Labán is a Mexican singer and songwriter from the border city of Tijuana, living in Mexico City. Humanism and social entrepreneurship, which were part of his early education, drive his music and passion today. Todos Somos Dueños de Aquí is the name of his upcoming debut album. The first single "Dueños de Aquí" is a protest song about corruption, impunity, extreme income inequality and violence. The second single, "Quién da Más" is a song about yearning to do what makes us happy vs. what the world expects from us.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it. I started writing when I was in college. I was pursuing a career I wasn’t really excited about. Even though it was interesting, and it truly gave me another perspective on life, I was doing it for the wrong reasons and I felt very frustrated. I started writing as a way to compensate for the situation I was in and how it made me feel.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career? It’s a little creepy actually, but after I finished writing and recording the first demos for “Dueños de Aquí and “Para ti”, I took a long break and I wasn’t sure if I would continue with the project or not. I remember a few times, iTunes would start (on it's own) on my computer and start playing one of the demos. I searched Google and found that other people had the same experience, obviously not with my demos, but with random song plays from their library.
What has been the high point of your music path? Well, even though I started playing music when I was very little, 10 months ago the release of the first single “Dueños de Aquí” actually marked the start of this amazing path. Last month, the song peaked at #5 in the top 10 here on WNIR National Indie Radio. Also, a few days ago it was added to Spotify editorial playlists, so I guess this is the high point so far.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like? I always start with a rhythmic pattern, a programmed drums sequence. That is my main input. While listening to that, I create the melody of the song along with the lyrics. Then, I usually add the bass, either I create it or work with a bassist. Then mostly, I work with other musicians on the guitars and the live drums. And finally, I do the editing and the final arrangement.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be? I think handling the promotion is the biggest challenge, because you may have a good song, but you need to get it out there; you need people to listen to it, and for that you need time and money. At the end, it’s a combination of smart promotional efforts and a good budget, inevitably. It is really expensive for most indie artists, but I reckon the industry is in transition and change is coming - curation will evenutally play a very important role.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why? Daft Punk. I have such a deep respect for good french house music and they’re obviously a big reference; plus, they’re also into RnB/Funk tunes so I think it would be an interesting mix.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show? I’m actually just starting to prepare my first live shows and I like to rethink my songs for that, transform them while preserving their essence. Live shows will not be an exact replica of the album’s version, but a more experimental experience.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it! I think it was “Dueños de Aquí”; it was the fourth song I wrote from the album and I knew I wanted it to be the first single, but it went through a lot of different versions and I just couldn’t seem to get the one. A couple of months before it’s official release, I was chilling with some friends at home, one of them a bassist. We listened to the song a few times and got the sequence in his first attempt. I added the backing vocals and the song was completed after that, but it was a very long process.
What's coming up in the future? I’m going to concentrate on finishing the album’s production in the next couple of months and after that I hope I’ll be announcing some live appearances. Also the third single “Para ti” is coming in a few weeks and it’s a really special one.
Tell us where fans can access your music?