• Newspaper. All Chimpún interviews by Iñako Díaz-Guerra
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  • Florent Muñoz. "The 90s were the last gasp of freedom, then the euro came and put an end to drugs and partying"

Quique González (Madrid, 1973) has just turned 50 and celebrates his 25th anniversary in music with a tour, cover album (Copas de yate) and the vinyl reissue of his entire discography, but he doesn't feel or seem like an older guy. "It's the hair, having great hair extends your career by 20 years," he jokes while smoking and looking out the window at the Madrid he left behind to live in the countryside in Cantabria. "I don't think I could come back," he muses, more to himself than to me, perhaps with one of those songs he claims to compose without realizing it, already playing backstage in his brain.

You fled the city before it became fashionable. There is a somewhat reckless idealization because sometimes it is more dangerous to live in a rural environment than in an urban one. They project their life in a rural environment, but then they have to live in the day-to-day there, which also has its harshness. I wouldn't change it, I'm delighted, I've been there for 20 years now and the truth is that, after living in the countryside, I wouldn't imagine living in Madrid or in a big city again. I couldn't live the pace you follow here. It's funny because it's a rhythm that you lived to the fullest for many years and your first albums are eminently urban. Yes, the musical tradition I liked had a lot to do with how my city was described in the songs of the Burnings, Joaquín Sabina, etc. I'm lucky that, since I travel a lot to play and I have to come to Madrid a lot to do promo and rehearse, I still keep that contact. If I didn't have that back and forth from the city to the countryside, that voluntary retreat would still be too dense and too hard.

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Manuel Jabois.

"I've only experienced four mournings and they were for four relationships with which I aspired to eternity"

"I've only experienced four mournings and they were for four relationships with which I aspired to eternity"

Carmen Maura.

"My left wasn't this aggressive, nasty ... If you can call this unfortunate thing of today a left."

"My left wasn't this aggressive, nasty ... If you can call this unfortunate thing of today left, what do you miss? Simple things. For example, when I want to see Scorsese's film in its original version and in Santander, I have to go on a specific day at a specific time as if it were the dentist's appointment. Apart from concerts by a lot of people I'm interested in, theater, etc. But living far away from Madrid also takes away a lot of distractions and a lot of obligations. If I were still here, with the amount of musician, filmmaker and writer friends I have, I would be busy five nights a week between concerts, films and presentations and it would not be very good for me either. I don't need to make an excuse for not going to places. That's priceless [laughs]. Work-life balance makes it easier for you, of course. Absolutely. I'm a much more present father. You celebrate that you've been doing this exactly half your life, is that impressive? If you think about it, yes. The thing is that this job doesn't give you much time to stop at it and recreate yourself. I have a feeling that everything has happened too quickly, but surely you will have it in your work too. The cycle of this profession is to compose songs, record an album and go out and play. That consumes two and a bit years of life and, as soon as you finish, you start the cycle again. You go pulling and pulling, with peaks and valleys, but you don't have much time to stop and think and recreate yourself in nostalgia. I think that's a good thing, honestly. Rocking is a very deceptive profession because it is associated with youth and, in reality, longevity is very high. Yes. I think about this a lot remembering that, when I saw the Stones in '94, what all the newspapers said was that the Civil Guard was going to come to the door of the Calderón and tell them: "You're too old to continue working on this." Now they're 80 and they've just released a beastly album. And when I was starting out in this I saw Serrat and Sabina, whom I deeply admired and who were my references, a bit like dinosaurs. Actually, they were the age I am now and it's something that didn't even cross my mind because we had been sold that rock was for young people. Not really. In any case, it's better than being a footballer, because at the age of 34 you're already retiring and then you have a long way to go. That was your original plan: to be a right-back for Real Madrid.Yes, yes, but better this, without a doubt. Also I was very packaged. At the time I thought it was good, but it was a package of the crap [laughs]. In Spanish music, sport is not a very frequent reference in the lyrics, but you have used it a lot. Yes, in Argentinian rock they have always put it more, but in Spain it has separated. Not so long ago, if you were a musician, you couldn't like football. Fortunately, that has changed. Sport has made me see the importance of playing for the team, which is a cliché, but one that I trust and is applicable to rock bands. The equivalent would be that the important thing is the song; Play for the song and not to show off. That's irresponsible. The irresponsible thing is that you are a Madrid fan. [Laughs] It's an anomaly, but technically now I'm more of a Rayo Vallecano and Racing de Santander fan, because they're the only teams I've been a member of, two years each. My uncle used to take me to Rayo when I was a child and I really like the spirit of the crowd in Vallecas, that smell of hashish that fills the entire stadium. And since I've been living in Cantabria, I love going to see Racing. I'm one of those who believes that if there's a team in your city, your neighbourhood or your community and you'd rather be from Madrid, Barça or Atleti, that means you like winning more than football. After 25 years of career, you usually release a big hit or a live show with your best songs, but you have decided to celebrate it with songs by others. Where is the ego? Well, we didn't even think it was going to become a record. I pitched the idea to my colleagues at a warm-up after a concert in A Coruña. You know, you finish the show, there's a state of euphoria, "this is the best band I've ever had in my life" and all that. And I thought it was a nice extra that it served to offer a gift to people who collected my vinyls. I could have made a B-side album, but I've been a very bad collector of my own music. Yes, I've lost a few, but that's okay because if they had been really good I'd remember them. If I abandoned them, it was for a reason. The fact is that I decided on the covers with the intention of not recording predictable songs or songs by my great known heroes: Antonio Vega, Enrique Urquijo, Joan Manuel Serrat, José Ignacio Lapido, Carlos Chaouen etc. I've already done many versions of them and there are many versions of them in Spanish music. I thought it was a good challenge to make a somewhat random selection of songs that have been super important to me, but that haven't managed to fill stadiums or have been big hits.

