Interview and Translation by Shaina Machlus
Photos and Film by Eva Carasol
Animation by Sergi Ros
Filmed at Primavera Sound 2018 in Barcelona, Catalunya
With a four-stringed guitar made from a Cigar Box and a set of shiny, vintage Slingerlands, the Madrid duo DobleCapa deliver power. Arianne Picón and Mario Navajas’s musical message is simultaneously straightforward and winding. DobleCapa shares explosive emotion with the audience, blasting rock tempos that change and evolve to keep you constantly on your toes. Forgoing vocals, the duo shows just how deep four strings and drums can go. With their new record, La Felpa, coming out on March 11, 2019, Tom Tom was thrilled to speak with the two musicians at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound music festival.
Tom Tom: Can you give us a little history of how you started playing drums?
Arianne: I started playing drums three years ago. I’ve always been passionate about music and wanted to play an instrument. One day I sat down at the drums, Mario took his Cigar Box (guitar) and we saw that there was there something there. We decided to give this thing a shape. I learned by going out and playing. We were always very clear that we wanted to be in a band together. So, I threw myself into playing.
What was it like sitting behind the drums for the first time?
Well, I really liked playing the guitar and then I continued with the piano. Let’s just say I’ve gone through several instruments, but with I’ve never felt an interest in playing them with other people. When I sat down at the drums, they were set up for a right-handed person, and I’m left-handed. So, I started playing right-handed and said, “Hm, this is not for me.” But then I changed it to left-handed and something happened. I said, “This is my instrument.” Drums are the instrument that defines me the most as a person, and I decided to learn, learn, learn and that’s it.
And what is your way of learning?
I started with classes. But then I decided to learn to play through our band, DobleCapa, through composing.
Can you describe your sound?
My sound. Well, my sound is direct. There is no filter, no effects. What I am playing is what I want people to receive. Drumming is a direct line for me to communicate with the audience.
There are so many tempo changes in your music and live performances. How do you keep track of them?
Mario and I use visual cues, looking at each other. We also rehearse a lot, work very hard, and dedicate time to make sure everything is where it needs to be.
An important part of DobleCapa is being connected to each other.
Totally. To me, it is fundamental. In our case, we need to constantly be communicating, understanding each other, and on the same page.
Your style of music and playing is very powerful. Where does this power come from?
There is a lot of anger due to life circumstances. On a personal level, I have gone through a very hard, very hard time. Every concert I try to let out more of that pain through playing. Drumming has helped me accept these emotions. In the end, I want to convey who and what I am. I think that the Arianne you see and hear playing drums is authentic.
Your music has no vocals, is there a reason for this?
Well, it’s something that we were very sure about because I don’t sing and neither does Mario. I just shout when I feel like it and that’s it. But, we never say never. And in fact, I would love to be able to sing while I play the drums. Since I feel like I would love it, I’m sure I’ll do it one day. The voice is an important instrument and we have to work it, too.
I couldn’t help but notice that you play Slingerlands.
We are both very passionate about vintage equipment. The truth is that my drums are like my child. I have a tremendous love for my instrument.
I wanted to talk about insecurity for a moment, I wanted to know if you do something special to feel more secure on stage.
I do a lot of personal work. I go for a walk every day to stay connected with myself, to trust myself. It is important to value yourself as much as you value those around you. I say to myself, “Why can’t I? Of course, I can. I can just as you can, as he can, as she can, as we can.” I want to encourage everyone to let go of their fears, shame, and insecurities. Especially women. We need women playing music, and it’s as simple as just letting us. We are already here, we need to be respected and respect ourselves as well.