I remember the first time I entered a tapas joint: a tiny cupboard of a restaurant in Langside containing tiny little sippy cups of Spanish food to share amongst the three of us. I was confused and dying for a chippy.
The clash of the cultures occurred again to create some interesting results. And that’s before we even got to the music. When I walked into Broadcast to chat to Mexican band Rey Pila, I found a feast! A banquet of chips, pizza, burgers, basically one order of every meal on the menu grabbed and shared as the mood swung them.
I ended up confused once again by the Latino culture. These guys weren’t about to sit back and give me a lazy wave from their seat, no sir! Each dreamy rock hunk got up and answered my handshake with a peck on the cheek. I could get used to this.
Their B-side cover of “Lady In Red” just enforces appealing clash, although they had different views on why to go for the Chris De Burgh classic…
Andres/Hottie: “The B-side tradition is cool because you’re kind of allowed or licenced to do different stuff.”
Diego/Deep Guy: “…which is good because pop music can be kind of dangerous. I think Lady In Red is a good song.”
Oscar/Cutie: “It’s just corny as hell.”
Even though I got all their names, I ended up thinking of them with Teletubbie groupie-esque nicknames. Diego or “Deep Guy” is the centre of the group: founder, singer and songwriter genius behind their lyrics. “Hottie” & “Cutie” are the fun loving guitarists and the Justin Timberlake/Harry Styles of the group, respectably. “Knightly” or Mikey to his friends, is the brooding, striking tall drummer whose horseshoe moustache actually looks good with long hair and tattoo sleeves. Only a Mexican could get away with that. You hear that, John Travolta?
After ditching his last band, Los Dynamite in 2008, “Deep Guy” Diego then found Rey Pila.
“We’ve been friends for a long time in Mexico playing with other bands and everything and we joined in for a live part of the Rey Pila show and for this new album that we recorded.”
Their first released single, “Alexander” isn’t far from the sound of The Strokes (maybe less dreary and more cheery) but that’s to be expected after signing to Julian Casablancas’ label, Cult Records. Although, they might disagree…
“No [style] in particular. There’s different types of music that we like and it was more of a going with the flow studio work which is really good because I believe when you think everything too much you overdo stuff…”
I wondered if anything circumstantial might have influenced their music. Like Anne Frank would write about war and Biggie Smalls would rap about “life in da hood”, Rey Pila would sing about life in Mexico perhaps?
Diego: “In the lyric world it is about late teenage blooming and insecurities.”
So it’s a universal issue then? I was not aware of that.
Andres: “Sound-wise from all over the place, but we were listening to a lot of 70’s bands and 80’s bands and we were really getting into guitar sounds and getting very clinical about precise sounding distortion or delay or reverb effect and the syncs, we used a lot of syncs which was fun.”
That explains it. Why I couldn’t decide if “Alexander” sounded more like the work of Black Sabbath or Frankie Goes To Hollywood. It’s a good mix of the best highlights of the 80’s.
After touring with the likes of Muse, Interpo, TV On The Radio, Ariel Pink and The Darcies, Rey Pila continue on with their tour with Albert Hammond Jr., moving on to Manchester, Leeds, London, Milan, Rome and finally Bologna before heading home to work on that album.
“So what’s been your favourite tour?”
Andres: Favourite? I think this one.
“Are you just saying that? In case Albert’s nearby?”
Oscar: No really, because it’s the first time we’ve played in Europe.
Diego: It’s our first European tour ever and it’s been great.
Even though they’d only been in the country an hour when I asked, it seems the Scottish sound has reached further than we thought.
Andres: “We were really looking forward to coming to Glasgow and there’s lots of Scottish bands that we admire.”
Diego: Primal Scream.
Andres: Jesus & Mary Chain? They’re Scottish right? Franz Ferdinand.
Maybe a little bit of each is in that upcoming album. But details on that were difficult to find.
Andres: “Yeah, early 2014 is as far as we can go with that. There’s not a set date but it’s already recorded. We recorded it in New York and it’s all done, it’s cooked we’re just waiting for it to come out.”