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The story of PAPA TOPO already has countless and immeasurable chapters, and at the same time we get the feeling it is just starting. Because, despite an extensive discography and wide range of musical experience, Adrià Arbona is still radically young. In every way possible. He was at the beginning with that playful, homemade pop with Paulita de Maíz. When they broke records for views when they were just a band with a demo. When with barely a demo they had already been praised by Guille Milkyway (LA CASA AZUL). When their first single, “Oso Panda”, produced by Milkyway himself, quickly became something that music lovers and fans searched for. When they were compared to LA CASA AZUL or TALULAH GOSH, Enrique Y Ana and REGALIZ. When they repeated their success with “La Chica Vampira” and its punk spirit. But Adrià is also radically young in his later period, proving his ability to attack different styles from different perspectives, with a more complete line-up and developing his love for B-series.
From that first stage, we still hold on to our deep admiration for that detail-oriented Mini-LP called “Rotación Y Traslación”, full of space motifs, and with unforgettable songs within PAPA TOPO’s repertoire, like “Acomodador” and “Robot”. Then came the funk, the disco, the surf, the dance tracks. “Sangre En Los Zapatos” is a hit that leaves you clinging to a disco ball. And “Ópalo Negro”, where Adrià unleashes his whole palette: techno-pop, synth-pop, punk, Mediterranean folk, jazz, new wave. Maybe you haven’t yet realized it, but Adrià’s genius is inimitable. His total lack of prejudice and the breadth of his interests, his incurable love of music all make him a very unique songwriter.
And after this intense exercise, he submerges himself in a world he loves: science fiction, B-series, horror films, and bizarre-ness. Almost always accompanied by Marc Ferrer, who gives PAPA TOPO an audiovisual alibi to navigate such refreshing waters. For “La Maldita Primavera” they write “La Llamada” in 2017, along with Zaida Carmona. In 2018, for “Puta Y Amada” they record “Ese Hombre” (yes, the one by Rocío Jurado) along with, the amazing Yurena; there is also “Telenovela” with La Prohibida, and “Éxtasis Total” with BELINDA Y DELFINA.
PET SHOP BOYS and Pedro Almodóvar, making it as trash as possible. And in 2021 they wrote the soundtrack for “¡Corten!”, a tribute to Giallo and to everything queer, where they repeat collaborations with some singers from before, and where they shine with “Por España” with Samantha Hudson, released on the National Day of Spain, making social media go wild.
And meanwhile, a few singles. That “Sirenear” that seems to be influenced by PARADISIO. Or that “Yo Quiero Bailar” by SONIA Y SELENA, that they deconstructed for that Cachitos de Hierro Y Cromo New Year’s Eve Special in 2019. And bringing back “La Chica Vampira” with MARIA DANIELA Y SU SONIDO LASSER, the result of one of six successful tours in Mexico.
As we were saying, so many things have happened and we get the feeling that there is so much more to come. With a handful of unforgettable hits under their belt and many memorable moments in the history of Spanish indie music. But then again, they’re PAPA TOPO. Have you ever known anything like them?
LINE-UP: Adrià Arbona Orero (teclados y voz principal), Óscar Huerta Plaza (guitarra, carrillón y coros), Julia Fandos (flauta travesera y voz), Sònia Montoya Barberà (bajo y coros)
The story of PAPA TOPO begins with Adrià making music from his earliest infancy in Binissalem, a small town in Palma de Mallorca. But the world opens up for them when, at 13, Adrià, thanks to an article in a magazine, becomes interested in indie-pop. Here’s how he describes it in an interview on the Discotraxx web: “I’ve been listening to indie-pop since I was 13 or 14, and I started listening by coincidence: I read an article about independent cinema in the magazine Fotogramas and, since I didn’t really know what indie meant, I Googled it. One of the first groups I found was CAMERA OBSCURA, and that was really important for me: thanks to them I discovered other groups on the Elefant label and when CAMERA OBSCURA played in Mallorca in 2006, that was the first concert I went to without my parents. I think it was one of the concerts I’ve enjoyed most in my life. Since then my musical taste has gone on evolving and I’ve discovered twee pop, which is what I listen to most. Apart from that, I listen to (and am influenced by) other styles like riot grrrl, punk pop and yé-yé. Here on the island there weren’t any other teenagers who were listening to what I was (or at least none that I knew of), but I kept giving my friends music to listen to and now all of the people I hang out with listen to the same kind of stuff.”
