by Julio Nusdeo
Translation by Kevin Vaughn
After going back and forth exchanging emails, making plans and dealing with setbacks, the day finally arrived to meet up and talk with the Furies. The most convenient spot was a pizza place on the corner of Anchorena and Santa Fe in Barrio Norte, just a few blocks from the offices of Sadness Records, the label that edited the Furies superb debut, Donde se Fabrican las Ciudades. The name was clipped from Jean-Paul Sarte’s first novel, Nausea, appearing in a moment of good sense amidst an intoxicated journey in search of the perfect name. Amongst the possible candidates is a hilarious spontaneously written list they highlighted names like “Grandpa, This Penis Has Poop on it”, “Astrobag”, “Steve Blosemi”, “Leather and Discipline”, “The Circumcision of the Comet”, and “The Meat Tsar”.
Originally four, the now six man lineup of the ex-Baseball Furies (an homage to one of the gangs from the notorious 1979 cult classic, The Warriors) directed us to the back of the restaurant in a corner we wrongly assumed to be the quietest. Between the constant clanging noises that erupted from the kitchen, and the nature of the boys themselves, the Furies were hardly containable. They skipped around talking about the process of recording an album that’s the accumulation of three years as a band, the result being an album filled with reverberences, echoes, delays and synthetic sounds from the 70s. Welcome to a spacey world of kraut, post-rock and psychodelia.
What brought the change from Baseball Furies to simply Furies ?
Iguana: We we’re never really set on the old name. We liked it, and we identified with it, but it happened without really thinking about it. Having two new guys come into the band, el Gordo Malo and el Armenio, and then changing the way we recorded our music, there was more fury than baseball. And the people that came to see us were already calling us the Furies.
What was the experience like recording this disc ?
Iguana: It’s a disc that’s been a long time coming. It wasn’t like we put together songs and recorded them; it was a natural three year evolution, with songs that we had been playing all along and one day we said “Come on, let’s go to a studio and make these songs right.”
El Armenio: And in the studio there were some other songs that happened apart from the arsenal that we brought with us.
Iguana: The biggest change was going from recording with whatever we had within reach, kind of homemade, to recording with a fully stocked studio with Norman [MacLoughlin], who was our producer and the recording tech, you can see the change in the final product.
What was it like recording with MacLoughlin ? How’d you guys meet ?
Iguana: We really like his band, Jackson Souvenirs, which every once in a while, when the planets align, get together to play. He really knows what he’s doing with sound and has put together a studio in Villa Urquiza.
El Armenio: It’s not just what he does with the production, but he’s a guy that knows about the music that we like. He knew what we were looking for, and at the same time knew how to make the group stronger.
El Brujo: He knew how to contribute from a spiritual place, I guess you can say.
El Armenio: Without taking a separate role outside of the band. He was always really involved, working together.
Iguana: The guy transmitted a lot of patience.
How did you guys approach the album ?
Iguana: Norman came to some of our practices to slowly get involved in the project. He did the sound for us a few times. It was really funny because he did sound at Niceto, and one time that we went to play there, me, knowing that he was in the Jackson Souvenirs, played one of his songs during the sound check.
El Armenio: (laughs) I didn’t know that. The seductive type.
Iguana: We started chatting and hit it off well.
El Brujo: The great thing about Norman is that he gives you suggestions instead of pushing you to do what he wants you to. Like he’s moving you in a very subtle way to something that sounds better, but maybe you’re too stubborn and say, “No, I don’t like that”. He keeps ushering you along.
Gordo Malo: It was also important for this album, which was an aggregate of many years, to construct our own energy. So it was important that he be there, not just as the sound engineer, but sharing our inspiration, discovering the things we were looking for; always with the band in mind.
What were the original ideas behind the album ?
El Brujo: I think that they continued developing as we went along building the album.
Were there any new songs that came out of the studio ?
Iguana: Yeah, “Ciudadela” and “Sungaze” didn’t exist. The song “F148” came from “F147”, it was really long but we liked all of its parts, we didn’t want to cut it. So instead we split it into two pieces.
El Brujo: The one that came out really well was the one that opens the album, it was a demo from the Iguana that we listened to in the studio with Norman and a few days later he [Iguana] recorded the guitar in the style of My Bloody Valentine. All without telling us. When I got there and heard what they had done I really tripped.
Gordo Malo: This is a big element of us as a band: things sort of just happen spontaneously. There are very few things that happen intentionally. We capitalize on that, being us, being genuine.
