Meet Violeta Mosquera and Anxela Baltar, aka Bala, a Spanish duo who have just dropped Maleza, their third album and first for their new home Century Media. A fierce cocktail of grunge, punk and rock, the pair make the kind of noise that will have your neighbours screaming for you to turn it down. That being the case, we did the complete opposite and cranked up the new album (read our full review) and had a chat with the pair.

Thanks for your time, how is life treating you at the moment?

“Great! We are super excited about our new album release, we are having our first shows in a long time…we can’t be happier!”

The album Maleza has just been released. How challenging has it been to record an album over the last twelve months?

“Actually we finished this album in November 2019. But then the COVID pandemic arrived… and the rest… you all know.”

It’s your first album for Century Media. How did that deal come about?

“We toured a lot around the world with (previous album) Lume, and we came from a really small label from Galicia, so we knew that our next step was to find a bigger label to help us going further to become more international.”

It’s also your third album as Bala. When you first started the band, what were your initial goals?

“The same as today: have fun and do what we love.”

Can you talk us through how you met and how you ended up becoming a duo?

“We knew each other from bands we had. Here in Galicia, all the musicians know each other, it’s like a big family. We played at the same venue with different bands and we talked about doing something together. And here we are!”

Bands like Nirvana, L7 and Melvins are mentioned when talking about influences. Do you remember the band that really changed your life?

“Nirvana’s Bleach is an album that changed our lives, both of us think the same. We discovered the band with the Nevermind album, but when we found their previous releases… Wow.”

Artwork for ‘Maleza’ by Bala

What are the pros and cons of being a two-piece?

“The only con would be to make decisions when we do not agree. It’s hard when one of us says yes and the other one says no… it’s tough to do a tiebreak! Luckily it doesn’t happen very often.”

For your last single, “Mi Orden,” you talk about the journey from darkness into light. That’s very relevant with life starting to return to normal for most people after the last challenging twelve months.

“When we wrote this song we didn’t know what was about to come… but it’s a message that can be used for a lot of situations so…”

Could you talk us through some of the other themes on the album?

“We open with ‘Agitar.’ A poem from Lúa Mosquetera, a writer that we love, and with more collabs: Najwa Nimri singing and Bonnie Buitrago on bass and vocals too. Then it comes ‘Hoy No,’ a fresh cut with a lot of energy and an ode to having fun. ‘X’ is an aggressive track that talks about an encounter between two persons. ‘Mi Orden’ talks about the journey from darkness to light. ‘Cien Obstáculos’ talks about life and about keeping going. ‘Quieres Entrar’ is one of our favourites. It talks about the obstacles women sometimes face in life and how a friend can help you.

‘Rituais’ is a tribute to our roots, our culture and our women. ‘Bessie’ talks about Bessie Streamflied, a woman who in the early ‘20s rode her motorbike all along the U.S. And we close with ‘Una Selva,’ which speaks of overcoming and hope in the face of difficult times, like now, trying to think about the good things in life.”

You’ve released some very visually stunning videos… How important is the visual aspect of the band?

“It’s super important! We love to take part in it in every way: ideas, look, locations… we always wanted to do some cool videos for our songs and with this album, we have enjoyed it a lot! Hope to do some more in the future!”

Three albums now released, none of them over 25 minutes. Is this intentional and if so what is the reason?

“It wasn’t intended. But all of our albums have a similar duration. We like things to be short and intense, and our albums are an extension of how we see things so… In fact, we love short shows too. Better to want more than get bored, right?”

Now the album is out and life is returning to a new normal, what are your plans for the rest of 2021?

“We have some shows planned, not as much as we’d like but it is what it is. We think that 2022 will be the year and we are working on that. Fingers crossed!”

Thanks for your time and good luck with the album. Over to you for the last words…

“Thanks so much for having us! Can’t wait to see you banging your heads in one of our shows! Bring ear protection!”

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.