DAMA, the new album from TITAN, is the latest in a long list of projects keeping the Mexican electronic rockers busy. Joining keyboardist Emilio Acevedo, guitarist Julian Lede, and bassist/drummer Jay de la Cueva on DAMA, produced by indie rock impresario Nick Launay, are synth god Gary Numan, electro funk wizard Egyptian Lover and girl group icon, Siobhan Fahey from Bananarama. Filmed by Rogelio Sikander in one of the countless dilapidated rave-friendly warehouses on the sprawling outskirts of Mexico City, the video for the lead single ‘Dama Fina’ exploits tensions between pleasure and pain with the trio’s signature dark humor set to a haunting minimal groove. As TITAN put it, “We wanted the first single to be a song that people would be uncomfortable with and ‘Dama Fina’ works very well for that purpose.”
Reconstituted from the remains of industrial act Melamina Ponderosa in 1992, TITAN have powered Mexico’s enduring indie rock and electronic scene nonstop. Their 1995 debut, Terrodisco, unleashed a tsunami of Mexican pop music that cleared the way for acts like Kinky, Nortec Collective, Rebolledo and many others. They followed up their breakthrough in 1998 with the EP C'mon Feel the Noise, before dropping two more EPs featuring 40 remixes of their hit, ‘Corazón’ in 1999 on the Beastie Boys’ label Grand Royal label. In 2000, the milestone album Elevator (produced by Michael Franti, Craig Borrell and Ross Harris) was released by Virgin to worldwide acclaim. An eponymous album,TITAN followed on Mexican indie label Nuevos Ricos in 2005. Since then, TITAN have spent most of their time touring, mainly in Latin America and Europe, playing at major events such as Corona Music Fest, Reading Festival, Transmusicales, Nuevos Ricos showcases, and working on numerous side projects.
Julian has recorded six albums and toured as Silverio (a raunchy one-man electro-punk cabaret) and Beso Negro (a ballads band). Emilio is one half of Maria Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser (an electro pop project) and a DJ; Jay has been performing with Moderatto (Glam rock band) and producing various other artists. Like fellow iconoclasts Avalanches and Portishead, TITAN doesn’t record an album every two years. As they see it, “it is very healthy to take some time to do some other stuff and make an album when you really want to. We’ve worked like that, maybe on this occasion we took some extra time.”
The wait has been worth it. DAMA came together over five trips to famed recording studio, Sonic Ranch in Texas with Nick Launay, whose credits include Arcade Fire, Nick Cave, and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. Launay not only produced the album, he was key in hooking them up with their guests. “Working with them we could understand why they are who they are. They are artists that we have respected since we were teenagers so it is a luxury to have them in the album. We used to listen to Gary Numan´s records when we were young. His voice is unique and amazing. He gave us a big surprise when we first heard the song ‘Dark Rain’ because he understood the song in a different way. With Egyptian Lover, the song that we worked on together ´She Like The Music¨ was not straightforward for him because it was not an electro track that he normally produces. It wasn’t natural for us either because his rap voice was not as delicate as the melody. Ultimately, we created an amazing song beyond our expectations together! We knew some of Bananarama and Shakespeare’s Sister’s songs. We thought Siobhan had a very sweet voice and melodies but she surprised us with a mix of good melodic choruses and a very low and dark voice.”
Much has changed in between TITAN’s last album and DAMA. The news cycle has quickened and in the process more attention has been focused on the media-raised scene TITAN launched than all the the band’s consistent output and various projects. They do not see it as a problem. “Our advantage is not to be in the spotlight that much. Mexico works like that. There aren’t a lot of bands coming out with a lot of stuff. It’s different from Europe or the US, where there’s always a new band. In Mexico, the scene doesn’t move that fast.”
TITAN, as they remind everyone, never broke up, never stopped creating, performing, touring, producing. DAMA happened in 2016, “because the planets lined. The conditions we wanted to make the new album were the ones we were looking for some years ago: economic independence, amazing recording studio, incredible producer, great collaborations.”
DAMA will be released in August 2016 by ÉPICO in Latin America and by ATP Recordings globally. A 2017 tour is in the works and will bring TITAN’s experimental theatrics to new audiences and old fans worldwide.