Whitest Boy Alive band members collaborate on ‘Quarantine at El Ganzo’ surprise album

August 3, 2020 — Members of Whitest Boy Alive were planning a reunion for 2020. Folks at Brooklyn VeganConsequence of Sound, and other music connoisseurs were tuned in, waiting for the next steps from the indie favorites who’d previously been covered by the likes of Pitchfork and Stereogum, etc. over the last 20 years for various projects. Erlend, Daniel, Sebastian, and Marcin had been traveling from their respective homes for said festival performance and all ended up in Mexico, essentially stranded due to the COVID-19 enforced quarantine regulations.
Erlend shares the story:
“All the members of Whitest Boy Alive had arrived in Mexico. Myself on March 3rd from Norway. Daniel and Marcin on March 13th from Germany and Italy. Sebastian on March 16th from Costa Rica where he had been the whole winter. The day before we got the news that both festivals were definitely cancelled.
The only thing that wasn’t cancelled was the four days of free studio time we had been given by Hotel El Ganzo in San Jose del Cabo in the remote state of Baja California Sur.
Intent to make the most of it, we were very disappointed when they informed us that the same state of Baja California Sur had just issued new Covid restrictions, so newly arrived Europeans could not enter unless they had been 14 days in Mexico already.
So we were forced to separate. And me and Sebastian Maschat and our booking agent Jorge travelled to San Jose de Cabo and Daniel and Marcin remained in Mexico City.
They couldn’t even travel home directly because most flights had been cancelled.
First we tried to collaborate remotely but it was of course pretty complicated since our band is so much based on live interaction between the 4 of us.”
Luckily, an owner of Hotel El Ganzo, a singer and guitarist named Bear Kittay, who just earlier this week debuted his first solo single “Summer Babies,” had an idea. There was a studio at the hotel, so why not record some music and make the most of it. Sebastian, as it turns out, had a secret stash of songs he’d written over the last 15 years, so the group had a ton of songs to choose from.
Thus, Quarantine at El Ganzo was born.
Though some bandmates were forced to return home due to quarantine restrictions, they were able to build a new session band for recording the album, with music engineer Paco Rosas who plays bass and Jorge Aguilar, a booking agent who plays drums.
The music has a relaxed summer vibe that relishes in strong lyrics and simple melodies, evoking a laid back feeling that could not be more needed than right now. The group hopes that this album will give listeners a break from the flurry of traumatic news headlines and COVID madness.
1. WIPEOUT written by Sebastian Maschat
2. WEDDING SONG written by Erlend Øye
3. ON LOVERS LANE written by Sebastian Maschat
4. PRICE written by Erlend Øye
5. WITHIN A DREAM written by Sebastian Maschat
6. BUTTERFLIES written by Erlend Øye
7. DHARMA written by Sebastian Maschat
8. ONLY JUST BEGUN written by Erlend Øye
9. MAGIC USED TO HAPPEN written by Sebastian Maschat
10. BAD INFLUENCE written by Erlend Øye
11. DISTANT LOVER written by Sebastian Maschat
12. QUARANTIME written by Erlend Øye
14. KEYCARD written by Erlend Øye feat. Clara Cebrian
Quarantine At El Ganzo is like a solo album with two main vocalists contributing an even amount of songs. Erlend Øye, known from Whitest Boy Alive, Kings of Convenience, and La Comitiva. Sebastian Maschat is mostly known as the drummer of Whitest Boy Alive, but on this record his role is the multi-instrumentalist, handling piano, synth, flute, trombone, flute, and all kinds of percussion instruments. The session band, affectionately known as the Caged Dolphins, came together from individuals who were all stuck in a corona-lockdown in San Jose del Cabo. Paco Rosas, had just moved there from Guadalajara and had worked only a few months at the studio as the main engineer when the pandemic hit. He plays bass on this record. Jorge Aguilar, is the Mexican booking agent of Whitest Boy Alive, and plays drums in well-known group Technicolour Fabrics. He was travelling with them as a tour manager and was persuaded to stay longer and longer as the recordings progressed. Bear Kittay, is a Californian guitar player and singer, who has spent the last year as part of the team running Hotel El Ganzo.
Hotel El Ganzo is home to El Ganzo Records, a brand-new record label with a mission to support local musicians in Los Cabos and underprivileged children in the area by donating 100% of its earnings to the hotel’s community center.
El Ganzo Records was born after the Coronavirus pandemic caused Erlend Øye and Sebastian Maschat from The Whitest Boy Alive to quarantine at Hotel El Ganzo with Bear Kittay, one of the owners, and spend around 3 months in the hotel’s underground studio recording two albums.”
Instagram: @hotelelganzo
El Ganzo Records Instagram: @elganzorecords
Erlend on Instagram: @erlendoye1975
Erlend on Facebook: @ErlendOyeOfficial
Sebastian & Erlend on Instagram: @maschatanderlend
Bubbles Records Instagram: @bubbles_records
Bubbles Records on Facebook: @bubblesrecords
Whitest Boy Alive on Instagram: @loswhitest
Whitest Boy Alive on Facebook: @loswhitest