Since forming almost nine years ago, Spain’s Delorean have come a long way. Physically, the four-piece—made up of vocalist and bassist Ekhi Lopetegi, guitarist Guillermo Astrain, keyboardist Unai Lazcano, and drummer Igor Escudeo—have changed locales, moving from their home in the Basque Country to the decidedly more “happening” streets of Barcelona. But sonically, the move has been even greater.
Begun as a hardcore band back in Lopetegi’s youth, the current-day Delorean is known best for their pulsating, sun-drenched dance tunes. The beats are driving, the samples are key, and the mood is far sunnier than anything we Americans would associate with a thrashing rock act.
“It’s not like we were punk and we moved on to something else,” Lopetegi asserts via phone from Barcelona. “People are very shocked to hear that we were a hardcore band, but that’s what all of my friends, everyone was into. And we have not abandoned it. If you see us live, it’s not an electronic show, it’s a punk show with samplers. Everything is still played live.”
Lopetegi goes on to explain Delorean’s stylistic mutation as less intentional than it’s often made out to be, citing bands like New Order and Kraftwerk as both influences and the first to bridge the gap between punk and dance. “We started listening to house music, to dance music. We like to research music’s history,” he says.
Nowadays, Delorean is crafting a sound all their own, bridging musical styles and a high-energy live show and dominating the indie music scene in the States, thanks in large part to their most recent full-length, Subiza, and a handful of glowing reviews from the folks at Pitchfork, The Onion’s A.V. Club, and PopMatters.
Released on the heels of the band’s Ayrton Senna EP and a handful of well-hyped remixes, Subiza captures the sound that Lopetegi says Delorean’s long been after. “The EP was like an early, early test of what we wanted to do, but we even thought the remixes were better,” he says. “Not the songs, but the way they were produced. I think the EP is flat, plain, harmless. It’s not what I wanted. The album is very bright and very uplifting, very immediate and melodic. I’m more emotionally attached to the album.”
Emotionality is something that seems to come up often for Delorean. At its core, Subiza reverberates with a kind of buoyant, expectant energy that bubbles beneath the surface of even the album’s slowest burners. Lyrics are layered to create a warmth and an immediacy, and Lopetegi’s deliveries are chanted with a kind of conviction that you rarely see in electronic music, either live or recorded.
When asked to recall his most memorable touring experience, Lopetegi recalls an especially moving trip to Ethiopia. “We played this crazy show with all these people who knew nothing about what an indie rock band was,” he explains. “I could see definitely that there was some cultural difference between us and the crowd. Then we played this very special gig at this music school filled with all these young people two days later. We played four songs for them at this workshop and explained how we used the samplers and stuff. … That was one of the most special places we’ve been to.”
Up next, the band heads back to the States for a short West Coast tour (they stop through Santa Barbara this Wed., Sept. 1), then it’s on to Australia for another string of dates. “We’ve traveled so much and we’ve been to so many different parties and seen so many different bands—we’ve discovered this whole new universe that we didn’t even know about. Of course it’s going to be enriching and we’re going to process all these new experiences, but it’s still too early to know what direction that will take the band in the future.”
Delorean play SOhO (1221 State St.) this Wednesday, September 1, at 8 p.m. with openers Foster the People and Gardens and Villa. For tickets and info, call 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.com.