SXSW 2015 Interview: Xavi Marín of Oso Leone

By on Tuesday, 24th March 2015 at 1:00 pm

One of the best experiences I had this year at SXSW 2015 was the Sounds from Spain showcase Wednesday afternoon at Brush Square Park. As you all know, TGTF has primarily focused on UK bands in the past, but this year I decided to branch out and listen to as many bands who received shouts for SXSW this year, rank them by quality and potential to you, our readers, and see what other exciting sounds I could find. Based solely on the strength of music from several bands from Spain, it became clear to me that this was one country – and its musical output – I needed to pay closer attention to.

Oso Leone are a five-piece from the gorgeous island of Majorca, part of Spain’s Balearic island chain in the Mediterranean Sea. Many of their songs are instrumentally focused, some with driving beat rhythms, leading me to connect them with sigur ros in my head. They’re an interesting proposition, with their masterful guitar work seemingly at odds with the electronic beats before they go into a wigged out, psychedelic presentation. Last year they were given a golden opportunity not given to all Spanish bands, or any indie bands for that matter: a tony slot on Pitchfork’s stage at Primavera Sound in May 2014, which was documented by the Chicago-based Web site in this gorgeous video.

Wednesday was their time to shine as the first band on at the Sounds from Spain showcase, and they didn’t disappoint. While it may have been rainy earlier in the morning and the carpet inside the performance tent was wet (I learned this the hard way by putting my bags on the ground and kneeling down on the carpet, coming away with wet kneecaps on my jeans), Oso Leone provided a refreshing start to the event with their unique balance of smooth soundscapes and jutting rhythms that complimented the roaringly hot sun that soon came out. Shortly after their set, I was able to grab frontman Xavi Marín (vocals and guitar), apologising for my nearly nonexistent command of the Spanish language, and have this chat with him.

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