Los Campesinos! Tell Us How They Got Somber All Of A Sudden.
After 2010's Romance is Boring, many critics were quick to proclaim the end of Los Campesinos!'s relevancy.
But their followup, November's Hello Sadness, serves as something of a rebound effort for the band. The balance of morose lyrics atop the manic energy of the seven-piece band is more akin to the band's earlier works. And it may indicate a band with a little more gas left in its proverbial tank after all.
Good thing, too: After their 2008 song “You! Me! Dancing!” was featured in the heavily-rotated “Grab Some Buds” spots that Budweiser ran during last baseball season, the band is arguably more popular now than ever before.
Prior to their highly-anticipated show at Dada this Wednesday, we caught up with adorable bassist Ellen Campesinos! to ask her about the origins of the band's name, their efforts in recording abroad and their biggest priority upon arriving in Texas.
You guys have a pretty varied instrumentation. Did you sit down and say, “We need a French horn and a glockenspiel and a violin?” Or was it more of a, “Hey, here are the people I want to be in a band with, and here is what they play” kind of thing?
I think it was a case more of who we knew as friends. We all met at university, and it was a case of, “Oh, my friend plays, and my friend sings, and I've got a girl friend that sings, and I know someone that plays violin.” I guess it was more a case of who you knew, rather than knowing people who played specific instruments.
Do you find touring as a seven-piece that you have to be much more organized or calculated than a standard four-piece rock band?
Oh no, not at all.
Does it make it easier to replace members?
I think that it is really important to remember that it is that person's decision to leave, and we've been really lucky knowing a lot of people that can join and are willing to. [Since] we know them, it has been really easy to transition. I don't think numbers make it any easier to replace somebody, not at all.
The name Los Campesinos has a lot of political undertones behind it. Are politics something important to the band? Do you guys feel like it's important for your songs to have some sort of strong meaning behind them?
The band name actually was made up by Neil the guitarist because he had taken Spanish and liked how the two words sounded together. I honestly don't think we would have chosen that name if we had ever thought the band would be this successful. It's just that it stuck. I don't think anyone should read into it.
How did you guys arrive at the decision to all use the Campesinos! surname? Do you feel like you are kind of like a big family?
Yeah, I think that's the most important thing. That's why we wanted to take on the name. Having this many members is like one big family. I mean, there's seven of us. We all feel like we're all part of team or big family. It's only natural for us all to take on the same name.
Reviews for Hello Sadness call it a sort of rebirth for the band. A lot of them say that the group sounds re-energized this time around. Is that how you guys feel about it as well?
When we went to write this album, we all sat down together and said that we wanted to make a very focused and direct album, and we all went into it with that opinion and wanting to do our best. I think that's why people have that opinion of it, because we were all working towards exactly the same thing.
You recorded the album abroad in Spain. How does that effect the recording process, what with you being in a more unfamiliar setting?
We recorded two albums in Seattle as well in the past, so it's mostly just an excuse to spend some time in a country that isn't the U.K. You kind of surround yourself in the album because that's all you know. I mean, if we did it in the U.K. we'd be popping home or catching up with people a lot more. The fact that we are in a totally different country means that we are able to totally get immersed in the album and the recording process.
What are you looking forward to most about coming back to Texas?
Well, we all are fans of Mexican food. So getting some good Mexican food is going to be a priority of ours, I'm sure.
Los Campesinos! perform Wednesday, February 15, at Dada