You'd be hardpressed to find a human alive today that couldn't relate to heartache. Who hasn't loved and lost? Who hasn't felt the pangs when a fling falls out of favor?
With the theme of heartbreak running rampantly through all of our lives like varicose veins, it unsurprisingly manifests itself quite frequently and glaringly in music. So, when an artist comes along and addresses the subject of love and loss head on, he is a veritable David stepping out onto Goliath's battlefield.
Now, let's direct our attention to the Spanish multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Pional. On his recent 'When Love Hurts' release on Ninja Tune imprint Counter Records, Pional dives deep to express the pain that rises from the depths of poisonous relationships. He wrestles with some very heavy subject matter, and the victory he claims is an impressive 4 track release that tells a tale, lives a life, and begs you to press play immediately after the final song finishes.
To give you a bit more insight into 'When Love Hurts', Pional opened up and let us glean a bit of the glimmer that guided him to make this wonderful release. Also, before you start reading, be sure to snag a copy or stream 'When Love Hurts' here.
Atmospheric and big, groovy and chock full of vibes - 'When the Love Hurts' is a fully fleshed out and engaging work of art. Did you achieve what you set out to do with this release?
Totally, I wanted to make something that I’ve never made before, that was my goal and I made it. I'm very happy with every single part of the process, from the music, lyrics and artwork. It took me almost 6 months to finish it, and that's a lot, at least for me, but there are no words to describe how much I learned during this process.
I get a strong sense of the person that is behind the Pional project from this release. How did you go about imbuing this music with such humanity and life?
The concept of this record was to show a different point of view of my music, still could be dance music but not club oriented. I’ve been djing in clubs for a few years and I wanted to have sort of a break of that obscure music and put a little bright light to achieve the kind of sound that I wanted for this record. It is very honest, something that I wanted to share with the people.
When you set out to make a song like "Of My Mind", how does that process go from start to finish?
This track was made a couple of years ago, it was a rough demo that I made to play it live at Eurosonic Festival in Groningen, that was the first time I played it, it was quite different but still had the same essence. When I finished the other 3 songs I opened the “Of My Mind” project and changed a few things here and there, adding new vocals, new arrangement and that stuff.
Contextually, how does this EP sit within the Pional catalogue?
It's part of me, I feel that this release is 100% me. I learned so many things while working on this record that definitely helped me to grow as a producer. To me, to keep me excited while working on every project, it's to try to make something different but keeping the nature of the sounds and emotions that I like.
Now to focus on Pional the greater project and the person masterminding it, Miguel Barros. Can you tell me about the essence of Pional?
I've always just been a musician kind of to create whatever I can create, I´ve never really spent time thinking about this is this or this is that. Of course I´ve been influenced by a lot of different producers but I want to be and artist for myself first, doing what I want to do, never had to adhere to this genre or whatever. There are so many good electronic producers out there that are kinda cool but some of them are stuck making the same thing over and over just because of their fans, listeners or whatever you want to call it, but for me, that's the worst attitude.
Of course I'm not going to compare myself with David Bowie, he was just a genius, but the main thing is that he was always changing the game. He was the kind of guy who decided to do something against the grain and always made records that were forward thinking, ahead of its time and that's what any artist should pursue, no matter if you are doing techno, afro beat, pop, rap etc. My essence is basically that I do what I really want it to do, not thinking about others, but me.
Your style is distinct and always engaging. Has it been a long time coming to craft your sound and music to where it is today?
Every day in the studio it's a masterclass for me. I try to learn music, learn how people make their music. I don't release many records very often and the reason is because I want to feel honest with myself and the people that listen to it. That's the reason why every record of mine is different. As I said before, I want to move forward and make different things and not feel stuck in the same loop on every single record.
Finally, what is "When Love Hurts" all about?
Four stories with one thing in common - toxic relationships. For the artwork I realized it would be great to have poisonous plants, as they are like relationships. Everything looks perfect but could be dangerous.