[fa:p:id=269827665,j=r,s=s,l=p]AUSTIN DAZE: Tell us about your new album “Town and the City”. What was the recording process like?
LOS LOBOS: We were recording at Cesar’s house and it was a pretty casual atmosphere. It took a little while to get the ball rolling. We usu- ally go in with a couple of ideas, hopefully to get the thing going, and then get a feel for where it is headed. We don’t have all the material written and it’s not rehearsed or anything. We just go on inspiration. We started off with a couple of songs and then in the middle started writing and everything and we went out with an album.
AD: Does the album have anything to do with Kerouac’s book of the same name?
LL: We just used the title. Normally when we start writing we have a concept or we kind of follow the inspirations of the music and where it leads us. As it starts to form and creates this body of work you can kind of see how the songs are related. Usually, if you write the songs in the same period of time they somehow mate. I guess the way that that album turned out it kind of had that feel of someone going on a journey. Starting off at this dream and getting lost along the way and trying to make it back home. It seemed to work with that title.
AD: What makes this album feel special to you? Do certain albums feel better than other ones in the artist’s eyes?
LL: I think so. I think it’s the atmosphere and the working environment. If it’s comfortable and things are going well, even if it is hard work, it doesn’t go quickly sometimes. If you get the feeling that things are coming together and you see new things happen that you’re not repeating yourself and there are different kinds of songs and you see things unfold before your eyes, it’s inspiring. And that feeling creates a good album – all the memories you had. With the Neighborhood–which I think is a good album and has good songs–we had a lot of trouble with the record company and it sat on the shelf for sixth months. When it came out I didn’t want to listen to it. People seemed to like it but it just killed the whole thing for me as an artist.
When we did Kiko, it was the first time we worked with Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake and it was a new atmosphere. Stuff would just start to click. We started experimenting and trying different things–just looking around. We were like big kids. I think you can feel it on the recording. On this album you can feel that something is happening. If you can catch a performance on record it’s a lot stronger than trying to piece something together.
AD: Tell us about how Los Lobos writes a song.
LL: It usually starts with a simple idea. I usually do stuff on my own. I work with Louie, we write together but apart. I’ll come up with the ideas and put them on tape and I’ll play it for him and see which ones he likes. If he’s inspired then we’ll talk about it–he’ll kind of shape it and take it to the band. Then when the band plays it they sometimes change it up.
AD: Over the years you all have recorded with many people. Who has been the coolest to work with and who has been the hardest?
LL: Everyone has been great. Who comes to mind is Bobby Womack – he was an amazing gentleman; gracious. We went into the studio and he wanted to work. He was there for the music. It wasn’t work, it was a joy – it was beautiful. We did it a few times and he hung out the whole day and was talking to our kids and stuff. It was a really great feeling. He was really generous.
And we got to work with Willie Dixon – another one. He was the A&R man producer for all the Chest records. He wrote all these great songs. He liked us. He pulled us in and directed us and gave us pointers – a great man. A really, really cool human being.
Everybody was just really cool.
AD: What does playing at the ACL Festival mean to you?
LL: Well, obviously it’s a great show. They have been really good to us over the years. This thing is so big. We played the first one that was amazing. It was hot and everyone was passing out and everybody still had a great time. I just wish they had it in March or something. We always have a good time here. It’s one of the best places to play. It’s a music town. Musicians can actually make a living playing here. It’s one of the few cities that still have live music everywhere. Austin, Chicago, and Boulder, Colorado are the nicest places to play. Good for us. San Francisco is really good too. But Austin stands out.