Ekhi Lopetegi assures me he isn’t, you know, weirdly obsessed with a certain Michael J. Fox time-travel film trilogy. “We like the movie, but we’re not crazy about it,” says the singer and bassist for Spanish dance-pop band Delorean, who took their name more than a decade ago from Doc Brown’s iconic stainless-steel vehicle.
Lopetegi’s avowal that he’s no Back to the Future “diehard” might be necessary. He’s on the phone from a studio with an actual DeLorean DMC-12 in it. And his band is about to go back to the future.
The presence of John DeLorean’s distinctive car is just a fortuitous coincidence: It’s at Red Bull Studios New York as part as an ongoing exhibition of works by artist Peter Coffin. But Delorean’s planned journey into its past as a way of moving forward is real. “We’re going back to a house-ier sound,” Lopetegi explains. “We wanted to try to write dance tracks again.”
Last year’s album Apar was an “experiment” for the group, he says. “We wanted to write songs, pop/rock songs,” he recalls. The band is still in the early stages of laying out its next album, but he says the material they’ve been working on returns to the use of vocal samples; while there might not be as much piano as in their earlier work, such as 2010′s Subiza or 2009′s Ayrton Senna EP, there are synthesizers.
Delorean were at the professional studio in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood this week to record new music, a change for a band that usually records in its own self-built studio in in Barcelona. They’re self-producing so far, and Lopetegi says they’d like to have some collaborators again (Apar featured guest vocals from Chairlift‘s Beyoncé-collaborating Caroline Polachek, along with Glasser‘s Cameron Mesirow and Au Revoir Simone’s Erika Spring).
The group members have also been busy remixing other artists this year, including reworkings of tracks by HAIM, Shura and Empress Of. Are these any indication of Delorean’s new-old direction? “I’m sure you’ll be able to recognize some of the features that are on the remixes in our songs,” Lopetegi says. “We try different sounds and different techniques in the remixes that then we can translate to our songs.”
The unpredictabilities of travel forced the band to cancel a planned set earlier this month at Full Moon festival on New York’s Governors Island, but after our interview they played Thursday night at Morgan’s Pier in Philadelphia. They’re set to play tonight at Washington, D.C.’s Black Cat and tomorrow (Saturday, August 16) at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. And they had a run of U.S. earlier this year rescheduled after a harrowing “virtual kidnapping” in Mexico.
“We don’t want to talk about it in public,” Lopetegi says of the episode. “It’s a very personal thing. We try to be thankful to the people who helped us and showed support, and that’s pretty much it.”
Delorean’s work on new music comes as fellow Barcelona-based acts such as John Talabot, who notably remixed Delorean’s “Seasun” in 2009, also continue to build growing followings (see also Pional’s “It’s All Over (John Talabot Stormbreak Refix). “The scene’s in good health,” Lopetegi observes. “It’s not as huge as New York or L.A., but it’s definitely very interesting.”
Back to Back to the Future. Red Bull’s DeLorean won’t rev its engines on a Delorean track — “We didn’t figure out how to use it for our music,” Lopetegi acknowledges — but he does remember Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip’s John DeLorean-themed album as Neon Neon, 2008′s Stainless Style. And the Marty McFly spirit looms in how, he says, looking ahead, they’re “trying stuff that we used to do years ago.”
Lopetegi adds that other than being “house-ier,” Apar‘s follow-up has no “strong concept” yet. “We want to feel free to do whatever we want without the restrictions of a strong concept,” he clarifies. Where Delorean are going, they don’t need roads.