Five years have passed for Pablo Díaz-Reixa aka El Guincho to leave behind his personal tropical world. Produced by himself, Hiperasia (Canada, Everlasting) introduces us to a less kind sound. The king of Western tropicalism has created an indescribable and much darker genre, with a vocoder camouflaging his voice over 8-bit beats. Music aside, one of the most striking facts of El Guincho’s new album is its wearable nature—it is encapsulated in a wristband designed by Wellness, with a NFC microchip that enables users to access the Hiperasia universe through their mobile phones. To top things off, each track comes with visuals made by Manson. This collision between music and 8bit animation makes complete sense and turns Hiperasia into a parallel planet in which Pablo expresses his feelings and experiences through moving lyrics. If you already have Hiperasia, stay tuned for new material, beats and videos to be released in the coming months.
Where have you been during since you released Pop Negro five years ago? You’ve been missed…
Pop Negro was released in September 2010, but the tour ended in early 2012. In between I had the pleasure to work with Björk in Biophilia, to produce the albums of Extraperlo and Los Punsetes, to make beats under a different alias… I didn’t really spend much time home. When the tour ended, my mother got ill. I tried to combine things but in the end I had to devote all my time to her. I moved to the Canary Islands and forgot about El Guincho until 2013. I recorded Trances, my alias for another project with which I released an EP on Hivern Discs. In 2014, Everlasting offered me to live in an attic on top of their offices and turn it into a recording studio. That’s when I started writing Hiperasia along with Brian Hernández, my sound engineer and a key person in the entire project. We recorded about 50 projects until the summer of 2015. We mixed almost 20, and 13 of those were finally featured on the album. The rest of the material will be gradually released on the web.
“To record Hiperasia, I found interesting to use the stereo to annoy by introducing elements to interrupt the listening”
With Hiperasia you are breaking molds again. It happened with Alegranza and its tropicalism; with Pop Negro and its self-produced 80s sounds, and now again with Hiperasia’s indescribable sound. It has a bit of hip hop and a sort of 8bit, futuristic reggaeton. How would you define the sound? What were you looking for exactly?
I always follow strict rules. The limit of Alegranza was “Music from the islands”. Pop Negre was more radio-oriented. There is something, however, the two albums share, and that’s the use of stereo for positive purposes, as a pleasure trigger. It was more immersive in Alegranza and wider and coordinated in Pop Negro. I found it interesting to deal with that idea in Hiperasia, to use the stereo to annoy by introducing elements to interrupt the listening, to make sounds go on and off, like when you open the door of a toilet that is busy or when a waiter interrupts an important conversation over dinner. Such situations have a special property of their own, something nice that stuns you, changing your perception of time for a little bit.
It is very easy to translate that into music. If you place the vital part of a very dry song in the middle, as it you were thinking in mono (in Hiperasia a Tempest, a 808, a voice), you have left a huge space on the sides for surprises, for silences, for playing with the natural course of the listening experience. In the music you mention it’s very common to place the central element in a loop. It happens generally with dance music, for practical reasons. Many producers have been trying to transgress that idea, wetting the groove or the text in layers of effects, something we relate to evolved versions of those styles. I appreciated them but I’d rather suggest that movement with distortion, empty spaces, short delays, etc. I’m much more affected by that kind of sounds.
In fact, it’s not only the sound that is different, but also the format. Although it will also be available in physical support, the idea is for users to buy a wristband with an NFC chip including a QR code to listen to Hiperasia, as well as to listen to the video that comes with every track. Do you think the music business as we know it is obsolete and waiting for reinvention?
I don’t think it’s obsolete; many people are still making money with music. I’ve never sold lots of CDs or vinyl copies of my records. Despite this, I’ve been able to devote myself to music since I was very young, thanks to record labels that were willing to fund my projects and give me total independence. I wanted to make an object that had similarities with the music, in the same way that you try your music to reflect your feelings. I’ve been studying for years everything about IoT and augmented reality. Hiperasia’s format comes from that, but I don’t intend to evangelize or anything like that. I do it because I love it.
“Expressing psychotic moments seemed a valuable source for Hiperasia”
Judging by your videos and your lyrics, there’s a certain feeling of loneliness and a sense of rootlessness linked perhaps to long periods away from home. Is Hiperasia autobiographical?
Making music alone is a lonely and painful process, with peaks of extreme happiness. In that somewhat hysterical course, you find versions of yourself that surprise you, ideas you’d usually avoid because they make you face your own morality. Expressing all those psychotic moments seemed a valuable source for Hiperasia. There is always something autobiographical there. It’s about me, I guess, but it’s not a purge. I used them tactically in songs.
Are you planning a world tour?
Yes, we are. We’ll tour with the songs of all El Guincho records, Trances included.
“I’m better producing than interpreting. I work hard to be more versatile in a studio.”
When I interviewed you with Pop Negro, you said you didn’t imagine yourself touring but producing. Is Hiperasia a sort of an experiment to test what Pablo Diaz Reixa can do as a producer?
All my records are a test in that sense. I’m better producing than interpreting. I work hard to be more versatile in a studio. I’ll try to tour less in the future, but Hiperasia has something that reminds me of my first album and I’m really looking forward to playing it live.
With Hiperasia you have also changed your record label, going from Young Turks to Canada and Everlasting. Is this a voluntary decision and the result of wanting to stay in a more local dimension? I think you’d also considered the possibility of working with a major.
Even if I didn’t want to, I could stay in a local dimension. My career has been built by improvising, from the outside to the inside. I’m a strange entity in any scene. I wanted to be the master of my music and to license it with labels in key territories. I have a very close and long-lasting relationship with Everlasting; they distribute the Young Turks catalog in Spain and have been my managers since 2010. They have always been very helpful. With Canada I share the same codes and vision, plus we’re friends. They are the engine of some parts of the project that are challenging, like new formats, the visual part, Manson’s lyric adventure, the Wellness web experience, etc.
Is Hiperasia’s universe a result of previous experiences? Where does the album’s imagery come from?
Yes, it’s a mix of experiences and, above all, my obsession with records, the work of other producers and the work of others.
What are your favourite places in Barcelona and Madrid? Restaurants, bars, streets, neighbourhoods…
It’s been a while since I don’t live in Barcelona. I feel a bit like a foreigner there. I used to like Specchio Magico, Shunka, Bar del Pla, NAP, La Nena, La Palma, the Caribbean, etc. Great football matches at Tarr Vall d’Hebron with friends, too. In Madrid I like the restaurants Zara, Miyama, Casa González, Sala de Despiece, Cisne Azul, Cock, etc.
You can’t stop listening to…
“Cala Nova Resort” by Ulldeter.
You never thought you’d end up…
Making a living out of music
Mapping and making scuba diving