Since I lived in Valencia for a year, I’ve become increasingly interested in Spanish music, not only as a means to learn the language, but learning about the different scenes and innovation that is taking place, stumbling upon some fantastic artists and bands along the way. This led me onto discovering the absolute hidden gem that is Quentin Gas & Los Zingaros, after reading an article on Spanish Psych Rock that a friend sent me, which you can read here. As the name of the article suggests, Quentin Gas & Los Zingaros are a Psychedelic Rock band, but with a twist.
Mad Cool Festival presented the first of their ‘London Sessions’ events on Tuesday evening at the iconic Koko in Camden, and I was delighted to be in attendance. Fresh from announcing that Queens of the Stone Age will be the first headliner at Mad Cool 2018 (taking place between the 12-14 July in Madrid), the festival got to work to spread the word with the first ‘London Sessions’, a potential series of events to showcase what Mad Cool is about. The event was free with invitation from the Mad Cool website, and it was a great way to kick off proceedings. Featuring American artist Haux and London-based duo Monarchy, it was a night full of smoky electronic synths and eerie atmsopheric vocals.
In my quest to learn the Spanish language I have often turned to music to help me. This has mostly been a futile attempt, but has led me to discovering many great bands and artists. Beyond the well-known stars such as Shakira, Daddy Yankee, Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin and Alejandro Sanz, there’s a vibrant and well-supported scene with some absoloute gems to be found. Whether it’s to aid your learning, or simply for your own enjoyment, the Spanish-speaking music scene has a variety of styles and genres to tickle your fancy. From indie-rock to Spanish trap, here’s a list of 10 artists that you need to know right now:
Sometimes it’s hard to describe feelings, or a moment(s) that happen in our life. Feelings of wanting more, or a moment of deep depression that you can’t figure out. Like many, I turn to music to help me through times like these. Sometimes all it does is extenuate the problem and increase the feelings that were being felt, but often this can be the release of emotion that you were after. After dragging yourself to get some much-needed sleep, the next day is always there, and often that can be a reassuring state.
One of the genres that I’m turning to more often than not is emo. A very loose term for a genre that has many different connotations, and is constantly changing and reinventing itself. Since being coined in the mid-eighties to describe a flurry of hardcore bands, such as Rites of Spring, Beefeater and Embrace, the genre has had a mixed and turbalent history. It inspired many regretable fashion trends, but gave a space for people who felt alienated by society. Bands such as My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco and Paramore all came out of the emo scene, but that’s not where my personal journey with the genre began.
Set in the beautiful surroundings of Montanejos, a small town just outside of Valencia, Spain, Dias De Campo is an electronic music festival organised by prominent Spanish music promoter’s theBasement, in partnership with live music and entertainment company Milkman. Featuring internationally renowned Dutch duo Dekmantel Soundsystem, and DJ’s such as Tiago, Chrissy, MLiR and Abu Sou, the 3-day festival is a must for all lovers of electronic music and nature. You might think that’s a weird combination, but the festival’s ethos is to embrace both, listen to live DJ’s whilst chilling out in the hot springs, and rave until the early hours of the morning in the wooded area situated by the camping. It’s a celebration of the two, and with world class DJ’s and an outstanding location it’s going to be a good one.
A little over two years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Rag ‘n’ Bone Man at The Joiners in Southampton. He was touring his latest EP, ‘Disfigured’, and was preparing for another sold out show.
As I walked to the venue I remember being very nervous, it was my first ever face-to-face interview and I was unsure what to expect. The interview time was arranged a few hours before the opening of the doors, so my first task was to figure out how to get in… After a few trial and errors I found a fire escape round the back and to the side, this was my opening. Rory and his team were in a meeting, discussing various subjects about the night ahead. After an awkward hello and a brief explanation of what the hell I was doing there, it was established that an interview had been scheduled… Rory abruptly came over with a beaming smile and introduced himself. All the nerves and built up tension that I had been feeling slowly eased away, as we entered into deep coversations about his roots in the hip-hop scene in Brighton with Rum Committee, attending open mics at Slipjam B and forming friendships with local MCs and DJs. Speaking fondly of his time in Brighton, he explained how he quickly became embedded in the hip-hop community,
“I used to go to Slipjam B, which was just like a monthly open mic in Brighton for rappers, you know you do whatever you want basically, the DJ would play a beat and I would freestyle over it, but I would sing as well, and that’s how I met everyone really, that little community, sort of hip-hop community, you know you get to know everybody really quick…”
The connections he made during this time were integral to kick-start his life as a musician, and from there he released a series of mixtapes and EP’s, with ‘Bluestown’ (2012) being the most significant of these, his staggering vocal capabilities and jazz, blues and hip-hop style stood out from anything else that was on the market at the time.
If you’ve never heard of Spanish trap then don’t worry, I’ve got you. Whilst out here in Spain I’ve discovered many beautiful things, the weather, the food, the unlimited sangria, and of course, the delightful and often humorous sounds of Pimp Flaco, amongst many others in the Spanish trap scene. The origins of this music entering my domain lay through a friend called David, David explains:
“I was watching funny videos on YouTube one pleasant Monday evening when I came across this guy called Pimp Flaco, automatically I checked it out, I couldn’t believe what I was listening to, it was like trap music, but it was Spanish, my mind was blown and I’ve been hooked since…”
His, and my, introduction to Spanish trap was Pimp Flaco’s track PORFI, an instant banger –