Argentine rocker Fito Páez: ‘I want to play until the end’

MEXICO CITY (AP) — In times of a global pandemic, Argentine rocker Fito Páez feels it is his duty to document what’s going on in the world through his music.

It’s something he aimed to do with “La Conquista del Espacio” (“The Conquest of Space”), his 2020 album that is competing for best Latin rock or alternative album at the March 14 Grammy Awards.

“It’s not a very happy world, but it’s the one we have,” Páez said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “We all are on this ship and the ship is sinking slowly … In any case, I will be part of the Titanic’s band — I want to play until the end. That is my task.”

“La Conquista del Espacio” won him the best pop/rock album Latin Grammy in November, while the track “La Canción de las Bestias” (“The Song of the Beats”) — which questions how we’re going to fix a looming future — won best pop/rock song.

Páez’s album is both an apocalyptic and cheerful soundtrack with songs like “Las Cosas Que Me Hacen Bien” (“Things That Do Me Good”), “Nadie Es de Nadie” (“Nobody Belongs to Nobody”) and the bittersweet “Gente en la Calle” (“People in the Street”), which features Argentine pop star Lali.

“And if you read it or listen to it now in ‘COVID key,’ it works very well. It seems like a record almost made by a futurologist, in a sense,” the 57-year-old explained.

But on a personal level to Páez, “La Conquista del Espacio” is an album of redemption which allows him the possibility of being born again.

“I would say that in the end it’s like a story in which everything can be done and redone,” the eight-time Latin Grammy winner said.

It’s been 20 years since Páez was last nominated for a Grammy Award, and he welcomes the nod for best Latin rock or alternative album with joy even though he doesn’t feel his latest album —which combines piano with sounds of pop, blues and symphonic music — fits within in the rock or alternative music genres.

“If you ask me, I feel that I do Argentine popular music in a sense … although we also know that this is a very delusional area because music itself does not have a concrete definition,” he said.

Throughout his career, which began in the early ‘80s, the performer been consistent in his quest of experimentation. If there is one thing that characterizes him, it is that he’s never standing still.

“It’s my natural condition,” he said. “I will always be curious about what I don’t know musically. Overall, it happens to me with everything in life, but with music I can express it.”

Also a writer and a filmmaker, Páez was at full throttle during the pandemic. He finished a script that he had pending. He did a virtual press tour to promote his album. He created new music and, between July and November, he wrote the first 30 years of his autobiography.

“That was all,” he said. “A hurricane.”

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