magazine AltFloyd called Xtatic5’s debut album ‘a diamond in the
rough’ and said that “Do You Want to
Play? surprises us at the same time as it brings names like David Bowie to mind”; while Rock y Punk described the band as
having “complex harmonies and high quality lyrics full of human and social
content. Bands like this are essential on the national scene.”
Xtatic5 are a Madrid-based band that sing all their songs in English.*
The music for their debut album, Do You Want to Play? was written by founder, lead singer and guitarist, Tati.
Tati is backed by bassist Diego Jiménez, who plays all over Spain on the current Michael Jackson Tribute tour; keyboardist Álvaro López; guitarist Pedro Palomar; drummer Andrés Luna; and backing singer Cristina Lubian.
The album was recorded at Post Electric Studios in Edinburgh and produced by Idlewild’s lead guitarist Rod Jones; while Greg Calvi of Sterling Sound, New York, masterised the record. The album has produced two singles: the title track Do You Want to Play? and Not Going Home.
Guitars Exchange catches up with Tati at his home in central Madrid, just before a concert, at the end of November 2018:
GE: There are at least two clear pop songs on the album – ‘Anita’ and ‘My Valentine’ – would you describe yourselves as a pop band?
Tati: Perhaps you could describe us as pop/ Indie rock. We have some very dark songs, a few ballads and other more catchy songs. ‘Live Out Your Dreams’ is clearly rock, some people have said it reminds them of Van Morrison or even the Rolling Stones, which is totally different to Not Going Home. But the title track is clearly an Indie song, it is more experimental. It is a mix of genres.
GE: Why did you choose to record the album in Edinburgh rather than Madrid?
Tati: Well, honestly, studio time was cheaper there than in London, and even than in Madrid. Plus I wanted to work with Rod Jones of Idlewild.
GE: What was it like working with Rod Jones?
Tati: He has a very clear vision of the direction a song should go. The way he thinks about the guitar arrangements is very innovative and he also tells you directly what he believes; in other studios you feel that perhaps they just say what you expect. He’s very organised, systematic and professional. He’s also a very nice guy, which is important because we spend a lot of time together in the studio.
GE: Two songs on the album are about children’s rights [‘Do You Want to Play?’ and ‘Not Forget’]; is this something you feel strongly about?
Tati: Óscar Vega, a close friend, filmmaker, and painter, was making a film about children’s rights, which will hopefully be released soon, and the songs were inspired by that; a version of the title song will appear in the movie. But the key thing is that it is about different children from around the world and the issues and difficulties they face.
GE: On ‘Do You Want to Play?’ which brand of guitars are used?
Tati: My guitar is a a Gibson Songwriter. Rod played a Fender Jaguar and a Telecaster.
GE: What inspired the mummy theme for the video for the second single, ‘Not Going Home’?
Tati: For whatever reason I love mummies and Egyptian art. It was such an advanced civilization. I wanted to do something humorous but serious at the same time; because it is about lost love. I don’t think the relationship between men and women has changed so much during the last 10,000 years; there will always be difficulties, and there will always be stress, so I thought why not make reference to a relationship that happened a long time ago?
The mummy wakes up, for whatever reason, sees a sarcophagus and thinks of his relationship many years ago. You’ll just have to see the video!
As for the song’s lyrics, the lyricist was inspired by Pere Ubu’s Come Home and the incredible life story of the American soul singer, Charles Bradley.
GE: The album closes with the song ‘Let it Go’; what was the inspiration behind it?
Tati: I wrote it together with the lyricist and it talks about the hard part of relationships. Men and women can be quite destructive and the final rupture is sometimes very dark, often with couples blaming each other, and the song talks about this. It is strong and obscure.
GE: What plans do you have for 2019?
Tati: Our debut album is now available on CD and all digital platforms but we plan to have the official launch on 1 February 2019 at Moby Dick, Madrid; and afterwards there will be more concerts and festival appearances. Also we are working on a second album.
GE: Thank you.
*Full disclosure: the interviewer contributes lyrics to the band.