Quique, thinking about what the hell did I give him a hoop for. Javier Barbancho

Until 'La noche americana' there is a Quique who wants to be Tom Petty, but I have the feeling that from then on you accept more and more the Spanish roots than the American influence. Tom Petty is my favorite American artist, not only because of the songs but because of the way he led his career, because of his honesty, and it is inevitable that when you start making your own songs you get closer or closer to the world, the aesthetics and the universe of your idols, but it is always more important the strength and the desire to find your own voice and your own style. I've always moved a bit between the two worlds: that of Sabina, Serrat or Antonio Vega and that of Bob Dylan, Springsteen, Neil Young or Joe Henry. Even the most iconoclastic artist in Spain, who could be Albert Pla, has a series of references that he wanted to resemble. Well, the way you are is the way you are, and life goes a long way. I'm not always sad in my sad stages and I'm not always happy in the happy ones. I really like to celebrate, I've been a big party and I've always considered that my life was parallel to the songs I wrote. What happens, and I think I heard something similar from Joaquín [Sabina], is that when I'm happy, what I want to do is celebrate, not write a song; I've left that for when I was fucked up and life takes you towards melancholy or sadness. You can write a very sad song while being very happy, but really what you want is to go for a drink. About partying and life in the countryside, the other day Manuel Jabois told me that he still forces himself to go out because he needs to be where things happen to have something to tell. Doesn't it happen to you? Well, as you may have read on social media, Jabois and I are the same person, so I can't help but have the same opinion as him. You don't look so alike, man. We give ourselves an air. Yes, I like to be where things happen, but I don't think it's essential to have something to tell. That's very different to write a column than a song. When I feel a vibration that pushes me to write a lyric, it has not so much to do with the moment you are in and the moment in which you live but with how you have been for a long time. There are songs that, without you knowing it, you've been scratching for months and even years. Sometimes it feels like you haven't written for months and you've actually been working on it all that time in parallel in your head. Then it seems like it has come out of your mind, but it's not true. I don't know, I'm trying to fight against that kind of social obligation to go out and do things. I'm a firm believer that doing nothing is just as important as not doing things stopping. That's where the countryside has caught you. I appreciate it, yes. Being in a sedentary moment forces you to think about it. If you have to be doing quests and doing a gymkhana all fucking day, you don't have time to stop and think. We live in a time when if you are not absolutely and continuously productive it seems that you are touching your balls, but I think that is not the case. I struggle with that a little bit. I'm pretty scattered and contemplative, I've been all my life. I don't know, sometimes I'm with my wife and daughter in a restaurant and I'm stuck looking at the horizon. I don't realize it, but they're getting rid of me. I really enjoy doing nothing. You've pretty much avoided politics in your lyrics, contrary to quite a few of thoseFrom Serrat to Sabina or from Dylan to Young. Was it on purpose? Well, I haven't avoided it that much. In 'Fair Day' there are political issues, in 'I Had to Tell You' as well. I don't know if it was consciously or unconsciously, but I certainly didn't do it to protect myself or to stop a part of the electorate from liking me. I think that by now everyone knows that I have progressive ideas, that I am afraid of the entry of the far right into Spanish and world politics and that I believe in equality. I would like no VOX voters to come to my concerts and I'm not afraid of losing an audience for saying so. I have never been afraid to speak out politically. I'm an anti-fascist because I think that's the natural thing to do and that's it, but when it comes to writing songs, maybe it hasn't been the song that has inspired me the most. It's not a premeditated plan. You also don't have lyrics that have aged especially poorly by today's standards. I think that the most revolutionary thing we can do now is to try to be good people and I think that reviewing ourselves, especially from the male side, is necessary and positive. Now I'm playing a Salitre 48 song, Jukebox, in which I say, "Hoping for another waitress's cleavage." It's been a long time since I've played that song and, although I'm not even half proud of that verse, the truth is that that's the person I was at the time. And just because he's singing that verse now doesn't mean he's objectifying women any more than Scorsese justifies putting a guy in the trunk of a car and burning him in a pine forest for making mobster movies. They're songs, they're movies, not everything is real. Don't you censor yourself a bit? I do not accept self-censorship or revisionism of art. How many great books, how many great songs, and how many great movies would we miss if we censored them from our current point of view? Now we're stricter with fiction than with reality, and that's terrible. Reality passes us by and sweats it out, but then people put their hands to their heads with the art: "Fuck, look what this guy said in a song." Damn, you can write a song in the first person about the mistreatment of a woman and that doesn't mean that the guy who wrote it is in favor or justifying it. That seems super obvious to me, but it's not for everyone and that's where, if you don't see it, the self-censorship begins. How has such a shy guy been on stage for 25 years as the only star? Well, I don't know. I'm shy at the entrance, but even if it doesn't seem like it, then I'm more extroverted and more fun, fuck [laughs]. Many of us who write songs have that paradox that we are shy in everyday life, but we leave those insecurities in the dressing room and the stage becomes another dimension in which you are comfortable. I'm not Bruce Springsteen either, but I've managed. You've always had a big fan phenomenon, you've liked it a lot... No, let's see... You've dropped your lighter. I've been nervous (laughs). I've never had massive success, but let's just say I've had enough in front of me to feel, I don't know if proud, but at least satisfied with what life has given me in that sense. In that and in all of them.

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