by Brett Wishart
When I see a bubble of open space at a show between the stage and the next closest person, I immediately lose sight and all ability to comprehend whatever insightful comments are flowing from my friend’s (often read: complete stranger whose arm found mine in a game of ‘I’m falling – grab something’) listless mouth in my overwhelming confusion. Where are the dancing people? Where is the puddle of sweat on the floor you have to blindly circumvent? Why isn’t the bouncer concerned for all our safety? So, in the middle of the Las Cosas set last weekend, at the front of the pack, I stopped shaking my body to look up for a second.
Though behind that empty pocket, hundreds of invisible strings connected the eyes of the people in the crowd to the stage, every person gazing intently forward. A large screen behind the band projected a slideshow of images. Righteously thought-provoking clips, from the busy-tabled aftermath of a feast for twelve to two men sitting across from each other in an empty coffee shop to the detailed mechanizations of a buzz saw. The images on the screen served as but a canvas on to which the fifty spotlights, spinning and colorizing, painted a third dimension. The stage was a living abstraction. With so much visual candy, I began to understand. Oh, but I forgot, there was music, too.
In the realm of psych-rock, songs are often instrumental. Many of Las Cosas’ songs are instrumental. The words remain unspoken, emotion conveyed not through poetic lyrics but through narrative soundscapes. At times I found myself in a meditative state, not sure how I arrived. It was organic, which falls in line with the band’s approach to, well, everything.
Looking more closely at the crowd, they formed a fusing solid mass. Just as atoms in a crystalline solid-state vibrate within their own confined space, each person I saw was vibrating just a little bit. And for those who weren’t, I invented that they were to better fit my visualization. As groovy as the music was, the crowd’s feet were held in trance instead of forced to move as if bullets sprayed their feet from a gun slung six-shooter.
That bubble I was so skeptical of in the beginning made more sense now. Sure, having your nose to the stage would induce complete submersion, much like a Barnett Newman painting. But part of the experience was understanding, on whatever plane one could, everything Las Cosas presented. Audio, visual, and the collective mindset vibrating amongst 100 other people induced. It was specific, yet vague. Abstractly concrete.
With that, I looked back upstage, leaped forward and starting flailing my arms floppily with the luxury of an open dance floor.
Where does your name originate from? Are the members "las cosas" or are "las cosas" the things you sing about? Or is it something else?
‘Las Cosas’ is the generic name for this project, it alludes to something abstract and concrete, and more importantly its short, precise, faithful to the music that we make.
When and how did the band form?
In 2006, in a rehearsal space in Barracas. It was for the simple necessity to make music.
Your music has a general psych vibe with some funk, jazz and afro-beat thrown in. What bands do you draw your influence from?
Brian Eno, Talking Heads, Bob Dylan, kraut rock, they are sources we always draw from.
Describe your writing process.
Well we’re not exactly singer-songwriters. Everyone throws out different ideas which forms this ensemble, which we improvise and fill up, and with that structure we create the elements that eventually define the song. We usually are recording, listening and cleaning everything up in the midst of that process.
Is the album name inspired by personal experiences or does it refer to a larger scale?
It encloses an ambiguity, which can transport you to the personal universe of each one of us. Above all it is a metaphor for musical existentialism.
The album art for Hay Hogares que han Triunfado has a sort of careless organization of objects in a real space. That it is a photo makes the objects tangible in the world and not just an abstract drawing. What was the idea behind the cover?
The idea behind the cover is in the cover, not behind it or before it.
What prompted your switch from Prius Discos after two albums to Sadness? How has your recording experience changed, if at all?
We didn’t actually switch to Sadness. The project started with Prius, but we came to an aesthetic agreement with the guys at Sadness to release the album together and develop some other projects.
How has your sound evolved since your first album?
Good question. There is a constant which is to try to generate a soundscape and at the same time a sort of mutation of that with the incorporation of new textures, sounds, instruments and audio techniques. “Hay Hogares” is the synthesis of that.
If you could design the ideal room for people to listen to your music, what would it look like?
What are your plans for the upcoming months?