Colombian-born, Melbourne based singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Pablo Naranjo releases ‘acoustic, textural, filmic’ third solo record.
It’s Pablo’s third album, after a band and solo career that’s seen him work with some exceptionally distinguished producers. His solo debut, nearly a decade after he moved to Melbourne, was called Here in the Distance (2013) and was mixed by renowned engineer Steve Orchard (Paul McCartney, Peter Gabriel, Seal).
Black Euphoria (2017) was recorded and mixed by Pablo with the exception of the track ‘Transform’, mixed by Adam Kasper (Soundgarden, Nirvana, REM).
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In early 2020, Pablo began the writing and recording of his latest release, Ecos del Frío (Winter Echoes) which became Pablo’s main form of therapy during the long Melbourne lockdowns.
“The inception of the album was the song ‘Luna Gris’ (Grey Moon) which came to me in Spanish,” Pablo says.
“The song was very visual and called for more delicate textures outside the realm of rock, jazz or any specific genre, something more filmic. The rest of the album evolved from there and I explored more textural soundscapes with the guitar always leading the way.”
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“My influences from when I was growing up are always with me when I write, even if I haven’t listened to those albums in many years. There’s something about that music that marks you when are in your teens that somehow stays with you forever, even if what you write now sounds nothing like those bands or artists.
“This is a very acoustic, textural and in a way filmic album, not the music that I was listening to when I was twelve, however, there’s at least two songs where I can feel clearly the influence of some of the bands I was listening to then.”
The release includes video clips of three of the tracks on the album: ‘Dissolve’, ‘Luna Gris’ and ‘Ecos del Bosque’.
“The lyrics of the songs in this album are about different themes, and like most my songs, they are inspired by places, environments and images rather than stories,” he says. “The words tend to come out from the music and what the music evokes. There are themes such as our sense of connection with the world and others, our perceptions of others and our difficult emotions.
“The English name for the album was ‘Winter Echoes’, a close translation to Ecos del Frío. ‘Frío’ means cold, so the inspiration of a lot of the songs and textures was winter, cold places high in the mountains where I felt the music was taking me.”
He also works as a producer himself. “As well as writing and recording my own music, I love working with other artists to mix their projects,” he says. “So I’m always available if people would like to use my ears or skills for their music. I also write music for films and TV so I’m always keen to work on those projects too.”
Pablo’s career spans over twenty years as the leading composer/songwriter of rock band Septimo Aposento and classical/jazz guitar duo Orbeum. His music features the guitar as the leading instrument in all his pieces and Ecos del Frío takes this exploration even further:
“I love to create all sorts of sounds with the guitar, to use it as an orchestra and as a source of different textures in the music which often don’t sound like a guitar at all,” he continues.
“I explore soundscapes outside the realm of any genre, so it’s more filmic and textural. I sing in Spanish and English in this album and started doing that in my last EP. The words come by themselves as I’m writing the music, they come in English or Spanish, I can’t force it. It’s nice to have some songs in my mother tongue.”
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Pablo’s already halfway through writing his fourth solo record, the result of channelling the lockdown hibernation into producing art. “In the process of writing all these songs, I also wrote almost half of my next album,” he says.
“So sometime next year I’d like to start recording that which will take me around 18 months or so to complete. In the meantime, I’ll be doing shows around Victoria and hopefully other states too. I’m also enjoying mixing other musicians’ projects so that will keep me busy too.”
For people unfamiliar with his work, he lists Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Days of the New, Pearl Jam as some of his lasting influences in the western sphere, also noting progressive and 70’s rock icons like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Yes and more modern bands like Tool and Opeth.
“I have a big repertoire, some of it is more rock and some is quite mellow, so depending on the show, sometimes I play more the rock stuff and people get into the darker, more upbeat songs but sometimes it’s the more ambient, mellow stuff that people get into,” he says.
“I would like people to take whatever they feel the music means to them based on their experiences and how they understand it. Ideally, I’d like people to go on a journey with my music.”