FOUNDED AT A TIME when grunge ruled the airwaves, surf-rockers Los Coronas gained early support from an unlikely source, explains guitarist David Krahe.
“Fernando [Pardo, guitarist] and I started the band in 1991, when we were DJs in different clubs in a rock ‘n’ roll neighbourhood in Madrid,” he says. “When we met we were fans of rock ‘n’ roll music of the ’50s; especially surf music. There were very few instrumental bands at the time, so our biggest influences came from the old stuff, like The Ventures, Dick Dale, The Challengers and The Atlantics from Australia. When Tarantino made Pulp Fiction, everything about the surf rock scene exploded because of Dick Dale’s ‘Misirlou’. There was a promoter in Spain who decided to book Dale for the first time because of the film, and we were probably the only instrumental band in Spain, so we were booked to support. It was a good time for the scene because people knew the music more than before.”
While their sound and genre might be set in stone, arriving at it was perhaps more down to necessity than the band first intended.
“We started to play rock ‘n’ roll music at first,” says Krahe. “We were big fans of guitar players like Link Wray, and at the same time it was really difficult to find a good singer that liked the same music and could sing in English. We couldn’t think about playing in anything but English, so the best way to achieve our goal was to focus on playing instrumental music, and everything then came easy to us.”
Surf-rock may be their signature style, but the quintet aim to bring other sounds into the mix.
“Los Coronas’ music is a merging of different things musically,” Krahe says. “We try to transform what would otherwise be an orthodox style into something people aren’t used to listening to; like a mix between rock ‘n’ roll, surf music, and Spanish sub-genres of Flamenco music like rumba or paso doble. We try to have a melting pot of different sounds on stage, and people in Australia know us from our last tour, and they know we like to have a fiesta – a big party – with everyone. We have some punk in there; our song ‘Rockaway Surfers’ is a little tribute to The Ramones. It’s our humble tribute to them and their place in our life.”
Australian fans can ride the waves with the band on an upcoming tour, and – perhaps inspired by a local legend – experience a career first for Los Coronas, says Krahe.
“In March we’ll be playing around Australia and New Zealand,” he says. “We’d like to organise a European tour after that, and for the rest of the year we’ll be playing in Spain to promote our last two albums, as in 2013 we released two; Adios Sancho and one called El Extraño Viaje, which is a covers album and has two songs with vocals for the first time in the band’s history. We’re going to be showing off those two albums. Last year we were playing at Woodford Folk Festival and we shared the stage with a new line-up of The Saints, and I was really surprised as I didn’t know Chris Bailey was still playing under The Saints’ name. They were really good.”
Los Coronas play the following dates:
Sunday 2nd March – CLANCYS RED ROOM, Dunsborough
Tuesday 4th March – LIZOTTES NEWCASTLE, Newcastle
Wednesday 5th March – BASEMENT, Sydney
Thursday 6th March – BASEMENT, Sydney
Friday 7th March – WOMADelaide, Adelaide
Saturday 8th March – ENLIGHTEN, Canberra
Sunday 9th March – GOLDEN PLAINS FESTIVAL, Victoria
Thursday 13th March – REPUBLIC BAR, Hobart
Friday 14th March – CORNER HOTEL, Melbourne
Sunday 16th March – WOMAD NZ New Plymouth