“The Catalan music in our music is about a conversation with friends.”

“The Catalan music in our music is about a conversation with friends.”

Vega Flawasthe new phenomenon of the Catalan music scene that he shaped Pep Velasco and Xavier CartaniaHe releases his second studio work: La Calçotada (Halle Recordings), which he will present next Saturday April 6 in the La Merona Room, in Salt, in Girones. Nearly four years after the release of his first song. 100 gramsThe two artists, born in Valls in 1998, begin a new challenge in their short but successful musical career. It is an album of 20 songs in which Figa Flawas navigates through one of the most emblematic traditions of Catalan culture. The preparation of coals, calcio, meat, wine and sauce is translated into different musical styles in which artists from Valen present the musical calcotada.

Why did you choose to represent Calcuttada?

Babe Velasco: Well, because it's a typical waltz festival, which we've always enjoyed, and we wanted to pay tribute to it. Although the record is not a literal cotada, it contains many elements. It is an album of 20 songs where you can see the different moments that can be experienced during a “party” of this type. In fact, we tried to make it a work that allows you to enjoy the experience of listening to it by following the order of the songs, moving through all the stages of the Calcotada, but we know that this is a very ambitious goal.

Xavier Cartania: Calcutada is a whole day, and we understand the album as a whole day, where there are moments of everything. There are moments of joy, moments of sadness and contemplation, and moments when what you seek is simply to participate. All this mixture of feelings is what our new album represents. It's true that you can listen in order from beginning to end, but it's also meant for everyone to listen to it as they please, as if it were a “playlist” with many different styles. Let everyone wear their underwear in their own way.

Javier Cartania and Pep Velasco, members of the duo Vega Flawas 01.26.2024 / Mireya Comas

That's why “La Calçotada” begins with a song dedicated to salsa music.

PV: Actually, when you start making calcotada, the sauce is the biggest challenge. Although the calacut seems to be the main food of the party, the salsa is the big star. That's why we wanted to make a sauce [referint-se a l’estil musical] With the face and eyes, but this was a very big challenge for us.

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XC: From the good start, we were clear that we wanted to make salsa, but to do that we needed to surround ourselves with a good team. We started by preparing a chorus and doing harmonies, and once we had the first elements, we contacted percussionist Oscar Ribera, He falls, to start building the theme using the first organic tools. Little by little we added people to the team. They were joined by keyboardist Kevin Diaz [el pianista de Compota de Manana] We asked for help from Horny Session, formed by Klaus Struink, trumpeter and singer of Stay Homas, and Gregory Hollis, who did the arrangements for C. Tangana's “El Madrileño” tour, to form a wind line for us. Once we had all the elements we built “La Salsa”.

On this record, you introduce more organic instrumentation and move into new styles that you haven't explored before. Was it a challenge?

XC: We were keen to explore new sounds to continue surprising our audience. For example, in the song “Aurora” we also used organic instruments to create a “corrido tumbado”. [un estil de la música tradicional mexicana]. In this case we created the wind line by mimicking the trumpet with our mouth, and when the harmony became clear, we turned to Stay Homas to be able to execute it the way we wanted.

Is that why you introduced a diverse group of collaborators, such as Mucha, Luis Gavalda, Alba Armengo, Paul Bordas or Competi?

PV: We chose collaborations that complement our songs according to the musical intent of each track. Everyone played their part. For example, if you want to create a “reggaetonazo” you need a niche, but on the other hand, in “Mala Sang”, where we collaborated with Pol Bordes and Compte, we wanted a “trap” like the ones that have been around for a long time, because We needed to rely on these two artists. We've worked with Paul many times and have always kept in touch because we started out together. We were so excited to have him on this record.

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XC: All the people we collaborated with we wanted to be our guests at calçotada. We wanted to play disc-building and calicotada at the same time.

We are where we are thanks to all these people, like Pawn Gang or 31FAM, who started making urban music in Catalan and paved the way for us

Since I started making music it has become a standard for a new generation, but what are the standards of Vega Flawas?

PV: It is true that we have become, to some extent, a reference for people who are starting to make music, but we do not think that we are the only ones. We must not forget that we are what we are today thanks to figures like Pawn Gang or 31FAM who began to pave the way for urban music in Catalan. And not only them, because artists like Flashy Ice Cream or Bad Gyal also contributed a lot to the Catalan scene. Thanks to these references, we started singing in Catalan. But not with a political aim, but with the aim of transferring our colloquial language to our songs.

XC: We come from a time when music in Catalan was largely limited to a specific genre. For this reason, we started to see that there were people making music outside of the “miscegenation” of Catalan, which made us see that if we set out to do this, we could do it too. In fact, we started making music in Spanish, even though it never saw the light of day. But when we saw that artists like The Tyets, Yung Rovelló and everyone we mentioned above were making music in Catalan and it was successful, we decided to bet on it.

Javier Cartania and Pep Velasco, members of the duo Vega Flawas 01.26.2024 / Mireya Comas
Javier Cartania and Pep Velasco, members of the duo Vega Flawas 01.26.2024 / Mireya Comas

Using Catalan as an everyday tool, with barbarism, allowed us to connect with a younger audience

But the use of “Catalan slang” attracted a lot of criticism.

PV: That's right, we always get comments from people who think so “Let's destroy Catalanism”But we advocate that we do not use language as if it were an exam. It is undeniable that, academically, we use a lot of barbarism, but we do not practice language politics, we make music. For me, a great example of Catalan colloquialism is Platts Brutus (TV3). It is a series of constant errors, but the only thing that allows us to prove that the Catalan language is an element of everyday life.

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XC: I think you need to look at the Catalan language in our music like a conversation with friends at a bar. It is true that we use barbarism, but because we understand language as an everyday tool, perhaps that is why young people can connect with our songs. We believe that combining the Catalan language with references from other languages, such as Spanish or English, brings us closer to reality. In fact, we not only use terms from other languages, but try to make them our own. For example, words like “tonteig”, “perreig” or “bacaneria” appear in our topics, which are versions of Spanish. We don't think this is a negative.

After seeing the reviews and successes, would you change anything about everything you have done?

XC: I wouldn't change anything we've done. We are so grateful for the decision we made over three years ago to start making music. Although it is a steady job, I think we can agree that we would not do anything differently, and we should be proud, in a sense of merit, of all that we have achieved. We are also very excited to take on the new challenge of putting on a live show and touring again.

PV: I share Xavier's words. I'm so grateful that I made the decision to pursue music, even though it's not as perfect a career as people think. Making music isn't about waking up early in the morning, picking up the guitar, starting to compose and finishing a concert, it's about constantly thinking about new challenges and racking your brain to find new songs. But this personal sacrifice has brought us many good things.

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