Chances are, when you google the term ‘Spanish Love Songs’, you’re going to find a lot of stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with this Los Angeles based band. Unless maybe by accident you stumble upon the Enrique Iglesias cover they did for us at the start of their last European tour. But when you do find them online, you are in for a treat! We sat down with Spanish Love Songs' self-proclaimed giant, Dylan Slocum, to talk all about their fantastic new album ‘Schmaltz’ (out March 30th through A-F Records / Uncle M), Travis Barker and Bigfoot.
PRT: What up my dudes? A lot has happened since we last spoke. You hopped on some bigger labels. A lot has been said about the pairing with A-F Records already. You’re with Uncle M Records here in Europe now too. Can you give us your top 3 favourite things about working with labels like that so far, from a band point of view?
Dylan: What’s up! Both labels have been so amazing so far. As for my favorite things:
1. Reaching a ton of new fans – both labels have pushed us out to their core fans very hard, and it’s rad to have new people hearing our music. They’ve also helped us run amazing PR campaigns, which is a first for us.
2. Everything gets done on time – we work really well when someone is asking us where things are.
3. And as cheesy as it sounds, it has been incredible just having two labels and teams that really believe in the record and want us to succeed. We had that with our previous label, so it has been nice to have the same experience with bigger labels.
PRT: We’ve listened to ‘Schmaltz’ and we got more of a “cohesive album” vibe than with Giant Sings The Blues. Is this something that happened naturally or did you aim for that during the writing process?
Dylan: I think it naturally happened since I wrote the core of the album in the span of about 4 months, as opposed to 4 years for Giant. Doing that allowed to keep the story of the album intact. It definitely feels more musically cohesive as well, since we really honed in on what this version of SLS sounds like. I’m sure we’ll blow it up for the next album.
PRT: The artwork goes really well with the songs. Can you tell us a bit how this one got picked?
Dylan: That is a picture of my grandfather, whom the song “Otis/Carl” is about. My dad took it back in 1990 or so in the park behind the house I grew up in. I saw it one day and decided it would be the cover. I was going to just call the album “Carl,” but then Joyce Manor came out with “Cody” and I scrambled, but the art stayed because it’s the best.
PRT: When you premiered ‘Beer and Nyquil (Hold It Together)’ you wrote a piece about how a house show in Switzerland gave the band a renewed sense of vigor. What’s been other defining moments in the band’s history?
Dylan: Oh man that’s tough. We’re very dramatic people. I feel like every tour we have something that’s the thing. Our first tour with the Flatliners was obviously important for us. We all jumped for joy when the A-F & Uncle M deals happened. And the response we had at Fest last year was huge as well. It showed us that we might be able to make this band a thing.
But really, we didn’t expect of this to ever happen for us, so each little thing – even like someone talking shit on us online – is so exciting. Our group text is one constant “woahh”.
PRT: Your videos are always very fun to watch. We took particular interest in your last one for ‘Bellyache’ where all kind of stuff is happening with swords. What’s happening there?
Dylan: Thank you! We try to have fun with the videos since our music can be a bit of a drag. For “Bellyache” we had an entire day where we kept trying to make a bad concept work and blew through some of our budget without actually having any good footage.
Thankfully, my directing partner (& our touring bassist) Clay is obsessed with a YouTuber named Will Keith who reviews different blades you can buy off Amazon. Clay had done a promo video for “schmaltz” that was an ode to a Will Keith video. We never released it, and while we were scrambling on Bellyache, we sort of looked at each other and said, “let’s cut shit with swords.” It’s the most fun I’ve ever had on a shoot.
PRT: You played Travis Barker’s festival Musink not that long ago with punk rock greats as Blink 182, Descendents and Lil Yachty. How did all go about? Did Travis Barker personally invite you? And was it just as cool as we imagine it to be?
Dylan: I wish the story was glamourous and that Travis discovered us or something cool. But I think the show’s production didn’t want to make a legendary band like the Adolescents open a Friday afternoon festival, and someone on the team remembered us. Our booking agent emailed us about it like 3 weeks before we played.
But they certainly didn’t treat us like a last minute addition. The entire crew was incredible, and it was the nicest show we’ve ever played. It was also incredible to watch so many classic bands, and then wander around by the trailers and be among them all.
Even better was having each of our friends come up to us individually and whisper, “holy shit is that Travis Barker?” and then trying to act like we weren’t geeking out too.
PRT: We read a comment on your facebook from someone who watched you at musink and said: “Wanted to slit my wrists 2 songs into your set. Thought it was a punk gig.” Is this basically the vibe you’re going for with SLS?
Dylan: Not exactly. We’re more of a dry, self-deprecating party, and we really like it when people, you know, have fun. We were sort of expecting a response like this, so we’re glad that he took the time out of his day to find us. We’re not very punk.
Seriously though, for anyone who hates band: please don’t slit your wrists at a show. Imagine the bummer that will cause for the rest of the trü punks who just wanna circle pit.
PRT: You’re touring Europe in just over a month and there’s some sick shows on that run. A sold out show with Propagandhi, a show with Iron Chic in Germany, Sold out Obenuse Fest in Zurich… what are you most looking forward too?
Dylan: Can I say every date? We have so much fun in Europe. Our booker / tour manager happens to be one of our best friends, so he makes sure everything is as rad as it can possibly be.
Everything you mentioned is going to be amazing. But we’re also excited for some of our shows in smaller towns like Bochum, where we’ve heard a lot from new fans finding the album. And we’re thrilled to do a few dates with Mobina Galore, because they’re just the best.
PRT: What’s the band’s link with Carly Rae Jepsen?
Dylan: We love her. It’s that simple. We have a mean cover of “Run Away with Me” that gets played when we’re drunk and a piano is around.
PRT: We saw you got interviewed by an actual bigfoot once. Is that the weirdest band related thing that ever happened to you since the start of SLS?
Dylan: I think by default. It’s not often I get the chance to smoke weed with bigfoot on a sidewalk and then talk about the band. I recommend everyone try it.
PRT: What’s next for Spanish Love Songs?
Dylan: Becoming a real band. We’re at the point where we need to be on the road as much as possible, so that’s what we’re trying to do. We even went as far as to finally buy a van.
I also started writing the next record, so we’ll probably record that this year. But hopefully a bunch of people check out this one first!