Hotel Caracas

Hotel Caracas

“This is the most honest record we’ve ever done,” Mau y Ricky tell Apple Music as they discuss Hotel Caracas. In November 2022, the hitmakers behind “Llorar y Llorar” and “Ya No Tiene Novio” were meant to take some time off, and Mau traveled to Paris to be with his wife and newborn son. Ricky felt restless; 10 days later, he had already worked on the first two songs on the album, and he asked Mau to return. They quickly formed the team that would help the brothers develop their fourth studio album: JonTheProducer, JP Saxe, and Malay Ho, one of the helmers behind Frank Ocean’s Blonde. Hotel Caracas took shape after a trip to their native Venezuela, their first in over a decade. The Dominican Republic, Los Angeles, New York, and their home base of Miami completed the coordinates of the album, which moves freely from merengue and R&B to rock and pop, and even incorporates Mexican banda brass into a blues-based track. “Muriendo de Miedo” Ricky: “This one was inspired by meeting my wife and having to leave the following night. I was sitting on the plane, wondering if I would get to see her again. It was the only thing that mattered to me, and my immediate reaction was to fasten my seat belt. If there was an accident, I wanted to be able to see her again. An absurd notion, but that’s what I felt.” “Pasado Mañana” Mau: “Once, my brother and his ex set me up on a blind date with a friend of hers. We went to an amusement park. I had a great time, and so did she. I thought everything was going fine, and I got a bit intense, asking to see her again. I think it scared her away. The lyric is about that moment, not knowing if the person shares the same feelings with you. It evokes the feeling of traveling down a highway, wanting to listen to music with the windows down and enjoying it to the max. We recorded it in Los Angeles; it was the first track where I participated. I was nervous because a vibe had already been set and I didn’t know if I would fit in. Fortunately, I did.” “Canción 2” Ricky: “Sometimes you may think that it’s too late for love. But when it finally happens, the timing is perfect, because if you hadn’t met that person, the earlier version of you wouldn’t have been ready. There’s a voice memo in the bridge—it’s the first one I ever got from my wife. It was the second song we wrote for this album, and it defines the identity of the project, the sound that we wanted, something completely different from the early Mau y Ricky albums.” “David Beckham” Mau: “There isn’t a single soul out there who will see David Beckham and not marvel at what a good-looking guy he is. He embodies self-confidence, like when you wake up feeling sure of yourself. ‘I can tackle anything today—nothing could stop me. Today I feel like David Beckham...’ We spent eight days in Samaná, Dominican Republic, and it was all about the beach, hanging by the pool and making music. Malay mentioned an app that features retro drum sounds. I downloaded it and started to play around. He turned around and told me that was the exact vibe that he was looking for.” “Glock” Ricky: “When passion becomes overwhelming, it can harm you, but you still want to hold on to that person, to what she makes you feel. ‘You burn me like fire, you kill me like glock/And the more I burn...’ It’s a very personal lyric, and it stems from experiences that I’ve shared with my wife. It began here, in my Miami home studio, using an OP-1, a small Japanese synth.” “Vas a Destrozarme” Mau: “It embodies emotional pain, agony, even on the vocal front, and it’s one of my favorite tracks. This record touches on all those feelings that are embarrassing to express—this one is about asking a girl to break up with her boyfriend. You know what you’re getting into, you’re scared to say it, but it’s real. Don’t break up with him because I’m telling you to, but because that’s what you really want. All those feelings are perfectly expressed by the banda, and how they turn into a blues pattern. It’s an unexpected contrast.” “Gran Día” (feat. Guaynaa) Ricky: “Many people have approached to thank us because ‘Gran Día’ makes them happy, but it almost didn’t make it onto the album. The initial lyric was ‘Today is going to be great, because we’re gonna make it.’ It was all about being with her in the end, and it said: ‘You’re sexier than Dua Lipa.’ To us, it was like the ugly ducking of the album, we didn’t connect with it, but Malay, who doesn’t really speak Spanish, convinced us to let it in. I asked Mau what would happen if we changed the lyric to ‘Today is going to be great because I will slay it,’ and then, ‘I’m sexier than Dua Lipa.’ This was the adjustment that we needed, and it became my wife’s favorite song.” “Wow” Mau: “It makes you feel like you’re at the beach, with a beer, by the sea. We recorded it in Samaná—we had a Venezuelan cuatro and Malay started playing. We wanted to evoke the feeling of Jason Mraz’s ‘I’m Yours.’ We were in the sun, and the chorus just came out. The vocals are from the original demo that I recorded by the pool with an SM7 mic—with my feet in the water. All the other songs were done with a very expensive mic, but because of the intention and how it felt, we used the original demo on this one.” “Fetiche” Ricky: “We finished it in Samaná. In the morning, JP, Mau, and me got together in order to finish the bridge. It’s about how you can become obsessed with someone. It fills me with feeling and nostalgia.” “Manera Linda de Morir” Mau: “That’s an old drum kit, muffled with towels and old pieces of cloth. It has a warm, rich tone, because it was recorded on analog tape. When we did the final drum parts, Malay told me he needed an epic feel. I was scared, because he has worked with some of the heaviest drummers in the world. But the first sounds that stemmed from my mind and heart were the ones that we used. I looked up, and on the other side of the cabin, Ricky and Malay were hugging, celebrating what had just happened. It was a beautiful moment.” “Hasta Olvidarte” (feat. Arcángel) Ricky: “I love the fact that Arcángel guested on the most alternative song in the album. When we sent it to him, he replied: ‘This is my style—the piano chords alone sold me, but when I heard the performance and lyrics, I was on board.’ We got his verse four hours later, which speaks volumes about his professionalism. He is such a great guy, and this is one of my favorite verses of his. One of the smoothest collaborations ever.” “Espectacular” Ricky: “This merengue pays tribute to our Venezuela childhood, when we listened to Proyecto Uno, Ilegales, Fulanito, Calle Ciega. It’s where the energy peaks. We’re closing our shows with this one, and people go crazy.” “Fkn Mentiroso” Mau: “Artists like The 1975 and Bleachers—really strong bands—have been a huge influence for Ricky and me. I love the vibe of this song. And I love the contrast with the intensity of the lyrics. The excuses that people come up with when they’re being unfaithful—blaming it on loneliness and such. All those stupid justifications.” “Amarte Tanto” Mau: “Some people think this one’s about God. Ricky wrote it thinking about his wife: ‘I’m so happy I found you and I won’t die alone because I’m growing older and my friends are all married.’ I was inspired by my son: How can I love somebody so much, and hurt at the same time? It’s hard to explain, but I’m scared that something will happen to him. This is why I love the idea of surrendering. The rest of my life is for you, experienced through you. Music allows you to talk about the same experiences, but from different angles.” “Karma” Ricky: “Regardless of where the road is taking you, or what the final destination may be, what matters is who you share every moment of the road with. This is the final message from someone that we love dearly. ‘Karma’ talks about haters and the human condition. Why we project negative vibes on people that we don’t even know. Or why we end up hurting the people that we love so much.”

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