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Habla de mi en presente 2

Habla de Mí en Presente are on the rise

12 January 2024, 12:00

After starting out in Berlin’s clubs, Barcelona-based outfit Habla de Mí en Presente are ready to bring their techno-rumba to the rest of Europe.

“Our music was kind of a shelter against this ubiquitous club scene that reigns in Berlin,” says Habla de Mí en Presente vocalist Max Grosse, calling in from snowy Berlin. “We were like, we need this something that makes you move your hips, and not only this more techno way in front of the speakers. This was the fire that lit between us. That's where we found each other, in this. We truly fell into it.”

Although they were formed in Berlin in the mid 2010’s, the members of Habla de Mí en Presente have diverse stories and backgrounds. Currently based in Barcelona, the group has spent the past three years playing across Europe, honing their own brand of rumbatechno, a distinctive mix of Berlin techno and Catalan rumba, with a riotous and energetic live show. This month they’ll bring that spectacle to Groningen conference ESNS.

Currently in its 38th year, Eurosonic Noorderslag brings together more than 4,000 delegates, including representatives over 400 festivals spanning 40 different countries. Catalan Arts has been a festival partner for over a decade, giving a platform to nearly fifty acts from the region through the ESNS Exchange programme which spotlights acts from across Europe and the UK who are ready to take the next step in their artistry and careers.


Alongside working on a new record, Habla de Mí en Presente have already begun to ride on the momentum of their 2022 debut proper, Vivir Más, a record which balances organic and electronic influence. Casting glowing Spanish guitar alongside pulsing bass and capacious soundscapes, it pulls together the distinct influences of a sprawling group, initially founded by Grosse and guitarist Pau Balaguer. “I don't think we all came to Berlin looking for the same, or for a musical scene in particular. I think we just found it and it influenced us for sure,” Balaguer says

Grosse, whose mother is from Catalonia and whose father is German, knew Berlin from plenty of childhood visits. Although he went to study philosophy at university, he spent most of his time working with a local theatre and making music. Balaguer had grown up in Barcelona, playing guitar around the streets and squares. In his teens, he moved to Majorca and spent a brief period on a working farm before making his way to Berlin at the age of eighteen.


He was put up by some friends in the city, and he and Grosse became flatmates for a month. “I didn't know that Max was a singer, but I had my guitar. I started playing guitar one night and then he started singing and this is how we started,” says Balaguer. “He was at university in the day, I was looking for a job, and at night we were playing music until the neighbours got crazy and complained big time, not used to the Spanish vibe.”

Grosse knew violinist Rémi Pradère through his extracurricular passion, the theatre. Pradère had moved to Berlin from Paris at the age of twenty. At the time, he’d been playing violin for five years. “I moved to Berlin because I was studying medicine and I hated it,” he says. “Then I was lost in Berlin and I saw theatre and I came in and I did theatre for many years, but it was not a plan at all, like music.”


Grosse convinced Pradère to join the group. “He's a great musician,” says Grosse. “So for Pau and me, we were and we still are really modest and we're like, ‘No, come on. We are not so good, but we have this energy.’ We attracted him to play with us and we also met Jona, who was starting at university.”

Percussionist Jonathan Hamann completed the group and they began picking up shows around Berlin, melding the city’s techno sound with their own rumba rhythms. “We played in Berlin clubs at two o'clock in the morning,” smiles Grosse. “While in the big room there was huge techno with a very big sound system, in the smaller room near the bar, we were playing without bass; with just a cajon, violin, guitar and voice.”

In 2017 they released Rumba del Nord, a record that the band sees more as a snapshot in time of where their live show was, rather than an album proper. Eventually the group was completed by bassist Blai Juanet. “We gave him a bass, it was our welcome gift. He's also an excellent musician, but he had never played the bass,” says Grosse. “We did this tour all around Europe with Jona’s grandfather’s car and then this was kind of the turning point and we said, ‘Let's go to the studio! Let's record our songs and let's produce them in a more electronic way. Let's try and make them real.’ This was four years ago.”

Off the back of their first European tour, Habla de Mí en Presente began to lock in a run of Spanish dates for 2020 that would also stretch across the Balearic Islands, but then covid hit. While it hindered their live growth, it also enabled them to explore wider and more diverse projects as well as focus on their writing and a long-term plan. “It gave us the space to reconsider some things, to point more where we want to go,” says Balaguer. “We did some funny stuff. For example, we did this online concert for the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. We also created a song with the lyrics of a great writer from there, Oskar Schlemmer. It was beautiful to work with them and to create something new.”

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In 2022 they released Vivir Más, a record that established them as one of the breakout acts from Catalonia, reinforced by their hotly-praised live show. “I think this theatrical thing and our live energy, it's something that is the true heart of the band,” says Grosse. “We're recording our second studio album and it's sounding great and I think this time it's better. Jona, his producing skills are amazing. He really found a way to translate our sound. There's energy from the electronic, but there's also our energy, which we find ourselves a lot with coming from the stage and people telling us, ‘Guys, you have so much energy.’”

As they prepare to bring that vivacity to their Eurosonic showcase later this month, they’re ready for the festival’s platform to help continue their expansion. “We come from all different places and we grew up in Berlin and I feel like this ecosystem, it's really integrated in us,” says Balaguer. “We all see the band playing in all of these countries because it's our organic natural environment. I think now that we're living in Catalonia in Spain, of course we're playing here, but I think we would love to open to these countries to play there. Regularly playing and regularly touring through Europe.”

Habla de Mí en Presente play Eurosonic Festival on 18 January

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