Los Lobos Return With New Track 'Made to Break Your Heart' From First New Album in Five Years: Exclusive Song Premiere

Los Lobos 2015
David Alan Kogut

Los Lobos

The members of Los Lobos admit that going into the studio with nothing other than some basic ideas -- as they've tended to make their albums in recent years -- can be a bit nerve-wracking. "At first you don't know if it's gonna roll," the group's David Hidalgo tells Billboard. "So far it's worked."

And fortunately, Los Lobos didn't have to wait long to get the upcoming Gates of Gold, due out Sept. 25, in motion. In fact, the album's gritty and earnest opening track, "Made to Break Your Heart" -- which Billboard is premiering exclusively below -- was the first thing to come along as sessions got underway during February for the band-produced album.

"That was one of those ideas that was in my phone; I jot down ideas on the road, little guitar riffs or chord changes or something," Hidalgo explains. "The night before we started I looked in my phone and found a few that seemed to be OK. I had the chord changes (for 'Made to Break Your Heart') and we just cut the track, drums and guitars, and it developed from there and that's what we started with. "

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The rest of the 11-track set followed relatively quickly, although Hidalgo and Louie Perez -- sitting in a dressing room before going on stage to open for Boz Scaggs earlier this month in suburban Detroit -- insist that they never take for granted that their chosen process will yield results. "It's just faith it might work," Hidalgo explains with a laugh. "We usually go in not knowing what we're going to do and we're not prepared. We start with a few ideas and see where it takes us. Hopefully, one idea will spark others. One day it might not happen, but so far it has." And though the songwriting process can be a bit daunting, it's a necessity for the band. "You have no other choice, really," explains Perez. "We work so much we don't really have the time to sit and spend a lot of time writing. It would be nice if we were writing all the time, but we can't go back to the hotel room and say, 'Hey, let's write a song!'"

"I say 'no,'" Hidalgo quickly adds, with another laugh. "I'd rather sit around in my shorts and chill 'til the next gig." Or, Perez says, "We just go home and it's like, 'I'll see you Saturday...'" 

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Gates of Gold is Los Lobos' first studio album in five years, and the two acknowledge that they need to face a deadline to be creative. "We need a goal, a purpose," Hidalgo notes. But they remain invested in making full albums rather than individual songs or EPs. "We're not against that," Hidalgo says, "but we see albums as a single piece of work. I know some artists, they'll put out an EP, like a five-song thing. If we were (writing) constantly, if we were that type of group, I could see us doing that, put out something twice a year. But we're not."

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Perez, meanwhile, says that Los Lobos -- who are touring North America into mid-November and are also the subject of a new book, Los Lobos: Dream In Blue, by Chris Morris that will be published on Sept. 4 -- certainly understands the trends of the digital age. "A record is coming out -- what does that mean anymore?" he notes. "For us it's just an opportunity to create new work so we can do more writing and go in the studio and be involved in that whole discovery part of it. We don't do it that often, so we always squeeze out the opportunity when someone's crazy enough to give us money to make a record."

Gates of Gold is available for pre-order here.



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