El Armenio: And all the energy that brought us to make an album, also helps us improve them afterwards. The album isn’t a museum with these songs on display. It’s a record, a photograph of a process, and the songs evolve as you play them. There are some that we are already playing differently, longer, with different parts, we like that it’s like that.
El Brujo: The philosophy of the band is that the music speaks with us. That there is nothing static. Everything is subject to the energy that’s floating around.
Do you guys see an evolution from the earlier EPs to this album ?
El Brujo: For me, this is a diverse album that maintains a line that respects our musical tastes, production and mixing.
Where does that sound come from ?
El Armenio: The old synths. I think that sound and that warmth is what we are looking for. We like analog sound. On the album there is almost nothing digital.
El Brujo: There is a lot of kraut influence between the keyboards, the rhythms; it’s really marked. We really like bands like Neu! And Krawtwerk.
Gordo Malo: I think that the most important thing that this disc has is the production, it sounds modern, but without abandoning the roots of our musical tastes.
Who is responsible for the artwork ?
Gordo Malo: Fortunately that was settled by the expert hand of El Brujo, but we had to sit down and really think and choose what we wanted. He brought ten thousand things that fell by the wayside.
El Brujo: We went through so many things before we arrived at the terrace (on the cover). We had like five or six projects going for the cover and the inside of the album.
Where did the name of the album come from ?
El Brujo: Uh, that was pretty taxing.
Iguana: It doesn’t really relate to any song, but just the mood of the band, us hanging out on the balcony until the candles burned out. There was one night when the names came out like water.
El Armenio takes out a folded up piece of paper from his wallet with a list of words written in permanent marker.
El Brujo: You brought the list !
El Armenio: I’ve got it right here.
Read me some names.
El Brujo: “Leather and Discipline”, The Meat Tzar”, “The Precocious Martian”, The Circumcision of the Comet”, “Astro Bag”, “Steve Blosemi”, “We Bag Ourselves”, “Grandpa, This Dick Has Poop”.
El Armenio: Pretty frivolous things, but we were very democratic because we jotted down every idea (laughs). The title of the album isn’t on the list. Out of nowhere Iguana came over and said: “I’ve been getting into this book by Sarte” and had found this concept and well…everyone liked it. The name is this crazy urban idea we all understand.
Iguana: Making the album was a really long process and then suddenly we realized that we had to put a name on it.
Do you guys feel a little burnt out after so long preparing the same songs ?
El Brujo: The second half of the year was tiring and productive at the same time, because we went out a ton playing the album, which meant having to practice the same songs over and over.
El Armenio: Yeah but I think it’s a good thing that we put a lot of discipline in the band.
Iguana: We had to do the disc right, we couldn’t just go out and play.
El Armenio: And playing is a different way of interacting with the disc. Because there are moments when it’s a real drag, like ‘cool, we’ve been recording for six months now”, and then afterwards, you rediscover the songs live and it’s incredible.
This is the first album edited by Sadness, how did that feel ?
Iguana: Sadness was operating in the shadows, I guess you could say, and then suddenly they put out four bands: Dietrich, Kirlian, Pommez and us. It was a really big year for the label, and our relationship was really productive.
El Armenio: They let us strengthen our relationships with the other bands, who are all friends, like the guys from Kirlian. They’re all real personalities. Right now we’re planning on going to Cordoba with them.
El Brujo: It’s also good to socialize with other bands. I think that’s where new things begin. It’s important not to be working alone.
El Armenio: It helps you see what you’re doing; it lets you relate yourself to the music here. Moving into Sadness so quickly and feeling like we were participants is really great.
Gordo Malo: The label gives the band space to define themselves and put together their own dates and stuff. It’s not an authoritarian label, that says, “the dates are here and here”. Everything is open to the band.
What do you guys remember about your experience with Mamushka Dog Records?
Iguana: It was good up to a point. When the disc came out, almost naturally, we decided to do things another way. At the beginning it was really good. They gave us that first push. We gave them what we had and they did the same.
El Brujo: The guys at Mamushka don’t have the infrastructure, and I’m not sure if they are really interested in actually editing the physical discs. Their project is virtual.
Iguana: We didn’t negotiate to not edit this disc in physical form. Sadness wanted to and Mamushka didn’t.
Any future plans ?
El Brujo: Plans, no, not a single one. Right now we’re all spread out, we´re just sort of hanging out, playing at home.
Iguana: guitar / vocals
Gordo Malo: guitar
El Brujo: drums / vocals
El Armenio: synthesizer
Beto: synthesizer - vocals