Discover the artist’s point of view about creativity and get inspired by the adventures he shares with us in this wonderful interview.
THE ARCHIVE: What song or group inspired you to make the leap to the music world?
DAVID: I think that more than a song or a group, it was a movement that – in my case – taught me how to play the guitar. That was my first step into the music world. Through playing the guitar I realized that accompanying it with lyrics and choruses was much more fun than just playing it, so from that moment on I started to compose. But the movement that really inspired me to devote myself to the world of music was the grunge movement of the early 90’s, with groups like Nirvana or Green Day. Then maybe also some pop groups, or a the ‘90s rock like Guns and Roses and Aerosmith. It was all this grunge-rock movement that we could actually even call MTV movement – where we would find all the information about how to play the guitar and we could watch the guitarists hands while they were playing. That MTV movement with the grunge movement of the ‘90s was what really inspired me when it came to writing songs, playing the guitar, imitating my idols… From there on we also had times where we would get inspired by Silvio Rodriguez on one hand and by Metallica on the other. We were really versatile when it came to understanding music and trying to imitate things, so we would be able to compose something more melodic and songs that were more into the metal genre. But I would deffinitely say that Nirvana and Green day were the reason taht triggered it all.
TA: What was the first song you composed and what was it about?
D: The first song I composed, which I not only have memories that I composed but that became part of a record and came to mean a lot to me, is called Llueve en mi, and belongs to the first album of El canto del loco. I do not know if it was the first song I composed, but it was the first song that stayed on my mind for a long time, and the one that somehow told me that I had the ability to make songs that could be remembered. Because something funny happened to me with this song, the first time I played it was during summerwith some friends at the beach. I was 16 years old at the time, I had already composed songs before, sure, but none came to have that label, and I remember that the year after composing this song, some of those friends would ask me to “play that beautiful song that you played last year that was called Llueve en mi!” And I was very surprised that, a year later, they would still remember a song that they had heard me play a couple of times at the beach, at night, next to the promenade. I will always remember this story. That was kind of my first “commercial” hit. At least commercial for my friends back then, but then I had the chance to share it in the first album of El canto del loco and that it even became a single and a song that actually brought us a lot of happy moments. It was a song that somehow pushed this group of kids to start taking off.
TA: Where do you usually compose and why?
D: Well, I usually compose in many different places. According to the season I get different places. The album that I just finished, and that will be my first album with my own name – David Otero – was created almost entirely in my studio here in San Sebastián de los Reyes. This is where I work and where I find inspiration thanks to watching the sky through my huge window. I have the chance to watch some planes take off, and I don’t know why but planes seem to have a romantic touch to me, not in a loving kind of way but more in a vision of life kind or way. Because to me they represent people that are constantly traveling, that are constantly looking for something. I like my window and the sky I have before me. This was my secret place to compose this album. For the former album it was Buenos Aires, in case of other albums it was vans or hotel rooms, when I was in the middle of tours. Another album was created while watching the sea, at the beach. Some songs were written in a test room, others at my parent’s when I still lived there, sitting on my bed, at night, with an unplugged electric guitar because I couldn’t be to loud and I singing would almost become whispers. Some other time I would take the car and go for a ride, then I would park in some lonely streets and sit in the back seats with pen and paper and my guitar. And sometimes it happened that the police would stop me because they would wonder what I was doing there, and when they saw me with my pen and paper and my guitar they would almost apologize “oh sorry to interrupt you!” they would say. This happened a few times and it was really funny. Those would be the places where I usually compose.
TA: What is sustainability to you?
