Members of Whitest Boy Alive were planning a reunion for 2020. Folks at Brooklyn Vegan, Consequence of Sound, and other music connoisseurs were tuned in, waiting for the next steps from the indie favorites who’d previously been covered by the likes of Pitchfork and Stereogum, etc. over the last 20 years for various projects. Erlend, Daniel, Sebastian, and Marcin had been traveling from their respective homes for said festival performance and all ended up in Mexico, essentially stranded due to the COVID-19 enforced quarantine regulations.
Erlend shares the story: “All the members of Whitest Boy Alive had arrived in Mexico. Myself on March 3rd from Norway. Daniel and Marcin on March 13th from Germany and Italy. Sebastian on March 16th from Costa Rica where he had been the whole winter. The day before we got the news that both festivals were definitely cancelled.
The only thing that wasn’t cancelled was the four days of free studio time we had been given by Hotel El Ganzo in San Jose del Cabo in the remote state of Baja California Sur.
Intent to make the most of it, we were very disappointed when they informed us that the same state of Baja California Sur had just issued new Covid restrictions, so newly arrived Europeans could not enter unless they had been 14 days in Mexico already.
So we were forced to separate. And me and Sebastian Maschat and our booking agent Jorge travelled to San Jose de Cabo and Daniel and Marcin remained in Mexico City.
They couldn’t even travel home directly because most flights had been cancelled.
First we tried to collaborate remotely but it was of course pretty complicated since our band is so much based on live interaction between the 4 of us.”
Luckily, an owner of Hotel El Ganzo, a singer and guitarist named Bear Kittay, who just earlier this week debuted his first solo single “Summer Babies,” had an idea. There was a studio at the hotel, so why not record some music and make the most of it. Sebastian, as it turns out, had a secret stash of songs he’d written over the last 15 years, so the group had a ton of songs to choose from.
Thus, Quarantine at El Ganzo was born.
Though some bandmates were forced to return home due to quarantine restrictions, they were able to build a new session band for recording the album, with music engineer Paco Rosas who plays bass and Jorge Aguilar, a booking agent who plays drums.
The music has a relaxed summer vibe that relishes in strong lyrics and simple melodies, evoking a laid back feeling that could not be more needed than right now. The group hopes that this album will give listeners a break from the flurry of traumatic news headlines and COVID madness.
1. WIPEOUT written by Sebastian Maschat
2. WEDDING SONG written by Erlend Øye
3. ON LOVERS LANE written by Sebastian Maschat
4. PRICE written by Erlend Øye
5. WITHIN A DREAM written by Sebastian Maschat
6. BUTTERFLIES written by Erlend Øye
7. DHARMA written by Sebastian Maschat
8. ONLY JUST BEGUN written by Erlend Øye
9. MAGIC USED TO HAPPEN written by Sebastian Maschat
10. BAD INFLUENCE written by Erlend Øye
11. DISTANT LOVER written by Sebastian Maschat
12. QUARANTIME written by Erlend Øye
14. KEYCARD written by Erlend Øye feat. Clara Cebrian