Soda Stereo's New Album and Cirque Du Soleil Spectacular: An Exclusive Sneak Peek

Soda Stereo
Courtesy Photo

Soda Stereo

Soda’s Charly Alberti reveals new details about creating Sép7imo Dia’s soundtrack with Zeta Bosio and preparations for the show tour.

While members of Cirque du Soleil were in Buenos Aires this week rehearsing their acts for Sép7imo Dia -- the show inspired by the music and story of Argentine rock band Soda Stereo -- Charly Alberti and Zeta Bosio were in a studio in Los Angeles working with Grammy-winning engineer Gustavo Borner on the mixes of the music that will be heard both in the show and on an album set to be released to coincide with its March 9, 2017 premiere.

“The songs that people want to hear will be there,” assures Alberti. For now, he names just two:  “Primavera Cero,” and the song that gives the Cirque show its name, “(En) El Séptimo Día.” The album (and recorded music for the show, as there will be no live band), represents a year of work by Alberti and Soda bassist Zeta Bosio, who have gone through Soda’s legacy, to “take apart the songs and then totally rebuild them.”

Cirque has staged few productions dedicated to musical artists; its performers have paid tribute to The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. The collaboration between Cirque and the Latin American rock heroes has proved to be as anticipated as it was unlikely: 50,000 tickets were sold in the first day of sales for the Buenos Aires shows, breaking a record in Argentina. Twenty-six of 65 consecutive over 5,000-capacity performances at Buenos Aires’ Luna Park are sold out.

Sép7imo Día comes ten years after Soda Stereo, who sowed their fame in the 1980s, first in Buenos Aires and then by forging a path in Latin America, played a reunion tour attended by over a million people in nine countries, including the US.

Since then, the artists, and Soda’s now multigenerational fans, have mourned the loss of Gustavo Cerati, the trio’s frontman, who died in 2014 at age 55.

“If this wasn’t about the music we wouldn’t have done it,” says Alberti. During an early morning phone conversation earlier this week in which his voice revealed a rollercoaster of emotions, he deemed the Cirque show both an homage and “a fantasy.”

BILLBOARD: Would you call the new album a soundtrack?

ALBERTI: Yes, basically it’s a soundtrack. It represents almost the entire show. The show is 90 minutes long and you can’t put 90 minutes on an album, so possibly what will be left out is, more than anything, the intervals that come between each song; the incidental music that allows for scene changes or preparing for a new act. The important thing is that the songs are there, and the album will respect the set list of the will allow you to navigate through your memories of one act after another as experienced in the show.

For a concert, we consider each song and we put together a set list according to the emotions that you want to keep following with that music during the length of the concert. This has that too, but obviously it’s led by visual concerns and by the artistic interpretations you see in the show.

So the set list might not be exactly in the order that we would have put together, but the songs themselves are the ones that we would have chosen. And that really makes it even more interesting, because it breaks with the norm for what we would have done.

How closely does Sep7imo Dia follow the Soda Stereo story?

Basically, it is a fantasy. It takes you to a place where listening to Soda Stereo takes you.

Michel [Laprise, Cirque du Soleil's Creative Director] understood that Soda Stereo was a band whose career was driven by creativity and by going further. He and other people from Cirque du Soleil spent months and months of being immersed in our world, interviewing us, interviewing people around us, interviewing our fans, going to my house where we had started rehearsing. They went to Buenos Aires several times, and they experienced Latin America. In creating the show they were immersed in what it was that made this world of Soda Stereo. And that’s what it’s based on. But it’s not chronological, it doesn’t respect time.

So you wouldn’t call it biographical?

Maybe you would expect something more of a story, something that documents historic moments. But it’s nothing like that. It’s much more about fantasy, and that makes it much more amazing for me; incredible things happen.

You and Zeta worked together in the studio for the past year. How did you approach the project?

What we basically did was take the multi-tracks of the [Soda] albums, digitize them, take apart the songs and then totally rebuild them. New mixes, new versions, things that people have never heard, different has allowed us to do incredible things. What was always a priority for us, and for Cirque also, was that the musical parameters were set by Zeta and I. It’s not like all of a sudden a song is going to cut off after two minutes. If this wasn’t about the music, we wouldn’t have done it.

Two things will come out of this mix – the album and the music for the show. The album will be in stereo, and the music for the show will be have surround, it wil have effects; There are incredible things that happen with the music in the show that you can’t do on an album.

How did you feel about re-visiting Soda’s past, especially after Gustavo’s death?

There were so many different emotions, because listening to the albums, listening to Gustavo’s voice, listening to the three of us laughing, it makes you sad. But the same way that we would have done with Gustavo, we respected the process. This work has the same characteristics as it would have if Gustavo had been with us.

People may say, ‘well Gustavo isn’t here and it’s not the same’. No, he’s not, and obviously we wish he were. But the truth is that we worked the same way as if he were. We always worked as a band in the studio. It was the three of us in the rehearsal room. We had to get used to not working as a trio. It was always so great, because if two of us didn’t agree, there was always someone who would make the decision. When Zeta and I were together, there was no one to break the tie. So that was a little conflict for us, but it also made us work on our personal relationship.

Is there a moment in the show when there is a specific memorial or homage to Gustavo?

We’re sure that in each country a lot of amazing things are going to happen, because it’s not about one specific moment that’s a tribute to Gustavo. The whole thing is the moment. From the moment you come in until the moment that you leave, it’s an homage to the band, and the fact that one of us is no longer here makes it much more emotional. And you’re going to think about him and you’re going to envision him. We wanted to avoid that sometimes kitsch element of a tribute. It is implicit in the show.

When we first got together to talk with the people from Cirque du Soleil, it was a very delicate moment because it was just after Gustavo had passed. And the first thing that we said was, ‘we’re going to celebrate the story of the band.’

Have you been going to the rehearsals?

No. I want to give them time to rehearse and see the show when it’s ready. Because you can get really anxious about it, and really we haven’t had time. I’ve been with Zeta this whole time preparing the album. But soon will come the moment for us to see everything. They have been rehearsing for the last two months in Buenos Aires, and January 1 they’ll be moving to Luna Park to rehearse there until the show premieres. Once they are there, we will have to prepare the music with the sound system we’ll have at Luna Park.

Will you and Zeta actually be present at the shows?

We wil be at the premiere, and at the premieres in each country. The first year, the show will go to Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. Then after, other countries in Latin America and the United States. There’s a lot of demand, the tickets are selling fast. Maybe it will do a tour of Latin America and then come back to Buenos Aires for more shows. Or maybe it will be installed permanently there. It remains to be seen. At this point, we know when it starts, but not when it ends.