While summering, he spends his days listening to CAMERA OBSCURA, LA CASA AZUL and BELLE & SEBASTIAN, among others. At the same time, he listens to a Rough Trade compilation, thanks to which he comes into contact with pop from the 80s/90s (HEAVENLY, BEAT HAPPENING...). His love for this style grew stronger and he starting writing some songs.
Adrià begins the adventure of putting a group together and he talks to some friends he occasionally got together with to sing and play piano and guitar, but they only made two songs (one of those songs, “Cancion de un Estegosaurio”, was recovered for PAPA TOPO’s first demo) and in the end the whole thing was forgotten about.
In the summer of 2008, Adrià writes "Canción para Jordi" as a present and, pleased with the result, he puts it up on Myspace. That is where PAPA TOTO at that moment becomes defined, with him as their main songwriter.
“I’m a rebellious teenager and I like pop. I spend my time with toy instruments that I collect (and some are things I held onto from my childhood), writing and recording silly songs that make me momentarily happy. I’m a defender of DIY and the lo-fi sound. My songs are usually about: corny love and stories about animals. I recorded a demo and I’m making a second. Other things I like: plaid blankets, flower-printed paper, a cup of tea, panda bears, ramen, little outdoor markets…”
One of the first comments he receives is from Guille Milkyway, who said: "SPECTACULAR!!! A simply marvelous song. Please let me know if you put any more up. I’ll be waiting for it!!! xo, Guille"
Moved by that and other comments, he writes more songs that he records with the internal microphone on his computer and uses the toy instruments that he collected. He puts the songs together on a demo that he puts up on Myspace for free downloading.
Through the Internet, he begins to make his first contacts in the music world (EL MAGO HOWL, GUATAFÁN, OKLAHOMA...). That is how he meets Johnny, the leader of a Mallorcan band called MONTA-MAN. He becomes something of a godfather to Adrià, and introduces him little by little into the island’s music scene. Later, and thanks to these introductions, he was able to play in various places, as he helped him organize the concerts and played guitar in some of PAPA TOPO’s shows.
In November, he is offered to play his first concert in the Cultura Club, one of the island’s most popular venues. The concert took place on November 20th. Adrià played a solo show using only a few metalophones and a casiotone. He brought everything else prerecorded. Adrià remembers it as one of the most nerve-wracking moments of his life, he was trembling throughout the whole concert and wishing it would be over.
He repeats this same format in two more concerts, one of which is a special Christmas concert in the Cultura Club (sharing the stage with AMARILLO, one of the island’s most well-known indie bands).
At school he meets two guys who play the guitar and the bass (Juanjo y Sebastià) and he begins practicing with them. Knowing that he could now play with them live, he records a few songs with guitar and bass, evolving the sound of PAPA TOPO considerably.
Adrià meets Paulita in the middle of February, in an audiovisual arts meeting, an in a short time, he suggests that they see how her voice fits for PAPA TOPO’s music. They had an intense weekend of three concerts in a row and, after that marathon, Adrià asked her to become an official member of the group. Shortly after, Juanjo and Sebastià leave PAPA TOPO to focus on their own projects. Carlos and Alicia take over for a period of time. Currently, the band’s members vary with each concert, counting on collaborations from friends in the music world, like Johnny MONTA-MAN or Alberto Iniesta of LOIS CASINO.
In one concert, they meet Alberto Lozano, a young musician who was getting a recording studio together. He suggested recording a few songs for them and they did: the now mythical “Oso Panda” and “Lo que nos gusta del verano es poder tomar helado” were released the first month of summer. When they put the new recordings on Myspace, the popularity of the group grew in leaps and bounds. This popularity brought them to appearances on two local summer television programs (Canal 4 e IB3), playing a few of their new songs.
The subsequent posting of the videos from these performances on Youtube is what sets off the wave of blogs talking about PAPA TOPO: the blog “360 grados de separación” publishes a post showing their surprise and from that moment other blogs begin to write about the band. Everyone has something to say and they all especially point out the mix of rebelliousness and ingenuity of their songs, their tremendously catchy melodies and their influences, which range from LA CASA AZUL to TALULAH GOSH and Enrique Y Ana and REGALIZ: “We love this, this music is so much fun for us. In fact, this year for my birthday my present was the vinyl of “Aprende a multiplicar con Enrique y Ana”. We love the youthful pop style, but we’re not as cheesy as we seem. It’s true that our interests aren’t the most typical among teenagers of our generation and we’re proud of it, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a social life or that we spend the day talking about lost pandas. And musically we don’t try to be an original or innovative group, just to have fun making music that we like, as cliché as that may sound”.
