What is your name and role within Belako?
My name is Cris, I play the keyboards and I sing in Belako.
How did you start?
Josu and I met at the University of Fine Arts and we got along very quickly thanks to our similar musical tastes. He wanted to star a band with Lore his sister and so we did. Lander came a year later in 2012. We started with some covers (Pixies, Massive Attack, Pipilotti Rist) but we composed our own songs from the beginning, not having very clear where that would lead us.
Where are you based?
The band is based in Mungia, a small town near Bilbao. Belako is the name of a suburb there, where we started rehearsing, in Lore and Josu’s grandfather’s old factory.
Please give an example of your music writing process?
Usually Josu comes with a new combination of chords (either with the piano or acoustic guitar), or some electronically bases, then I think of a melody and write the lyrics, and finally we build the whole structure together rehearsing.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment we’re recording our third LP, we have a bunch of new tunes that we’ve been working on since January. It will be released in September, but some of the songs are already recorded and mixed because we are doing this from one block of songs to another. This way we get to listen to four or three songs for sometime forgetting about the rest and really focusing on them.
What is your gear setup?
We don’t really have one of those unfortunately. We try to do everything by ourselves because we’ve had some bad experiences when it comes to record’s production. We are lucky we have Josu though, he’s our producer now and he takes care of every detail during the recordings, we even record a lot of stuff at his place, homemade studio.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
I think or I hope it affects it on a positive way. As I said Josu and I studied Fine Arts, and I guess every Fine Arts student will agree with the fact that you never stop learning in terms of creativity. I wish I could do more, but I try to turn my career into something useful (I mean, so I can pay the rent) and so I teach French through arts, literature, music, cinema for adults and arts and crafts for kids.
How would you describe your music genre?
Tough one. We’ve always been put on the drawer of post punk / alternative / indie rock but as it was never our intention to follow any particular music genre, we keep saying we do soul because our music comes from the inside and we couldn’t be more sincere and frank in what we do. We are inspired by so many different kinds of bands and artists, and we try to push our influences to another level. For instance, if we start a new tune that sounds a bit post punk then we play it with contemporary sounds, because what has already been done is perfect as it is. We say it in a very humble way but it’s important for us to contribute with what we consider is something else.
Do you know any music theory?
We all studied music when we were kids, classical music is a huge influence and it is useful when we are composing sometimes but we also had to “unlearn” a lot of academic stuff to do the music we do.
What are your plans for the future?
Our plans are first some festivals in Spain (Primavera, Mad Cool, FIB…) then when we release our album we’ll be playing abroad (Japan, Mexico, USA, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, UK…) and by the end of the year we’ll be doing a few dates at home.
How did you get into music?
Our families have been crucial in this matter, to make us listen to different kinds of music, plus the musical studies. Having instruments at home always helps, in my case it was the piano and as I studied high school in France and we had a music lounge with amps, a drum kit and a piano I have always had that habit.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Lately, I’m very into Babeheaven, Bedouin Soundclash, Childish Gambino and New Day.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
Julian Casablancas, Grimes, Gorillaz, PJ Harvey, The Smashing Pumpkins.
When are you playing next?
June 23rd in Arezzo Wave Festival, Milan.