Here is ‘Lobo López’, who is “a good wolf,” says Kiko Veneno of himself. ‘Lobo López’, one of the signature songs of these four decades that has been making people dance at homes and at concerts, animating birthday parties and reducing the drama of farewells, cheering hearts in the four seasons, warming love affairs, betting on the hugs between Tyrians and Trojans, putting words to the wishes of many, to life on foot sneaking through balconies and beach hammocks, to trips around friends, to the small details that defend you from falling apart. ..
Icon of popular music in Spanish, some of his lyrics are already legend to fire, such as ‘Volando voy’, which Camarón immortalized, and many others who have adhered to the talk of walking around the house, so comfortable, for several generations. Example: “I miss you the same as I missed you before.” It is not Fiódor Dostoyevski in full swing, but whoever has not ever uttered this phrase to the rhythm of the mischievous music of Kiko Veneno, artistic name of José María López Sanfeliu (Figueras, 1952), raise your hand.
Now, with a new album, ‘Hambre’, the eleventh of his career, and an invaluable approach to the youngest through his collaboration with C. Tangana, performing ‘Los tontos’ in his latest work, Veneno faces the challenge of “Make the public happy” in the concerts ahead. Draws a penalty, his mother died of coronavirus. He was 95 years old. And he clings to this relief: he was able to say goodbye to her, in the residence where he spent his last time, taking her hand and giving her a kiss. The last. Indelible.
– What did you aspire to?
– I think I am a musician because I wanted to make others happy. And, although I am somewhat ashamed to admit it, I think I have succeeded. I have been able to make that wish come true, and I am happy because your aspirations in life are not always covered.
– And in your day to day?
– As happens to all of us, I think, what we want is to be loved. I have also achieved that, although I could not tell you one thing after another that you have done to achieve it. The key may have been that very soon I had the intuition that the first thing is to say to you: ‘I’m going to love people, and I hope people love me too.’ First, you want it, wake up. Bad life, the one who has no love to give.
– And when nobody sees him?
– I have my hidden life, my mystery, my bad points, my defects … As for the capital sins, mine is fundamental laziness; I admit that I am a little lazy and that I really like the ‘dolce far niente’. Gluttony, no, nor envy either, but anger I do know. I also know pride, which is related to anger and which consists in believing that you are more than anyone else. And that’s where anger comes from, from realizing that this is not the case; sometimes I get mad at myself like a fighting monkey.
“This pandemic has been a warning that what may come to us is much worse than covid-19”
Don’t live depressed
– Does he get up and what is said?
– I wash my face well and say to myself: ‘Now to look forward to the day that awaits you, to be positive, to be active …’ I do not want to live depressed, I face each new day thinking that it will be a great day, that there are very good people to share it with and that great things can be done, each one from wherever they are. And don’t miss out on a good little fish with tomato, which is also important!
– I’m not going to argue. Look back?
– But not with that nostalgia that makes you regret the present. Life has treated me well, and I am very grateful, it being also true that I have gone through very bad times, that I have cried and suffered what was mine and that I know very well what it is to have many uncertainties. But it has been good, and I have enjoyed moderate success that has allowed me to lead a normal life, very much on the streets. I have seen many people fall victim to success, fall under its weight. I have been lucky and, also, I have been constant, I am a fighter and it is seen that I have a certain talent for making songs [risas]. Nostalgia appears when you stop having illusions, and that is not my case.
“People are more friendly, calm and calm than the image that is given in social networks”
– All these painful months, all this strangeness. What have you learned?
-I have not learned anything new, I have reaffirmed myself in things that I already knew. One: how dangerous is this disconnection that we live between man and nature. This cursed current tendency to consider that with it we can do whatever we want, that it is at our service …; that awful. I do not forget the moment in which I read something about one of the idols of my youth, Fernando Savater, I do not know this man how he has been able to turn so much of thought. It stuck in my mind. He defended that if to make a road you had to destroy a mountain, that you go ahead because the road was more important than the mountain …; that’s when I started to get pissed off at this man, ‘something he’s taking that is making him feel bad’. That we are the owners of nature? No man no! We are now the most advanced species, in quotes, but we are part of it and we need it to live. Nothing that exists in nature is to destroy it, but with this march of the current economy and this forward flight in which we only talk about the International Monetary Fund and the Stock Market and all that … And there are the Consequences: capital is increasingly in the hands of fewer people, and inequalities soar and the number of people grows, millions! without access to a life in good conditions. We are going to end up destroying ourselves, because we do not respect nature, nor do we seem to care about the fate of millions of people.
