Spanish dance rockers Delorean returned with Apar, their first album in three years last September The 10-track recording, which includes a collaboration with Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek, has been described as a bit of a comedown album from 2010s boisterous and blessed out Subiza. Frontman Ekhi Lopetegi is quick to admit this time around, they were trying to do more than be in the same genre paragraphs as Phoenix or Daft Punk when he freely admits- “Yeah we are 100% aware that the album is less uplifting and more melancholic.”
So if Subiza was the ever likeable Pulp Fiction than Apar is more like the riveting Django Unchained: down-tempo and melancholy yet genuine, colorful and rewarding. We recently caught up with Lopetegi and company before their recent U.S. tour to find out more about whats happening in 2014 for Delorean, while trying hard to avoid dropping any cheesy Back to the Future puns.
Delorean has always maintained an ability to stick with one melody and making it as clear and powerful as you can, which came through very vividly on Apar. What challenges were there in maintaining this organic approach rather than dive into other idioms?
This time we wanted a different production and a more contained songwriting. We wanted to sound less blurry and more clear with the ideas to be more simple and to be understood in the first listen. It took as a while to be back on track after so much touring but I think that we kind of achieved what we had in mind at least at 80%
I think the most riveting track is “Unhold” featuring Caroline Polachek of Chairlift. How did you hook up with her and what other musicians would you most like to collaborate with?
We wrote the track “Unhold” with vocal samples and pitched-up vocals, but we weren’t satisfied, so we decided that we wanted to swap all the vocals samples by real female singer. So, a friend of us suggested to work with Caroline and we sent the track to her and she showed up interested from the beginning. We received the demo and we were blown away, but seeing her doing in it in real time with no auto tune, no effects and just her voice was an incredible unique experience. Our dream collaboration would be to work with Elizabeth Frazier.
You moved away from the computer and used all analog equipment on Apar? Would you use this approach again and were you satisfied with the results? What songs on Apar do you feel are most successful because of this approach?
The process has been 50/50, we started the tracks on the computer and we used to swap plug in synthesizers by actual hardware synths, replace drum machine sounds by real drums and of course the biggest change was to replace most of the vocal samples by actual female vocalists. We think that “Unhold” is the track that suffered the biggest transformation from the demo to the track that is in the album, and the one that we are most proud of.
A lot of the songs on your prior record Subiza were high beats and the songs from Apar are a bit slower. What challenges live are presented going from fast to slow and back?
Now we are sometimes surprised about how fast Subiza is, which is not a bad thing but we realized playing that some tracks were too fast and that speed kills groove so this time we wanted to slow down a little and try to be less frenetic
I find a lot of similarities in your sound to New Order – what band do you most emulate in terms of career discography and maintain a sense of value to its music and fans?
It’s a band that we admire for both attitude and music. There is not an specific band that we emulate but I think that we learnt a lot from labels like Factory or Sincerely Yours
Your past tour was postponed and your about to kick things off in the states? Do you feel this tour will offer a little more urgency now that you had to wait a few months to get it started? What can fans expect that they wouldn’t see during earlier Delorean tours?
We are super excited about this tour, after such a long wait is finally here so can’t wait. It’s gonna be a good chance to meet lots of friends and old/new fans. For the first time we are really proud of the set list that we got, so like every night we will try to do our best.
For people not familiar with your music, how would you describe what the band goes for creatively lyrically verse musically and rhythmically? Do you find lyrics to be at the background of your sound considering how melodic and danceable your tracks are?
Yeah sort of. We work on chords and beats and sing on it. The song itself is a result of a production process so even though we try not to postpone lyrics for the last phase (which sometimes occurs) they’re not the first thing. That being said on Apar we wanted to work against that and tried to get what the song was first, work on the melody and lyrics and give a final production touch. Apar lies between those two ways of working.
As multilingual musicians – do you feel rhythm has a more essential element to Delorean than it would for other bands like yourself that might sound similar musically? What do you think most gives you an edge?
There’s always a beat and a chord first, then you add a few bars and see if there might be a song there or not. So I guess rhythm has a certain priority on the writing process. Plus there’s all the dance music influence which is very relevant to explain our sound so I guess that rhythm is pretty essential to our sound.
Can you talk about playing bigger rooms now and the incorporation of visuals to your live show? Do you feel Delorean can be a multimedia event in the way of many electronic dance artists today or do you want to still keep it simpler always?
We think that a good production can add a lot of value to a show, it’s not necessary to see a good show but it can take things to another level, we would like to do it always but it’s not always possible.
How has your live show grown from its beginnings to what you have gong now? What are some of your more memorable live performances to date?
Now we have a more professional gear and it’s never ending learning process, there is always something that you can improve and apply to the live set. Also it is more complicated and it takes more time to set up. We always say that our favorite show happened at The first Unitarian church in Philadelphia, it was really really punk, something happened between us and the audience, and everybody there went nuts.
What other bands and sounds have you been enjoying these days?
New Burial is awesome, also “Cupid deluxe” by Blood Orange has been van favorite, besides that we listen to lots of old music. The works of Haruomi Hosono are endless, so there is always something new to discover as is the same with Ashra and their discography.