Talking pandemic, music and more with the Catedral Sónica’s Spanish-speaking contingent

From left to right: Linda Guilala, Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, Sobrenadar

By some weird twist of fate, over the past few years Sonic Cathedral has ended up releasing a number of records sung in Spanish. We got the three artists in question – Sobrenadar, Lorelle Meets The Obsolete and Linda Guilala – to have a chat about music, the artistic process and contemporary notions of Spanish-ness. We have also updated it with their thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic and how it is affecting their respective countries (Argentina, Mexico and Spain).

Sonic Cathedral: How is everyone doing under lockdown?

Paula García (Sobrenadar): “Here in Argentina, almost half of the citizens do not have the necessary resources to carry out the health protocol to avoid getting this disease (or any other). I believe that, despite everything, people in general understand that it is essential to prioritise that part of the vulnerable population and protect communities that cannot take preventative measures and that’s because we are used to having a more collective than individual mentality. Only a few have spoken out against the quarantine and they are people that cannot see beyond their own interests, but when you are aware that a lot of people are in poverty, without medical insurance, sometimes without water to wash their hands, it does not occur to you to question this prevention measure.”

Eva M (Linda Guilala): “In Spain the containment measures have been some of the most restrictive in the world. It took us more than 50 days to be allowed to go outside. It has been disturbing to see how the country’s economy collapsed. Everything in general has been weird, hard and distressing. We have spent all this time at home to make new songs and future plans. The future, although uncertain, is always worth it.”

Lorena Quintanilla (Lorelle Meets The Obsolete): “I don’t mind about not touring this year, as this is beyond us. I just want this to be over so people can stop being at risk. Because the rain is going to come harder for those who are disadvantaged.”

Read the full story of Lorelle’s life under lockdown.

Now back to the original conversation…

Eva: “Is it important for Spanish-American bands to keep writing lyrics in Spanish?”

Paula: “I think it is important that each person feels free to transmit music in the way that is best for them – be it in Spanish or some other invented language – just as long as it is authentic and not forced. I love lyrics in Spanish, I listen to them and it is usually the language that I choose when composing, but I do not do it for a language competition but because I feel good and I prefer to transmit that instead of discomfort when they listen to me sing.”

Lorena: “To me, any creative decision is valid as long as it is your own and not imposed.”

Eva: “There is a big difference for us when we listen to a band singing in Mexican or Argentine. Have you ever listened to a band singing in any of the other languages that we speak in Spain (Galician, Basque or Catalan)?”

Paula: “I have not heard it, but I would love to.”

Alberto González (Lorelle Meets The Obsolete): “We haven’t heard any music with vocals in other Spanish languages – where should we start? Speaking about regional differences, some years ago we were chatting with a Spanish guy at a show and at some point he told us, ‘I don’t understand you’. Ever since, we’ve tried to be ‘neutral’ with our Spanish when talking with someone who is not Mexican.”

Paula: “What is your favourite part of the album process?”

Eva: “Everything is fun, we think of it as a whole, some things lead to others. We are a band that works a lot thinking on our live shows, so I guess that we make and produce songs thinking on them as a whole unit between the record and the live show.”

Lorena: “I like those moments when we don’t over-think the songs and there’s more action than talking, or that moment when we go back to a song that wasn’t working and suddenly we find what it was missing.”

Alberto: “That moment where everything fits in and begins to move fluently. When my mind stops drifting.”

Paula: “How has your creative energy changed over the years?”

Eva: “We are becoming more and more nonconformist and more concerned with learning things than with the final result or repercussion that we get from them.”

Lorena: “In time it seems my creativity has to do more with an internal energy that is immutable and insusceptible to the outside.”

Alberto: “Unlike Lorena, my creative energy easily drifts, but through the years I’ve tried to have more continuity and a persistent work ethic.”

Lorena: “Is there anything specific in your physical surroundings that has influenced your music?”

Eva: “I think that the environment, which often influences the personality and character of people, also influences musical and artistic creation. We are from Galicia and the weather is quite humid and gloomy all year round except in summer. It usually causes seasonal effects in people, with a sadder or pessimistic character in winter and a more optimistic and energetic one in summer. I think that somehow that can also be reflected in our music and in our lyrics, because most of them deal with feelings and very personal moods.”

Paula: “Silence. I am easily distracted by external noises, so when I am in a place far from the city or isolated that tranquillity becomes a very powerful influence and if it is a place surrounded by nature all that is enhanced. When I need that, I pack my suitcase and go to the house where I grew up for a few days.”

Alberto: “What were you listening to when you were 10 and 20 years old? Do you still revisit this music?”

Eva: “I’ve always listened to all kinds of music. When I was very young I listened to my father’s vinyl collection (David Bowie, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Los Brincos), but I also really liked the music that was being made at that time and I remember listening to the radio a lot. Then, when I was a teenager, I discovered other less commercial genres, first punk and grunge, then alternative music of the ’90s and, later, psychedelia. I always revisit all the bands that at some point have formed an important part of my life and still today almost always they continue to make me feel wonderful sensations when I listen to them.”

Paula: “I grew up in a small city and, at that time, there was no internet, so having access to different music was difficult because at home there were no melomaniacs or many records to find. But at 10 I started taking drum lessons and I had to practise rhythms to Urban Hymns by The Verve and the first time I heard it I could not stop listening to it. By the age of 20 I already had my music library armed with Air, Boards Of Canada, Cocteau Twins, Joy Division, etc. And yes, I always go back.”