Learn to sticks
– And in favor?
– Humanity is capable of adapting to the most disparate situations, and has demonstrated this throughout our history, from Neanderthals and whatever it takes. But what is clear is that we are to learn by sticks; Evolution occurs when, to overcome routines and tackle new challenges, we finally react. We are not going to change by ourselves, something bad has to come that makes us change, and this pandemic has been a warning that, really, what can come to us is much worse than covid-19; Really extraordinary catastrophes can happen to us. I tell you sadly: if these catastrophes do not come, we will not learn. To which is added all those people who say that all this climate change is a lie, as the clever brother-in-law of (Mariano) Rajoy said or now they say this and the other. It is not convenient for us to realize many things, we are better there glued to our routines. Come oil, come more cows! But why do we need so much milk? If there are no more children! Well, cows come, knowing that each cow that you raise is a beastly destruction for nature; total, to make you four steaks, my soul! And the sea, which we say is our great reserve … but if it is already destroyed, full of plastics and chemistry, it is a shame, a dung heap.
– Do you perceive people aggressive?
– Nerd. Let’s see: aggressiveness is what you perceive when you open social networks, but social networks are not life on the street, people’s daily lives. Most people, on a day-to-day basis, treat each other with respect, support each other. What the system is not interested in is art, culture, that people think …; he is interested in the confrontation, because he thinks that of ‘divide and conquer’. We see that level of aggressiveness in the media and on the networks, but in everyday life we do not live like that, in general. If people on the street will behave as on social networks, it is because we could not live. People are much kinder, calmer and calmer than the image that is given of them in the networks.
«Now the right is back with the Civil War, they don’t have enough. They live in that world »
– And the political class (Veneno supports Podemos) …
-… Now the right is back with the Civil War, they don’t have enough. They have lived in that world of the Civil War forever. Ayuso, for example, now that he has won the elections, I don’t think he has anything to contribute, he has waged a warmongering campaign, cheating, talking about freedom without understanding anything, presenting a city of Madrid as if it were besieged by bombs from the left. . He is not ashamed! We do not want to re-green the Civil War, what we want is to bury people with dignity. They are the ones who want the Civil War, the ones who are happy with all the symbols of the Civil War, with all the Francoist institutions and with all that. But, well, I don’t want to talk about politics, I’m getting hot (smiles). It is that later you see the results of the elections … It is as if consumption and shouting in this society have conquered reflection, calm, and serious analysis of things.
– Why are your lyrics so popular?
– Because I rely a lot on popular speech and sentiment. I learned a lot with flamenco, which with very short sentences, with few words, reflects the deepest feelings and the greatest mysteries of life. It has been my source of learning. In addition, I listen a lot to people, I am the people, what happens to everyone, and I also have a gift [ríe] to compose melodies, rhythms.
– That is true?
– That life is wonderful, but when you have something to eat, and you have a place to sleep, and you can feed your family and get ahead. Of course life is wonderful then!
«I believe in eternal life, but not in mine. The guy who made the Giralda is still there among us »
– What is important and we don’t give it to you?
– Stare at the sky for half an hour: the clouds go by, the Moon, the stars.
– How about the experience with C. Tangana?
– A marvel! As soon as you start singing ‘Los tontos’ at concerts, people go crazy and it’s a party. It was a long time since records like this, of the popular type, had been recorded in Spain. Something that people can sing, because there is no one to sing indi songs, and I mean it without malice! [risas]!
“I also know pride, which is related to anger and consists of believing you more than anyone else”
– And when the day of the end …
– … This is not over. I believe in eternal life, but not in mine, in the eternal life of life. This is a wheel. The guy who made the Giralda is still there, living in us, and those who planted the trees in so many forests are still there, living in us. We owe them the beauty, we owe them the oxygen … I’m going to die, but I believe that what my children have learned from me they will reproduce, and that some of my songs will continue to keep someone company. That is eternal life for me.