Arising as the figureheads, alongside Mourn, of a revolution in Basque post-punk, Belako have already made something of an impression on these shores courtesy of supporting Liam Gallagher of all people, but don’t let that put you off. The band are set to return to the UK for a run of more intimate headline shows in September, which should give us the chance to take a much closer look at them.
Ahead of those dates, the band recently shared their excellent video to the frenetic new single, Maskenfreiheit. The track is the latest to be lifted from the band’s recent album, Render Me Numb, Trivial Violence, which was released earlier this year. Maskenfreiheit starts with a complex clapping rhythm, before bassy-riff and booming toms explode into a cacophony of angular, energetic noise. The easy, half-whispered vocals are a beautiful counterpoint to everything that engulfs them, Belako pull you in close only to send you flailing away in a rush of pure energetic joy. Belako are a band who feel on the verge of something huge, intriguingly walking a line of accessibility and intrigue: their potential is limitless.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Belako?
We are four lads from the Basque Country who were lucky enough to meet each other and have become a family since. We are proud to say that once you see us perform live you will never forget us, we devote ourselves entirely on stage. Soul band. Our songs are quite different from each other and reflect how eclectic our tastes are but you could say we dance between 80’s postpunk and 90’s alternative rock.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
We had the chance to play in a pub of our hometown (Bar Irudi, Mungia) and in less than two weeks we composed 8 songs. The bar was crowded, full of family and friends, this was seven years ago and looking back gives us goosebumps.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
We met at Fine Arts uni so other forms of art are always very present in our process since then. We work with friends from there and cinema for our albums’ artwork, photos and videos. We have this conception of a song as a painting that is never finished, you can always add or erase certain stuff as time goes by. But music is what connected us and frankly it’s the only thing we are truly good at as a team.
FTR: What can people expect from the Belako live show?
We take its show as if it was the last. We want the audience to enjoy our songs like we do and we want to show the variety of our music but we keep it pretty energetic and visceral. Every gig is unique and has been our most valuable facet as a band since the beginning.
FTR: What’s next for Belako?
We just landed from Philippines after a music residence in Manila and we have quite a lot of festival dates during summer around Spain like Cruilla (Barcelona) or Low Festival (Benidorm) and Mundaka Festival, two dates in France, Biarritz en Été and RockEnSeine (Paris). We will also play in Bolonia (Italy) in September and then we have a UK tour (London, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham). We will also visit Germany, Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg and Berlin. We are very excited about a tour with Mourn in the south of Spain.
They Listen To…
1. I’m a Victim Of This Song (Wicked Game) Pippilotti Rist
We met at the university of Fine Arts and became friends thanks to our similar music interests, we knew Pipilotti for her performative video art and this very special cover was the first song we decided to play together. That’s where it all began.
2. The Winner Takes It All – Abba
We listen to Abba compulsively since the first day we got into a van and hit the road to go touring. We love their music, it fills us with happiness and it is always fun to sing (mostly scream out of tune) their greatest hits. But this one is the most moving for us and Belako is about music from the guts.
3. Human Sadness – The Voidz
One of our favorite bands and the most epic and beautiful song ever written in the past few years. An inspiration of non-conformist way of composing with all kinds of nuances and tints.
4. Equus – Blonde Redhead
A great discovery at a crucial time, when we were playing together for no longer than a year, we listened to this band and this song, its sound and way of singing was pretty relevant on our process at the beginning.
5. M1A1 – Gorillaz
Both Blur and Gorillaz are at the head of the bands we admire, but clearly we live at the time of Gorillaz, who in our opinion seem to be a step beyond the rest of the international music scene, since this blowminding first album. We have it in our van and when we get to this song we sing along like lunatics. We watched them together at Vive Latino in Mexico City and they opened the show with it.
Render Me Numb, Trivial Violence is out now via El Segell. Click HERE for more information on Belako, and check out their UK tour dates below.