Interview with Nita from Fuel Fandango
We spoke to Nita, the singer of Fuel Fandango, alongside guitarist Ale, to find out the story behind the Cordoban duo's new album, Trece Lunas, and how it differs from their previous music; and about their collaboration with Jamie Cullum on San Miguel's famous TV advertisement Ciudadanos de un lugar llamado mundo which features Jamie's catchy track Everything You Didn't Do.
A.C. - When and where will you be launching your new album Trece Lunas (13 Moons)?
Nita - The album goes on sale on the 23 April and, if I remember correctly, we'll be playing our first concert in Barcelona. Then we'll be in Madrid. We also have concerts lined up in Valladoid, Ciudad Real and Seville. We´ll be playing all over Andalucia: in Cordoba, in Huelva on the 25 May. We'll also be playing in Cádiz on the 24 May, in Malaga on the 31 May and in Granada on the 1 June... In every Andalucian province, I think, except for Almería and Jaén. We'll also be playing at Territorios International Music Festival in Seville which takes place on the 17th and 18th May. Our website has all the details of the concerts.
A.C. - What is the message of your new album, and how did you choose its name? What does it mean?
Nita - We chose it because there were many coincidences with the numbers. In summer 2012, when we were putting the final touches to the demos, there was an astrological phenomenon that I read about that I'd never heard of before. It was called the "blue moon phenomenon" or something like that, which meant that there was one more full moon every year. So instead of twelve, one each month, last year had thirteen, which I found really strange.
At this point I was writing one of the songs for the album that's about the moon and is entirely in Spanish, the only song on the album that's completely in Spanish; the rest are a mix of Spanish and English. A bit later, after spending ages trying to decide what to call the album, we decided on the title, Trece Lunas. We really wanted a Spanish name, and this one seemed very original and it works in all languages.
A.C. - How many tracks are there on the album?
Nita - There are 11 in total.
A.C. - Were they all written by you?
Nita - Yes, by me and Alejandro.
A.C. - How has your work has evolved since your first album?
Nita - it feels like ages since we started playing in 2009. It's already been four years, which seems incredible. I think that you can see the change in us, Alejandro and I, as much as personally, as professional musicians. You can see it when we're composing, singing, playing. We've done lots of concerts, which really shows. Our latest album is more mature, more evolutionary, more complete. And above all, I think you can feel the energy we have when we're playing live. Our other albums were much lighter, not as strong or as energetic as when we're live in concert. And in this album, I think, we're hoping to achieve this energy, but it's very difficult. We've worked hard on putting our live sound across.
A.C. - When we first interviewed you (in Spanish), you told us that your music could be described as "organic dance music with hints of rock, funk and flamenco". Would you say that is still true or has it changed over the years?
Nita - We haven't changed, we're still the same. Although we are making dance music, we've always had tracks that are slower, more hip-hop or mid-tempo - for example, Lifetime from our other album... Tracks with more of a background message. We are making dance music, but each song has more of a story with a refined theme in its verses and its chorus. Normally dance music is much more banal and doesn't have such rich lyrics. On our latest album there's a wealth of themes and ideas and other things that didn't stand out as much on the previous album. It also had its stories, but they weren't as profound, although we are continuing along the same line.
A.C. - What message do you want to communicate in your songs?
Nita - We are trying to communicate positive messages, given the time of crisis we're in at the moment, and at the same time, messages we want to share: the small things in life, what makes us happy, what inspires us. We are always trying to write about topics that can reach our public.
A.C. - You wrote the song Everything you didn't do for the San Miguel advert Ciudadanos de un lugar llamado mundo, together with Frank T and Carlos Sadness, led by Jamie Cullum. How did the project come about, what was it like to take part in and what has it meant for your musical career?
