited about the new festival season and unleashes our desire from summer. Besides filling us with irrational emotion, the festival provides us with an open book to musical discovery and exaltation. In its almost infinite bill, next to the big names, dozens of bands are hidden that, after playing in the festival, will probably conquer us or, at least, leave us with a good aftertaste. In this edition, the search for new names led us Clubz, a Mexican duo that played on Saturday at 3 am on the adidas stage. A bit late to give anyone a chance!
Clubz’s musical proposal is at the juncture of synth pop and electro, but for all of us who grew up in the ’80s in Spain
Clubz’s musical proposal is at the juncture of synth pop and electro, but for all of us who grew up in the ’80s in Spain, Clubz sounds very much like the Movida Madrileña and the bands from Vigo that had the same spirit, combined with a ‘soft’ Central American air and a modern sound and atmosphere. Their’s are avant-garde, nostalgic melodies reminiscent of long-gone bands such as Golpes Bajos and Alaska and Los Pegamoides that are fit for the dance floor. With their excellent debut, the Textures EP, Clubz caught the attention of the CANADA music label after seeing them perform at Mexico’s Nrmal Festival. They soon signed for the Barcelona-born label and are now working on their well-deserved first album.
A few hours before playing at Primavera Sound, a milestone in their career, we talked with Orlando and Coco, the two members of Clubz, originally from Monterrey (Mexico), about festivals, the music scene and the sounds of the ’80s. Read on!
How do you pronounce the name of the band? Is it Clubz or Club Z?
Where does the name come from?
We don’t really know, we just came up with it one day and we liked it. We were looking for a single plural word that was simple, easy to remember that could be pronounced in any language. Some people say it in English but we don’t like how it sounds that much. We like it more in Spanish: Clubs. We simply replaced the Z with the S to make it easier for people looking us up online.
How did you meet Extraperlo?
Our friend Moni Saldaña, who does all the curating for the Nrmal Festival, wrote me because she was looking for cool Spanish bands for the festival. I suggested El ultimo vecino and Extraperlo. And after a while she told me, “Guess who’s coming? Extraperlo!” They played in D.F. and Monterrey. That’s where we met. We talked for quite a while and got along very well. They became interested in our band and came to see us. They liked the show very much and when they returned to Spain they asked us for a song we played but we hadn’t released. We sent them the demo and they said that it was incredible, a world-wide hit, and they wanted it for Canada. That’s how it all started. We couldn’t believe it.
Is there a lot of band exchange between Mexico and Spain?
Well, at least in Mexico people like Spanish artists. Mostly pop bands. I have been told many people here don’t even know some of those bands existed, they don’t remember them, but in Mexico they are big. There is a wide market in Latin America for bands such as Delorean, El último vecino, Extraperlo, Súper… Specially in Mexico because it is in the centre, which makes it very accessible.
You played at the Marabú party. That was a sort of warm-up before playing at Primavera Sound? How did this come about?
Sometimes things happen and you don’t know why. You’re just happy. Playing at Primavera Sound was always a goal. When we signed for CANADA we thought they would help us play in there because other bands in the label had already done so, so we were hopeful. We had never come to the festival, although we had become acquainted with it three years earlier. We are very grateful and we value it a lot, but we also want to take it easy and not get too excited. It is easy to think your life will change just because you’re playing in a music festival. Times have changed and it’s not that easy anymore. But, of course, we are very excited about it.
We do have high expectations because you play at 3:30am! Have you considered a powerful show? Because being so late and on the last day of the festival… People will need it!
Yes, we have, although we are just two and our music has a very clean sound. Generally, people expect pop music, but the fact is that we use a lot of effects and create a powerful sound atmosphere onstage. There’s a rap element to our live shows, we use electronic bases.
We’re the only ones playing at that time. After us it’s Check Check Check and Dj Coco. We’re a little bit scared and nervous ‘cos it could be great or it could be very bad. We will do the same whether there are 10 or 10,000 people, although, obviously, the more the better. But being here means a lot to us. We thought we’d play on Thursday at 4pm, but we are closing the festival! We are also excited about seeing people and making new friends. Seeing all the friends we’ve made every time we’ve come here is really exciting. All the people that have supported us are now friends.
I think our music is a mix of things from another era with a few strange elements
What are your influences?
I think our music is a mix of things from another era with a few strange elements. We have combined old sounds with things we like today. We use instruments from the 80s. That’s why when people describe the band they say we sound very 80s, though that is not our intention. We want to sound modern, new, we don’t want to recreate something that was already done at that time.
We love the Movida Madrileña. We listen a lot to Golpes Bajos, Los Zombies, Ataque de Caspa, El último de la fila… We also listen to Latin American bands from the 80s, Soda Stereo, Los Encargados… And then classic stuff like Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna, as well as more obscure bands such as Orange Juice and The Wake, The System… All this mixed with things our parents liked. Michael McDonald, Chicago… All of that.
We listen to music at is comes. Suddenly we discovered boogie and funk. Now we like to buy disco, soul and funk vinyl records, compilations from all over the world featuring African, European and American music. We sound new and old at the same time. There are people who say Clubz sounds like Luis Miguel, others say we sound like New Order or Blood Orange, and I understand that feeling because we are fans of all of them. They don’t have anything to do with each other, but they make sense together somehow. You can hear those influences in our music.