"Now we talk less about love and more about what surrounds us"

The pandemic and its confinements, with those eternal confinements and the slow passing of the hours at home, made for a lot of art and, in particular, for a lot of music. Boredom and anxiety can be important creative engines. One only has to remember overwhelming examples such as that of Taylor Swiftthe great musical stakhanovist of the Covid capable of recording four albums in just one year, but also those thousands of windows with music from Instagram contributing to a great global serenade, at times exhausting.

That has not been the case of Los Punseteswhich closes the pandemic parenthesis these days with a new album… of greatest hits. Ariadne Paniagua and manu sanchez, voice and guitar/composer of the band, respectively, dodge the questioning gaze of the journalist on a Madrid terrace. “It has not been a very creative pandemic, it is true [risas]. For me, in fact, it has been quite anti-creative –explains Manu–. I think what she said happened to us Nacho Vegas in the program Vigalondo: you need things to happen to you to write, human interaction is very important. Staying at home doesn't help much." “Furthermore, we couldn't keep up with the same pace of rehearsals that we had,” adds Ariadna. “And we've all been working hard. I was at home but preparing seven shoots and taking care of a lot of other things, ”her partner seems to apologize.

Actually, the story is not exactly like that. In June of last year the band released an EP with three new songs, Everybody wants to hurt you. And on the day that this interview takes place Los Punsetes are about to leave for the The Port of Santa Maria to record new material in the studio of Crazy Paco. Now yes. A year and a bit after the harshest confinements, the band from Madrid that best embodies the survival of the indie guitar and slightly punk of the early 2000s has finally found the necessary inspiration to compose enough material for a new album. They have 14 songs ready, and they say they have left out another 25.

Why, then, launch this compilation now? Was it perhaps time to celebrate your 18th anniversary as a band? "Not really. It's an idea that made me laugh, and since we had just changed to Sonido Muchacho [su actual discográfica] and we have good vibes with all the previous labels, we told Luis [Fernández, jefe de Sonido Muchacho y a la vez bajista del grupo] Why didn't we release this as a first step on the label? It was the fastest. Although in the end, due to the pandemic, it has been hell to make the vinyl and everything has come together, ”explains Manu.

The truth is that Los Punsetes do not have time to spare. All of them, except Luis, met studying Audiovisual Communication and have quite demanding jobs in that sector. Two of them (Manu and Chema, the drummer) are also parents. With those lives, it's not easy to rehearse, go out to record or go on tour. And less after the break. "It's a titanic effort -says Manu-, but we have such a good response from the people that it's worth it".

true to themselves

There was a time, back in 2010, when Los Punsetes released their second album and they were called to play at all the festivals, when the possibility of their living from music almost became a reality. But the idea did not convince them. “Actually, when we released the first album we were almost 30 years old. We had all finished our studies and were working -explains Manu-. It still freaks me out when I see people who are there in the garlic and only live from this, like Luis. I conceive music as part of my B identity, and that's fine. It allows me to have it as a very pure thing.” "What's more, we have never actually hit it Ariadne added. Our growth has been very gradual.”

Gradual and, above all, without lurching. Los Punsetes is a band of forties who they remain strictly faithful to the sound they practiced when they started. Chema and Jorge [el otro guitarrista y compositor del grupo] They are the main guardians of the essences. But we are all very indies. Very puretitas”, says Manu. That has made them impervious, until now, to trends that are permeating bands not far removed from them, such as the neofolk wave. Or the urban phenomenon, what those who come behind listen to. Manu and Ariadna tell that they went to a concert of the ragpickers Bad Kindergarten and skinny pimp, whom they admire, and did not understand anything of what was happening there. "It was cool. Like when people used to see the guns and freaked out."

"Now we talk less about love and ourselves, and more about what surrounds us"

That characteristic sound, the Punsetes formula, is already a classic: a pop supported by noisy guitars that presides over Ariadna's hieratic voice, at times military. And some lyrics that are among the most lucid and fun that are written in this country. Biting caricatures of the world we live in and the relationships that bind us together, full of self-flagellation, misunderstandings and rancor. Although they admit that there, in the lyrics, things have changed somewhat. "Now we talk less about love and ourselves, and more about what surrounds us," says the singer. In fact, They say their next album will be more political.

text matters

What does remain unchanged is the care they put into the texts. Manu explains: “I'm ambitious with lyrics, I take them very seriously. Godard said that for him a tracking shot was a sacred matter. Well, for me a metric is a sacred matter. That it doesn't have lame verses, or things for the nose... I like that they are cool lyrics. And it requires a lot of concentration. He attributes the craziest lyrics, those that have “nothing to do with anything”, and Jorge those that have a more intellectual patina and are worked on more references.

