Pedro Balaña — aka The Boy From The South — shared his charming video and single Mornings here a few weeks back. (You can read all about that puppy HERE.) Today, the Barcelona-bred, London-based indie-folk singer-songwriter changes direction by manning up to answer my childish questions. He probably would have been better off sleeping in.
Introduce yourself: Name, age (feel free to lie), home base and other details you’d like to share — height / weight / identifying marks / astrology sign / your choice.
Hi! I’m Pedro, 25-year-old Spaniard-Londoner! Born and raised in Barcelona but living in London, probably 180cm (5 feet more or less?), weight-wise I weigh more than before lockdown. Born 6th Jan, in Spain we celebrate three wise-men’s arrival to Bethlehem which is quite cool, but even cooler is the fact I’m born the same day as Alex Turner.
What is your musical origin story?
Started playing guitar with a friend of mine, no lessons. I think we probably learned how to play all Oasis songs our first year.
What do we need to know about your latest project?
Just got my first single Mornings out, recorded with Foals’ last two albums co-prod in London! Planning a second single and music video too! After that, I’ll release a five-song EP, with the two singles and 3 more tracks I’m working on right now. I’m also starting to collaborate with different friends in London, so more stuff (and very different to my solo stuff) will come out too!
What truly sets you apart from other artists?
100% raw honesty, nothing artificial. I also use toy sounds in my songs, which i guess it’s not very common.
What will I learn or how will my life improve by listening to your music?
It will definitely make you happier without a doubt. And the next single will make you groove and dance non-stop!
Tell us about the first song you wrote and / or the first gig you played and what you got paid.
In my school, the headmaster knew me and my friend played the guitar, so she “booked” us to play in our school graduation. We were so scared, but the night before we managed to write 2-3 quite good songs and with some covers we blew up the place! We obviously didn’t get paid, but the catering was amazing and we had a laugh.
What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you gave?
We played in a mini-festival in Barcelona that some friends were organizing, and we played so early that we basically played for the staff, my sister, and a very, very loyal friend. We were so pissed no one showed up we even played different tracks at the same time, it was horrible but funny as hell.
What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you’ve seen another artist give?
Mac DeMarco burning his armpit hair in Primavera Sound while playing an absolutely chilled-out track.
What do you want to be doing in 10 years?
Be my own boss and making music, just make decent music that means something to people.
What living or dead artists would you collaborate with if you could?
Lou Reed, I’ve been listening to Loaded and the (Velvet Underground’s self-titled) banana album all quarantine. And obviously Neil Young, coolest Canadian ever!
What artist or style of music do you love that would surprise people?
Rap, I’m obsessed with rap. Even though I make guitar music, I’m obsessed with proper hard-core rap like MF DOOM, Pharcyde. I would love to see them live.
What are your favourite songs / albums / artists right now?
Brian Potheroe – Pinball (heard Morrissey talk about this guy and the song is a proper tune) and D’Angelo.
How about some other favourites: Authors, movies, painters, you name it.
I love a Spanish writer who sadly passed away a couple weeks ago, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, he was one of the best. Movie-wise as always I’m binging Lord of the Rings every 3-4 Saturdays and I watch every single tennis match Rafa Nadal plays.
Who would you be starstruck to meet?
Liam Gallagher, I’d shit in my pants if I ever meet him.
What’s your favourite joke?
Donald Trump, president of the States.
What do you drive and why?
Don’t drive! sold my car when I moved to London to buy my first proper acoustic guitar, and I tube it everywhere.
What superpower do you want and how would you use it?
Know who’s trustworthy and who not.
What skills — useful or useless — do you have outside of music?
I love hanging around with people, super outgoing and I’m not afraid to speak out when I have to. I also have a pretty decent level of English for not being native.
What do you collect?
Guitars. If one day I make money I will blow everything in guitars, weird and rare guitars and crazy synths.
If I had a potluck, what would you bring?
Obviously any Spanish food, it won’t matter what because everything is amazing.
What current trend or popular thing do you not understand at all?
Fashion trends. Some people dress up like pizzas.
Tell us about your current and/or former pets.
Tana, 14 years old and the most badass small dog you’ll ever see. She’s in the music video for Mornings and on the cover of the next single. She’s a Maltese, she’s small, but very moany and grumpy and poops all over the place.
If you could have any other job besides music, what would it be and why?
I would love to work for an NGO or a company that supported a good cause. I live a block away from Greenpeace’s office in London, maybe someday I’ll drop my CV over there. I’ve worked four years for tech companies, and I’m done working for corporations.
What’s the best advice and/or worst advice you were ever given?
Best: Be as authentic as you can. Worst: Find a job you don’t like and stay there all your life.
BONUS: Feel free to write and answer your own question here if you want.
Best Beatles album? Obviously Sgt. Pepper’s.
Gibson or Fender? Gibson, of course.
Best Riff? Whole Lotta Love.
Sound-wise, where do you want to go? – Nowadays I’m making acoustic songs, but one day when I’ve got more budget I’ll make a proper rock album. I have too many stockpiled riffs that have to get out.