Posted February 6, 2018 by Jeff in Tunes

Vetusta Morla: Leaving Space for Surprise

Vetusta Morla
Vetusta Morla

The Spanish alt-rock band Vetusta Morla took a different approach on its latest album, Mismo Sitio, Distinto Lugar, which was recorded at Berlin’s Hansa Studios with producer Carles “Campi” Campón. The group experimented with different sounds without regard for how it would play the songs live. This year, Vetusta Morla takes its Mismo Sitio, Distinto Lugar Tour to 17 cities in eight countries. (During Vetusta Morla’s tour in support of its previous album, 2014’s La Deriva, the band played for over 300,000 fans in 10 countries.) Guitarist and keyboardist Juanma Latorre spoke to us in a recent transatlantic phone call.

I just watched your new music video for “Punto Sin Retorno.” Talk about what it was like to shoot the video.
“Point of No Return” would be the translation. It’s quite an emotional video for us. When we were doing the album at the studios in Berlin, we decided to see what happened if one we just played one of the songs all together. We did this album without caring how the songs would sound live. We did it this way because we wanted to explore another color for our music. With that song, we tried to see what would happen if we played one of these songs that we made track-by-track live. We did the song and re-recorded it. It feels very deep and very intense. That’s a very personal song that’s very meaningful to me.

Talk about the song’s theme.
It’s about when you reach a point of no return. Maybe you reached it a long time ago but you didn’t realize it. Maybe you said some things to someone that you didn’t realize. You feel like you’ve been manipulated by destiny or something like that. You also realize that sometimes you just have to let things go.

The band first formed in 1998. How did it come together?
You can say our story is the typical high school band story but without the typical ending because we are still together 20 years later. We gathered at high school and listened to our idols from the late ‘90s. Little by little and step by step, we created our own universe and our own language and our own songs. At some point, we realized we developed an emotional flow with the people. It was addictive. It was something we wanted to have in our lives every day. We’ve been working to have these emotions and this energy with the audience and I think we’ve done a good job of that so far.

Is there a good music scene in Madrid?
We are now changing generations. We had a break of great bands ten years ago when we released our first record. They were coming out of a dark period. The market had been dominated by talent shows and things like that. That, mixed with the changes in the music industry made it a very dark time. We were in desperate need of new bands. It’s exciting to see how young bands have surprised us. We have some great indie and electronic music now. They listened to our records ten years ago and many other bands [from that era].  It’s a very exciting moment.

What do you consider to be your influences?
We have a wide range of influences. We listen to a bit of everything. We are hungry for music. That’s good to me. Every one of us brings different influences. Some of us even listen to punk music. We listen to our parents’ record collections too and that has influenced us in the way we think about the music and writing songs. Radiohead is also a big influence. Radiohead reinvented rock ‘n’ roll for the 21st century. Bands that are coming out today still inspire us.

Did you want to do something different with the new album?
Yes, definitely. We wanted to do something different on purpose. We tried to forget about everything. You face the same problems every time you write a song, more or less. We tried to solve them in a different way. We all want to have everything under control and have everything planned but when you do that, you don’t have the space for surprise. On purpose, we didn’t finish the song but left space for the surprise to happen. We also left the space for other people to contribute. We compliment producer Carles “Campi” Campón. Dave Fridmann from New York did a great job too. The two of them worked together. They are artists who also played a role in the songs. We had a little bit of a hard time though because of the anxiety of not knowing what would happen.

The songs are so different from each other.
Yes. That’s what excited me about the album. We wanted to go with many different styles. We had the confidence that once the songs were recorded, Dave Fridmann would have multiple takes for every one of them. They sounded like they weren’t from the same record but they’re still part of the same piece.

I like the fact that we can have so many different sounding songs on the same album.

Talk about what the upcoming tour will be like?
We want to create levels. Our idea is to have a story we tell with the show. We think about what songs we will play and what order to play them in a way that they blend together. Each time you do a record you change something. With this record, we changed lots of things. The previous songs have to adapt so that they can be part of one story. We will go to Chile, Mexico and Colombia and then return to Spain. We hope to be in the States soon. We’ve played there a couple of times and look forward to more shows there.

Upcoming Tour Dates 

March 1

March 3

March 9

March 10

March 15

March 17 & 18

March 23

April 28

May 3

May 5

May 12

May 19

May 25

May 26

June 1

June 23

June 30

Centro de Convenciones Barranco – LIMA

Teatro Coliseo – SANTIAGO DE CHILE

Teatro Jorge Eliécer Gaitán – BOGOTÁ

Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe – MEDELLÍN

Plaza Condesa – MEXICO CITY

Festival Vive Latino – MEXICO CITY

Teatro Ópera – BUENOS AIRES

Multiusos Sánchez Paraíso -SALAMANCA – Spain

Recinto Ferial De La Fica – MURCIA – Spain

Auditorio Rocío Jurado – SEVILLA – Spain

Coliseum – A CORUÑA – Spain

Palau Sant Jordi – BARCELONA – Spain

Hard Club – PORTO – Spain

Coliseu dos Recreios – LISBOA – Spain

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias – VALENCIA – Spain

Explanada exterior de la Caja Mágica – MADRID – Spain

Explanada del Museo Guggenheim – BILBAO – Spain


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at jeff@whopperjaw.net.