One year after their packed out show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Calexico are returning to London as part of a European tour.
The band, who released their latest album, ‘Edge of the Sun’, in 2015, play Barbican Centre on 25 April 2016. They will be supported by Guatemalan singer-songwriter, Gaby Moreno.
Although the band’s core members, Joey Burns and John Convertino, have spent the past two decades crossing the world, exploring diversity in musical styles and instrumentation they’d, somewhat surprisingly, never drawn inspiration from Mexico City before.
“Going to another city to jumpstart the creative writing process helped us to know what this record is about and where we are as a band, like an open canvas with few ties to normal routines when recording and writing,” says Burns.
“Of course, we have been influenced by Mexican music and culture since the beginning, and you would imagine that a trip to Mexico City would have happened on past projects, but it hadn’t. So going to the centre of Mexico and seeing an artistic community with such an impressive history as well as notable current musicians really inspired us.”
Ten days in the historic Mexico City borough of Coyoacán resulted directly in the songs ‘Falling from the Sky’ and ‘When the Angels Play’, but also influenced subsequent writing and recording at their studio in Tucson with Burns and Convertino bringing in a multitude of collaborators along the way — including Ben Bridwell from Band of Horses, Neko Case, and Gaby Moreno.
“We’ve collaborated a lot in the past on other records but this one is the most vastly collaborative,” explains Convertino. “Almost every song has a different guest.”
“When I step back from this record I see the spirit of collaboration,” adds Burns. “As we began working on it, we started inviting people and it was a natural thing. We’ve always welcomed guests; it’s in our DNA. John and I are really good at hopping in to play with people and improvise but we’re also sensitive to what artists need.”
The results are some of Calexico’s most diverse work.
“It really demonstrates the dynamics of our live show, and I’m hoping this album helps translates some of that energy,” says Burns, comparing ‘Edge of the Sun’ to the wide-ranging styles of their 2003 album ‘Feast of Wire’.
“We weren’t trying to replicate anything or make it hugely different from song to song, but there is some of that carryover, I think. As much as we try to break new ground on records, inevitably there’s continuity, which works well on a record like this,” he adds.
“All in all, this album is about pushing through the blue to brighter days. Calexico has always had that element of hope, going back and forth between a positive outlook and embracing desperate or dark themes that I think we all share.”