Can you talk to us more about your latest single “This is the Time”?
Our newest single is “This Is the Time”. It is a song that I think is in many ways emblematic of what we do in A Love Electric, living in the cracks between genre and scene and sound. It started with a poem, maybe a rant, of some abstract thoughts on what we are actually living through now that we couple with some odd time riffs that we like to use in this band. We record here in Mexico City at Hernan Hecht’s studio, our drummer and producer, and he kind of takes these skeletal elements and builds around them, having Aaron Cruz over to play bass and whatever else is lying around, in this case I think there’s some harmonica and slide guitar in there.
We’ve done so much with this band over the last 9 years, all over the world, hardheaded experimentalists, that much of the exercise in recording and performing is finding ways to surprise ourselves.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
More just the confluence of events and ideas we are living through. No matter one’s nationality or politics, it would seem pretty impossible to think that the ship is sailing well. We’re all trying to be positive here, but it seemed like some things needed to be expressed, at least for us.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
We filmed these video vignettes on tour in a tiny town called Reberlah in the north of Germany. Jan and Tine are two German concert promoters and dear friends who live off the grid up there, all on solar and cooking from their garden, and they also love kind of bizarre rock n roll music. They are our greatest advocates in Germany and maybe anywhere. We stay out at their homemade home and this run almost got stuck their for the entirety of the pandemic, eventually getting out on one of the last trains to Amsterdam and flying back to Mexico City the next day.
The animation is by a skater friend in Durango, Mexico who goes by Pepe Pissdrunx.
The single comes off your new album Permanent Immigrant – what’s the story behind the title?
To me it seems like immigration is our natural state and we are greatest when we embrace it. I don’t feel like I own a country or that a country owns me. I do feel grateful for the opportunity of growing up in the US, and it seems like the best way to express that is to pass it on or help create opportunity for others where Im able to.
How was the recording and writing process?
Writing is pretty instinctive for me. This song was more about the spoken word side of things, a few riffs and melodic ideas that I notate out, we get together at Hernan’s studio and everyone molds the initial idea into something that feels more interesting and can be representative of all three of us. We record here in the city as well, all living within a few blocks of each other, which really helps.
What role does Mexico play in your music?
Mexico plays a big role but maybe not in the most obvious ways. Mexico City is our sound, it being just such an absurd and loud and surreal place to live. There’s pickup trucks riding through the city all day with megaphones offering to collect old refrigerators or stoves, an opera singer on the corner, and a hipster club with a DJ playing trance all within a few blocks of each other. It is color and chaos that somehow works. In terms of making music and creative projects, there’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather be.
How do you go on balancing your distinctive influences with your Jazz roots?
At this point it seems like we are definitely not a jazz band, unless you ask a rock band, and we are not anything of a rock band, unless you ask a jazz band. We started playing instrumental music, and improvising, and the improvised part is still a huge part of what we do live and what keeps us committed to doing this, but at some point it became more about the songs when we got to recording. We could do noise record for our next one, or all folk ballads and I’d think, if we are really committed and took the time, either could come out as sincere and representative of us.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
It is hard to not find inspiration here in Mexico City. There are so many stories everywhere that are so distinct from the life I had growing up in Minnesota. Everything feels so vital here. Anything is possible and reality is always at the mercy of perspective.
What else is happening next in A Love Electric’s world?
We are starting to get out and play in Mexico, with some theater shows to no audience that will be streamed. The coming months we do this series of workshops in different communities throughout the country, mostly rural areas or working with young people. That is going to feel good.