With an “Exotic Rhythm and Blues” tag and after their EP Not a Soul Around (Penniman Records, 2013), The Limboos has released their debut album, Space Mambo (Penniman Records, 2014), recorded at Big Chief studios in Madrid and produced by Mike Mariconda.
Sergio Alarcón (guitar, percussion) speaking on behalf of the rest of the band.
B.C. Rhythm and blues of the 50s, Latin and Caribbean sounds of the 40s, rock and roll, of course, your first album Space Mambo is getting good reviews, the last weeks you’re having, presentations, interviews and concerts, happy? How is it going?
S.A. We are really happy for all the activity we are having and realizing how important and necessary is to get a good promotion to put you on the map. However, what we really enjoy is play live, it’s the reason why we do everything else, playing and playing.
B.C. What would you say to the audience as a letter of introduction of The Limboos, and to buy your album and go to your concerts?
S.A. First, we simply would invite them to listen to us on any platform if they don’t know us at all; if they like it, then we would suggest them don’t miss our next gig; and if everything has been satisfactory until here, they would be free to buy our album for keep on enjoying our music.
B.C. Space Mambo has been produced by Mike Mariconda, who travels from time to time to Spain to produce new albums. The half of The Limboos already knew how he worked because the experience in The Phantom Keys, is he your ideal producer, would you work again with him in the future or are you open to new points of view?
S.A. We’re still not in that moment of think about new recordings though it comes up some new ideas. However, a priori Mike is our man. We admire him as a person and as a producer, and we know that he’s got us sussed. He has an amazing talent working with old stuff in the studio but on the other hand if there’s anything that describes The Limboos is that we don’t want to stand firm, the future will say it.
B.C. Who would you like to work with, some legendary producer?
S.A. Good question… Sure that Roi (Roi Fontoira, voice and guitar) would tell you some great producer of the period but what we’d like for sure is have the chance to work in a studio full of old equipment to try it everything and get the most old and greasy sound as possible, musically speaking of course.
B.C. These new ideas, new songs come up on the fly or you’ll sit down one day to play and discuss? How works the band?
S.A. There is a bit of everything, now I’m brainwashing Roi about new songs but still are sketches. Many ideas just come up fiddling around with the acoustic; other times we start trying things all together at the rehearsal studio to see what happens, then we make a good “clearance” and keep the songs we like the most upon which we start working together.
B.C. Then it’s too soon to think about a next album.
S.A. We talk jokingly about the fifth or sixth album, when we lost our way and our look it’s the true reflection of the decline of the band, but well, in the short term, we have in mind play a lot though once you’re at the wheel, the process of album, tour, new songs, album, tour, etc. is inevitable, the body tells you.
B.C. What about lyrics, they have their role or is not given more importance?
S.A. Lyrics always have their importance doubtless though we’re not doing protest song. For The Limboos, first is the music and after the lyrics, that is, takes priority that the song satisfy us musically and even melodically. Then lyrics come up from everyday things that surround us and influence us. If you stop to listen to the album, there’re lyrics more relaxed and others more serious.
B.C. Now you’re promoting the album and playing everywhere you can.
S.A. The thing about concerts has emerged very naturally, when you’ve been so many years on the road, as in the case of Marcos (Marcos Mascato, bassist) and Roi, contacts are there… and of course it helps. In principle, we want to play wherever we should be called and can adjust ourselves at a logistical and physical level. All for the Mambo!
B.C. In these musical times, is it better or more convenient to have good connections and use the internet than try to get a good record label that promotes you?
S.A. Actually I think that everything plays his role even though also everything can be relativized. There are all kinds of examples, bands that have come out from nowhere, not knowing anyone, the ones that have already made a long way and suddenly get a big break through pure force of habit… I think that each case is unique and in our case both connections and record label are of capital importance.
B.C. Any objection to Penniman Records, or better hush just in case…?
S.A. Would be unwise to cutting off our nose to spite our face, besides that we only have positive words and thoughts for Penniman Records, they’re an example of professionalism and good work.
B.C. Your style’s influences are clear and you speak about musicians of R&B, R&R, etc., many of them deceased, of which you’ve been influenced, but what current names you’d say as influential in the music of The Limboos, if there are any, and what current bands do you listen to?
S.A. We’re quite eclectic; we listen a little bit of everything even though the R&B predominates in the van. Some current names we admire and listen very close, I could mention James Hunter and Nick Waterhouse with who we have a love-hate relationship; we’re also fans of Pelo Mono and that Perico’s (Pedro de Dios – Guadalupe Plata, Pelo Mono) talent for creating these cadences and textures.
B.C. Do you see that there is indeed more followers of R&R, R&B, blues and similar than until a few years ago?
S.A. I don’t know if there’s more or so. It’s clear that there’s a very faithful permanent audience that enjoy the scene. What we The Limboos note is a wider range of types of audience, something that we’re happy with it. We don’t want to be another R&B band, because this and without grumbling of anything, we’re not closed to any kind of audience or scene either.
B.C. What bands, or record labels or persons, do you think are “responsible” for that?
S.A. I don’t think that the responsibility is of nobody else than the spectators themselves. Nowadays you can access to lot of music by much simpler ways than a few years ago. If you like music and Blues or R&B in particular, what you really look is for a good live concert for dancing about.
B.C. It could be a fad as happened with other styles, which can last more or so years, as happened with the Indie?
S.A. Fads come and go… I think the important thing is to enjoy what you do regardless of if there’s a trend towards the style you play. It’s clear that if now there’s a trend to R&B it’s something to celebrate and if that benefits us, better; but after all, whatever you do, it prevails that you are real and you are able to transmit the passion for what you do.
B.C. How do you see the music scene in Spain nowadays, and out of Spain?
S.A. Music scene is so vast and extensive that scary. There are incredible quality bands of any style everywhere, maybe in Spain the quality is increasing or at least the impact of certain bands whose good work is undeniable. Outside Spain is boundless, there are many good musicians, we have known many of them over the past and half year, as may be the case of Radio Days from Italy and The Youth from Denmark, two friend bands that do really well within their style.
B.C. You have been something more than a year with this group, are there side projects or are you all devoted body and soul to The Limboos so far?
S.A. Phantom Keys are still active but with a little less activity. It could be said that now The Limboos is the priority but mostly for availability reasons.
B.C. That’s all, only wish you good luck and keep on playing.
S.A. Thank you very much for the interview and thank you for reading! Keep on Mambo!
Here you can watch the video for the first single Big Chef.