Nerea Bueno and Alba Villarig said goodbye last year with “Bipolar” (Subterfuge Records, 22), which toured a good part of the state geography. Now they face a new stage of their tour, with new songs to present such as their version of “Delito” (Nathy Peluso) or their recent single “La Jaula”.
Now you can see them in Almería (June 17, Sala Berlín), Barbastro (July 1, Polifonik Sound) and Almería (August 18, Cooltural Fest).
If something represents Lady Banana As a project, it is the incredible energy that they concentrate in their live performances and that they managed to convert into their flagship brand after many hours of training in the London streets. We talked to them about their career and about their energetic proposal, which they have not hesitated to compare with those of bands like Royal Blood or Muse. As if that weren’t enough, they have just been awarded the second Rock Villa de Madrid prize.
Let’s start with the British adventure. How do you suddenly go from growing musically in the UK to deciding that Spain has to be your development country?
We were very clear from the beginning that we wanted to thrive relatively in music. And we are not talking from an economic point of view, but about making an artistic discourse and a project with which we could go as far as possible. We went to London and for a while we were looking for a bass player, but in the end it didn’t work out for us. So, since we already had concerts in London scheduled, we decided to go ahead with just the two of us and we saw that it worked. What happened then? Well, the Brexit issue caught us and we began to feel very uncomfortable because there were many people who looked at you badly just for being a foreigner. These little things that are a bit cheesy to analyze if you had a foreign accent and drop all kinds of comments.
“In London there are a thousand places to play, but in the street you can spend two hours a day playing and hundreds and hundreds of people see you”
Well, but you would also find people who, like you, felt suffocated by Brexit.
Totally, plus we rebelled and started playing in the street in Spanish. In London, where we had always sung in English. That was the reason, in addition to starting to compose our songs in Spanish, because we really composed in English because all the references we had were Anglo-Saxon groups. It wasn’t something specially considered. In London there are a thousand places to play, but on the street you can spend two hours a day playing and hundreds and hundreds of people see you. We gained a lot of experience and realized that in the end it’s not about playing impeccably like Mozart, but about getting people’s attention. We have taken that later to live shows in theaters and it has become our hallmark, mess it up a little more. You jump and you don’t stop, you look like the girl from the exorcist playing.
In the end it is trying to achieve the perfect balance.
Yes, it has been very difficult for us to understand that concerts are not just music. When people go to a concert they want to see a complete package: how you dress, the stage, the performance… Just as a festival is not just music, it is also gastronomy and a complete experience. You have to assimilate that in the end what you do is an artistic proposal beyond a simple song.
Tell me a bit about how you got to your sound. It is clear that your bet is very British, but you bet strongly on rock. You could have grown up with a much more commercial pop or even more punk sound trending right now.
Well, we have arrived at this sound in the first place because we are only two people and we had to figure out how to compose the songs together and make them stand alone. That’s the same reason, because of the importance of the bass, you end up making a more rock sound, even darker. But hey, it’s also true that we could have leaned into a more punk vein. But you know, we like listening to that style of music more than playing it. I think we always try to make it as good as possible, like more elegant, dynamic and complex. We have all our sound very measured, we look for everything to be very in tune and impeccable. But hey, the truth is that it is a very natural, organic process.
It’s a clear battle between two, but it’s true that the drums take over the songs a lot and I think that’s become your hallmark.
Yes, but we want to grow much more at the sound level. Hopefully in the future we will have the time and means to make a production in a big way and not go against the current. Because of course, this was the result of an award and we couldn’t give it all the care we would have liked. So we really want to have a lot more time to compose and enjoy the process in another way.
And are you afraid of criticism of possible future movements or the uncertainty of how you are going to fit into the current market?
Everything is the result of research. Artists are often criticized just for doing things they didn’t originally do. That is not criticizable, because in the end you also investigate other paths and they can turn out better or worse, but it is part of the process. You are your own master and you do not need someone to tell you from outside what you have done with your record. Even so, it is true that in the end you always identify more with a specific genre and its way of composing. Sometimes we have tried to break a little with what we do, but we always end up going back to the same thing. But hey, think that the songs on the album were going to come out in March 2020. A good month to release things… They are already old songs, obviously they are new for the public and even for us in a certain way because we have not been able to play them live. But in these years we have composed much more.
“You are your own master and you don’t need someone to tell you from outside what you have done with your record”
What is clear is that you are attracting attention and that your sound breathes from the classics more than from all the new trends of today.
Yes, the good part of that is that you still differ more and the bad part is that you are like the black sheep that doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. But we feel very proud of what we have achieved because, honestly, we couldn’t even consider doing something we didn’t like. It’s not about making music for the sole purpose of making it more salable. We want to grow in a more organic way, now for example in the new songs we have started to include many more synths because we have been wanting to do something a bit fusion with more electronic sounds for some time.
Well, that is already an important leap for the project. And where will the letters go?
The lyrics are always based on personal experiences. I find it very difficult for someone to write lyrics that are not based on personal experiences, because even what happens to your friends affects you too. It is impossible to compose on topics that are alien to you. On the other hand, we like that the lyrics are not very explicit or at least try to, because we think that the fun is lost a bit. The interesting thing is that the speech is a bit camouflaged. It’s like when you tell a joke and they ask you to explain the joke, which is no longer funny, because it’s kind of the same. It is about telling a complex feeling beyond a story. On the album, for example, people believe that “Bipolar” is due to pathology and that it refers to the fact that the songs are created at very different times from one person. But it is not like that, it refers to the sound change that occurs on the disc itself.
“Bipolar” featured your production and you have already told me that everything was done very quickly. Looking ahead to future releases, do you want to do it all by yourself again or are you thinking of adding someone to the team?
I would like to incorporate people into the creative process from a production standpoint. We are only two people and if you are very involved inside you do not see many things that from the outside would be solved in a simpler way. So yes, it is interesting to have the more people the better because in the end teamwork enriches the whole process much more. We are very happy with the sound of “Bipolar” and we think it is quite powerful, but it is true that obviously we would have liked more time to think about everything more times.
What does come back are the live shows and releasing all that energy accumulated in these songs to share it with the public.
Yes finally. Well, it is that in the pandemic we had a terrible time. We wanted to do everything and the only thing we could do were concerts from home in quarantine. People doing normal things at home, with their acoustic guitar in bed, and us with electric drums putting on concerts in our living room, taking out a projector and putting psychedelic images on the white wall. It is that in the pandemic there were two types of people: those who learned fifty languages and lost fifty kilos, because they also learned to cook better; and, on the other side, those who spent the day crying and eating chocolate. If you were from the second group, at least that sadness is true that you could take advantage of to compose.