Those lyrics of punk ambition, in which “shit” is the most repeated word and almost a flag of the group, are the best antidote against the cheesy lyrics and rubbish to which so many Spanish musicians of their generation are subscribed. Many are in this compilation, which is entitled Spain needs to know and which has a cover of Joaquin Reyes and graphics of the also music Limestone. At they have not wanted to include only hits. There are also songs like Distant Star, “which isn't a hit but we're all aware that it's one of the best songs we've done. Or fagots…” says Manu. “Queers is a hit!” Ari counters. "Good is true. Be careful with Maricas -accepts the musician-. It is the song that he has covered all over the world: Hydrogenesse, Joe Twilight, skinny pimp… If we don't touch it, people get pissed off.”

The truth is that all his most emblematic songs are on the album. Also Opinion de shit, a song that continues to be the one with the most plays on Spotify, but some in the band have taken a liking to it. “Shitty opinion is a song that works better as a meme than in a concert. When you play it, people are happy (they say 'hey, shitty opinion!') and that's it. However, there are others with which much more things happen while you play them. It's a very funny song conceptually, but musically it's not as good as others."

Speaking of memes and lyrics, it is inevitable to ask about the one that has been the most commented on in recent months, the strange lyrical outburst of Rosalia in hentai. Let's remember: "I want to ride you / like my bike / make me a tape / Spike mode / I beat her / until she got on / second is to fuck you / the first is God". "It seems like a fucking mother to me," Manu responds like a spring. It's a lyric about jerking off and people found out about it three weeks later! What's more, more for less no one has had it. A 20-second video, singing a cappella… Let's see which international artist releases an entire single and a video clip for 50,000 bucks and doesn't have a quarter of an impact. Rosalía is incredible."

Humor and its limits

Humor is a fundamental element in a group that was jokingly baptized as a famous television presenter and that in their songs gets into everything and everyone, but above all with themselves. They have sometimes seemed to skirt some of those limits of humor that have been talked about so much lately. Do they pay much attention to it? “We do not censor ourselves -they answer-. But we do think very well what we say. And when we say something we are able to defend it”.

Soleá Morente recorded a flamenco version of 'Me gusta que me pegues' and we told her it was better not to take it out. Taken to that more hurt roll, she was shapeshifting"

In Spain you need to know they haven't stopped including Me gusta que me pegues, a song that can be easily misunderstood. “It's a song I wrote and it's totally metaphorical -says Manu-. If I sang it, there would be no controversy. The controversy comes from the fact that Ari sings it”. Rarely have they been thrown in the face. Having a very loyal audience that knows how to read them perfectly avoids many misunderstandings. "But I'm going to tell you an anecdote," he continues. Solea Morente he recorded for one of his albums a version of Me gusta que me pegues in a flamenco style. When we heard her we told her: 'better not take it out, because this gives bad vibes'. It's a punk song that Ariadna sings very empowered and there's no doubt about it, it's very in your face and challenging. But if you take her to a more hurt roll, there she already begins to change shape. As we do it, it is clear where she is going”.

Another controversial episode was experienced by Manu himself with his solo musical project, Antonna. The fault lay with the song And also quite ugly, that she entered a shameful pantheon of macho pearls (there were not a few) of the native indie. In this case, he does not hesitate in the purpose of amendment. "On the issue of machismo we have experienced a paradigm shift, and I think I learn from this change every day," he says. The language map has been moving, and that is positive for him. “I, in general, have no problem with political correctness. In fact, now it seems more progressive to me to be politically correct than politically incorrect, which is the discourse of the extreme right and it is incredibly disgusting”.

The 18 years of Los Punsetes arrive as what they are: a coming of age charged with maturity. A comfortable watchtower in which they laugh at their own prejudices and praise the lack of them in other artists, such as Rigoberta Bandini, for them the clear winner of Eurovision and which they see with a projection of vertigo. "In ten years we will see her doing amazing things and with a huge audience," they predict. They, meanwhile, prefer to stay in their underground niche. The one that is two steps below massive success and living from music, but in the that you can enjoy doing and saying what you really want in front of an accomplice and dedicated audience.That was the spirit of punk that always motivated them, and that is what they have managed to continue maintaining.

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