This is his first live solo album, and only the second in his entire career (after ‘La noche’, which he recorded with Presuntos Implicados in 1995). Do you have reservations about live albums?
No, not at all, because I think I have better live shows almost than albums, according to what everyone tells me. But it’s very expensive to make a live album. For many years now, I have been paying for my career and it is a project that requires more than others.
It started with Presuntos Implicados in 1983. In Valencia then there was growing interest in synth-pop, gothic sound, after-punk…, and you go and propose sophisticated music with black, soul and funk accents.
I really liked African American voices, like Stevie Wonder, also Chet Baker, who was white. Yes, at that time throughout Spain the influence was more European and we were going a little against the current. But I’ve always thought that if I liked something, maybe someone else liked it, right?
You left Presuntos in 2006. Were you thinking about leaving music then?
My profession, at that moment, took a backseat. My intention was to get out of a very difficult situation for me and take the step, get out of there and then we would see what we did. That area was proving very complicated for me to live in.
We talked about his relationships with the other two members of the group, his brother Juan Luis and Nacho Mañó.
We were four.
Includes the manager, Vicente Mañó. Two sets of brothers, in fact.
Exact. I think few people know it, but yes, yes. And it is also important to think that there were three men and a girl.
Did you feel in a minority? Did they make the big decisions?
Always in a minority, it is obvious. But no, no, I didn’t have that feeling. Yes, it is true that women see life differently. Either we’re more sensitive, or we’re more emotional, and when you’re working with just guys, and everyone around me was, there comes a time when you feel quite alone.
In Presuntos there was a clear concept and several authors. How did he decide the line that he was going to follow alone?
I didn’t see a line, I saw songs. I asked several authors I knew to send me songs, and I also composed several. I had the help of Javier Limón and the band I started working with. I still work with several of them. I liked the idea of researching styles and repertoires: Spanish, Latin, French… Having the possibility of giving life to such beautiful songs, why not do it? It was like entering a candy store and I couldn’t say “I can’t try them because I’m an author.” I couldn’t resist!
And he went from sharing focus with the other members of a group to focusing all eyes and carrying the full weight of his career.
It is a weight that is sometimes overwhelming, but it is part of having freedom. You have to be consistent and move forward with joy. If this is what I get, then I get it.
Did it hurt you that Presuntos continued with another singer (Lydia)?
I didn’t follow in her footsteps because I thought I had to respect her decision, she had nothing to do with it and I don’t even know if they sang my songs. I guess yes. It seemed a little unnatural to me, but it was logical because of the idea they had. Maybe the one who was left over was me.
In his music there is an instrumental mime, even a luxury. Do these current productions made with computers bother you?
All work needs care. For me, I don’t think anything is worth it. But not even washing dishes. And I do detect that what is heard most now lacks a lot of elegance. There is a lack of elegance and depth. Sting says that now the songs are missing the bridge, which is what opens the harmony and makes the song change. There is a lack of depth in the texts and melodies. There are hardly any melodies! There is a rhythm that does not change. And let’s not forget that all this starts with an algorithm. The algorithm chooses this basic and simple music. It’s like that in everything! I read an article by a philosopher who said that we are becoming more stupid, with simple, basic and also radical thoughts, which make us go to extremes. The algorithm is getting out of hand.
He will interpret abundant material from Allegedly Involved. He has said more than once that the group will not return, but they have certainly made offers.
I don’t. I guess they know I’m not open to that possibility and I think I should be consistent. It has been very difficult for me to continue in music. So it wouldn’t make sense to me. And something like this, if it is done for economic reasons, seems sad to me, honestly. Now I look back and tell myself that we did very nice things. I’m sorry that we ended badly, I still don’t really understand why, but this review that I have done has filled me with joy and I am left with the good things.