Interview: Spain’s Hottest Import, Belako

Discovering new music is one of the things I enjoy the most, specially when it’s unique. Belako, a post-punk alternative rock Spanish band I’ve been obsessing with might be your new favorite go-to. I was first introduced to one of their songs, ‘Monster’, a couple of months ago and immediately listened to their entire catalog. I liked them so much that I ordered one of their special edition vinyls shipped all the way from Spain to give you an idea on how good they are.

They’ll be having their first US show in Los Angeles this October, which I’m really pumped about. Being that they’re from Europe they don’t usually perform abroad, so this is really exciting news! They also recently released their newest single, ‘Over the Edge’ part of their upcoming album, ‘Render Me Numb, Trivial Violence’ which keeps getting better and better. That being said, I had the opportunity to ask them some questions about them, their music and their upcoming projects, and here’s what they had to say:

What’s the story behind your band’s name, ‘Belako’?

Belako is the name of the neighborhood where Josu and Lore were born and where we rehearsed. Some years ago it was a really nice place with big fields of grass and lots of trees, but with the industrialization, they began to build big factories and plants and it became almost an industrial park. It still endures some natural or non industrial places, for example, the house of Josu and Lore´s grandfather and his metallurgy pavilion where we rehearse. So in honor of that place and the whole neighborhood, we decided to call the band Belako.

How long have you been making music?

We started rehearsing and playing covers of the bands we loved, the 5th may 2011, so Belako is six years old!

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How did you guys meet and what made you decide to start a band?

Josu and Lore started playing songs they liked and afterwards Josu met Cris at the university. Later, Lander joined the band. The four of us had the same ambitions and similar taste of music. We really enjoyed playing covers of Nirvana and Pixies or Sonic Youth. We didn’t have any expectative; it was just to have a good time. Later they started calling us for gigs and so we started composing our own songs.

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Since there’s a new album on the works, what can Belako fans expect from this upcoming release? How will it be different from your past albums?

Well, it´s difficult to say because we always have been very eclectic. We have not limited ourselves in a musical style or whatever, and we think we are going in the same way. What we can say is that we have recorded the album on tape without using digital stuff and it’s been a different experience for us. It has been the first time that we have recorded this way and we have enjoyed it a lot. This is going to make the album sound very raw and dirty; what we really like,  but is still follows that eclectic way.

What inspires you guys when making new music? How does the songwriting process look like? How does the band work together when creating a new song?

Anything can inspire us, it can be a guitar or bass riff or a drum fill. Normally, Josu brings an idea… riff or something and then we start playing and thinking on a structure. The four of us play and start creating new parts, riffs or fills.Then Cris creates the lyrics. The process of creating a song can be very different, but we can say we normally follow that pattern.

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You recently released new tour dates in Mexico City and Los Angeles, how often do you guys play in Mexico and the US? Any other places you’d like to play at that you haven’t before?

We have just play once in Mexico and never in the US! We really enjoyed the time in Mexico, we felt in love with it and it’s people. Playing abroad makes us very happy, it’s what we wanted almost since the beginning and every travel has been an unforgettable experience. 2017 is going to be a great year because we are going to play in Mexico, US, Japan, Rusia and many countries in Europe. We are super excited to start the tour!

Who are your top 5 influencers? Who do you guys like listening to when you’re not working in your own music?

Buff! It’s very difficult to say! Well for top 5 influencers maybe we can say: Radiohead, Joy Division, David Bowie, Sonic Youth and Led Zeppelin. It’s not really fair because we can name other 100 bands or artists! We listen to a lot of music (maybe too much) and it’s very diverse and from many stiles or ages. When we are traveling in the van we can listen to ABBA, Queen, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, The Cure,R.E.M.,… and also music from nowadays like Flying Lotus, Gorillaz, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Nicolas Jaar, Mgmt, Mac de Marco, Kaytranada, Matias Aguayo, Blonde Redhead, Young Fathers,… and many, many more.

What are your favorite things when playing live?

We really love the music we do and we are close friends, that’s enough to enjoy playing live. Apart from that, if we see that people is also enjoying and having a good time, that’s the best thing that can happen to you. There’s no words for that. We think all this together makes playing live an incredible experience. We simply love it.

I’ll end this with one of my favorite Belako performances: