Mourn: The Best of What's Next

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Mourn’s Jazz Rodríguez Bueno and Carla Pérez Vas like to laugh. With a name like Mourn, this might be surprising—if you’ve heard the ferocity of their debut self-titled LP, even moreso. But throughout our call that bridges the Atlantic Ocean, the women laugh often, taking joy not only in discussing their musical craft, but in the simple task of being interviewed, and in their occasional struggle to adequately express themselves in English. Releasing your debut album only happens once, and it is refreshing to hear Mourn enjoying themselves.

Maybe it is the joy of youth or some similarly silly concept that makes them so giddy. Rodriguez Bueno and Pérez Vas are a mere 18 years of age, a fact that will be much talked about as more and more people hear their band (Captured Tracks’ release of their first record is occurring properly in February, though the whole thing is currently available on Spotify and iTunes). And the topic of age comes up often in conversation. “Here, if you are under 18, you have to go to shows with your parents,” Rodriguez Bueno says, speaking both about performing and simply being a music fan in their native country of Spain. “We think this is awful. For example, in Madrid, if you are under 18, you can’t enter any show without your parents. It’s not good. We’d love to have more of an audience at our shows that were closer to our age.”

The pair appropriately met in school, in El Maresme, Catalonia, Spain, a village outside of Barcelona. In discussing their decision to form a band, the women complete each other’s sentences, often saying the same things simultaneously. It is the type of synchronicity that only comes from spending a lot of time with someone else, and a connection that can be felt in the core of Mourn’s music, the pair’s driving guitars and vocal harmonies completing each other in the same way they tell their band’s story.

“It was in preparation for university here,” Rodriguez Bueno says of their high school, “and it was oriented to drawing and stuff like that. It was kind of boring. So we started thinking about making songs and writing lyrics in class. We were very bored, so we thought ‘let’s do something with our time.’ It was better than listening to these men talking about…”

“Shit,” says Pérez Vas, chiming in.

“Yeah, shit.” agrees Rodriguez Bueno.

With an attitude like this, and a song called “Boys Are Cunts” in their repertoire, it may come as a surprise that Mourn is not an all female act. However, their decision to add a male drummer doesn’t seem to be a particular statement, but simply an organic process.

“When Jazz and I first met, we started playing together with no idea of doing a band,” Pérez Vas says. “Soon we were writing songs that we thought would sound cool with a band, with a drummer.”

“I knew a guy in town called Antonio [Postius],” Rodriguez Bueno says. “I’d known him since I was 12 and he had always played drums like a boss. I’d always wanted to make a band with him, but I didn’t think I was at the same level. But once I started playing with Carla and improving, I thought ‘Antonio might like to make a band with us now,’ and I asked him, and he said yes.”

“My little sister Leia has played bass since she was 11,” Rodriguez Bueno adds,
“and I thought she would be the right person to complete the band, because we have such a connection, and she plays like a boss, too.”

The straight-forward manner that girls express themselves in is a result of speaking English as a second language. This bluntness extends to their lyrics, though it comes across as refreshing and not overly-simplified when backed with music. “You think you’re awesome,” Rodriguez Bueno sings on “Jack,” “I think you’re boring. You called me a baby, I just say ‘fuck you.’” Pérez Vas adds in another “fuck you” for emphasis.

Despite gaining more notice in America in recent months, the four-piece has yet to travel to the states, though plans for visits during school breaks (bassist Leia is only 15) are already underway. The band notes that this month will see them travel to The Netherlands for their first performance away from their home country. As scary as it might seem that their parents are encouraging their daughters to become rock stars, it all makes more sense to hear Rodriguez Bueno explain it.

“My father is a musician, too,” Rodriguez Bueno says, “and he wants us to have this experience. He’s very supportive. He gives us advice and says ‘as your lawyer, I recommend you do this or that.’”

It was her father’s record collection that inspired her and her sister Leia at a young age, allowing them access to artists like the Pixies and Sleater-Kinney that most Spanish teenagers wouldn’t encounter.

“Leia and I, we always would listen to music our father would play,” Rodriguez Bueno says. “Through this, we discovered a lot of things that other high schoolers wouldn’t maybe know. And through that, we’d discover a lot more music. Our curiosity helped us seek out more music like that.”

But the women of Mourn are not putting all their eggs in the music basket.

“We just want to play,” Rodriguez Bueno says. “We know that we’d love to live off our music, but we also understand that it is difficult. So, we have a plan B. I’m studying animation. Traditional and 2D. Next year I’ll start 3D. Leia is still in high school.”

“I was studying photography, but I quit,” Pérez Vas add. “I really love photography, but not in the way that they showed me.”

Pérez Vas adds a knowing laugh onto this, a sound that had become quite familiar by the end our conversation. She says something about not being able to teach art, but her laugh says it more than her words. It’s a reminder of the balance between art as expression and art as entertainment. For Mourn, these are not mutually exclusive. The women can say something, speak to their youthful experience, be honest in their songwriting, and have a blast at the same time. Their lack of experience is ultimately an asset.

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