Maná Talks 'Burning Bed,' Working With Outside Producer, Making Shakira Cry

Omar Cruz


An exclusive interview with Mexico's rock gods

Cama Incendiada (translates to Burning Bed), Maná’s first album in nearly four years, came out April 21 and, in the words of frontman Fher Olvera, is “sexy, cool, deep—very deep.”

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During an exclusive listening session with the band in Miami, Olvera, drummer Alex Gonzalez, guitarist Sergio Vallin and bassist Juan Calleros told Billboard everything we need to know about the Burning Bed and their creative process.

For the first time ever, you’ve co-produced with someone not from the band -- George Noriega. How did this come about?

Fher Olvera: We met since Amar es Combatir [Maná’s last album from 2011] but we didn’t work together. We went to his studio and realized he was a good guy, great credentials and very knowledgeable about Latin music and even more so about rock. He’s a great producer and a good friend. It’s strange because we’re very closed as a band, but I think it was a good thing to open up. No matter what new melodies you bring, you need someone who opens up new musical views.

How did Noriega convince you to work with him?

Olvera: By not trying to convince us. We began to work very light and we started to have fun. That’s what music is about. His studio was really far away from here [Miami] but I always felt happy driving there. We laughed all the time, chatted -- because he has a good sense of humor, like we do. In English, the verb is “to play.” It should be the same in Spanish. Because that’s what we were doing; we were going to play. That’s what you hear in the album.

What’s different in this album?

Olvera: For the first time, we only included two ballads. It’s usually four. And it’s not as dark as some of our other works. It’s sexier and more optimistic.

Sergio Vallín: This album seduces you to dance. It has very sensual lyrics, it’s very daring, but very classy. And we wanted to also go back to the clubs, to that street vibe Maná has.

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How did you determine the direction of the album?

Olvera: The songs run the gamut. Up, down, loving, everything. Never in my time with Maná do I remember us having ever sat down to say, “we’re going to do this or that album.” You start moving as you create.

Of course, the first single, “Mi Verdad,” features Shakira. It’s a song you dedicated to your 17-year-old son, Dali, and it also struck a chord with her, didn’t it?

Olvera: She’s a great singer and I think this was refreshing to her, because it’s a return to her roots. She told us the first time she went to the studio to record she couldn’t do it because she was so emotional with the song. She had to go a second time and spent two whole days and the results are fantastic. I think she truly identified with the song. She told me, “I wish I had written it.” When we filmed the video in Barcelona, she couldn’t sing at first because she was crying. 

What did Dali say when you played the song for him the first time?

Olvera: He got up on his chair and hugged me. I turned around to look at him and said, “Did you like it son?” and he gave me a thumb’s up.

Many of these songs have been two years in the making. What’s your process in the studio? How many hours do you spend there?

Olvera: From 10 a.m. until it’s done.

“Cama Incendiada” is a great song and you actually have photos with a burning bed!

Olvera: The music is amazing. It’s retro but it has a ton of elements. We actually burnt a bed during the photo session.

Was that cathartic or just fun?

Gonzalez: It’s funny because at one point we said, “we have to be practical!” [in the recording process]. But if ideas and songs keep coming up, you have to keep working on them. We’d be mixing and then another song would come up.

One of my favorite songs is “La Telaraña” [The Spiderweb]…

Olvera: It makes an analogy of a woman as one of those black widows; they eat their mates after copulating. So, they screw on the burning bed and then she eats him up for his protein. But our guy in the song is a little masochist. He likes it. 

Tickets for your tour just went on sale. Tell us a bit about that?

Gonzalez: We’re starting in the U.S. in June, then we’re going to Mexico, Spain, Central and South America. It’s going to be a big tour. And it’s going to be one of the coolest rigs and shows we’ve ever had on our careers. I’m just looking so much forward to going on tour. It’s amazing to create the album, because you’re creating from zero, but once you’re done, sharing it with the fans is incredible.


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