We ❤ Bala #issue9

interview and pics Iria Domínguez

Were you friends before forming the group? How did you meet and where did the idea of playing come from?
ANX: Yes, we were friends. We knew each other from con- certs, mutual friends. Also, I was a fan of V’s previous pro- jects, and she was a fan of my other projects, or so she says (laughs), so with all that it was very easy to want to play together. We didn’t have to insist or “negotiate”, we just wanted to do it and period.

V: There are not many girls in the scene. Fortunately, this seems to be slowly changing. I had my eye on ANX, ob- viously, and the truth is that I had always fantasised about forming a girls’ band. In the end, the possibility emerged… And look how happy we all are now!

Now a cliché question, why the name BALA?
ANX: It was something that we had clear from the begin- ning. We considered other names and some of them were cool, but they were already taken. So we kept on thinking. And we liked BALA from the beginning. I think it expresses very well the concept that we want to convey of our group: noise, intensity, strength…
V: The problem with duos is that when making decisions, we are only two. We can’t break a tie! Searching for a name for the band was hard. We came up with many names but couldn’t find any that could convince us both.

Finally, as the blonde found this name very amusing, and I was a little tired of so much searching, I agreed. But I don’t regret it, eh? I would have agreed a hundred times more!

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What do you talk about in your songs? Is there a topic that you particularly like? Why?
ANX: I usually say that our songs are a mixture of absurd and more serious stuff. I prefer to write stupid lyrics. There isn’t a topic we mainly resort to. ‘Human Flesh’, which is simply about eating human flesh, ‘Hell’s Waiting’, which transmits a bit of hatred towards someone indefinite, or ‘Chained’, which expresses the desire to start from scratch, to break away from the past, or ‘Joan Vollmer’, which is a tribute to Burroughs’ wife, who he accidentally killed. The- re’s a bit of everything, depending on the moment or on what we have in our minds that day.

V: I’m the deep one, and rack my brains to write lyrics with transcendental content. Then comes the blonde with her amazing lines and when I ask, ‘Hey, what about that part?’, she always says, ‘well, I do güachugüei’ (which is the language we used when songs still have no lyrics or ‘I just repeat this phrase all the time’. And, of course, I get gobs- macked. She rules. I’m not kissing her arse, but I don’t have that ability, I’m always overdoing it. And, in the end, again, as a result, we have that bizarre mixture between such opposites that is so freaking magnetic and raw.

What groups have you been listening to lately?
ANX: Right now, we’re listening to METZ. And I’m also very crazy about Fuzz and Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats.
V: I’m pretty gobsmacked with The Young Fathers’ out- of-tune sounds. And though sometimes it drills my head, it’s like a drug and I can’t stop playing them over and over again. Lately I’ve gone back to Sonic Youth, which I haven’t listened to since my teens. I’ve forgotten all about them and now I’m craving listening to them. And for stuff that is more modern, I’m listening to overproduced rap that sounds so damn cool with those drum beats that I love. About rap, I’ve always been crazy for instrumentals. The- re’s this black duo of rappers who sings like young children called Rae Sremmurd is quite big now. I don’t agree with the black thing of throwing bills at chicks pimp style and stuff, but they have that downtempo-like beats, those impossible bass tones that tears your heart out, and the legen- dary hip-hop drum beats that I’ve always loved.

If you had to be the opening act for a group, what group would it be?
ANX: Just one? I can think of a thousand, but all right, there’s no harm in asking… Black Sabbath!

V: Oh my, only one? Although they no longer exist? The freaking Distillers. It would be so cool if they got back together and that we’d be able to play with them.

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What advice would give to girls who want to start a band?
ANX: To girls and any living being. To do it NOW. Not much is needed; technique is not everything. In fact, wi- llingness is more impor- tant than technique, you can communicate more. V: Exactly! Play. Get stuck into it. Girls, boys, dogs, older people. Loads of times people tell me, “Wow! How lucky you are to play the drums.” God! You don’t know how hard it was for me to get here, but what the hell! Anyone can do it! Stop fantasi- sing about how cool it would be to play an instrument and grab one.

Today they are cheaper than ever, and Youtube is full of great teachers.

What is the coolest thing of having a band? And the least cool thing?
ANX: There are so many cool things: travelling, meeting people, the thousand and one anecdotes all this causes, blowing off steam playing. I don’t know, almost everything, 99.999 %. Also those deep conversations in the car and the vans. I don’t know why, but it seems the perfect setting for talking about things you wouldn’t talk about in other situa- tions. What great moments with my dear V rambling with the steering wheel in my hand.

The worse thing is loading and unloading the equipment, and driving when you have slept just a little bit, but these  things don’t count compared to everything else.
V: The coolest thing is going out there and playing, and showing people what you do and that they enjoy it. That’s the coolest thing, going out there and defending something in which you believe in front of strangers and end up con- vincing them that what they see is real. Believing in some- thing, and getting to communicate that to people is… fuck… is very cool.
Then the laughter shared when we are on tour, the anec- dotes, the bonds forged (I love the blonde to bits, and she knows it), and FORTE beers. The only negative thing I would point out is the grim reality of getting up on a Mon- day to go to work after arriving on a Sunday after I don’t know how many kilometres and I don’t know how many hangovers. But as they say, ‘A burden of one’s own choice is not felt”, so I’ll bear the burden.

Listen to Bala in their bandcamp