Underground & Indie

The inspiration behind the music of Malavera: Somos O Que Ouvimos talked with Freddy Guazzone, lead singer of the band from Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Malavera: Tape De Prisco, Freddy Guazzone, Johann Galati, Gonzalo Barrio and Martin Carrizo. Divulgation

The delirious indie and garage rock wave which flooded the music world especially in the first decade of this century, starring bands such as The Strokes, The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys gave new breath to rock and roll and inspired musicians, such as the members of Malavera, to form their own bands. Byproduct of this new generation of British and American bands, but not only, Malavera arose in 2007 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They have an album with demo songs and a single with the tracks “The Sex Scene” and “Fat Buda”. Somos O Que Ouvimos chatted on Internet with the friendly lead singer Freddy Guazzone about his musical references – which goes beyond the “mass media indie” of the 2000s -, the new single, tours and Brazilian music.

por Talita Lima

Malavera has an evident influence of American and British indie rock produced in the early 2000s, in which bands brought post-punk and garage rock back to scene and made it very popular over the decade. How to condense these great references without the music seeming just a reproduction of what came before?

Freddy: Bands like The Strokes, The Libertines, Babyshambles, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and a few more of those post-2000 garage bands are, indeed, a big influence for us. Seeing a band like The Strokes succeed in a medium that, up to that point was populated by either prefabricated pop bands or nü metal bands was a huge inspiration for Malavera and – I´m sure of this – for a whole generation of new bands that flourished all over the world in the last 12 years.

As for being able to not be just a reproduction of that same sound, I think every musician is a recollection and a mix down of all the things he or she has heard before. Gon [guitar], Johann [guitar], Tape [drums], Martin [bass] and myself, we are all huge music lovers. We don´t just listen to The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Hives and all of those great bands from the last 12 years but we have many more influences that, in most cases have deeper roots in ourselves than the early 2000s Garage Movement. I´m a huge David Bowie fan and when I hear my singing I realize I “steal” a lot from him. I also really like the way Nick Cave sings, or Robyn Hitchcock, John Spencer, Scott Walker, Jeff Buckley or a million other names.

I love the way Julian Casablancas sings but with all of the other influences trying to come out when I´m singing he doesn´t have that much input on the outcome. I believe this is much the case with everybody in Malavera. We love those new bands and they have evidently influenced our music but that´s just a small percentage of what we bring to our craft.

At first contact with the band the heavy influences of Strokes, Libertines – “indie rock 2000 generation” basically – are clear… it’s important to the public know the other influences which are as relevant as them.

Freddy: When you are playing that sort of punk, post-punk, garage rock with the same instrument configuration (2 guitars, 1 bass, 1 drum kit and 1 singer) it can bring up resemblances because those bands are very “fresh” in your memory, being in pretty heavy media rotation these last 12 years. I guess what I´m trying to say is, if John Frusciante, The Replacements, Fugazi and The Birthday Party were as prevalent in today´s music scene you would find as many elements in common between Malavera and those bands as with The Strokes. Also, it´s all part of finding your own voice, which you rarely achieve from the very beginning. Our latest songs are quite different sounding from our earliest work.

Seeing a band like The Strokes succeed in a medium that up to that point was populated by either prefabricated pop bands or nü metal bands was a huge inspiration for Malavera and – I´m sure of this – for a whole generation of new bands that flourished all over the world in the last 12 years. (Freddy)

Was singing in English the band’s choice from the beginning?

Freddy: Yes, it most definitely was. Almost all of the music we love is English-sung. All the music I grew up loving is in English. Gon likes a few Latin-American artists, Johann also likes a couple. Martin and Tape do to. Even I like four or five Spanish-sung songs. I also like Caetano Veloso and Tom Jobim very much. Last summer I was in Rio and found Caetano´s Domingo and Jobim´s Wave in a record store. Really amazing records. But, not to divert from the subject, there wasn´t even a chance that I was going to sing in any other language than English. I feel really comfortable singing and writing in English and I think it shows in the music: It doesn´t come out as a forced thing but it´s rather natural.

Why “The Sex Scene” and “Fat Buda” was chosen as the single songs?

Freddy: We always knew we wanted “The Sex Scene” to be our first single. It´s the first song we wrote that really resonated with us all and made us realize we had a chance of becoming a real band with songs that we actually liked. Also it was the song that received the best reviews from the people that heard us and we wanted to put out something that we liked but also something that everybody else could relate to. We had the original idea of putting out “Happiness” as the B side, because we felt it had a very similar feel to “The Sex Scene”: very atmospheric and dark but on a slower time. But when we got together with the single´s producer to talk and choose the songs we were going to record he pointed out that maybe it was a good idea to put out two songs that showcased more of our musical spectrum instead of showing just the more brooding side of Malavera. “Fat Buda” is a much more optimistic, brighter song and it has a more pop flavor to it so between those two you have a better picture of who we are as a band.

Fat Buda is a much more optimistic, brighter song and it has a more pop flavor. (Freddy)

How has the current tour been?

Freddy: We haven´t really toured much yet. We all hold day jobs, girlfriends, wives, etc., and being able to organize five different people to go away for even a week or two is quite difficult but that´s definitely a project for the near future for us. We are playing quite a lot here in Buenos Aires and playing live is very rewar ding anywhere you do it but we definitely want to plan a small tour sometime soon.

I also like Caetano Veloso and Tom Jobim very much. Last summer I was in Rio and found Caetano’s Domingo and Jobim’s Wave in a record store. Really amazing records. (Freddy)

Are there plans to play in Brazil soon?

Freddy: We would really love to play in Brazil. Anywhere in Brazil would be great but Rio and Sao Paulo are two places we´d really enjoy visiting with Malavera. Hopefully we´ll be there soon.

If you could name the best album of the 2000s and the best of all times, what would they be?

Freddy: Those are really difficult questions for a cross-genre music lover like myself. The best album I heard in the last 12 years? I´ve got Wilco´s Sky Blue Sky, The Strokes´s Is This It, Devin Townsend´s Ziltoid The Omniscient, Antony and the Johnsons´s I Am a Bird Now, Devendra Banhart´s Cripple Crow, Brad Mehldau´s Live in Tokio, there´s too many to just pick one. Favorite album of all times? Jesus, that´s a tough one too. I´ll try and stick to one. I would have to go with Jeff Buckley´s Grace. And Nick Drake´s Five Leaves Left. And Tom Waits’ Closing Time. And Erik Satie´s Piano Works. Yeah. Those four are my favorite album of all times.


Written by Talita Lima

26/10/2012 às 5:47 PM

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