American indie rock act Blonde Redhead, made up for singer Kazu Makino and twins Simone and Amedeo Pace, has new material to show off.
After three years of heavy touring with the same favourites on the setlist, American indie rock band Blonde Redhead is set to surprise fans with a new album and sound.
During a recent phone interview, Blonde Redhead drummer Simone Pace revealed that the band would be unveiling new material on its upcoming Asian tour, which includes festival shows in Manila, Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo.
“The new album is called Barragán. Honestly, the name sounds nice, but it really doesn’t mean anything,” admits Simone, who took this call from his home in New York. The band is completed by Japanese vocalist Kazu Makino and Simone’s twin brother Amedeo (vocals and lead guitar).
The Italian indie musician added that the band’s new album title was taken from a Mexican architect whose work the band enjoyed.
The album’s namesake, Luis Barragán (1902-1988) was a modernist architect with a flair for simple and clean design. His most famous work being the Torres de Satélite in Naucalpan, Mexico City – a series of five towering sculptures painted in red, blue, white and yellow.
In a way, the new material took inspiration in that simplicity of design. Simone says the band was adamant about going fully analogue, using instruments like guitar, harpsichord, piano and drum, while doing away with synthesised sounds.
“We wanted to make something timeless and pure, and perhaps a little minimalist too,” he muses.
Adding to the live sound was the fact it was recorded with all the band mates together in studio, instead of layering their contributions on one at a time like most modern albums.
“Back then we used to record using tape with everyone in the same room and playing off each other. We want to go back to that,” says Simone, clarifying with a laugh.
“The recording together part, not tape. Tape’s just difficult!”
The American alternative rock outfit formed two decades ago, and had eight studio albums to explore its sounds.
Reflecting the alternative sounds of its time, the insistently indie band has gone from noise rock on its self-titled debut to a more dream pop and electronica sound on its more recent albums like Misery Is A Butterfly and 23, after signing with the legendary Brit label 4AD label.
While the band’s direction may have changed from its 2010 effort Penny Sparkle, the trio decided to collaborate again with the album’s sound engineer Drew Brown.
Brown, who has worked with musicians from British alternative rock act Radiohead to French singer-actress Charlotte Gainsborough, had only worked with Blonde Redhead for 10 days on Penny Sparkle, but the brief experience made its mark.
“We really like his stuff, so we contacted him and insisted he work with us,” reveals Simone.
A quick search online reveals nearly nothing about the new album, beyond a post on the band’s official Facebook page confirming that the band is indeed still making music.
“It’s been four years since our last album because we always go on extended tours, and it’s hard to compose a new album on the move. For this one we took a year off to just get it done,” he says.
Asked about the usual low-key approach, Simone stated they had been making an active effort to ensure nothing leaked online.
“Did you manage to Google anything?” asks Simone in mock-panic.
He revealed that the band planned to release a teaser in the form of a short film they had recorded in an abandoned house, soundtracked with street sounds and guitar played by Amedeo.
“The first few songs should come out the week after. We want to get people’s attention when time’s right,” says Simone.
So far Blonde Redhead has only debuted two of its songs at its first show of 2014, at Moon Block Party’s Desert Daze in Mecca, California.