Having wowed us with their immersive live show at Finsbury Park supporting Queens Of The Stone Age in the summer, Basque Country band Belako are now about to embark on a UK tour.
Spending the year touring a dozen countries, 3 continents and gathering a host of new fans along the way, the band also released latest album Render Me Numb, Trivial Violence – a collection of poignant, genre-pushing offerings executed with gritty passion, marking themselves out as a definite band on the rise.
We caught up with Belako to find out more…
Hi Belako! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and what you do?
Hi! We think of ourselves as a band that mixes different influences and turns them into eclectic songs in constant transformation. We do punk, noise, rock, synth pop, new wave, no wave. We’re still trying different sounds on our recordings but our live shows are much more organic, visceral and the best presentation card we have so far.
How did you initially get together and start creating music?
Cris and Josu met at the university of Fine Arts. Because of their shared passion for almost all the same bands, they went to rehearse some covers (Massive Attack, Pixies…) with Lore, Josu’s sister, in an old abandoned factory in the suburb named “Belako”. A few months later Lander joined them and the team was made. We started creating our own music since the very beginning, it all happened pretty naturally.
Your fantastic album Render Me Numb, Trivial Violence is out now, can you tell us a bit about it? Are there any themes running throughout it?
We think its title sums up pretty well all of the lyrics in one sentence, as all of them are about different violent situations we observe from the lucky side of the planet in the media (trivial violence = T.V.), while we keep a passive attitude about them. We feel very proud of this album, it has a lot of different musical arrangements but all of the songs are connected in a certain logical order.
We’ve heard about the track ‘Over The Edge’ as being “against gender violence” – do you feel it’s important to address this issue in music?
It is crucial to address this issue in every field – we are musicians, so we do it in our music, in our gigs and whenever we are asked. We understood at some point how lucky we were because of the chance we have had with the band to raise our voice and be heard. This should matter always to everyone – women are being murdered, raped, beaten, humiliated in many different ways all over the world.
We love your gritty, post-punk sound, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
We are inspired by Gorillaz, Talking Heads, Flaming Lips, Grimes, MGMT, The Voidz because of their unlimited creativity, and Savages, Dream Wife, Empress Of, Surfbort, Idles, because of their attitude and live performances. We also take strong influence from bands from our home, the Basque Country, because of their sound and use of the Basque language in music which we try to conserve – they are from the ’80s, Itoiz and Hertzainak.
We were blown away seeing you live at Finsbury Park with Queens Of The Stone Age this summer, but is there a particular concert you’ve played so far that stands out as a highlight?
Fortunately, there are a lot of special concerts in our minds when we’re asked about this and it is hard to choose just one or two. Thinking about the first time we came to the UK, we fell in love with Scotland – playing at Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh with the magnificent Scottish duo Nice Church (after whom we named a song on our last album) was a gift. Small dark noisy venue, the best.
How is your local music scene? Do you go to see much live music?
The Basque Country has a lot of interesting bands and we try to catch as many gigs as we can. There is a huge tradition of punk-rock but nowadays you get to see alternative projects that should be touring abroad as well!
As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new Spanish bands/artists who you’d recommend we check out?
From the Basque Country there’s Lukiek, Vulk, Cecilia Payne, Toc, LesteryEliza, Yellow Big Machine… From Catalunya there’s Mourn, from Madrid, Favx, and from Valencia, La Plata.
And how do you feel the industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
It is a very hostile world, ruled by social networks, the amount of followers you have… Basically we live in the image era and both mainstream and alternative bands play the same game. Usually the profiles people get to see on the internet are detached from the artists or bands’ realities. All that might recall success or fame doesn’t mean an easy and solved life, follows and likes aren’t money on your account, but they are the vehicle to get bigger audiences, and live shows are what most musicians make a living out of nowadays.
Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for Belako?
We will play London, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham (17th to 20th of September), then off to Hamburg for the Reeperbahn Festival, Bime Festival in Bilbao, and several dates in Spain including big venues in Madrid and Barcelona.
Huge thanks to Belako for answering our questions!
Thanks for asking 😉
Catch Belako live in the UK at the following dates. Tickets here.
17th September – The Lexington, London
18th September – Gullivers, Manchester
19th September – Stereo, Glasgow
20th September – The Flapper, Birmingham