D: Sustainability I think is a word that is very easily defined by itself. I believe that in today’s world it is easy to have a definition of something that is sustainable. And being totally honest I think that almost nothing is sustainable today even though we try to put a sustainable label on this and that. I think we live in a society that goes so fast, that accelerates so fast, that sustainability is a concept that sometimes becomes unattainable. Or at least nor really practicable on a daily basis. Unless you take a lot of time to recycle what you are using, I believe we tend to consume a lot, to throw away a lot and to renew a lot. So I think the weight of sustainability falls a little more on the big institutions rather than on the just on the citizen. Of course the citizen can contribute, but until the whole society – the body of society as an organism in which we live – does not become sustainable, I believe that at the moment we can not do so much about it. I for my part try to recycle, but I’m not a flawless example, which is why they get mad at me from time to time … I try to be an environmentally conscious person, especially with things like not throwing papers around, or going to a beach and leaving it just as clean as you found it, or picking up the papers you see floating in the sea… anyway, it doesn’t go any further than that – I won’t lie to you and pretend I am some kind of bearer of sustainability when in fact I am just one more regular guy.
TA: What is creativity to you?
D: Creativity is my way of life. I am really bad at some things, but when it comes to imagining things that could happend or how they could happen I believe I am pretty good, I actually make a living out of it! In this case by creating songs, but I think it could be useful when creating many other things. I like to paint, I like to imagine ideas, I like the marketing world too, now that I begin to understand it a little bit better after a long time. Because I think it has a lot to do with creativity too. Before it was based on resources and since there are fewer resources now everything relies on this special spark. There is a part that relies on creativity that really interests me and that I like to research and experiment with. Anyway, I consider myself as a creative person, and to me something boring would be something that is not creative. So creativity is something really wide in my day to day life – from playing a game you invented with your kids to what is my job of creating songs.
TA: If you had to define yourself with titles of your songs, which one(s) would you choose?
D: Woaw! Good question! Well… I really like the title of my new single called Micromagia. I think that title could define me pretty well. The song is about the small details that sometimes go unnoticed even though they still make our day and make our lives funnier and easier, like when you laugh because of a joke or a friend’s call, or you get a hug or a kiss… All those kind of details that sometimes don’t seem important in our lives because we focus on bigger accomplishments – I am the first one to do so – but that somehow if we give them a bit more of emphasis would become something much better. I think wrote this song to remind myself of this and follow my own advice. I like to be aware of these things and I like that those little things make me happy, although I still hope to accomplish bigger things as well of course! But I really believe that if you focus on those little things it’s easier for you to be happy. I define myself as a happy person, like a joyful person, I laugh a lot, I take things with humour even though I can also get mad, but in the end I guess I can be a “micro-magic” person, so I could define myself as a “micro-magic” entity – alluding to this new single that I just released that I think has a lot to do with me.
TA: What advice would you give to someone who got stuck in their creative process?
D: The olny thing I could tell him/her is to get to know their times a little bit better, because there is no creative process that doesn’t get stuck sometimes, it is very rare for a creative process to flow from beginning to the end. There are always moments where you get stuck. Although I think it is not really an impasse, I believe it is rather something like a moment of idling speed, or that suddenly the energy focuses on another part of the process and it gets hard to understand that that moment where it seems like nothing is happening is actually necessary for other things to happen. I believe that if you know well your times and you are capable to know that something as stupid as a moment of madness can take X amount of time in your life, a fight takes this long or the excitement when achieving something lasts this long… when you really know those times life becomes a bit more stable at an emotional level. And the problem is not the impasse itself, it’s what can come out of an impasse on an emotional level, even more so when it comes to the emotion of a new project of an entrepreneur, who can fall into his/her worst achievement that could be to quit the project. Because in the end a lot of projects do not fail but are just abandoned. This is something that I haven’t figured out on my own, this quote has been there for a long time and I think it couldn’t be truer. Sometimes you abandon a project right before you find magical solutions. So the impasses are super usefull if you know how to interpret them and understand that in that impasse there certainly is a part of your process that is evolving even though you can’t see it at first. In the end I would also tell you to go with the flow, to not think about it too much.
TA: What awaits you in 2017?
D: I will get started with the tour since I will be releasing my new album on the 27th of January. So I will be playing and hopefully will be visiting many cities around Spain and Latin America with this new project, so I hope to be traveling a lot as that is what I am looking forward to the most. And I hope to have a lot of fun!