Music

With Ingenuity and Angst, Indie Band Mourn Steals the Stage

The members of Mourn
Courtesy of MournThe members of Mourn

For those who believe authentic, unconventional music is disappearing, one Catalonian indie band is proving them wrong.

The band, Mourn, is comprised of sisters Jazz and Leia Rodriguez Bueno, Carla Perez Vas and Antonio Postius Echeverria. Since the release of their self-titled debut in 2014, the band has been dominating the indie music scene.

With a musical identity rooted in punk rock and nurtured through unadulterated angst, Mourn delivers songs filled with heated resistance against former lovers, unjust bosses and other conflicts that shake their singular worlds and those which lay beyond. Frontwoman Vas and Jazz Bueno’s screaming vocals, joined by the rest of the band’s fast, upbeat musical accompaniment, encapsulate the unrestrained, creative energy which fuels their music.

Thriving off an astute sense of self and a heavy emotional resonance, Mourn’s latest album, Sorpresa Familia, taps into the fury and vigor that defines their previous studio work and marks them as one of the most talented groups to emerge from the alternative scene.  

Early roadblocks in their career led Mourn to its current success. In 2016, the band became entangled in a legal dispute with their former Spanish label and management team, Sones, after the label withheld their record despite Mourn’s members solely paying for its creation. Consequently, they were barred from touring and were unable to relish in the success of their second LP Ha. Ha. He.

But as is the case with opportunistic artists, these setbacks became prime material for songwriting — listeners can hear the sounds of tangible experience and raw emotion by listening to any of Mourn’s songs. With biting, philosophical tracks on their latest album, such as “Skeleton” and “Candle Man,” Mourn expresses its difficulties and experiences in a sophisticated and intelligent manner which contradicts their youth.

As part of their North American tour, Mourn performed at Chicago’s Empty Bottle Aug. 7, playing songs from their new album, as well as some old fan favorites, accompanied by bassist Julia Noel of the band Poor You. Following strong opening acts from Chastity and Lume, Mourn stole the stage with fierce performances evoking the spunk, intensity and uninhibited rage that defines its music.

Vas, Jazz Bueno and Echeverria took time to speak to The Phoenix before their show, sharing their thoughts on what led them to become involved in music, as well as their opinions on American music culture and the implications of being a female-dominated musical group.

All of them aspired to become musicians at a young age. In frontwoman Vas’ case, her artistic interests as a child led her to the indie star status she assumes today.

“I think that … I started having this relationship with music because I started dancing when I was really young,” Vas said. “I’ve always liked singing in my room and and I just thought, ‘What about learning guitar,’ you know?”  

Having grown up under the sway of her musician father, guitarist/vocalist Bueno was determined to take on the same profession.

“He would meet with all these Barcelona bands and band friends — so yeah, I thought that was really cool and I was like, ‘I want to do that, too!’” Bueno said.

For Mourn’s drummer, Echeverria, American drummers, such as The Eagles’ Don Henley and Deftones’ Abe Cunningham, inspire his craft.

Despite its indie status, Mourn has amassed a considerable fan following around the world, especially among Americans. This fame is a shock to even the band members. In their view, the kind of enthusiasm and support they receive from American fans differs greatly from their experiences performing in their home country of Spain.

According to Vas, the warm reception the band receives from American fans reflects the country’s interest in alternative, local artists.

“People here have a really different culture related to bands and supporting local bands,” Vas said. “We always say that we love when people come to our shows and they’re like, ‘Yeah, I had, like, a two-hour drive to come here,’ and we think that’s, like, the fucking best thing.”

Bueno shared similar thoughts on Americans’ fervor for indie music, highlighting the stark differences between American and Spanish music culture.

“In Spain … they’re not going to drive to see you. They’re just going to wait until you go there, you know?” Bueno said. “And here, it’s different. I mean you can see that … in American culture, they’re very attached to people — they buy records, they buy merch. In Spain, you’re lucky if someone buys your t-shirt.”

Gender stereotypes have no place in Mourn’s female-dominated arena, where the bass, guitar and vocals belong to the ladies. Vas said although concertgoers have lately been more accepting of her frontwoman status, she still has moments when it feels as though her talent is underappreciated.

“Sometimes, I feel underrated because people’s first impression is that I’m not going to play as well as [I could] if I were a man, you know?” Vas said. “And sometimes I feel that after the show people are like, ‘Wow!’ and I’m like ‘Yeah! Why did you assume I was going to play bad[ly]?’ … They have this conception that I’m not going to be as good as any man, you know?”

But despite the setbacks the band has faced, none of the members have any intention of giving up on their dreams. If there’s any message the band seeks to convey to listeners, it’s the motivation to be one’s true self despite the world’s expectations, Echeverria shared.

“Just [be] whoever you are and not let anyone stop you from what you are doing and just enjoy it and embrace it,” Echeverria said.  

Mourn’s members share a fearless determination to express their talents and beliefs in a way that counteracts the inane ideas expressed in mainstream music. With songs written about personal injustices and the racism and nationalism rocking their home country of Spain, Mourn seeks to express truths beyond breakups and fame.

Reflecting on their band’s studio work as a whole, Vas said there’s one song in particular that embodies the dogged determination and inspiration that unifies the band and reflects its character.

“I think it would be ‘Doing It Right’ because we have different parts and [it] has all of our essence, so the lyrics and the way of singing in that song is, I think, what represents us,” Vas said.

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