Bad Translations, Secret Projects and Learning to Slow Down: Talking Shop with Amor de Dias

23 May

Three years in the making, Street of the Love of Days, the debut record from Amor de Dias recently made its way to the public this past week. A hush-hush collaboration between Alasdair MacLean of the Clientele and Lupe Núñez-Fernández of Pipas, Street of the Love of Days is an astral and delicate album, full of lush Spanish guitars, ghostly harmonies and a sweetly comforting folksiness that makes it a record that just begs to be played as you wind down the day. Mutually finding inspiration in “Surrealist poetry, myths, London, books of days, forests, landscape, lullabies”, Alasdair and Lupe’s songs are chock full of narration and strong imagery. Featuring everything from the harp to the bouzouki, trumpet to recorder, Street of the Love of Days is multifaceted both in terms of audio aesthetics and musical styles, a subtle taste of chamber pop mixed with a little Erik Satie, Stars and Sufjan Stevens. For the music listener that is bored with everything else they’ve been listening to, we highly recommend this beautiful collaboration.

Don’t miss Amor de Dias this Friday, May 27th at Lincoln Hall 

Alasdair and Lupe recently talked with us via email about Street of the Love of Days, how the project came to be and what lies ahead for the twosome.

Reviewsic: Can you give us a quick recap of what Amor de Dias has been up to lately? 

Alasdair: Standing in an exhaust-fumed airport kerbside waiting vainly for a hotel shuttle bus was the main thing today. Other than that we’ve been busy with rehearsals for this US tour, press, and getting ready to launch the record in Europe.

Reviewsic: What’s the back-story on how this project came to be what it is today?

Alasdair: I knew Lupe and her band Pipas as friends. I really admired their DIY style and sooner or later I hoped we’d work together. The opportunity cane up to grab some free studio time and we decided to take the plunge and make an album together.

Reviewsic: What are your top three musical influences?

Alasdair: Arthur Lee, Erik Satie, caetano veloso

Lupe: Gal Costa & Caetano Veloso, Ride, Duran Duran

Reviewsic: If we peeked at your iTunes right now, what would be the first 3 names in your “Top 25 Most Played” list? 

Alasdair: King Soly – Tamil Dub, Liam Hayes and Plush – Bright Penny, The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour

Lupe: Sandy Denny. Jorge Ben – Silencio no Brooklyn, Destroyer – Rubies

Reviewsic: If you could work with one person in the music industry (musician, label, producer etc), who would it be and why?

Alasdair: Maybe for me it would be John Cale. The production on the three 1970s Nico records he helped make is still unsurpassed for me. The weird slightly off-key arrangements and the sense of otherness. It’s magical.

Lupe: I love Bertrand Burgalat’s production on his own records and collaborations, and the controlled bigness of his sound. I wonder what he could make out of us.

Reviewsic: Lately we’ve been on this kick of revisiting bands we didn’t pay as much attention to in the past and wondering, “Why didn’t I listen to this 10 years ago?”- If you could go back in time and push 3 bands/records on your younger self, who/what would they be and why? 

Alasdair: I think I would tell myself to listen to more dance music. If I was to go back to the 1990s when I was almost exclusively listening to 60s music like the left banke and the zombies I would say come on young man there’s some new stuff around too! Boards of Canada are just starting up in Edinburgh; the orb have released the little fluffy clouds 12″ which is as genuinely psychedelic as any British music ever made, and ray Keith and dead dred are making very fast scary drum and bass records.

Reviewsic: Tell us about Street of the Love of Days- What was the writing/recording process like for you? Where did the title come from? How is it similar/different to the music you have each made before? 

Alasdair: We had free time in a studio, no record contract and the whole band was pretty much  a secret, so we could afford to take it very slow and just do stuff as it same together naturally. The title same from me walking down “calle de amor de dios” in Madrid and mistranslating the Spanish as “street of the love of days” ; I should have known it was called street of the love of god but I’d mixed up dias (days) and dios (god). It was pathetic translation but the name stuck.

Reviewsic: How would you compare yourselves as musicians at this point as opposed to when you first began playing together? 

Alasdair: I’ve learned to play more quietly. That’s hard to do on an acoustic guitar but it’s pretty important not to over-stress music like ours.

Lupe: Same. For me it’s also been a process of learning restraint, in order to explore new things, if that makes sense. Plus I actually practice now, believe it or not!

Reviewsic: What are the best and worst music moments so far in your careers?

Best: playing with Liam Hayes and plush in a small venue in London. It was just a magical, soulful evening, everything live music should be but so often isn’t.

Worst: Too many to count. Nearly being murdered in a small Spanish town for playing 55 mins instead of an hour. Some pretty horrendous tour hangovers too.

Reviewsic: What are your plans for your music in the next year? 

Alasdair: I don’t have any really, I’d like to write a lot of inspiring new music though.
Lupe: it’d be fun to try to make a soundtrack maybe, for a very, very short film.

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