Modus Operandi

Modus Operandi

“There are no shortcuts in this business; hard work always comes first,” Intocable’s lead singer Ricky Muñoz tells Apple Music. The band from Texas is about to celebrate 30 years together. And even though the genre of música mexicana is currently enjoying an unparalleled wave of cultural relevance and global popularity, the band remains faithful to the classic Intocable mystique that’s provided the emotional soundtrack for endless road trips, karaoke nights, and family moments. The sum of the group’s experience can be heard on Modus Operandi, a collection of 16 new songs with melodies that evoke the sweetness of Camilo Sesto and Leo Dan, but also find inspiration in a power ballad from the ’80s, or even a band like Foo Fighters. “We’re musicians, but most importantly, we’re huge music fans,” adds Muñoz. “I’m always researching the work of new composers and reading details about the production of albums.” Here, Muñoz guides us through a selection of key songs from the new album. “Obsesión” “This song is like an impossible dream that became a reality. We definitely closed a circle on this one, because most of us are huge Leo Dan fans, and we always wanted to record an unreleased song by him. Our management got in touch with his publishing company, and they sent us a few tracks. This one has a hypnotic melody, and the lyrics are from the perspective of someone who has obsessive thoughts. As a fan of The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, I remember those records that allegedly contained subliminal messages that you could uncover if you played the album backwards. It reminds me of all that. We also wanted the bajo sexto lines to sound like Foo Fighters. Our producer, Don Was, spoke with the Fighters’ guitar tech, who gave him all the specs so that he could achieve a similar sound.” “Mi Alma Rota (Tanto)” “I stopped writing melodies for some time, but still had a few sketches of ideas lying around. I sent them to Pablo Preciado, one of the singers in the band Matisse, who was a sympathetic collaborator on this project. This melody was one of the bits that he developed. It was just a chord progression that I kept playing whenever I grabbed the guitar, I gravitated to it naturally. We worked on this tune and commissioned a custom-made instrument from our luthier. It’s basically a small bajo sexto that looks like a mandolin. It felt like we were going back to the time of Camilo Sesto, when they made gorgeous music out of some bizarre instruments. It’s like a tribute to that Latin pop era.” “Yo Seguiré” “This is probably the only song on the album that wasn’t sent to me directly. One of our managers, Marco Arizpe, got it from a publishing company, and I became a fan. I tracked down the composer, Alex Cuba, who is an amazing artist and wrote this one together with Colombia’s Esteman. It’s an interesting choice for Intocable; it has a Caribbean touch, but the end result is fascinating. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album. I feel that this song found me. I wasn’t looking for it, had no idea that I needed it in my life, but it still found its way to me.” “Ojalá Estuvieras Aquí” “If I remember well, this was one of the first songs we recorded. We wanted it to have the classic Intocable sound. The imprint of the band is there, but it also has some radical elements, like the chord progression, or the way the melody comes in. It’s like The Beatles: When you listen to ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,’ there’s all these weird verses, but as soon as you reach the chorus, you know exactly who this is. Same here. The chord structure may be unusual on the verses, but the chorus is steeped in the feeling of Intocable—you’re in our safe space now.” “Si Me Duele Que Duela” “We chose this one as the first single off Modus Operandi because of its wonderful pop melody. The verses and the way the words gel together reminds me of ’80s music, all those songs in English that are still part of my playlist. It takes me to that familiar place, like a déjà vu, but from a joyful place. We strive not to repeat ourselves on the musical side of things. In this case, we decided to include an accordion in the bridge, in between those intense hooks. We wanted that bridge to be like a sudden rainfall that refreshes the senses.” “Sin Morir (No Puedo)” “I kept this song for many years, and always thought there was something special about it. It took me a while to find a way for it to sound powerful with the entire band. I didn’t want to be selfish and release a song where basically it’s all about my voice and a guitar. In the end, we decided to leave egos aside, and we recorded it just with my voice and Alex Gulmar playing the bajo sexto. This is actually the demo; it was the first time that I sang it for the guys in the band to hear it. The strings were Don Was’ idea; he got David Campbell, Beck’s father, to write the arrangement. It’s like a bonus track, my equivalent of Paul McCartney’s ‘Yesterday.’ A song for the big boys, not for kids.”

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