Their appearance on “Je Ne Sais Pop”, one of the most important music webs/blogs in Spain, must be mentioned. In the last months of 2009 they publish a few articles that have an enormous effect: according to the writers of “Je Ne Sais Pop”, no other demo-group had ever generated so many hits on their website as PAPA TOPO did. Later, that article made history as the fifth most visited of the year on the website.
They participate twice on “Radiocassette”, the radio program of Marcos Javega from RAYUELA DJS (both the radio program and RAYUELA DJS were considered one of the best of Spain on Rockdelux magazine’s 2008 list). The first visit is an interview and on the second, Paulita and Adrià play music they like with Johnny MONTA-MAN.
In the summer they give a concert as a part of the Verbena that the collective “Es Papagayo” organizes. The audience sings along with the choruses of all of PAPA TOPO’s songs, leaving everyone, including the band, amazed at the requests for them to play “Oso Panda” and “La chica vampira” again.
Around this same time they receive various offers from record labels but it was Elefant in the end who got in touch with them and, as you can see, turn out to be their best choice. Paulita and Adrià used to joke about how great it would be to sign with Elefant, though they never thought it would ever happen.
The group’s name is mentioned more and more and the quantity of articles about them online makes PAPA TOPO an incredible cyber-phenomenon, to the point that they get two important dates at the end of September off the island: one in Barcelona, in the Razzmatazz’s Pop Bar and the other in the 9th anniversary of Ocho y Medio in Madrid. Adrià (17) and Paulita (15) have become, on their own merits, one of the youngest promises of international indie-pop.
In March, PAPA TOPO’s first single is released; it’s the first release of the collection “New Adventures in Pop”, a new project with which Elefant is trying to help and support new national and international demo-groups, through the release of limited edition colored-vinyl singles that have the first recordings of the groups.
PAPA TOPO’s single includes “Oso Panda” and “Lo que nos gusta del verano es poder tomar helado”, the versions recorded by Alberto Lozano, but also handled by Guille Milkyway, who rerecorded some parts and mixed everything with love and care to maintain the demo-spirit of the collection. The single also includes a B-side, two remixes of “Oso Panda” by Guille Milkyway (Switched on Nashville Milkyway remix), one with vocals and another instrumental, a fun and spectacular remix, a clear homage to the discs made with Moog synthesizers at the end of the 60s with an air of panda country.
Since they put their first songs online, PAPA TOPO became one of the groups with the most online searches, one of the most talked about in blogs and forums of all kinds, almost overnight. The power of the internet made it clear how far they could go and their demos were cherished. When their debut single “Oso Panda” came out, it quickly made its way around the world and didn’t last a week in stores, selling out as if it were an item of prime necessity in the midst of an intergalactic war. The video was another online boom, and had more than 20,000 views just a few hours after going up on YouTube. After just one day it had already received 9 awards on the most famous video website in the world, from the number 1 position in “superfavorite music videos” to the number 2 position in “today’s most watched”, as well as other important rankings like “most liked”, “most commented”, “most viewed” and superfavorites… To date, three mere months since its online release, “Oso Panda” is quickly reaching 150,000 visits on YouTube and is way passed that on their MySpace profile. Lluís Prieto (director) and the whole team at Llaüt Digital (a young and promising production house from Palma de Mallorca) knew exactly how to get the most out of the audiovisual part of one of the biggest indie hits of the year. The video is equal parts fun, carefree, caustic and youthful, the same sharp humor that, like in the album cover photo, gives the clear message that, despite the young age of our heroes (Paulita is 15 and Adriá just turned 18), both have got their heads on straight and have more than enough attitude and talent.
In a few short weeks they managed to get the attention and affection of thousands of fans all over the world, and the most incredible, Martian-like things have happened to them: Ortega y Pacheco immortalized them in an “El jueves” comic strip; the prestigious British music critic, Everett True - collaborator at New Musical Express, Melody Maker, The Times, author of books about THE RAMONES, THE WHITE STRIPES and NIRVANA (he introduced Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love in a BUTTHOLE SURFERS concert and is most probably the reason NIRVANA played covers of THE VASELINES), founder of the magazine Plan B and a member of the group THE LEGENT! (with albums released by Creation, Sub pop and K records) – chose none other than “Oso Panda” as the song of the day on his prestigious blog. The video for “Oso Panda” reached the number one position on MTV’s Top 20 and it was one of the most played on Sol Música. LOS PUNSETES invited them to play as the opening act at their album release party in Madrid in June, and MySpace invited them to participate in their space at Primavera Sound… There are so, so many things that have happened since their debut single was released that we could almost write a book of anecdotes.
