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"Our music has always had a primitive origin..."

La Vanguardia La Vanguardia 30/05/2014 Esteban Linés

With a growing base of enthusiastic fans and convinced critics, Majorcan band Oso Leone has a unique opportunity today (Pitchfork stage, 1.40 h) to prove why they’ve earned so much praise at the prestigious platform of the macrofestival. They’ll also perform at Primavera’sparallel event at La Casa Encendida in Madrid on June 4th. With two albums under their belts - the second, Mokragora (Foehn), released last year - the Balearic outfit has just signed as the latest addition to the festival label El Segell del Primavera. Its music, originally classified as Mediterranean, thanks to its dialog between electronica and its folk roots - but also distinctly Californian in its vocal harmonies - veered towards more experimental soundscapes in the second album. Nevertheless, their dreamy-pop folk remains one of its distinguishing features. Xavi Marín (guitars and vocals) fills us in on where the group is at.

Topical question: Is playing at Primavera a golden ticket?

It’s an opportunity that can’t be wasted, obviously. It’s fundamental and once we’re there we’ve gotta give it our all. It may sound like a cliché too but it’s the truth.

Theoretically you guys will present Mokragora, an album that came out almost a year ago and that…

...It was all a bit complicated. It was released last March, it was already late, there were printing errors, the launch was no great shakes and the upshot was that the summer concerts didn’t happen. Our hands were tied.

Your first album was acoustic-happy and the second, electronic and abstract. Can you describe the process?

Looking back on it now, the first album was written by two and performed by three. What’s more, when I wrote the songs for the first album I was only 19 or 20. Not just that, but I didn’t feel as deeply involved in Oso Leone. With Mokragora, the process has been totally different. To cut a long story short, for Mokragora the focus was clearly on abstraction and we pretty much let the narrative tone go

Did that affect the resulting sound, which may come as a surprise to many?

Kind of, but I can also say that all Oso Leone’s music was born in primitive form, in other words, it’s always come from a primitive origin, it stems from very few elements. I think that the main changes come down to the fact that we played around a lot with the melodies and we experimented with sonic reverb.

You mentioned how young you were when you wrote the songs on the first album. Has anything changed now that you’re older?

-For a start, you feel much more involved with the whole project. The composing was done by two or three of us, in a group that’s now a quintet. And everything was really intuitive throughout the composition. I don’t know if I’d call it maturity, but on this occasion, the source of inspiration wasn’t our own internal journeys, but an external one, a trip to the Serbian region of Mokra Gora that a friend of ours did and the photos he took there. From there, we departed from this primitive core that I talked about before and began distributing the different elements, the different layers that emerged.

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