You can hardly call MOURN an “up-and-coming band”. The Catalonian quartet, consisting of vocalists Carla Pérez Fas and Jazz Rodríguez Bueno, bassist Leia Rodríguez, and drummer Víctor Pelusa – released their self-titled debut all the way back in 2014, a darkly-tinged, ferocious punk album recorded with then-drummer Antonio Postius Echeverría when all four members were still in their teens. Boiling over with the raw emotional intensity you might expect coming from a group of social outcasts who weren’t afraid to name their enemies, the album also showcased the band’s propensity for dynamic arrangements and melodic hooks amidst all the chaos and unbridled frustration. Their stylistic progression is evident throughout 2016’s post-punkish Ha, Ha, He. and 2018’s confident Sorpresa Familia, which saw them fleshing out those qualities without abandoning the youthful energy of their debut. Now, they’re gearing up for the release of their fourth album, Self Worth, which is anchored by a series of driving singles: the raucous ‘This Feeling is Disgusting’ finds the band navigating the uncertainty of adult life, while the newly unveiled ‘Men’ – a sort of update on the 2014 bonus cut ‘Boys Are Cunts’ – pulsates with righteous indignation as it rails against the systems of patriarchy. Growing up might just mean having more things to be angry about, but this has only made MOURN’s music all the more defiant.
We caught up with MOURN for this edition of our Artist Spotlight series, where we showcase artists and give them a chance to talk about their music.
How did you form Mourn?
We formed Mourn back in 2014 while Jazz and I (Carla) were studying Arts together. We were always talking about music and messing around with our guitars playing covers so we ended up writing songs together and decided to save money to record them. Asked Leia and Antonio to be part of the band and recorded Mourn (our first album) on a weekend.
You’ve had to face many obstacles since then. How has that affected your approach to making music?
Being a musician (especially being in a band nowadays) and living off your music isn’t easy. We’ve always reflected our diaries on our songs; we need to put our feelings out through words and sounds. So it has definitely affected our music in that regard but not in a negative way. Obstacles are in our way to step on them and keep going.
You’ve described the new album as “an album of empowerment”, saying that you read more about feminism while writing it. Were there any ideas that particularly inspired you?
This new album (Self Worth) is the result of a year of listening to what we needed as human beings and as members of the band. Suddenly, when you do what feels right and what liberates you from things you realised weren’t healthy behaviours, you feel empowered. Checking on your human relationships and deciding what you can’t accept anymore and changing them has been an idea that follows the album.
I think many young people who can relate to the sentiments you express on ‘This Feeling is Disgusting’, especially when it comes to the uncertainties of navigating adult life. Did you have any discussions about your shared experiences while making the song?
We are constantly debating about how precarious our job is and how much we want it to work. We also share our struggles with money and insecurities on how we’re actually going to survive in the near future (especially with Covid-19 now). Jazz came up with the lyrics about this shared feeling of uncertainty.
Could you talk about the process of making the video for the track?
We wanted to work with Grulla Estudio for ‘Call You Back’’s music video but because we were quarantined we couldn’t do it. So once we could go outside we started working on the idea for ‘This Feeling Is Disgusting’. We had a long FaceTime call with Alex (Director) and Yai (Director of Photography) and shared our ideas. We felt super comfortable with them because they gave us freedom with our ideas. It was the chillest team and experience ever filming a music video and we can’t wait to work with them again on future projects!
What were some of the highs and lows of making the album as a whole?
The highs were definitely when Jazz and I went to Lalanne (South of France) for a week and improvised some riffs and wrote lyrics for the album. It was a bonding experience that we’ll never forget. Another high moment was the summer we spent in our rehearsal space playing, sweating like crazy, eating Cheerios and drinking beer. For this record I can’t think of a low moment, to be honest. Maybe when things get stressful because you want something to work and you are impatient as hell haha but I wouldn’t say that’s a low moment.
What do you hope listeners ultimately take away from Self Worth?
First of all, we hope that they like what they hear! And if they get deeper into it, we hope they can also feel empowered as we do while playing these songs.
Self-Worth arrives October 30 via Captured Tracks.