Named after her zodiac sign, Aries is the moniker of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Isa Reviriego, whose music is as adventurous and creative as an astrologist would be quick to presume. During her teenage years, she played in hardcore punk bands in her home region of Basque Country, Spain, before moving to Madrid during the 2000s and fronting the indie rock band Charades. Having already produced video game soundtracks and known for singing on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, Reviriego began her solo career in 2011 after the band broke up and she moved once again, this time to the small coastal city of Vigo. She has put out four solo records so far, her latest being Juramento Mantarraya, released last year via the Spanish label La Castanya and K Records. Dipped in vibrant technicolor hues, Juramento Mantarraya is a forward-thinking, so-called “super pop” record, bubbling through fluttering synths, Beach Boys-inspired melodies, and dynamic textures that demonstrate the richness of Reviriego’s diverse musical palette as well her talent for fusing accessible pop structures with unconventional sonic detours. The album blossoms like a colourful flower in spring – or, more accurately, some sort of abstract animation of it – from the jaunty rhythms and playful na-na-nas of the title track, to the wobbly electronics and kinetic percussion on ‘La Mejor Sensación’ and the dreamy psychedelia of ‘El Camino’. It’s a joyful, summery delight of a record.
We caught up with Aries for this edition of our Artist Spotlight series, where we showcase up-and-coming artists and give them a chance to talk a bit about their music.
When did you first become interested in music?
Since I was a child and my parents played records at home, I remember vibrating with music. Soon I had my own cassette collection and when I was 16 I formed my first band. Punk philosophy was very important to me when it came to playing in bands. And it still is. Your music career has followed an interesting trajectory.
How did you arrive at where you are now?
It has been a learning path, many mistakes and many findings. For me the most important thing is the road, the whole road you travel is the most valuable and fun. I’ve always been a big fan of pop on the one hand, and experimental music on the other. I try to combine both attitudes.
How does your versatility as an artist inform the music you make today?
I am not sure, to be honest. Over the years I feel that I have many more tools than when I was little. Now I have clearer also what I do not want. What I try is to always learn and have fun … Keep curious.
Could you talk about the inspiration behind your latest record, Juramento Mantarraya?
I am very inspired by all the people around me, especially my friends and the conversations I have with them. Also many movies, books … those things that make you feel less alone in the world. The socio-political situation too, of course. On the strictly musical level, while composing the album I listened a lot to an Alice Coltrane album called Reflection on Creation and Space. The Spanish groups of the 60s like the Brincos also influence me a lot.
How was the process of recording the album like?
The recording process of Juramento Mantarraya was quite long and thorough. It is a rather baroque disc, full of small details. I always go to the recording studio with all the sounds already designed and then in the studio I try to leave everything as polished as possible.
Who’s one artist that you would love to hear cover one of songs, and why?
I am a super fan of Gilberto Gil, I love him as a composer and guitarist and I love the philosophy and sensitivity behind the whole tropicalist movement … I would die if I heard him sing one of my songs.
What are you working on currently? Anything you’re particularly excited about?
I am composing a soundtrack for a film and I am very excited. I am also preparing a fanzine with my friend Coki.