ELAN Talk "See Us Spin"
Mon, 07 May 2012 06:55:51
On See Us Spin, ELAN channel a classic sound with modern attitude.
Siblings Elán DeFan [vocals] and Jan Carlo DeFan [guitar] exude a timeless mystique, which perfectly fuels the group's soulful blues rock sound. The Mexican quintet has honed that sound over the course of 15 years and seven albums, and they only continue to get better. They might just spin rock 'n' roll on axis for good.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, ELAN talks See Us Spin and more.
How did you approach See Us Spin?
Jan: To understand what we did on this one, you've got to understand that when we started out we were really anal-retentive. We'd take years to make a record. Everybody tries to make their first record really well. Sometimes, instead of making a really good record, you wind up being an evil fucking maniac, in my opinion [Laughs]. Little by little, we realized that we've always been a live band. It's weird, as an art form, to go into the studio and pretend it's a completely different art form. For us, since we're on the road ten or eleven months out of the year, it's really important that we record once a year and don't overthink it. We record every November. Whatever is ready to go when we track will be on the next record. We don't try to approach it as a concept. When we do that, it's really internally painful for us. It turns into something it's not supposed to be. It stops being art. It stops being fun, and it starts being an ego trip. It's just fucking horrible.
So it's about tapping into something natural.
Jan: It's about trying to put down what we've lived in the past year. It's another volume or chapter in the book of our musical life.
Is it important for you to incorporate a blues element into the music?
Jan: I'm glad you noticed. It's something you dream of as a kid and a music love. You never know if people hear it though. You saying it makes me feel awesome [Laughs].I really appreciate that.
Well, it's infused tastefully.
Jan: We try!
Elán: I think the best thing is to record naturally and let it flow in a way we're comfortable with. Recording live makes it more fun. It's edgier, and it brings out a different side of us. Like my brother said, you take a long time on the first couple of records. You're overthinking everything. Now, it's easier to go in and record. It's like when we go on tour.
What's the story behind "Stranger"?
Jan: It's hard to describe what we do in an objective fashion because we don't really talk a lot when we're writing. We go in there, and it just happens. We don't really fuck around for too long. We rehearse a lot when we're on tour because we play three or four nights a week.
Elán: "Stranger" is like that one tune which comes out of the blue and makes your day. I come out naked in the video. We've never done anything like that before. We didn't want to make it vulgar. We wanted to say, "This is who we are. What you see is what you get." I think that's what the song is about as well. It's also like a love song. At the end, you're friend, but you're not friends. You're lovers. It goes everywhere.
What are you listening to right now?
Elán: I like a lot of the Bon Iver stuff. I really like everything he does. It's really spacey and cool. It might go into the really depressing genre of the universe but I love it. Jan won't let go of his Rolling Stones and the '60s. Neither does the rest of the band. I try to go all over the place and delve into other stuff.
Jan: Somewhere down the line, my sister became hip or something [Laughs]. I've been listening to the same records since I was three-years-old. I can't believe I just used the word "hip" in a sentence. For me, it's The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters, and a lot of blues.
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