A window into Nicolás Molina’s new album
For those who don’t know the Uruguayan singer-songwriter and frontman of Molina y Los Cosmicos, his latest album is a good place to start.
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“Querencia” is “an album that was recorded with patience,” says Nicolás Molina in the video for the release of his new production.
Between intimate guitars and a velvet voice, Molina introduces his first solo production under his own name and from a hidden home studio on the outskirts of Montevideo.
In an exclusive interview with AL DÍA, the singer shared the process of transforming his music from the band format to this new experience.
"Actually, Molina y Los Cósmicos worked from the base as a solo project," he explains, looking for the right words. “When I recorded the first album, El Desencanto, I started putting it together not from the concept of a band, but only in a home studio, in a cultural factory that works in Castillos, which is the town where I am from.”
In the Department of La Rocha, 255 kilometers from the capital, Nicolás Molina started a collaborative project in 2009 together with Martín Méndez, Ignacio Vitancurt, Sebastián Arruti, Andrés Mastrangelo and Emma Ralph, frequently defined as one of the most original samples of the independent music of the Southern Cone.
However, it was good fortune that allowed them to make a name in their own country.
"It was all a mixture of luck, chance and a bit of merit," said the singer about the band’s break into stardom. “I always put luck or chance in a very important place.”
For Molina y Los Cósmicos, the journey started when a video clip recorded by Molina and a friend went viral after being published on Remezcla.
It was thanks to that promotion in American territory that Molina y Los Cósmicos became known in their own country.
With only 3 million inhabitants, the small nation of the south - which has given birth to fundamental bands and musicians such as No Te Va A Gustar or Jorge Drexler - is the ideal place for new projects to grow in a DIY format. However, the industry is still very small for emerging groups.
After his brief success with the band, Nicolás Molina decided to venture into an even more intimate creative process, far from the ties of a group, and with his own name.
“While Molina y Los Cósmicos was a group, it was a solo project with a band name if you like,” he explains. "But there is a whole issue that is particular in music because you can be in a super emergent project where a lot of things may be happening but it is not enough for you to quit your job."
The decision to take distance from the band format was accompanied by a personal process where Molina began to “feel the world differently”, and much more personal songs emerged, always recorded at home with a particular sound.
Thanks to his experience of years as a recording technician, Molina spent the last year looking for that "naturalness" in his songs, with the firm intention of reaching a level of honesty that could speak for itself.
This is how “Querencia” is born, an album where the sound varies not only in instrumentation, but also in the decision-making process, where the singer-songwriter sought to transmit a complicated personal process through simplicity.
"While in Molina and Los Cósmicos there was more production work, in ‘Querencia’ I had the need to work with the human resources at hand," he tells us. “The same goes for the lyrics and the recording process. It was like naturalizing the recording.”
It was no longer about speaking of sincerity because, as Molina emphasizes, that has never been lacking in his work. It is rather an honest process for himself.
"The cover, for example, is a polaroid of a photo that represents the album," he says, comparing it to other previous album covers that had been made by designers. "All decision making, whether aesthetic or sound, was more natural."
And the result was precisely that: a natural, intimate and simple album, which contrasts radically with the convoluted bustle of Latin music that populates mainstream charts.
Nicolás Molina is, in short, a sample of the new Latin American sound - a simpler, more sincere, more real sound that breaks with all stereotypes.
“Querencia” will release on September 10 at La Trastienda de Montevideo, and from there, Molina will bring his songs in all formats, both in-band and solo, around the world. He is set, again for a show at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, in March 2020.