Their new video “Lo Que Me Gusta del Verano Es Poder Tomar Helado” is super-refreshing and summery, directed by Lluís Prieto (Llaüt Digital). Lluís is back to play in a fun way, with an explosion of colors; dreamy, cinematographic imagery; mixing and playing with fiction and reality in the ample universe that surrounds PAPA TOPO, without a doubt the best new indie group of 2010.
On July they play with LINDA GUILALA (they played a song with them) at the Indietracks Festival in England.
If “Oso Panda” represented the poppiest part of the group formed by Adrià and Paulita, “La chica vampira” is the punk part. Once again Guille Milkyway is responsible for the production, and our friends from Mallorca leave all the fans of the Twilight saga dumbstruck with their defiant and unpretentious song, that definitely has some of the posings of the best of LOS PEGAMOIDES and the urgency of HELEN LOVE and PLASTIC BERTRAND, with Paulita playing up her brazen and rebellious innocence, which has already won her so many fans. Attitude. The limited edition, 7” single’s B-side has “Capuchas de lluvia”, which, despite starting off like something between THE BEATLES, Francis Lai and Claudine Longet, is soon invaded by distorted guitars soaked in the first songs by LUSH or RIDE, the PALE SAINTS or SLOWDIVE and becomes a song with a certain air of melancholy. This is definitely a new release that will satisfy our ravenous appetites for new songs from our current favorite group. We’ll see what new limits they’re capable of blowing out of the water. The world is theirs.
Click here to watch the video-clip of "La chica vampira"
On March “Rotación y Traslación” Mini-LP is released, a delicious white vinyl that gives us an advance of the many unknown facets of PAPA TOPO, and that makes us think that Adriá and Paulita’s career still has so much for us to discover, and we are excitedly giving ourselves over to them, once again.
PAPA TOPO is delving into the more elegant aspect of their pop, keeping the dose of addictiveness intact and proving that, despite their young age, they enjoy the versatility and open-mindedness that few can boast, backed by a band of up to 15 members, including string and wind sections, the solid production of Gerard Civat, Manel Ibañez and PAPA TOPO themselves. We have proof of this on “En Un Momento”, the song that opens this release, with a bit of Jeanette for that touch of soul (that wah wah, those trumpets), and a phrasing that occasionally reminds us of Teresa Iturrioz or Helena Miquel, and that ends as if it were one of Françoise Hardy’s most romantic songs. “Robot” begins as if it wanted to pay homage to THE RONETTES with lyrics that would delight our beloved PARADE, ending with a reminder of the most intense moments, among electric guitars. “Roselles I Esbarzers” is a delicious curiosity sung in Mallorquin that wanders between the vitality of SHOP ASSISTANTS and LA CASA AZUL to the poppier side of Soul and early LE MANS, and brings color to our memories and smiles to our faces.
The B-side opens with the infinite gem “Acomodador”, which could become a Spanish-language pop gem without much effort at all, with its ye-ye arrangements and its beyond-perfect melodies, cradled by dreamy string arrangements that have nothing to envy of the ones that Jane Scarpantoni did for Adam Green on that glorious “Friends Of Mine”. On “Siesta”, Adriá (who, by the way, is once again in charge of song-writing and arrangements for all the songs on the album) goes all-in for a “tight” piece with echoes of Chris Montez, bossa and lounge, among lazy phrasings and sassy, slow-eyed looks. To wrap things up, “Sanguijela” returns to the urgency, finding a curious but effective space between the period of ARCADE FIRE and the immediacy of the PEGAMOIDES, and Paulita’s last line, “Ya lo dijo San Mateo, no le deis perlas al cerdo” (San Mateo already said it, don’t waste your talents on people who can’t appreciate them), which takes us straight to the song’s culmination.
Click here to watch the video-clip of "En Un Momento"
A new period is beginning for PAPA TOPO, and there are some important changes. A few weeks ago we at Elefant received the sad news that Paulita was leaving the group…
PAPA TOPO New rotation cycle
PAPA TOPO’s first single with their new line-up, a limited-edition, blood-red vinyl!!! ...
PAPA TOPO: Release “Sangre en los zapatos”, a new 4-song single. It’s the first release with their new line-up.
