.Document: the New Romantics
They say they are closer to something called new romantic than the new wave. .Document is not a common group. Too much experience, too much music heard, too many hard ones spent on ecumenical acetates that decorate the mess in their homes; nevertheless, they are irredentos punks although it does not seem it, although it does not sound: the paths of musical anarchy are strange and to show a note, a beat , a syncopated arrangement, a historical sonic document.
Leticia composed Toussaint (vocals and guitar) and Alejandro Mancilla (synthesizer, sampler and programming), .Documento is on the crest of the wave of the underground Mexican and has just released the singles “September” and “Panorama”. Here a solace interview with his romantic members.
How was Alejandro Mancilla directing the “Panorama” video?
Mancilla: Just bring to the visual part something that happened to me when we finished that song: a fake aerobics class, musicalized by a nonexistent group. I explain: at that time, Document was a duet and for the video I called friends and acquaintances like Juris Tipa (former Black Kiss, Los Robotes and current Death on the Beach) and Alex, singer of The John Band. In addition, the Valgur singer helped us with the art direction, David de Estrellita mi Alegría did the hairstyles and María José Santa Rita went dancing. She used to play the synths in Abominable. Thus everything was armed, as very informal; We recorded the video and then ate pizza.
What did you learn most from your previous project, Dixybait?
Mancilla: Namely, the woman-singer and male members format is a pop classic that is worth replicating. Rob Sheffield already says it in his book You live on the tapes you recorded for me (Crown Publishing Group, 2007): when you make songs and you don’t dare or are bad to sing them, the resource that a woman sings is always good, always It will work out well or at least better than you.
There are still features of tontipop and new wave in the modulations of .Document.
Mancilla: Maybe. But rather we assume in any case as new romantics, it is a little less playful than the tontipop, more serious and a little colder. In fact, I think of tontipop there are only elements in a song that we have called “I hate my friends”, starting with the lyrics, but in the other songs there is more tendency to minimalism and even dark than to those Spanish bands naïve I still like them a lot.
The RAE defines the word document as “relation or other writing that illustrates some fact, mainly of the historical […] Thing that serves to testify a fact or to inform of it, especially of the past”. A remaining vessel can be an archaeological document, but a song too. Why this name?
Toussaint: It is a very generic word that represents data, testimonies, I liked the visual possibility of using it as a .Doc.
Mancilla: I wanted a simple, basic and even cold name. What can be more than that word? Which also names one of my favorite records of REM: Document (1987). It emerged spontaneously, one day I said “I want to make a group called .Document”.
What does the Californian group Casiotone for the Painfully Alone represent for you?
Toussaint: We really like your lo-fi sound.
Mancilla: The best name for a group ever chosen, at least for those who make bedroom music. I saw it years ago in El Pasagüero, in the first parties that were held there, and I loved how I could make such a basic and great staging with pure Casio toy. This time we talked about how fan Owen Ashworth (the only member of Casiotone …) of the Smiths was.
What do you remember most about the television of the 80s, remember Vital Rhythm ?
Toussaint: The Thundercats , The Dukes of Hazzard and especially the ads. I learned the jingles . Yes I remember Vital rhythm , of course! Mancilla: I don’t remember Vital rhythm , but I do like Cat GC , video or music programs like Stars of the 80s (where bands like La Unión or Mecano were performing), Mazinger Z , The Amazing Man , Magnum , Danger Profession ,
Remi … I was an avid follower of series and television in general, I loved her and now I hate her, I only see things that I download, and nothing of the programming of a channel.
Whose idea was it to invite Juris Tipa to the “Panorama” video, as a member of a non-existent band?
Mancilla: I have known Juris for a long time, since I played with Los Robotes and we share musical tastes and sometimes debates on Facebook and phone calls. One day I dialed her, told her the idea and beat her into the game.
How does Leticia Toussaint develop within the art direction and design?
Toussaint: Design is what I do every day; but exercising it in .Document is the most fun, because it gives me complete freedom. I designed the cover of the single , now available on all digital platforms: “September” which is side A and “Panorama”, in B.
What is eroticism for you?
Toussaint: It’s the imagination, pleasure with all the senses.
How many copies were made of the limited CD-R?
Toussaint: It already came out. We made twenty copies. The packaging is cut and assembled by hand. It was a handmade process. Now comes a complete album (along the way, maybe another single) that will be physical and we are planning to publish it with the Cassette label, which served as an aggregator on digital platforms for the single “September”. The idea is to have it as for February or March 2020.
Besides “September”, “Panorama” and “Weekend”, what other topics can we hear?
Toussaint: “Anniversary” and “I hate your friends.”
Mancilla: “The robot of yesterday.”
On which wedges did Iñaki Vázquez, from Fobia collaborate?
Mancilla: Just in “The robot of yesterday”, but more than collaboration was production, although he played several instruments in the recording and contributed a lot, he made the music sound different and somehow brought us closer to the rock and took us away from the synth-pop . We are supposed to record two songs with him, in those we are.
How is the composition process?
Toussaint: Alejandro composes and then we contribute ideas.
Mancilla: I make the songs in my room, then I add lyrics and send them to Leticia to rehearse. Sometimes they come out of a phrase I like, sometimes from books or nonsense. Then, Jorge – who entered as a guitarist and keyboardist – puts things in them. Then we go to the studio to record vocals and whatever it takes.
What are they reading now?
Toussaint: You live on the tapes you recorded for me . I bought it barely.
Mancilla: No more love songs , by Juan Carlos Hidalgo, and The Sinking of the Pier , by Mark Haddon.
Tell me about the Almostotone and the Yamaha keytar and its letter of principles.
Toussaint: Letter of principles: We hate reggaeton. End.
Mancilla: I almost bought it from a girl on the subway in Mexico City about six or seven years ago. I went with his mother and asked if they sold it to me. They accepted, I think it was 300 pesos that they asked for and I keep it to date. The Yamaha keytar is the main instrument of “Panorama”, the whole song was made with it and with some additional synths , but I don’t have that keytar anymore.
I feel your project closer to punk than to minimalist pop, why will it be?
Toussaint: For our look , ha ha! I don’t know, maybe because of that “Do it yourself with the means you have” attitude.
Mancilla: Maybe because we don’t know how to play any instrument well, at least me. And because punk was a bit that, doing something with the elements you have at hand, just what we do.
Does the project arise with the idea of making ephemeral songs and then disappearing?
Toussaint: Rather, it comes with the idea of enjoying music without time expectations.
Mancilla: Yes, maybe take out the album – which already has a name: The loneliness of the comet girl – and then disappear, like everything else. If someone likes the group afterwards, I find it more interesting that it is a mystery, that they never listen to us live (which we also do not recommend, we still sound fatal; we start backwards: recording and then rehearsing). We have only played at a party with several invited groups.
“Commercial art is much better than art for art,” Andy Warhol used to say in relation to trademarks. On which side is .Document?
Toussaint: I think that document would be more in art for art, but at the same time it is the brand I always wanted to do.
Mancilla: I would prefer that .Document make the music for a detergent commercial than to go out in an underground fanzine or on the billboard of a museum or a house of culture. Art for art can be pretentious and advertising never hides its intentions.