Nita - The project was offered to me by my (management) company, Warner Music, which really surprised me as I wasn't expecting it at all, and because I've been a fan of Jamie Cullum for many years. Besides, this happened last year, and the year before I had seen him in Vitoria at the Jazz Festival. So you can imagine, when they told me about it, for me it was like...huge. And to get record the song with him, to film the video in London... It wasn't just about filming the advert, but the musical experience, which is what really interests me. It was a great experience getting to know Jamie, Frank and Carlos and we have a good friendship. I learnt so much from those guys and everyone involved in the television side, which I didn't know anything about before. It was wonderful.
With regards to what it has meant for us, Fuel Fandango, we've noticed a positive impact, particularly on the social networks because, at the time, the advert was a trending topic on Twitter. It's not a thing I would say changes your life from one day to the next, but it does help you, it gives you a little boost. I believe that what really pays off is the work Ale and I do every day, like this interview and the thousands of things we do to promote the group: photos, magazine interviews, and our daily work when we are composing or rehearsing... At the end of the day, all of this is what I think gives us our success. This type of thing, with Jamie, is more of a complement to it all. It was a great experience that I would definitely repeat.
A.C. - Were you involved in writing the track?
Nita - The track is mainly Jamie Cullum's, but he gave each of us the space to create our own part of it. The part that I sing in Spanish is my own composition.
A.C. - Of all of the successes that Fuel Fandango has had, which gives you the most satisfaction?
Nita - That people come to our concerts. We are going through a bad time of crisis in Spain and it takes a lot of work to put on a concert. It's not like before. Now you have to rent the hall and pay for it out of your own pocket so you are really depending on the people to come to see you. And for me, concerts like the one in La Riviera, the last one we did in Madrid, are unforgettable experiences for us. The fact that the room is filled with 3000 people who have come specifically to see you, when you started out playing in tiny rooms to 100 people, this is what fills you with pride and satisfaction: seeing that your work has rewards. And for us I think this is our biggest success.
A.C. - An unfulfilled dream?
Nita - To carry on as we are, to keep working and being able to continue dedicating ourselves to what we like; to not have to be working on other things. I wasted half of my life working in hospitality and in an endless number of offices that weren't mine. And now I'm lucky enough to have my own project, with my own compositions which I really like, with my own lyrics, not having to sing what someone else likes, being able to do what I've always wanted to do and feel free when I'm creating something. What creative person wouldn't like this? Now my dream is to stay as I am.
A.C. - The Fuel Fandango soundtrack consists of...
Nita - Pffff! Loads of people. As many of mine as Ale's. Most important for me is my grandfather, who was one of Antonio Machín's musicians and spent all of his life touring with him. I didn't know him because he died when I was born, but I believe that I have his halo, this musical legacy that he passed on to his children. And my dad, when he's at home, has always passed on to us art in general, and above all music which was gave him the most pleasure. My two sisters are ballerinas and have studied dance: I've grown up going to watch them at the conservatoire... Except my mother, who always said that she was there to cook for us, my family is very musical. I was always singing in the house from a very young age, and the first time I got up on a stage I was just 11. Ale was basically the same because his brother is a huge music lover, rock music, he started liking Grunge too when Nirvana... Ale has also embraced Canary Island folk music, the same as me. We have thousands of musical influences, from the oldest to the most modern music. We like everything, from classical music to heavy metal or electronic... all music styles.
A.C. - In which Andalucian city do you feel most comfortable, and why?
Nita - Well, what can I tell you? I'm from Córdoba. It would be terrible if I said anything else. But if I have to give you one, apart from Córdoba, I would say Cádiz, without a doubt. I also really like Almería, the beaches there, and Granada. But Cádiz... I think Ale thinks the same. Because of the people. For me they're the best Andalucians, with all my respect, because they are the funniest and they have the best philosophy about life... I don't know, purer and happier about life and enjoying themselves... And for their beaches. I've been going there since I was a little kid, Ale too, and almost every summer we're there. We're faithful to Cádiz, we love it all, all of Cádiz.
To find out more about the making of the San Miguel advertisement, check out the video documentary on the Fuel Fandango website.