The visionary of the new wave of Spanish pop was about to unintentionally take on Rosalía’s career. To start this story you have to go to a song, Before i die, 2016. C. Tangana and Alizzz were working on it, in their desire to build a bridge between the avant-garde and mass pop. Come out of its burrow to conquer the world. “When we had almost finished it, C. Tangana told me: ‘I have met a girl who sings flamenco and can fit in’. I tried to convince him to do it alone. ‘Are you sure you want to involve someone else?’ He insisted, so in the end we did. It is clear that he was right ”, says Alizzz while laughing, sitting on a sofa in a Madrid recording studio. Rosalía was 22 years old and she was going to be known from then on.
If we draw a line that one Before i die (121 million listens on Spotify) with the song just released, You stopped loving me (the piece by C. Tangana with La Húngara and El Niño de Elche produced and played by Alizzz, number one in Spain), we will have the journey of what the new Spanish pop is, something that has been forged in the last three years and that has not stopped expanding. The brain of all this that has remained in the background is called Cristian Quirante, artistically Alizzz. Now take a step forward.
Alizzz has just arrived in Madrid from Barcelona, where he lives. Is tired. It takes several days of negotiations. He has become a busy and claimed guy: he runs a record label, plans to build a recording studio, accelerates with the new C. Tangana album, promotes a song with Amaia Romero (The meeting), prepares his solo pop album, works with Jorge Drexler, Andrés Calamaro… “There are two things that fascinate me about Cristian: that he is very instinctive and does things the way his heart beats, and that he has decided to live as an artist, without plan b “, says by phone the Madrid musician C. Tangana. “Create meaningful things quickly and naturally,” adds Amaia Romero from her confinement after testing positive for coronavirus.
Cristian / Alizzz speaks calmly and prudently, at a great distance from the bravado of some protagonists of the urban genre. He is a composer and music producer, a one-man orchestra who is making the computers with which he makes his songs cry, feel and shudder. “Prejudices go against art. If you do not enjoy a Rosalía concert because it does not have musicians, it is a question of prejudices, because it is a wonderful show. The autotune [un procesador para afinar y distorsionar voces] it is a tool for making music. It is absurd to be a denier. It’s like going against guitars “, he explains with a more didactic than provocative tone to then reveal the story of his stage name:” There is a dj which is called Actress. He was always in the shade at concerts. I liked being elusive, not knowing if he was a man or a woman. He wanted to give me a girl’s name, to mislead. As I liked the group Alice In Chains I decided something similar. I put the ‘z’ to make it more personal: Alizzz ”.
The biography of this 36-year-old musician from Barcelona contains details that can shape the profile of a young man of this time. Born in Castelldefels (Barcelona), he studied Telecommunications Engineering and when he finished he got a job as a programmer. Follower of Blur, Oasis or The Cure, at a Benicàssim Festival he experienced an epiphany during an electronic session. “I flipped. From that moment on, I wanted to do that. I downloaded a program from the Internet and started creating music, “he explains. He discovered the Internet platform SoundCloud and exhibited his creations. The only child of a working family (his father owns a truck repair shop and his mother works at home), he became independent at the age of 19.
Fed up with his office job, he went to live in Germany after a heartbreak. “I landed in Berlin when I was 26 years old. I did an internship in a technology company. I didn’t like it, so I spent a year partying a lot and having my first DJing experiences ”. When he ran out of money, he returned to Barcelona “with his tail between his legs, to resume his work as a programmer.”
His first record, Whoa! (2013), allowed him to DJ in Japan, the United States, Europe or Australia. In 2014 he became intimate with C. Tangana, who was looking for a partner to refine his musical proposal. The urban music movement (trap, reggaeton, hip hop… with the street as a generator of styles and mixes) was buzzing at that time, but it did not leave its niche. “I met C. Tangana at a festival in Santander. We got super pedo. We were talking mallet. I told him that I would like to do something with him, but with a pop intention, to break the barrier of underground and let the whole world hear it. From that drunken conversation came Before I die ”.
Other productions arrived, such as Becky G (the hit Booty), Javiera Mena, Lola Indigo, Cupido, Aitana… and everything from C. Tangana. The keys to this new pop? The sound consistency of Anglo-Saxon electronics mixed with a certain Spanish symbolism, the suburbs, the rumba, the jaleos, the Gucci tracksuit, the swarms of floors, the fake gold watches, Los Chichos, the autotune, the Spanish guitar… Everything has its place, but with care: the line that separates the tacky from the elegant is so fine that you have to be extremely personal not to cross it. “I think that imitation of foreign models has been abused: the United States, France, Latin America … I have always been interested in artists who investigate Spanish,” adds C. Tangana.
Songs are usually not longer than three minutes and video plays a major role. “Things have to happen all the time. Technology has screwed our heads and we are not able to attend if it is not with constant stimuli. Now it is more difficult to make a long song. For example, Whole Lotta Love, the Led Zeppelin, which is a themeon, lasts more than five minutes. That type of ideas within what is the current popular music costs more than they work ”.
Alizzz confesses an influence of classic Spanish pop. “Los Secretos and Antonio Vega are fundamental in my training. And a song like Wolf man in Paris, from La Unión, is great. The other day I did a version. But my favorite group is Los Planetas. Also Extremoduro, of course. I keep coming back to records like Deltoya OWhere are my friends? Robe Iniesta is a genius. There would be nothing I would like more than to work with him, ”he says.
After the interview, Jorge Drexler appears at the studio. Then C. Tangana will arrive. The two are going to spend the night recording with Alizzz. They will finish at eight in the morning. While the world of entertainment walks reeling, not knowing which way to go, knocked out by the devastating impact of the pandemic, a group of people have taken the opportunity to position themselves on the front line.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.