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BALA's Violeta Mosquera: "We love energetic music and playing live, sweating, and giving it our all.”

Interview with Violeta Mosquera from BALA
by Gary Hernandez at 12 September 2021, 8:55 AM

BALA is an Alternative/Metal duo out of Galicia, Spain. They formed in 2013 and have released three albums. Their latest album, “Maleza,” (trans: weeds) was released on May 14, 2021 on Century Media. Gary Hernandez, writer for Metal Temple, caught up with V to discuss the band’s evolution and the many influences on their music—from women they admire to artists, both past and present, to the region itself. 

I believe the two of yet met in Galicia, Spain. Is that where you are both from?

Yes! One from Lugo and the other one from Santiago, but we live in Pontevedra and A Coruña respectively.

What is the music scene like in Galicia?

It´s AWESOME. One of the best in Spain, I’d say. There is a great underground scene, and you can find any kind of band, sound, or music genre.

Most material I read on BALA—interviews, reviews, etc.—identify the band as Metal. Others as Alt, Punk, Grunge, and even Stoner. How would you characterize BALA?

It´s a difficult question for us!! We are a mix of our influences, I think. So yes, you can find some punk, some grunge, some stoner, some rock, some metal…

Both of you were in other projects prior to BALA. What were those like?

And we have more projects now, too! Music is our passion, and we love it, so we play as much as we can! Nowadays I (V) play bass in FAUL, a punk band, and drums in MOLOCH, an experimental and progressive band from Pontevedra.

Did you have a vision for BALA when you formed?

Make a lot of noise and enjoy playing as much as we can!

Tell us about the name, BALA. I believe it translates to “bullet” in English. How did you decide on it? What does it signify for you?

When we were looking for names, we knew that we wanted a short, Spanish and powerful word. After looking for hundreds of ideas we chose “BALA” because it sums up very well the kind of music that we do: aggressive, direct, and raw.

In the past, Anxela Baltar covers bass, at least in the studio. I believe Bonnie Buitrago (NASHVILLE PUSSY) plays bass on three tracks on “Maleza.” Any consideration of expanding to a trio?

In this last album we made some collabs, but BALA is and will be a duo, always. We love to collaborate with other artists but just for concrete things. No plans about changing the band!

You released “Human Flesh” in 2015. It is a brutal, angst-filled album and it is exquisite. People talk about how great “Maleza” is—and they are right—but you have been cranking out this level of high-quality music from the beginning. Tell us about “Human Flesh,” was there a unifying theme behind the album?

“Human Flesh” was mainly an experiment. We had been playing just a few months together and we wanted to record those first creations as soon as possible. But we didn’t know our sound yet, we were trying things. Now we know better about what we want to do, and you can notice it since “Lume.” “Maleza” is very similar to “Lume,” but it sounds better. We think it’s a logic evolution, and we think we found our path and we will continue walking through it for the next albums.

What does A.S.A.B. stand for?

All Sionist Are Bastards. We wrote that song standing for Palestina. It´s awful what is happening there.

Not a lot of people know who Joan Vollmer is. \[Prominent beat poet. Common law marriage to William Burroughs who shot her dead under highly contested circumstances.] You dedicated a song to her. What does she mean to you?

We love to do certain tributes to women we admire. In “Human Flesh” was Joan Vollmer, in “Lume” were the Flapper, and in “Maleza” is Bessie Stringfield.

Two years later you released “Lume,” another incredible album. Surprisingly, “Lume” is even more visceral than “Human Flesh.” The mix is more distorted and, if possible, louder. Is this just a difference in how you recorded the album or were there other influences at work?

We had everything clearer when we made “Lume.” Our sound, what we wanted to do with vocals…it was the first album that we recorded with Santi García, and you can notice the difference!

Two years after “Lume” comes “Maleza.” It seems like two years is your preferred cadence. Is that by intention or just a coincidence?

Kind of intention, but the COVID pandemic made us wait more than we expected the release of “Maleza.” Now we are thinking about making new songs…we can´t stop!

Tell us a bit about “Maleza.” The songs seem to come from a much more personal space.

“Maleza” was an album that we made with a lot of time. We took a break in 2019 to make this album. The plan was to tour it during 2020, but everyone knows what happened…

Describe the evolution of BALA from “Human Flesh” to “Maleza.” How have you grown musically, lyrically?

We grew a lot! But we continue growing. Our last work is always the best one, but only time will tell if we continue evolving and where we will be.

I noted before that the intensity level from album to album doesn’t diminish and, in fact, may even increase. Where does this energy come from? What drives you?

We love energetic music and playing live, sweating, and giving it our all. We talk about a lot of things: personal experiences, things that we admire or stand for, complaints against the system…

What bands or artists have influenced you?

A lot! Some of them: NIRVANA, MELVINS, BLACK SABBATH, QOTSA, the riot grrrls…

If we were to look through your personal music collection, what album do you think we’d be surprised to find?

Celia Cruz!

You did a cover of a SMASHING PUMPKINS song \[“Bodies”]. Are you considering any other covers? Do you do any covers live?

Yes! We made a FUGAZI cover recently. We love to do these kind of projects where we can call some friends to make the thing we love the most!

Is there something about the Spanish or Portugal regions that is reflected in your music?

We are from Galicia, and Galician culture is very present. “Vitamina” or “Rituais” are songs written in Galician, the last one dedicated to all the women that defeated the establishment and were called “witches” just for thinking different.

You sing in both Spanish and English. Do some songs or lyrics just work better in one or the other language? How do you decide on which language to use?

At first, we used English because it’s the main language of our idols. But we started to notice that when we sang in Spanish people knew the lyrics and sang with us live…that was an inflection point. We can write more sincerely if we do it in our own language, so we started to experiment…and we are happy with the result.

What has been your experience as women playing heavy music whether it is on tour, interacting with other bands, or even with producers and labels?

Well, at first it was less common to find more women on the road, but it has been changing and nowadays our presence in music business is bigger. There is a lot of work to do, but we´ll keep fighting for a true equality.

You have toured extensively. In your experience, where are the best audiences?

The ones who are not afraid of noise and sweat.

If you had a crystal ball, what do you think it would say about the future of heavy music post-COVID19?

We hope this is going to end and we can go back to circle pits as soon as possible!!

What impact do you think Brexit will have on the heavy music scene in Europe?

It´s too soon to know because it´s in process, but we hope it doesn’t affect mobility in terms of gigs. We love UK and we can’t wait to go again!

What’s next for BALA?

We think that 2022 will be the year to tour abroad again, and we can't wait to go overseas and enjoy playing all around the globe. Meanwhile, we will play in Spain as much as we can!!

Before we close, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Thank you for having us, and hope to see you soon in some gig, dancing and enjoying live music. Take care!!!


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Edited 31 March 2023

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