Els Pets: “Making an album called ‘1963’ means you don’t hide your wrinkles”

The year 1963 is the birth year of the three members of Els Pets and the title of the first Beatles album, ‘Please please me’, as well as a song by New Order.

Lluis Gavalda. The idea is to bring together two anniversaries that define us: the birth of the members of the group and the genre we play, pop. Now everything must be new, rabid and shiny, and we want to question it: pop has come of age and is no longer that artistic expression that is only valid when you are 20 to 30 years old. Our heroes are dying of granny and that’s good news. We try to show what vital situation we are in, and what more obvious sign than putting the year of your birth on the cover.

It is his second album with Joan Pons (El Petit de Cal Eril) producing. But ‘Som’ was more raw and overwhelming, and this one, more delicate.

Ll. G. More austere. One track for each instrument, no ‘recordings’, all analog, single takes, almost no makeup, no external elements. Trying to make what each instrument does as less topical and habitual as possible.

Subtle dynamics dominate, which require several listens.

Ll. G. I’ve never been a fan of records that require second and third listens. If a record doesn’t fit me the first time, it will hardly fit me later.

Joan Reyg. I do force the records to like me, and then the pleasure is greater. They are albums that I will listen to all my life.

Ll. G. Here we started with a long twenty songs, and Joan (Pons) chose those that had a sound affinity. When you listen to the album for the first time, you may think that there are many similar songs. The songs come from two remittances, a pandemic, when it seemed that the world was ending and I had to leave my mark in the face of the imminent apocalypse, and another later that we have taken more advantage of. There is a post-pandemic will, with more irony and bad blood than melancholy.

That’s how the album starts, with ‘No t’escolto’, a rude song.

Ll. G. Impertinent. The song of a person who is already an age and who is not able to put up with what. On the album there are many songs that are points of no return, farewell, on a sentimental level.

Who does the song ‘Jordi Puig’ refer to?

Ll. G. To a classmate who died at the age of 16. The idea was to vindicate the Jordi Puig that we all have in life. It refers to the first time that life gives you a host and you realize that you will not always be invincible, and that everything is fragile.

Now there is a lot of talk about fragility and vulnerability, which have been material of Els Pets’ songs for many years.

Ll. G. Show the scars, right? When you make a record called ‘1963’, that means you don’t hide the wrinkles. They cost you a lot! We notice that feeling of vulnerability is accentuated with age, with ourselves and with our loved ones: your parents are no longer here, or their health is precarious.

Here’s another one of his songs about hospitals, ‘Fem riure’.

Ll. G. They are spaces that we visit more and more, either by ourselves or by those around us. Here is a story between two characters who send messages to each other, and I wanted the evil to be physical, that there had been an accident.

And there’s a song that, with the title written on the back cover in the upper box, appears as ‘Atracament a la caixa’, and then in the booklet you realize that it’s ‘Atracament a La Caixa’. Have you already thought about it?

Ll. G. La Caixa, yes, in capital letters, to make it clear. We are waiting for the answer through criminal channels… It is a joke reflection of the banking concept, which is the biggest swindle of capitalism. Banks have come to perfection, keep our money and charge you for it. In our case, since we are from 1963, we remember when the bank was still forgiving and gave you records. Now they have managed to make the bank branch an inhospitable place for customers of our age or older than us.

Falin Caceres. And they have hired us to play in Cap Roig!

Will they play the theme there?

JR Sure! At the concerts we will play all the songs from the new album. We are one of the few groups that continue to do so.

Ll. G. If I were your head of marketing, I would use the song in the background in commercials, I would turn it upside down!

Again they are in the promotional wheel. And television, what?

JR We were recently on ‘Efecte Collins’ (La 2), a type of program that doesn’t happen anymore: long interview, full songs, live set…

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And what do you think of the music program on TV-3, ‘Eufòria’?

Ll. G. They proposed to me to be a judge on ‘Eufòria’. I don’t want to underestimate it, there is a job well done there, but the concept of the ‘show’ repels me. Play with the hope of a person and judge him in three minutes live, in his face… I don’t have the stomach to do it, to tell someone “you didn’t do it right.” It hurts a bit that the only music space on TV-3 mixes it with the ‘reality’ and the contest. But I fought for three years to do a music program on TV-3 (‘El celobert’) and they put it on at 12 o’clock on Sunday night.

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