Delorean is a Spanish alternative dance band that was founded by Ekhi Lopetegi and his friends while they were still in high school in Zarautz, Spain. The band became very popular thanks to their unique and positive style, which is a blend of several genres, including Balearic house, Indietronica, Synthpop and Electropop. They earned their international fame thanks to their album is Subiza, released in 2010, which is still their most popular album to this day.
The Name, Members and Very Unique Style
The band is named after the DeLorean DMC-12 car, best known as the time machine from the Back to the Future movie series. When you learn about their style, this name makes sense, as their albums often have tunes that are a throwback to the earlier eras of electronic music.
Delorean’s very distinct style, which can be described as a combination of electronic dance music, indie pop, indietronica, disco punk, synthpop and poptron, also has a very unique Mediterranean style that helped them rise to the very top, first of Spain’s, and later of the international music scene as well.
The Humble Beginnings: From Punk to Electronic
At the very beginning when the band formed, they were heavily focused on the local punk scene, as this was the best way to be alternative at the time. Soon however, they moved away from punk to further explore what was their mutual interest: electronic music.
In 2007, the band moved to Barcelona and focused on producing their music in a fully digital format – everything from writing to production was done on the computer in keeping with increasing technology.
Delorean focused on delivering high energy, positive vibes, which were severely missing from the local scene. They even started their own club night, Desparrame, as a clear contrast to the local techno scene that was very dark at that time. Many club goes found refuge in this fresh new sound and wanted more of what Delorean offered. Soon, the band was doing remixes of various bands (XX, Franz Ferdinand, Lemonade, Glasser and others), which made them popular among local clubgoers.
Their EP Ayrton Senna was released in 2009 and was very well received. It was a step away from rock influences and instead towards the euphoric club sounds, and was very demanded in clubs during the whole summer of 2009. Their most defining album was Subiza, named after a Basque town. The album was a throwback to the club music of the 90s era, combined with adventurous and whimsical melodies, the focus being on feelings of love, longing, distance and hope.
Career: From Digital to Analog and Back Again
The band was originally formed in early 2000, with aim to offer something alternative and fresh to the Basque music scene. The initial focus was on punk, but singer and bassist Lopetegi and others soon moved away from it in favour of pursuing the vast expanse of electronic music.
Their first studio album, Delorean, was released in 2004, and was the very beginning of their journey. Only two years later, they released their second album, Into the Plateau. Even though it had very solid tracks, neither of those albums managed to gain international exposure.
Around this time, Delorean started experimenting with various remixes. These remixes are what got them noticed on the local scene, and wider acclaim as well. Most notably, the remix of “Love No” by The Teenagers is what propelled them forward, as they gave the song a completely new meaning by switching up lyrics and removing negativities, which was very well received by the crowd.
Their third album, Transatlantic KK (2007), was actually a variation of Into the Plateau.
Even though they were popular thanks to the remixes, Delorean is most widely known for their Ayrton Senna EP (2009), which featured 5 tracks that were all widely listened to among the club scene during that summer. The album offers fresh, breezy tones and whimsical tunes. Many critics and reviewers argued that you could almost smell the sunscreen while listening to the EP.
Their breakthrough album and probably the most notable was Subiza, which was released in 2010 by Mushroom Pillow. The worldwide edition was released by True Panther Sounds.
Subiza quickly found worldwide acclaim and one of the albums that has defined their careers a whole. Its unique style made it widely popular, thanks to the combination of Basque house music and indie tunes. The album was praised by critics and music lovers alike, and it even got the Best New Music title and was featured in The Top 50 Albums of 2010 by Pitchfork Media. The success and plentiful tunes of Subiza made it possible for the band to have a three-year long tour featuring the album.
A Different Approach: Moving Away from Samplers
After the tour, the band wanted to explore a fresh direction, and wished to have some structure in their daily lives. They moved back to Barcelona and built their own studio, which gave much structure they were hoping for. They wanted it to feel like work, and wished to have proper equipment and microphones, everything at the ready as soon as they needed it. The structured work helped them focus, which can really be heard on their subsequent album.
They didn’t want to limit themselves by continuing work on computers only, and learning how to use studio equipment made them grow as a band. As the lead singer Ekhi Lopeteg explained, they wanted to produce an album that wasn’t made of samplers only. The tour made them realize that they it was heavily based on samplers and button pushing but they wanted a new approach, they wanted to actually play guitars, drums and synthesizers. Too much sampling and computer work with creative elements such as this can create a disconnect with the audience and with the local sounds that they work with, they wanted homier vibes to be interwoven into their tracks. After all, it's their roots and origin of their music.
“We didn’t want to do everything analog, but we didn’t want to write another record by clicking on a mouse. [But] we didn’t want it to feel like the Subiza album, which is all edited. There’s not a single bass line. This time we wanted to integrate analog and digital.” – said Ekhi Lopetegi in an interview with Matt Putrino.
Their fifth album, Apar (2013), felt substantially different because of this. Although light, it had more structure to it. Lopetegi also mentioned it’s very different when it comes to performing as well: “It’s actually way easier to play the new songs than the ones we made for Subiza. I don’t know, it just feels more natural.”
There were several key influences that made Apar sound so different: Lopetegi went through a failed relationship, the financial crisis wreaked havoc on Spain and the band felt it too, and they also took a much more sophisticated approach to recording.
One novelty of this album was that they invited female vocalists from Chairlift and Glasser to work with them on several tracks on the album. The band simply call Apar their "big production album" and speak very fondly of it.
The album still explores the topics of love and hope, but in a very different light. The surge of unemployment in Spain made them portray the changing nature of hope, as people try to stay strong as everything around them erodes. The failed relationship can be felt throughout the whole album as well and Apar is arguably one of the most powerful and moving albums Delorean has made made.
The band’s sixth album, Muzik, was released in 2016 and shows that they are not done with exploring new venues. The previously shimmering pop tracks are moved aside in favour of electronic and dance music.
Thematically, the band focuses on their love for music, and the album feels more homogenous, as all the songs have a similar atmosphere, but luckily, with plenty of good vibes to go around.
This is not the official website for Delorean but hopefully it offers some insight into their journey so far as well as their music.