What is talent for Rafa Nadal, the player who’s won the most Grand Slams ever? This tennis player from Manacor answers this question and tells us how they work at the Rafa Nadal Academy.
With 'Ritual', Dorian’s new album, the band invites everyone to hit play on life after the pandemic and to celebrate a concept of cosmopolitanism that encourages us to mix and be inspired. Their music is already the soundtrack to our lives and their philosophy, which Marc Gili sums up like so: “you have to be willing to fight, to accept that some things will go well, and others won’t because the most important thing, the most beautiful thing, is travelling down that road”, is also kind of everybody’s.
“Dorian is having a creative rebirth.” Words of Marc Gili, the leader of a band that has been encouraging thousands of people to dance (and think). Because Dorian’s music may seem hedonistic on first listen, and without a doubt it has the ability to produce endorphins, but their catchy electronic melodies are supported by lyrics that invite the listener to transcend. Perhaps it’s this recipe, along with a crowd of fans, that has turned them into one of the longest-standing bands on the Spanish indie scene.
The creative rebirth that Marc mentions can be inferred from their latest album (Ritual), which they tell us about at one of the temples of the night in Madrid —Moloko Sound Club, which turns 25 this year—, and the source seems to be beyond our borders: “We’ve spent many years travelling around Latin America, also around the US and Europe lately, and that musical pressure cooker had to open sooner or later.” The result is an album that, in Marc’s own words, “aims to put in practice a musical dialogue between European electronic dance music and certain Latin beats, combining everything with a pop essence.”
“We’ve spent years travelling around Latin America, the US, and Europe, and that musical pressure cooker had to open sooner or later”
You just need to listen to the first few seconds of Mundo perdido, the album’s opening track, for proof of that rebirth. A song through which Dorian, based on dystopic litanies, shows its concern for the way the world is drifting and conveys clear messages about it: "World without art, world failed / World with dogmas, world asleep / World without fauna, world without soul". This song also reveals another of the album’s features, its cosmopolitanism.
An album open to the world
This cosmopolitanism is reflected in both the instrumental and vocal sections. “The album features Spanish as the main language for the lyrics —notes Marc—, but they are sprinkled with verses in English, French, Russian, Catalan, Portuguese... We wanted to mix languages so that listeners feel like they are travelling around the world.” And we could leave out the thoughtful aspect from this recipe, which Marc summarises as follows: “Kant said that if weren’t heading towards a future where there are less and less borders and we’re more and more mixed, no future, or only a catastrophic future, awaits humanity. What we’ve tried to do with Ritual is adopt this concept of cosmopolitanism and turn it into music. Defending that the future is that mix.”
That mix extends to the album’s collaborations, which make it heterogeneous and enrich it. “We have Ana Mena, who’s more mainstream, the king of trap Pimp Flaco, Catalan singer Suu, Colombian Lido Pimienta... All from different genres,” notes Belly Hernández. Belly herself, who seems excited to have collaborated with such talent, explains what it means to her: “It’s always more fun to give your songs to someone you admire and see what happens. It’s an exciting exercise because they provide a very different point of view and transform the song.”
What happens during their trips and aforementioned collaborations is related to Dorian’s view of talent. “Talent —declares Marc— is related to the ability to absorb knowledge and create your own recipe with that knowledge. That is, a talented musician is someone who absorbs musical influences and is able to create their own sound.” For this, you need to be fully immersed, according to Belly: “When we travel to Latin America, we don’t only touch down and come back, we immerse ourselves in their culture.” Marc adds: “Travelling allows you to grow personally and spiritually. I think we wouldn't be the same people if we hadn’t explored the countries we’ve explored.”
Influences that Dorian absorbs not only when they travel or collaborate with other musicians, but also in the intimacy of their own homes through books and films. “The other artistic disciplines that inspire us the most are literature and film, right? —starts Marc while looking at Belly, who carries on —Yes, I think so, but really, we’re curious people and, in the end, everything influences us consciously or unconsciously. They’re like pulses that awaken things in you and that you then convey to music.” The literary nods that Dorian include in their lyrics are well known, something that Marc himself admits has become a sort of “game” with their fans.
Independence and enthusiasm as a label
One word associated to Dorian is independence, a trait that the group has never given up on throughout its extensive career. “Dorian has always defended creative and recording independence —explains Marc—, we’ve always been in control of our career, our music videos, our singles, our tours... Obviously we can’t do it all alone, we have teams in Spain and abroad, but we’re the ones pulling the strings, and that’s wonderful.”
“A talented musician is someone who absorbs musical influences and is able to create their own sound”
Perhaps being and feeling like masters of their destiny is one of the reasons for their longevity —two decades of history—, something that stands out given the recent announcements of bands splitting up within the Spanish indie scene, like Izal or Novedades Carminha. For Belly, the key is enthusiasm: “We’ve been together for many years, and I consider my band members family. The secret is respect, perseverance, and enthusiasm. A tremendous eagerness to improve and make even better records.”
A feeling they share and convey when talking about Ritual. “I believe it’s the record that I’m the happiest to release out of our entire career —celebrates Marc, who poses proudly alongside Belly with the LP at Marilians record shop—, perhaps together with the first albums.” This record was born during the pandemic and came out when it started turning into a bad memory, perhaps that’s why Marc admits: “We’re so excited to go out there and share it and show it to people. And this is partly because it’s a post-pandemic album, I think.” The stage, Dorian’s natural habitat, is already anxious for their return. Are you ready to dance?
'Ritual' presentation tour will take Dorian to Spain and part of Latin America. Here are the most important dates:
- BBK Live (Bilbao) - 8th July.
- FIB (Benicàssim) - 15th July.
- Sonorama Ribera (Aranda de Duero) - 10-14th August.
- Gigante Festival (Alcalá de Henares) - 25-27th August.
- Granada Sound (Granada) - 16-17th September.
- FIZ (Zaragoza) - 24th September.
- Buenos Aires (Argentina) - 6th October.
- Santiago (Chile) - 8th October.
- Lima (Peru) - 13th October.
- Bogotá (Colombia) - 15th October.
- Mexico City (Mexico) - 21th October.
- Madrid (Spain) - 25th November.
- Barcelona (Spain) - 26th November.