|Photo: Mathieu Foucher|
by Glòria Guso
Catalan teen band Mourn came to Paris last summer to play at the opening party of French festival La Route du Rock. Ever since I first listened to Mourn I've been curious about the band. They released both an EP (Otitis, Sones, 2014) and a self-titled album (Sones, 2014) last year and are now back with another EP (Gertrudis, Sones, 2015) full of emotional, energetic songs recalling noise bands from the nineties as well as powerful female voices like PJ Harvey. Not that I know everyone in Barcelona, but for the last few years, every new band in the city included members of other bands or someone already known in the scene, thus making the job easier for us writers. This was not the case for Mourn (apart from the father from two of the band members, who wouldn’t be a participant from that aforementioned scene either), and then there was the unexpected success story with the signing from Captured Tracks and the spotlight with videos and an interview in Pitchfork which made everything even more exciting. In Paris, I got to talk with Jazz (guitar, lyrics) for about ten minutes after their set and I asked her about Mourn’s place in the Catalan scene and about their plans for the future.
[Glòria Guso]: Unlike other bands in Barcelona and its area of influence, you first released an EP (Otitis) and an album (self-titled) before starting to play regularly in public. Do you think that this has somehow influenced your music, your way of composing and playing it live?
[Jazz Rodríguez Bueno]: I think that this has maybe influenced our live act, since we had already some recordings and songs but we had never really played live, we had only rehearsed at home, without any public, so we were clumsy and nervous. There has been a progression, we play better, we are more confident and I think everyone can see that. I am not sure that this has influenced the composing process but I can see that we keep evolving and changing our way of doing things, not on purpose because none of us knew this would happen (and maybe if we had known we would have done things differently) but as a result of it.
Do you think that all this learning by means of extensively touring (both in Spain and abroad) is going to somehow influence the making of your next album?
The songs in which we are working right now are not that different –generally speaking- from the previously released ones, but I think they are a bit more elaborated, maybe because of the practice.
I guess you all must feel surprised and maybe overwhelmed by this sudden success.
Yes, of course, we didn’t expect this at all. We hadn’t fully realized it until we were invited [by Captured Tracks] to play in the United States. But we are very happy about it because it allows us to play concerts very often, so as do many other bands from Barcelona, even if they don’t play that much outside the country.
Do you feel a bit like a fish out of water in such as scene [the Catalan one] in which a lot of bands share members or play concerts together very often and everyone (musicians, public, bloggers…) is friends with everyone ?
We have never really thought about this. Maybe because we don’t live right in Barcelona.
Or because you are younger than most of the bands [Univers, Da Souza, Furguson, Beach Beach…]?
Yes, definitely. We don’t have the same friends nor the same habits for going out. And most of these bands tour and play together very often, which we don’t. But we keep, of course, a good relationship with everyone when we get to play together or when we see each other in public. Before we had the band we didn’t know any of these people personally, and this of course changes the way we relate to each other.
In this case, I guess any of these bands have been a direct influence to your music or to your decision to start a band or writing songs.
No, not really. We like Beach Beach a lot (and of course Tomeu has designed our covers), but it would be too much to say that they have been an influence, if anything a later one. Leia and I used to listen to The Unfinished Sympathy a lot but it is mostly through Minimúsica that we have gotten to know bands like Doble Pletina, Anímic, Beach Beach…
Would you rather say that your father being a musician has been this model figure?
Yes, definitely. Leia and I have seen my father rehearse and tour since we were very young, sometimes we went to his concerts, he played in the living room or taught us how to play guitar… I have always liked it and wanted to do the same.
You only play concerts during the weekends or the holidays. I have been told that this is because of Leia’s age and school schedule [Leai, the bassist, is 16 years old]. Do you plan on becoming a professional band or, like Leia, the priority for the moment is not a career in music?
In my case, I am just starting a degree in video, so a career in music will have to wait. Leia is continuing her studies as well . As for Antonio and Carla, they are not that concerned about this at the moment, but we all agree that we want to do something else aside because we don’t know if we are going to do music forever. For us, it's important to have fun and that is what we are doing right now.
In your latest EP, Gertrudis (Sones, 2015), there’s a song in Catalan...
We composed this song long ago for Minimúsica [a Catalan festival in which bands play songs for kids. They collaborate with big festivals like Primavera Sound and Sonar] and we decided to include it now in this EP because we thought it was a fun. We have been thinking about writing in Catalan or Spanish or whatever, as it comes– for now it has come in English because of the music we have been listening to, not because of other reasons. We don’t have the objective of singing exclusively in English, we are open to mix songs in different languages.
Are you already working on a second album?
Yes, we are working on some new songs.