CARIÑO AND THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD MUSIC

Paola wears shoes REEBOK AZTREK; Alicia wears t-shirt ARIES ARISE and shoes REEBOK AZTREK; María wears t-shirt PATERSON and shoes REEBOK AZTREK.

Nowadays the music world knows no genres or barriers instead, musicians talk about synergies and fusions and Cariño’s approach is in line with this. And that’s because Alicia Ros, Paola Rivero and María Talaverano have managed to bring urban music to pop, or what they would call “street” or “urban neighbourhood” pop, with their cover of C. Tangana’s Llorando en la limo where they changed the lyrics from “crying in the limo” to “crying in vespinos” (a classic Spanish moped brand) to better reflect their reality.

And they seem to have found the perfect formula because shortly after uploading their first demo, they were contacted by the iconic Spanish record label Elefant Records. In a matter of months, they dropped their first album Movidas, that has caused such commotion that they’ve even released a special edition of it for the Japanese market. So, if you’re into mopeds rather than limos, you’ll be able to see them in no time at the Primavera Sound festival, but in the meantime, you can get to know them a little bit better by reading this interview

Paola, María, you used to live next to each other, however, you ended up meeting for the first time through Tinder. How and why did you decide to start a group together? And when did Alicia join you?

It was a total coincidence, María decided to change from writing poetry to writing songs, and she also likes the same things as Paola whilst she had a background in musical theory, so that’s how everything started out. It was tough, but here we are. We showed Alicia a few of our songs one day when she was leaving a concert of hers where she was playing with El Buen Hijo and that’s how she joined us.

Had you decided from the beginning which direction you wanted to take when it came to your music and aesthetic?

No, we put together our list of influences and songs that were already written. We knew we wanted to make pop music but the sound was definitely born after recording the demo in Martin Spangle’s studio

Could you tell us how your creative process works? Knowing how important your song’s messages are for you (made clear in Bisexual, an unequivocal LGBTQ anthem) do you think of the lyrics first?

Yes. First of all, María comes up with the lyrics and the melody of the song, and after that, we build the rest of it between the three of us. The lyrics are a very important factor, they have to based on reality, if not fiction but then they have to have some truth to them or have some relevance to everyday life, whether it be ours or our environment’s. They’re very important to us, even though some people call our verses “dumb”, but they usually hide so much more behind them.

You say that you make “street” or “urban neighbourhood” pop, the three of you have lived in the neighbourhood of Lavapiés in Madrid. Did you grow up there? How important is your environment in your creative process? Still, Lavapiés is nothing like how it used to be. Which neighbourhood is part of the Cariño universe? The old Lavapiés or the one that appears in every single “world’s coolest neighbourhoods” list, or is it a mix…

When we were talking about “neighbourhood” we meant something that was home-made and talked about realities that are attainable to us. The neighbourhood is what we live and see every day. The three of us have lived in Lavapiés, but only one of us lives there now. It’s a neighbourhood that although it’s seen as cool now, millions of different kinds of stories can be told about it and it still has its larger-than-life personalities. When Alicia was younger she would spend the weekends in Cascorro with her father and it used to be a very conflictive neighbourhood. In that aspect it’s gotten so much better. The con is the raised prices and the fact that people who have lived there their whole life now have to leave the neighbourhood for that same reason.

You’ve released an LP called Movidas through Elefant Records, an essential record label in order to understand the Spanish music scene; I can’t think of a better label for you, how did this relationship start? Have any of their bands influenced you in some kind of way?

The relationship started much before we could have ever imagined. The three of us were fans of many of their bands. A few days after uploading our first demo on Bandcamp they sent us an email congratulating us on the song and soon after we were already making stuff with them. Obviously one of the things that the three of us have in common is the bands that we listened to that have also worked with them, for example, La Casa Azul, Juniper Moon, Papa Topo, La Bien Querida, Nosotrash…

María wears t-shirt PATERSON; Alicia wears t-shirt ARIES ARISE; Paola wears t-shirt GCDS.

I’ve seen that you’re selling a special edition of your CD in Japan, a country that has always had a special predilection for Spanish pop. How do you feel about them listening to your music? Have you played in Japan or are you planning on doing so? It must be such an experience…

Yes, it’s a co-edition with a Japanese label called Tugboat Records and it’s very flattering to us because they have published amazing bands. We believe that our music has elements that can coincide what the people that listen to there, especially when it comes to our electronic sound, and also with all of the music that is imported there. Many bands that have gone through Elefant have edited their albums there and we were so excited about that. We wish to become somewhat popular in Japan to be able to play a gig there. But for the moment that is just a pipe dream.

On your LP you have the song M***** seca (Dried S***) where you complain about a person who nags all the time and hates pop music. Why do you think that pop and its subgenres receive such amounts of hate?

Alicia: I think that it’s especially bad with Spanish pop. I personally didn’t use to like it that much, the voices of the singers were too much for me. But one day I started listening to more and more types of music. I guess it’s all about sort of “teaching” your ears and starting to value the actual message behind it.
María: At the end of the day everything’s pop. Actually, the phrase is directed to the people who hate the Contempopránea festival, which is a temple to us pop-lovers, it’s very fun. It has a lot of haters because there are so many variations that each person adopts and then they reject the rest and label it as “bad”. We sometimes do that too, but every day we’re opening our minds more.

How did you come up with making the –brilliant– cover of the banger Llorando en la limo by C. Tangana? When you recorded it and you changed the lyrics from “crying in the limo” to “crying in Vespinos (an old Spanish moped brand)”, could you have imagined that it would become such a hit?

It was all coincidental really, we used to sing it in our rehearsals between songs as a joke because we like the song, until one day we just decided to write in Paola’s house while in our pyjamas. The lyrics are changed to adapt them to our reality, which isn’t full of luxuries, even though thanks to the song we’ve been able to end up in a limo. Only for an hour, but at least it’s something.

The other day we were talking to Deva, who said that labels were a thing of the past, and honestly every day there’s more and more mixing and less prejudice, Pimp Flaco’s embracing pop with his band Cupido, Egosex is destroying any kind of labels, Rosalía’s bringing trap to flamenco, to the horror of music purists… Would you agree with Deva’s statement?

Alicia: She’s absolutely right. Luckily the lines that used to enclose genres are slowly but surely being blurred. To the exception of some people, I think that nobody really listens to a particular genre anymore and that allows for synergies between genres that we haven’t seen before. Especially when it comes to urban music, which is sort of the common denominator. 
María: I think so too. The only important thing is to label food to be able to see the expiry date but that’s all. Who cares? You have to dare to get out of that and to get rid of all prejudices.

What’s next for you guys this year, maybe festivals? You’re playing at Primavera Sound, where else can we see you?

We’re going to play e-ve-ry-where, like Badgyal. We’ll be at Warm Up, Tomavistas, FIB, Atlantic and many many more. The idea is that we’ll also have time to release more music. For now, we have two singles ready…

María wears t-shirt PATERSON.
Paola wears sweatshirt GCDS; Alicia wears t-shirt ARIES ARISE.
  • Photos: Ana Alborés