Pablo Ilabaca reflects on “Songs to Talk to Death”, song by song

Pablo Ilabaca He has always been restless, seeking to experiment. After his departure from Chancho en Piedra, he intensified his adventure into side projects and new adventures. One of them is his first solo album. “Songs to Talk to Death”.

Stopping projects like your pseudonym Jaco Sanchez, Sour Times, Pillanes or the presentations with 31 minutes, the musician decides to release this compendium of ten songs under his name. This because the songs and the concept of death are quite personal. Everything that comes with leaving this world has intrigued him since his days as a pig under titles like Lophopora”, “From Clarity to Our Sun“, “I dance with the dead”(Like Jaco Sánchez), among others.

“I cannot deny the interest in talking about the myth that death is, because nobody knows what happens. The only certain thing is that we stop breathing and be aware of our body. It has always interested me because I feel a connection with that world. I know that when it arrives it is painful, but I am trying, at 45 years old, to have a different look. It is something that has happened to me since I was a child. It is inexplicable, but sincere, ”he says.

Ilabaca claims that his leit motif, beyond death, is related to transformation processes. “It is death and life, of the process of changing to another state, another vibration. I’m not looking to break the taboo on death, I want to talk about it. I think it is totally naive and selfish to think that you are not going to die. I consider it important to talk about it as an artist, propose a theme, develop different musical essays and create art ”.

We invite you to review, song by song, the XTrack of “Songs to Talk about Death”, the debut album of Pablo Ilabaca as a soloist.

Lieutenant 1945

This song means a lot to me because it is about my grandfather’s story. My mom was two years old when she passed away. I always felt that she missed her dad saying a nice thing to her, or cuddling her. The one who speaks is precisely my grandfather, like a ghost caressing his wife telling her that, although he will not return home, he will always be with her. It is a paranormal romantic song. It is the oldest on the album and one of the most beloved.

It is very strong, in fact I was excited to speak it because it is difficult. My mom heard her and cried. It is a family theme.

We recorded it in 2015 already Martin Benavides I called him to record the théremin, he is one of the best theremists in the world. Then he ended up being the producer of the other eight songs that we recorded between last year and 2021. It was an important energy flow. It has to do with the consequences of friendships, how one forges a path with the right people. Also with respect for work and trade.

My old man

It has to do with two things. First with my dad. I had always been very feminine when it came to who I wrote the songs for: my mother, my grandmother. But I had never dedicated a piece of music to my father and this was the moment. We are lucky to still have him with us.

Second, in 2018 I was on tour with 31 Minutes in Mexico. One night I was in the Oaxaca cemetery, and I saw the orchestra in the pantheon playing this theme, by Piero. In fact, the sample that appears at the beginning was a recording that I made with the phone. I felt the crush immediately, I have it impregnated in my DNA and I decided to record it with an arrangement quite similar to the one I heard in Oaxaca.

The Morning After

I was motivated by my partner, who wrote this song and speaks in English, and we composed it between the two of us. It was not so difficult for me to interpret it even though I don’t speak English very well (laughs). It is different to speak to interpret. It was an immediate connection to the piano. It is a romantic, nostalgic song. It has to do with those nights that are full of everything. And well, it’s about the morning after.

I wanted to translate an orchestra from the 1920s into this song. We managed to put together something like this with the guests: it is titae (double bass), Felipe Metraca (Like Murder Felipes – drums), Martin Benavides (harmonica, piano and accordion), Ed Neidhart (La Brígida Orquesta – clarinet).

Casimiro Vico, Terrible Actor

It is a play by the playwright Armando Moock, and my friend Elisa zulueta He invited me to set the radio drama that he put together last November to music. It is the story of a frustrated actor, disaster, and that a theater company tricks him into robbing him and thus install one of their own. He is a lousy actor, fails, goes bankrupt and spends his last days in bankruptcy.

Nostalgic feeling is a theme composed together with Martin Benavides, and it suited the album very well. Talk about dreams that don’t come true, failure. This is part of the transformation of the success, so it is about the general theme of the album. I love this piece of music, I find it sweet, it evokes a past time, a childhood and people that no longer exist. That is why I decided to include it.

Everybody Will Want To Leave

We composed all the music of the Chancho en Piedra with my brother Felipe. This is mine, I made it around 2000, and since I didn’t have a personal space I left it for the group.

“You have to take advantage of it without stopping, ready to evolve. To understand this journey that you have to undertake, each character that inhabits a body will speak with death at last “. It is Death that tells you it is not so terrible to die, do not be so afraid of it.

