Al Pagoda releases his firt mini longplayer on Frank Wiedemann’s label Bigamo
“Lucky Veil” – Al Pagoda’s first mini album to be released on Bigamo Musik, October. Seven songs built out of layering luminous synth melodies that sound strong, iconic, like a childhood memory that’s long been dormant.
Al Pagoda, originally from Valencia, Spain, settled in Berlin in 2015, where he started working as a composer for movie soundtracks. During these years he experimented with new sounds and recording techniques. In 2018 a colleague of his, who had witnessed some of his free-form experimentation sessions, asked him to play at Loophole, a small club in Neukölln, Berlin. Pagoda accepted and came up with a few songs for the show. After this, the album would crystallize in no time.
Al Pagoda’s cinematic approach can be felt throughout his music; his songs unfold like stories that take us to the crux of an inescapable revelation. Built from short snippets recorded in Pagoda’s phone over the years, Lucky Veil was put together during a winter in Berlin, in a room with no windows.
trndmsk: How long did it take you to produce the album?
Al Pagoda: The album is built from a collection of little melodies that have been piling up in my phone ever since I moved to Berlin in 2015. There was no plan of making an album. One day, a friend of my label/collective, heard some of my demos and invited me to play live in our next party. This helped making quick decisions of ever unfinished tracks.
For example I never thought of singing until I found that something was lacking. 1 week before the show I found out i had to use my voice. So many of this little decisions where made there, that after the concert I shut myself in the studio for 2 months during winter and came out with the finished album.
How did you choose the title of the LP? Is there a special meaning behind it?
A veil is an object that at the same time disguises from the outside, and filters reality from the inside. I don’t know exactly why but it’s appealing to me and represents well the album.
What inspired you to produce the tracks and the LP?
Sitting down and playing around with some instrument is just something I usually do. The fact of giving it shape as a finished message to my friends and family who are far away might be a reason. And the storytelling part of it. For me its a diary of how my days sounded back then, so it works as an emotional archive for myself.
Where and how did you produce the tracks?
The tracks where made in the recording room of a friend’s studio that is currently my studio. At the beginning it was just a wooden room with no windows. Completely isolated. I had just a couple cheap synths that where lying around, a piano and a dusty clavinet that became crucial in the album. So for most part I didn’t have access to my gear that was still back in Spain, and made the album with the few things lying around that i had. Wanted to conserve the feeling of the little recordings that I make on the phone and I love to hear while I travel in the subway. So recorded vocals and other elements with the phone.
How was the feedback so far?
It’s hard for me to evaluate so far how the release is going, since there is no reference before this music. But many of the most treasured memories I have, is having friends of friends visiting the studio before even making the album, and doing a little live for people who didn’t know anything about the project and having a honest joyful reaction from them.
How and why did you choose Bigamo?
Bigamo is a warm family, run by people who love music. Frank is a musician himself which makes a new artist feel confortable because we speak same language. Frank and me met working together in another project in common. He heard my new album and invited me in. Also the album talks about a specific time in my life that I moved to Berlin, it talks about the city in a way and working with a label that I could bike to was also appealing.
What’s up next after the release? Any plans and projects?
Trying to evaluate how to take the project live with the current situation. Preparing the live show is a whole different adventure which I enjoy. Having the songs created alone in such a different environment and bring it alive with other musicians, and other instruments, etc. is a lot of fun even if the live shows would never happen is something that I just enjoy doing it. New music is always on the way. Sitting down here and there and collecting new fragments that will turn to songs.