Latin

Behind C. Tangana's Captivating Music Videos: 'We Want to Open the Cultural Spectrum'

C. Tangana
Courtesy of Imagine It Media/Javier Ruiz

Behind the scenes of C. Tangana's music video for Para Repartir filmed in Cuba, 2019.

When Santos Bacana heard the music C. Tangana was writing for El Madrileño, he wanted to make sure his music videos matched the Spanish singer's edginess.

"I noticed a radical change in his music. So, visually, I wanted to match his level," says Bacana, Tangana's co-head of creative and founder of Little Spain, a network of creators based in LA. "The music videos became like a canvas to be able to tell many stories."

With music videos such as "Demasiadas Mujeres," "Hong Kong" and "Nominao," Bacana and his team -- which includes heads of production María Rubio and Cristina Trenas -- found an outlet to capture Madrid's essence and for the city to become a main character alongside Tangana.

"We felt that no one had really captured Madrid's essence in the past and we saw an opportunity to do just that with El Madrileño," Bacana says.

"It was also an opportunity to tell stories that have inspired us and Pucho for his album," says Rubio. "We're also interested in fiction because those stories have a language that can become very attractive."

With his new album, released Feb. 26, C. Tangana pays homage to his hometown via traditional sounds and visual imagery that puts Madrid at the forefront.

Below, Billboard talks with Bacana, Rubio and Trenas about the concept behind C. Tangana's music videos.

In a world where music videos in the Latin space tend to be over-the-top and/or predictable, you offer a more cinematic and artistic take on videos. What’s the process been like to hone your vision and come up with these storylines that are so eccentric?

Santos Bacana: When I started listening to the songs Pucho was preparing for El Madrileño, I noticed a radical change in his music. So, visually, I wanted to match his level. The music videos became like a canvas to be able to tell many stories and since I began working with Puchu, we've been creating this character that could easily be for a film. So he's a main character in the videos but Madrid is also a main character. We felt that no one had really captured Madrid's essence in the past and we saw an opportunity to do just that with El Madrileño.

María Rubio: It was also an opportunity to tell stories that have inspired us and Pucho for his album. We're also interested in fiction because those stories have a language that can become very attractive. At the end, we just want to tell stories.

Courtesy of Imagine It Media/Javier Ruiz
Behind the scenes of C. Tangana's music video for Tú Me Dejaste De Querer filmed in 2020.

When in the creative process of a song does Little Spain come in?

SB: Sometimes we get a message on WhatsApp like around 8a.m. because Pucho has just finished a song. We send over feedback next day because we tend to work fast on a project.

MR: Sometimes we're even having conversations way before Pucho starts writing. We talk about the album's theme and from then we're brainstorming ideas for every video.

How involved is C. Tangana in these brainstorming sessions? 

Cristina Trenas: He's more involved now more than ever. As an artist, he has very clear ideas of what he wants visually, what stories he wants to tell and what is relevant today.

SB: He's also been more involved in the process because he wants to understand how we work. He eventually wants to start acting and/or directing so he's interested in the way we work.

Can we breakdown the concept for the following three videos: "Nominao" and "Hong Kong," which really are a two-part video, and "Demasiadas Mujeres"?

SB: For "Nominao" and "Hong Kong," Pucho told us that he had recorded beautiful songs with [Andrés] Calamaro and Jorge Drexler and wanted to recreate the magic in the studio. We had 10 days to come up with something and record so we had to come up with a concept fast. The idea was to recreate the magic they felt while recording the songs in Madrid. They recorded in the studio at night because during COVID times, the streets were empty and there was a curfew so it was easier to record then. I thought that was cool and interesting and figured that should be the concept for the videos. To recreate that nocturnal magic and create like an underground club or studio that only they and a select group of people had access to.

With "Demasiadas Mujeres," since it was like the intro to the album and the majority of the songs in the album are about love, I wanted to introduce this world of women and Pucho's relationships with them. Here we also wanted to introduce Madrid as a main character because of the album's roots in Madrid and Spain. Those were my two intentions with this video.

Courtesy of Imagine It Media/Javier Ruiz
Behind the scenes of C. Tangana's music video for Demasiadas Mujeres filmed in 2020.

How does it feel to be part of this musical moment in 2021?

SB: It's iconic. Musically, I think the album will change the way the new generation of artists record music and it will unite Spain to Central and Latin American countries. I feel very privileged to be part of this movement. Though it makes me sad to think we couldn't really execute all of our ideas and travel to places such as Mexico or Argentina to film videos. But it is what it is.

MR: We feel very fortunate to be part of this album. I think it will inspire at a global level but in Spain, it will connect differently with multiple generations. There are songs that my little cousins will enjoy but there are also songs grandparents could enjoy. And visually, we want to open the cultural spectrum and not give fans what they expect from him.

Courtesy of Imagine It Media/Javier Ruiz
Behind the scenes of C. Tangana's music video for Para Repartir filmed in Cuba, 2019.

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