Alex Vargas, once singer in the band Vagabond, is now solo. He’s got a great, soulful voice, a cool style and he writes a mean song. Ahead of his performance at the Mahogany Music Club in Berlin on the 23rd November in Kantine am Berghain, we asked him a few questions.
indieberlin: You left Vagabond to go for a less poppy, rawer sound. Has it worked? Have you found what you were looking for?
Alex Vargas: I didn’t leave Vagabond to find a different. I stopped Vagabond cause non of us were particularly excited about what we were doing. I love what I do now.
“The hard drive with the session on it had malfunctioned and we lost everything”
indieberlin: Tell us a little about the background to Giving Up The Ghost – the story behind the song, the recording process, as you like.
Alex Vargas: It was really tough actually. It didn’t come easy at all. Tommy and I fought the song for days in the studio. And when it came to finishing the EP, the hard drive with the session on it had malfunctioned and we lost everything. In hindsight I’m glad we had to start over, but when I realized at first I wanted to tear the walls down. The song is about facing your fears and the thing that are holding you back and getting on with it.. Think a lot of people can relate to that.
“Ironically, when I was in a band I never really collaborated with them other than the live side of things”
indieberlin: How do you find the difference between having a band and working as a solo artist – positive and negative?
Alex Vargas: Ironically, when I was in a band I never really collaborated with them other than the live side of things. I wrote that album with the producer and his team. And now that I’m a solo artist I do everything with Tommy, my creative partner. Alex Vargas is two people essentially. We do invite external writers in from time to time. I love that.
” Like everybody else my music taste was influenced by my folks”
indieberlin: Where is ultimately home for you? Denmark. England or Uruguay…or wherever you are?
Alex Vargas: London and Copenhagen. One isn’t above the other.
indieberlin: Tell us a little bit about your musical background.
Alex Vargas: Like everybody else my music taste was influenced by my folks. My mother loved Queen. My father loved his own music, but once in a while he’d give others the time of day, and some of those albums would get passed onto me. Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Jeff Buckley, Red Hot Chili Peppers etc. They all have a place on my shelf and in my life. Later I was introduced to early Stevie Wonder, Hendrix, Aretha and Sam Cooke. Singing changed for then.
indieberlin: How does the songwriting process work for you?
Alex Vargas: There’s no one way of doing it. That’s what keeps it fresh for me. Allowing it to come from any angle.
indieberlin: If you had to describe your music to a deaf person, what would you say?
Alex Vargas: Well for a start I would write it. And that depends, did this person lose her/his hearing later in life or was she/he born deaf?
“Biggest stage fuck-up? Leaving my guitar at home”
indieberlin: What music do you listen to when you’re touring?
Alex Vargas: Lately it’s mostly been D’Angelo and Tame Impala. Both of their recent albums are insane.
indieberlin: What was your biggest stage fuck-up?
Alex Vargas: Leaving my guitar at home.
indieberlin: In ten years you look back to today and think:
Alex Vargas: Still busy!
indieberlin: Do you see your songs in colour or in black and white?
Alex Vargas: A close friend of mine has synesthesia, so I would rather ask her and get back to you.
Alex Vargas plays in Kantine am Berghain at the Mahogany Music Club on the 23rd November. Get tickets here.
Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.