A CASA is a wildly original, experimental band started by José de Diego in 2011, the current lineup is José: Commodore 64 and voice. Sebastian Ojer: guitar. Emiliano Lucero: Drums, Int Pujol, synths and Vj. Luz Casares: Voice and percussion. They use an array of conventional and original instruments to create some beautiful sounds, I have a Spectrum 48 José if you want me to send it over? We’ve featured the band on a number of occasions, most recently this week with their damn fine cover version of the Twin Peaks theme song and we were delighted to catch up with José to talk about the band that is becoming a firm SWIT favourite.
Why did you decide to be a musician?
It wasn’t a conscious decision, I’ve always produced visual and sound art.
My parents sent me to art workshops when I was a child so I guess I just kept working on that.
What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?
It’s hard to say but I do remember which were my first two CDS: “Dangerous” by Michael Jackson and “The Black Album” by Metallica.
Later, I fell in love lots of times because I always discovered new styles or genres that carried different concepts of what the music is or means. I had a first love in each of those expressions.
Once I heard on TV a Spanish singer. He made me cry. I recognized him, my family used to play his music when I was a child, long before I knew Metallica or Michael Jackson. I totally forgot his music, his voice. From that moment on, I kept him by my side.
The song was “Palabras para Julia” by Paco Ibañez. So Again, first love would be hard to say but it certainly wasn’t Metallica! Hahaha.
What is your favourite song that you’ve written and why?
I actually do the music I love, I don´t have any producer or manager that conditionate my work so… I don´t have a favourite. If I release a song or an album is because I really like it very very much.
You’ve just released a second album La Luna a few months after your previous effort La Tierra. Were they both written at the same time as a concept?
There’s something interesting about the processes of both albums. “La Tierra” is the conclusion of more than two years of song writing, recording, playing live with different musicians, re-recording, etc. “La Luna” was made entirely in 5 or 6 months: In October of 2016 I won a grant that funded the production of the CD. I wanted to do all new songs so I started from zero while “La tierra” was still in the mastering process. I think that’s interesting because this new album reflects a much more specific moment in time of the project while the previous reflects a more general panorama.
How do you know when a song you’ve working on is complete?
I like to listen to my songs for months before I decide whether they are complete or they need some change. I don´t know exactly how I know but I like to give the as much time as they (or I) need.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?
I love thousands of songs but I’ve never thought “I wish I could do that instead of him or her“.
What artist(s) has been your biggest influence and in what way?
I think the music I do is a convergence of different styles. I guess my biggest influences are artists that are always listening what’s new and always reconstructing their concept, their sound. Artists that aren’t married to a single style or genre. Take for instance, David Bowie… I’m not his biggest fan but I do recognize that in his career and his work. I really respect that.
There’s also another kind of artist I recognize as a big influence and that is the one that knows very well the contemporary history of music since futurism till now. I mean, musicians that produce song structured music but have a very strong contemporary influence. The first name that pops up in my mind is Xiu Xiu, I love his music and I have been following him for many years. Another interesting musician in that sense is David Sylvian.
Name a song that makes you happy and why does it have that effect?
I actually prefer songs that made me sad or melancholic but I think listening to The Residents make me very happy in a dark humorous sense. If I had to name only one song I would say “A Critical Dance” by Renaldo and the Loaf, one of the few bands that actually worked with the residents.
What is the best new band/artist that you’ve heard recently?
I’m not sure if they qualify as “new” but as for international artists, I love Ariel Pink and Circle of Ouroborus, just to mention two very dissimilar projects. There is a great band here in Mendoza that just released a new album. They are called “A Tu Luz” and I really love what they are doing. You should check them out.
What’s your idea of success for A Casa?
Keep recording the music I love, keep playing live with great musicians as I actually do, touring to other countries, make a living doing this.
José also did this fantastic ART for our gallery, thanks José!