Enrique Bunbury thought that all was lost when, a few months ago, a strange throat condition prevented him from continuing with the tour with which he was celebrating 35 years of experience. He was often told about the difficulties he had to sing at his concerts, until one day, he abruptly canceled all shows.
Some time later, and after undergoing exhaustive tests, it was discovered that the cause of his illness was being in contact with glycol, a substance released by artificial smoke used on stage. Hope returned to the life of the Spanish singer, who while he was “inactive” dedicated himself to producing music and writing a book of poetry.
And a few days ago he announced his return, but on his own terms. There will be only 10 concerts, five in Latin America, four in the United States —including Los Angeles and New York—, and one in Madrid. It brings with it “Greta Garbo”, a record with luminous and even danceable rhythms, something that had not been heard in the artist’s latest productions. In a conversation that he asked to do in writing, he addressed this topic, what this experience left him with and what his next shows will be like.
During the time you were off the stage, you were composing and recording. What other activities kept you “sane”? How did you overcome that traumatic moment, as you describe it?
It has been a difficult year, of course. The cancellation of all shows and commitments left a huge void. On the one hand, the entire technical team and the musicians traveled back to Spain and I returned to Los Angeles to rethink everything. While I was doing tests and tests to discover the origin of the
problem. Little by little I began to re-establish my activity, with the collection of poems (MicroDosis) and I finished composing the songs that are part of this new album.
The new circumstances also required a change of perspective and I changed management for the new adventures I was undertaking. Of course, yoga and meditation have been traveling companions, not just in recent months. I have been practicing for years and they are of great help, at least for me they have been.
Did you ever lose hope of ever stepping on stage again?
Yes. Hope was completely lost by May 2020. By canceling everything I thought I would never go on stage again and somehow, I got used to it. I thought that I had already done many tours and concerts, that I had stepped on the best and worst stages and that not too much would happen if I channeled my career in a direction that excites me a lot and that is the basis of everything. Creation is something that continues to fascinate me to this day and I feel privileged to be able to continue with my passion.
What was your reaction when it was determined that the cause of your illness was the gas used on stage?
It was a relief. On the one hand, knowing that evil did not inhabit me, that I did not have a disease that would limit my daily activity. On the other hand, I had moments of rage, knowing that the companies that provide the smoke hide its components and include chemical and toxic elements that are not healthy or safe.
I find “Alaska” very bright (buzzword) and optimistic. For a while your music seemed quite introspective to me. But this particular piece, even the video, is very light and even joyous. What do you think?
I like what you say because yes, it is thoughtful and deep as well as light and luminous. I like it because I’m not exactly known for making songs like that. It is a new face that had not offered until now. Also, I think it’s a good song. But hey, that may finally have to be decided by the public. I hope you are enjoying it.
I have read that “Greta Garbo” is your most personal record. However, I find that your music in general is quite personal. What makes Greta different from your other productions?
True, that’s right. But in recent years he had been making a series of records that had a more social content, looking outwards, at the world we have had to live in. For this reason, it can be said that Greta Garbo is my most personal album in years. In addition, the circumstances surrounding the composition of this album have given it a deeper and more sensitive component.
Are you planning to resume the celebration of 35 years of your career or will this new tour be focused on “Greta Garbo”?
The truth is that I have no plans to resume touring. In principle, my idea is to do a few shows, very selected, in different cities and widely separated in time. Nothing that involves committing to spend time away from home and with the anguish of offering so much every night. I prefer to do very few shows and give myself totally. Focus on quality rather than quantity.
Will Greta Garbo be a complete album? With how many themes?
It is an old-fashioned record, recorded on analog tape, without a clapperboard, all the musicians playing
at the same time, without computer plug-ins, mixing directly to tape. Thus, its duration is dictated by the capacity of the vinyl: 45 minutes, ten songs. I think attention span is very important and longer records lose the listener’s attention.
Regarding your books MicroDosis and Exilio Topanga, I see that they have been successful. Did you expect it? Especially since the new generations read less and less.
Both albums have surpassed two editions and reached the first position in poetry sales. He is a very big compliment and I feel honored by the reception. But above all, knowing that the comments that come to me from the specialized press and the public are very positive. It is true that the new generations read less, because they have more distractions. The telephone and internet, above all. In addition to video games and other online entertainment. Reading is one of the greatest pleasures and a source of knowledge and
knowledge. In addition to the safest way for free and critical thinking.
How are your concerts going to be now that you’re back?
We are going to do a few concerts at the end of the year. Five. And next year, in the summer we will do another five. Nothing else. There will be no tours like before.