On Friday, February 26, Stardumb and Family Spree Recordings will release a new album by Spanish pop-punk “supergroup” K7s. The band consists of Luis Sanchez (Depressing Claim, Heatwaves), Raúl Artana, Jose Andres Albertos and Kurt Baker. They recorded the Ramones classic “Mondo Bizarro” in full glory!
Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Luis and Kurt about counter melodies with vocals, subtle cool bass lines, and bitchin’ guitar solos, among other things.
How did this record come together?
Luis: It all started while we were quarantined. Here in Spain, we had 3 months of confinement. Seeing what was coming, I started watching tutorials on how to produce a record. I’ve been recording demos at home since 2003 but I never tried to go any further. During the confinement, I had plenty of time to learn. I needed something to practice and the Mondo Bizarro project was something I wanted to do for some time. It was the perfect moment to try.
The task was quite a challenge. Everyone had to record at home and send me their tracks for me to mix. In the end, it was so much fun and it had us occupied during a pretty boring time.
Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?
Luis: In my opinion, yes, it is. You can go to the studio only to record the drums and do the rest at home with a minimum investment. It can be so much cheaper than it was in the 90s. Then, you don’t even need a record label to get your songs published.
On the other hand, it is so much harder to get it heard ‘cause there are so many records published every year, nowadays. Also, people don’t listen to the same record as much as they used to as they have so many to choose from.
You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?
Kurt: With this type of music, pop-oriented rock or punk I think there is a big focus on the melody. For me, the melody is always the most important thing. Lyrics are really important as well, but personally speaking, I’m always drawn to the main melody of a song, the hook, and then the counter melodies with vocals, subtle cool bass lines, bitchin’ guitar solos… nice synth sounds…stuff like that. So that’s really the most important part that I want listeners to hear. A great hook can keep the listener coming back and hearing the song for days. That’s infectious! It often grinds my gears when critics review an album and all they talk about is the lyrics. Look, lyrics are super important, don’t get me wrong, but if you are only concerned about lyrics and the meaning behind the songs and not the music itself.. you might be happier with a book of poetry.
When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?
You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?
Luis: One would’ve been John Lennon. Oh man, he’s written some of the best songs ever. Another one would be Brian Wilson, for sure. He’s number one in creating melodies. And I also would’ve loved to spend a weekend partying and writing songs with Dee Dee Ramone. That would’ve been so much fun.
Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?
Kurt: There is something special about the energy, the connection really, between you and the audience that is almost hard to put into words. For me, it’s part entertainment, the passion for the music, and then the excitement a kind of urgency that occurs when your playing live. Anything could happen… and for me that’s fun. Also, when you are playing music like pop-punk or power-pop, it’s a lot of fun and it brings joy to the audience. It’s a real pleasure to see how your music can make people smile and be happy. That’s really a great aspect of playing live. That’s one of the reasons I still love playing music. I miss playing gigs so much, but I’m looking forward to doing it again hopefully soon!
They expect ‘the roaring 20s v2.0’. What kind of party are you looking for?
Kurt: I just wanna drink some champagne in a hot tub and toot on my trombone, that seems fun. I actually don’t really have any access to the three aforementioned things but that’s my “20’s v2.0 life goal.” If anybody can help me out with that, hit me up!