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Before we start talking about Rey Pila, we should warn you: you’re going to listen to their music and then you’re not going to want to listen to anything else. (Also, a lot of big name dropping ahead!)
It’s the romantic synth and guitar-filled melodies that your heart has been yearning for!
Rey Pila, which is Spanish for “King Battery,” started as the solo project of Diego Solórzano. He started playing guitar when his folks gifted him one as a kid. He loved playing guitar so much that he dropped out of high school to go to a music conservatory. He was there maybe a month before he was over it.
“They were trying to put into technical terms that, for me, comes out as gut feelings, and that was hard,” Solórzano tells BTRtoday. However, that didn’t cool the flame of passion or put a damper on his musical pursuits.
By the time Solórzano was 19-years-old, he was in a band called Los Dynamite that had gained a good amount of popularity in his hometown of Mexico City. With a newly inflated ego, he was ready to take on the music world by storm, however, only five years later the band split.
About five years ago he decided to take a solo project on and run with that. He came up with the name Rey Pila when he saw an art exhibit featuring the late graffiti artist Jean Michel Basquiat, where one of the art pieces was entitled “King Batter.” The first album he released was with producer Paul Mahajan who had worked with such bands as the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, TV on the Radio, and The National. He had high hopes for it, but now confesses he is not very happy with how it ended up. “It was more of a reflex of me trying to move apart from that other band in Mexico that I was in,” he explains.
After touring for that album he got signed to a large management company in Mexico, which he confidently declares was a mistake.
“They wanted us to be a lot more of a pop band,” he says. “They wanted to go extremely to the other side and that’s when I started getting ideas of forming a band with the guys I used play with [in Los Dynamite].”
Rey Pila now consists of Solórzano providing vocals, Miguel Hernández on bass, with Rodrigo Blanco, and Andrés Velasco on guitar—Solórzano recorded the drums himself for the album. They released their first full-length self-titled album in 2010 and toured for four years. Solórzano conveys that the tour was very frustrating to him and put him into a state of depression.
“We recorded that album and we were very happy with it and proud of it, thinking that we were going to get signed right away—then four years passed by and nothing happened,” he says. “The tour was very harsh for us, no one came to the shows.” He explains that they would play to audiences of maybe five or 10 people almost every night.
He returned to Mexico defeated.
However, the music world wasn’t done with him. A friend had shared some of Rey Pila’s tracks to Julian Casablancas, front man to The Strokes, and his interest was hooked right away. He got into contact with Solórzano, and though Solórzano was in disbelief at first, he got signed to Casablancas’ Cult Records. They recorded the cover of “Lady In Red” together and they’ve been inseparable ever since. “He has taught me a bunch of vocal things that are now game changers for me when it comes to writing songs,” Solórzano explains. “He’s a very unique and intelligent songwriter.”
Rey Pila has since been able to tour with Interpol, Brandon Flowers from The Killers, and, of course, The Strokes, which has helped grow their fan base immensely.
Solórzano and Casablancas share a common interest in ‘80’s synth bands—in fact, Solórzano admits to turning Casablancas’ on to the band Depeche Mode which he says is a huge influence for Rey Pila. This is evident in their most recent full-length album “The Future Sugar,” released just last year.
The album name, Solórzano explains, was a line taken from a David Lynch film, “Wild at Heart,” when the crazy mother says to her boyfriend, “we need to talk about the future, sugar.”
This was the first full-length album to be released on Cult Records and was recorded with Chris Coady in the DFA Studios, where such bands as The Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem have recorded their music.
“He really likes synth and we also really like synth,” Solórzano says about working with Coady. “We believe that if we work hard enough we can develop or create a really nice vibe and perfect balance between guitars and keyboards.”
“The Future Sugar” is the type of album that you can play over and over again and never get sick of. The tunes are heavy with decorative synth and rocking guitar riffs that you’ll get stuck humming all week, and the lyrics will either break your heart or send shivers down your spine. Solórzano admits to the lyrical inspirations blossoming mostly from insecurities or desires.
Currently, they are working on new material and are aiming to release a new full-length album by early next year. Solórzano explains that this time around he is more influenced by Judas Priest, so the new tracks will sound more heavy metal, although, he assures us, he hasn’t lost his love for ‘80’s rock.
Before they can get into full music-writing mood, they plan on doing a small tour after recording in August. The way Solórzano explains touring with Rey Pila is exhausting, yet he sounds amped and ready to go. He explains that it’s a heavily testosterone-fueled tour, with Rey Pila being a group of big partiers.
“It’s a lot of going to bed late, always having problems at clubs, and having problems in like one guy getting lost and we can’t find him for a while and then he comes back,” Solórzano explains.
Hopefully they’ll survive their small tour so we can all enjoy some new Rey Pila! Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on their website to see where they’re playing and what they’re up to next!
To hear the rest of the interview, tune into this week’s episode of The Discovery Corner!