Release “Ópalo Negro”, advance Digital Single from their album “Ópalo Negro”. As an appetizer, we give you the single that gives their long-awaited debut album its name. “Ópalo Negro” is a surprising, multi-faceted song with a solid, cohesive sound, that at the same time has such diverse influences as GOLPES BAJOS, French electro-pop from the 80’s, Carlos Berlanga, Italo disco, and the addictiveness of choruses so very LA CASA AZUL. This is definitively a futuristic bolero with electronic bases and arrangements; a small tribute that goes from Sara Montiel’s collaborations with Nacho Canut and Carlos Berlanga to Liza Minnelli’s with the PET SHOP BOYS.
“Ópalo Negro” also includes a video directed by Marc Ferrer, who co-directed the video for “Sangre En Los Zapatos (Mi Amor)” with Anna Díaz and who just released his first feature-length, “Nos Parecía Importante”, which PAPA TOPO perform in and which Adrià wrote the soundtrack for. In the video, the usual aspects of Adrià’s imagery shine: supernatural incidents, dance, B-series terror.
Release their first album "Ópalo Negro". It’s a close, agile album, but that also requires multiple listenings in order to digest everything in it. Perfectly perfect pop, open and honest, unprejudiced, with no limitations. Everything fits in with PAPA TOPO. “Ópalo Negro” is something more than a handful of songs from various and opposing points of origin. It is a musical lesson. A melodic philosophy. A way of living through the songs. Incontestable. Exemplary. Highly enjoyable.
On 4th May "La Maldita Primavera" is released, a movie directed by Marc Ferrer and starring PAPA TOPO.
A musical and a science-fiction film, a teen comedy and a piece from the post-Almodóvar era. The group PAPA TOPO is the centre of gravity of a series of encounters and misunderstandings between young people who dedicate themselves to composing songs and going to parties. And they don't regret it, because any day a being from another planet could arrive and annihilate us. Be warned.
ER-D117 PAPA TOPO "Puta Y Amada" Digital Single
Soundtrack for Marc Ferrer’s movie, “Puta Y Amada”, with the songs “Telenovela” (a duet with PAPA TOPO and La Prohibida), “Ese Hombre” (a duet with PAPA TOPO and Yurena) and “Éxtasis Total” by BELINDA Y DELFINA.
ER-D135 PAPA TOPO "Sirenear" Digital Single
It is a love song to Mallorca, to its contrasts; it mixes the vitality of its crystalline waters with the sadness of living a bit isolated and looking for physical love. This song has arrived to illuminate and (and rock) these summer days, and for it, Adrià himself confirms he was influenced by other summer hits by PARADISIO, SONIA Y SELENA, PONT AERI and even songs that were used in tourist ads in the 60’s (“El Puente Hacia Mallorca” and “El Turista 1.999.999”).
ER-D154 PAPA TOPO "Yo Quiero Bailar" Digital Single
PAPA TOPO bring us a very special cover of SONIA Y SELENA for New Year’s Eve special “Cachitos De Hierro Y Cromo”. It is an ultra-danceable song that also includes a small tribute: the music base is a sample of the B-side of the first Single from the forgotten group GOMA DE MASCAR, “Soñando En El Cielo”
ER-D201 PAPA TOPO "La Chica Vampira 2K20" Digital Single
Since PAPA TOPO went on tour in Mexico, Adrià has been completely in love with the country, and has been spending some time there lately. On one of his trips, a fan that knew how much liked MARIA DANIELA Y SU SONIDO LASSER’s music, gave him her entire discography, signed, and put them in touch. A year ago, Adrià was in Mexico City the weeks leading up to Day of the Dead, and he was fascinated with the festive and also gloomy ambiance that filled the city: the street alters for Santa Muerte, the markets crowded with people buying candy skulls and mortuary-themed knick-knacks, the bakeries full of Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead)… It was a totally Papa Topo-style scene and it was clear that Adrià had to take advantage of the moment and make a video there. And it was clear that it was the right time to record a remake of "La Chica Vampira" with MARIA DANIELA Y SU SONIDO LASSER!
ER-D251 PAPA TOPO ¡Corten! (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Digital Mini-Album
Five new songs that are included on this Digital EP belong to the soundtrack from Marc Ferrer’s newest movie, “¡Corten!”. It is an exercise that plays with the comedy, thriller, and queer film genres as well as pays tribute to the Italian giallo genre. As you can imagine, the result is incredibly juicy, and is only made juicier with the way Adrià has used a clear influence from the Spanish copla and pasodoble.