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New Music | Rey Pila Ride the Synth Sound of the Mexican New Wave

[Interview] Mexico City band dishes about their EP, their hometown scene, and working with Julian Casablancas.

Patrick Greenby Patrick Green
Photo: Napoleon Habeica 

Rey Pila is one of those bands you fall in love with at first listen. The Mexico City band first caught my ear when they opened for Brandon Flowers at the Wiltern in Los Angeles last year and quickly won over the Killers’ crowd with their synth-powered, 80s-inspired songs that felt both fresh and classic — think New Wave 2.0.

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It’s easy to hear why Julian Casablancas of the Strokes (whose band revived New York garage rock) is a fan, having produced Rey Pila’s new EP Wall Of Goth.

I chatted over email with Rey Pila frontman Diego Solorzano about the Mexico City music scene, the band’s retro-modern sound, and what’s it like working with one of your heroes. 

Crave: Mexico City is known worldwide for its amazing filmmakers, but what’s the music scene like?

Rey Pila: The music scene is very eclectic. A lot of different bands and genres. You got people that like reggaeton, hip hop, Rockabilly, electronic music, rock, punk and goth. The city is so big that you can literally find a band under every rock. 

Is there a specific area you hang out at like the Sunset Strip for metal bands in the ‘80s or Brooklyn hip hop? 

We like to go to a club called El Real Under that plays the coolest 80’s music. From Sisters Of Mercy to Aha.

Your sound is a cool mix between days past and the future present. What about that ‘80s sound inspires you?   

For us one of the most positive things about 80’s music is that people who couldn’t play their instruments like the virtuosos from the 70’s found their voice trough simple and raw songs that changed the direction of music for the future. We like to think that there’s a lot of that in Rey Pila. I dunno… maybe we are so encapsulated in our songs that we loose perspective easily and nothing I’m saying actually makes sense.

So how do you take something old and make it new again?

We don’t really try to make the sound modern. I think that happens organically. We are very inspired by bands like Boards Of Canada and Aphex Twin, who is a thousand steps ahead of humanity.

There’s a saying that you should never meet your heroes because they will only disappoint you. What was it like having Julian Casablancas produce your new EP Wall Of Goth?  

I agree. Once I saw Daniel Day Lewis in the street and asked for a photo and he politely said ‘no’. It broke my heart! Working with Julian is 20 per cent music 80 percent plain good times. He is such a cool guy.

What’s something about Julian (Casablancas) that would surprise us? 

Julian is one of the funniest people we’ve ever met. Great sense of humor.

For more sights, sounds and info on Rey Pila go (HERE).