Coming at you from Argentina, Amor en la Isla is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Sol Marianela, drummer Lucas Mariño, and bassist/backing vocalist Nacho Flores, longtime collaborators under Marianela’s solo project that relaunched as a trio just over a year ago.
Following an EP, Un Lugar Para Vivir, in 2015, the group met up with producer Gregorio Alejandro Martínez at Wonderland Estudios in Castelar this spring to record their debut full-length. The result, Playa Crocante, is a high-energy, diverse mix of sounds that draw from surf, punk, pop, and grunge-y alt-rock (thanks to Marianela’s love of Nirvana), that taken alone or together could put a smile on the most sour of faces.
Stream the US premiere of Playa Crocante below, and check out our interview with Marianela about the new album, why she was determined to start a trio, and punk and progress in Buenos Aires’ DIY music community. Playa Crocante is available now through Brooklyn cassette label Puppy Teeth in the states and Cool Ghost Records in Argentina.
She Shreds: Amor en la Isla has only been together for a year, so we’re still learning about you. How did you all come together? What projects had you played in previously?
Sol Marianela: Well Nacho, the bassist, has been playing with me since the end of 2010. I met him at a rehearsal place. At first he joined my solo project, Sol Marianela, as a guitarist for three years, then he switched to the bass. And Lucas joined us and our old bandmates two years ago. He was in the crowd at one of our shows and at the end he came to talk to us and he told us he was a drummer. So, a few months later when we needed a new one, we wrote him, and he was the one.
When you assembled Amor en la Isla, did you have a specific sound in mind?
Well my all time favorite band is Nirvana, so I wanted a trio all my life. And at the time we decided to make a new band I told the guys that I was ready to be the only guitarist, that I could play solos and stuff. Also I was (and I am) really into Courtney Barnett. We love how good and strong but simple they sound. That was a reference. And talking about a sound, we want it dirty but strong, oldie but with actual quality.
On Playa Crocante you bring together so many different styles. Do you ever hit a speedbump in trying to express yourself in your music? If so, how do you work through it?
Yes, it’s something that i don’t enjoy but it happens. I can make twenty songs in a week and then I don’t write anything in months, and it feels like I lost it, like I lost the way to do it. But now I’m learning that it is because I let the things happen, I wait until i feel something really hard so I can’t do anything but a song, or I could explode like an energy and nervous giant ball.
The acoustic bonus track on the album ended up being one of my favorite tracks. Can you tell me a little about the track and how it ended up being a “bonus” instead of part of the regular track listing?
I’m glad you liked it! The thing is, I don’t remember why I wrote it. I don’t even remember exactly when I did it, but I know it was after we recorded all the album, that’s why it is acoustic, what you hear in this bonus is the exact moment I wrote it. That’s why there’s some mistakes on my English also. I recorded it with my hand recorder in the living room. I wanted to show a little bit of my nature and the nature of the songs. This is how all my songs are born, with an acoustic guitar, or an electric unplugged guitar. This song only appears on the physical editions, so it is a prize for buying our record. We are playing it live, loud and electric.
How did you connect with Maddison Murphy at Puppy Teeth? Are cassette labels as popular with the DIY crowd in Argentina as they are in the US these days?
I always listen to Bandcamp while taking my breakfast. I look for new music using tags, that’s how I found the Puppy Teeth compilation and I loved it. So I had to write and tell them. “Them” turned out to be Maddison. I showed her our EP, and she liked it and wanted to work with us. I love that thing of the “tiny excited cassette label.” She is really excited while talking about doing stuff. I love it! So much energy, it’s contagious. I hope we can meet her soon.
In Argentina the tapes are popular in the DIY, indie, and punk scene. Our album is going to be available here on tape on Cool Ghost Records, but there’s also Cincope Records, Laptra, Hallo Discos, Quelonio Records… And I’m just talking about some labels from Buenos Aires, but I know there are more in the rest of the country too.
Buenos Aires has a long history of punk and progressive music. Can you tell us a little about the current climate for punk / DIY musicians in your community, and what makes it unique from other cities?
Buenos Aires has lot of bands and lots of live music everyday. There’s a lot of fellowship between the bands. Many musicians from inside the country, including me, come to live in Buenos Aires because it is where the musical activity is stronger (but there are bands everywhere and there are other strong scenes in the country as Mendoza, Rosario, Córdoba…).
Currently, in the Buenos Aires music scene we are living some tense moments in the wake of some very ugly events. The singer of an indie band which was much loved by many, sexually abused a girl. And because of that, and because the girl was brave and did not stop talking about it, other girls are denouncing other musicians (not only in the indie or punk scene). The good thing about this is that people are talking about sexism, about “machismo,” feminism, about the power of the musicians and the use of that power for evil. It is necessary to speak to change things.
What are some other local bands our readers should have on their radar?
Lastly, can you tell us what guitar and other gear you use?
I used to have a Fender Telecaster, but I found it so heavy and serious for me. I wanted a [Fender] Mustang for years, and then last year in Madrid I found a little Fender Duo Sonic, a Mexican one from 1993. It was so light. I fell in love. I’m still into her – My dream baby guitar.
I use an overdrive Boss SD1 and a Delay. For the album I used a Memory Boy and a Blue Sky, but they weren’t mine, I just have a broken Behringer. I keep it simple for now.