I just remembered something: at that time I was watching a lot of Ingmar Bergman, and I was very impressed with The Seventh Seal (1957). Here Death plays chess with the medieval knight until he loses the game and she has to take him away. I was fascinated by that idea with the concept of conversing with this character, which is exactly what this song is about, and the album.

I don’t believe in life after death. Life is this: breathe, burn your finger or try a lettuce salad. I believe in states of consciousness after life.

Freedom for you, Freedom for me

It is one of the much loved pieces because it deals with a rejoicing of the soul. It is a song of love, affection, hope and joy composed for my daughter Amapola. In fact a stanza is for her: “I want to see your soul always dance. When I took you to the theater to rehearse you told me you weren’t going to stop “. It is the illusion of living a beautiful and free life, openly. Talk about inclusion, respect and empathy, what we deserve to be.

It’s one of the prettiest songs I’ve ever written. I love her very much because I feel that she is a noble light. Here Martín again excelled with the production, Javiera vinot in the choirs that has a gigantic talent, titae on the double bass.

Hopefully it is possible to have an empathetic society, but it is very difficult. Human beings are shit. We can be bright, but also obnoxious. What costs us the most is being empathetic and I think that this world is almost rotten and rusty is our fault. You want to be, but some find it better than others.

I believe in social processes and changes so that there is a more just and free society, but it is a very big task. Although if you look back, sixty years ago segregation was still present in the United States. I feel that, despite everything, we have made progress.

At the Melonal

It is a powerful, much loved and beautiful theme. I feel it as an aboriginal Mapuche hymn, or a native one. The chorus explodes with onomatopoeic phrases that I don’t understand, but I know they are connected to something.

I wrote it to the childhood that I had with my brothers in the field of La Quinta de Tilcoco, the land of my grandmother Jacobel. It refers to me Uncle Tito (my mother’s brother) who died of cancer in 1994. He talks about how much fun we had with that nice and good-natured man who had melonales. It talks about all the fauna and landscapes that we live in the countryside.

It’s kind of death of the moments of childhood and innocence. There is the transformation of this stage to adulthood, but also the death of the present, the existence of the past and the memory.

Pale Night Form

It is the second single. The last song that was composed for the album. It fulfills the musical influence that I had last year, where I listened a lot to Caetano Veloso. It has a harmony that I love.

We went through like many astronomical processes this last time, and it speaks of the passion that the Sun feels for the moon and not explaining how there is so much beauty. That he, as the center of everything, had not seen something so beautiful. It speaks of the death of the Sun, the life of the moon and vice versa, of this romance. I love the lyrics of this song, which is a declaration of love but very elegant, there is nothing inappropriate. The star king is well educated before the moon that I think rules us.

Something very strange happened to me last year: I saw a comet pass by. So I think I was touched by the concept of the stars that are passing by. Like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), the character of Richard Dreyfuss speaks of form. In Pale Nocturnal Form it also has to do with that comet. It was very weird but super pretty.

The Guarisnaque

For the sample of the Cantina Band risk Star Wars lawsuit (laughs). El Guarisnaque has a great time in the concept of the album because, although he talks about drinking alcohol, but the idea is different. It is a cultural, artistic rescue, bringing to life a song that is forgotten on a vinyl on a shelf.. Wake up your brain to sing a tongue twister. It has many readings, and that is why I decided to include it.

Also, I was missing some joy and spark from the album. It is a color of the old Chile that has to continue living. As record listeners we deserve a song like this, because it is well entertaining, like a waltz from the southern cone. On the other hand I love them The Caporales, is a group that deserves an important place in our music, greater recognition.

I decided to invite Felipe because I love playing two voices with him. I think it has a super nice ring, and All the widows, widowers and widowers of my departure from the Chancho will like that the two Ilabaca brothers are again singing together in one piece.

Tune for a Newborn Guagüita

It is also a very luminous instrumental piece. Talk later of not existing and happening to exist. Hopefully every time a bus arrives they will put it on. The base is engraved with Ismael Oddo on guitar and banjo, and then we recorded the rest of the instruments.

I really like that in Soul (2020) talk about Great Beyond y Great Before, because I think it’s true. Paul Steinhardt talk about what souls are waiting to be able to inhabit a body, and I feel like welcoming the world is something very important.

That “Songs to Talk about Death” starts with a story about the tranquility of death, to reach the end with this song about birth confirms that the record was touched by a magic wand. They are signs.