Las Nubes is a three-piece Miami band that blends the old and the new. Its music bleeds low-fi/alternative heartbreak sounds nostalgic of the '90s while staying modern with heavy riffs and pop harmonies, sometimes in Spanish.
Ale Campos started the band over four years ago as a solo project under the name Smvt. Evolving from hard punk to a more familiar and softer sound, the band slowly transformed into Las Nubes, now with the addition of Emile Milgrim (drums) and Carolina "Nina" Souto (bass). Featured on New Times' list of music acts to watch in 2019, the trio has since earned local fans' attention with the release of two singles and music videos.
Now the group is ready to drop a new album. SMVT, an homage to the original band's name, is set to release June 14 on Sweat Records Records. Las Nubes will host an album-release show at the Allapattah venue the Bridge Thursday, June 13, the day before the album becomes available everywhere, giving fans the first chance to hear SMVT and buy the record or tape.
Campos, who dubbed herself the "punk rock Taylor Swift" in an interview with New Times last year, created Smvt as a passion project — a means to release and express her emotions through music. Campos has been a familiar face in the music scene for a long time, having worked at Sweat Records for over five years and playing locally in bands such as Testokra and Wastelands.
"It was four years ago... I started playing as Smvt and I just wanted it to be my band. I've been in other bands before and it's like being in a relationship and it's really hard," she shares.
But after gaining the confidence to release her own music with support from friends, performing on her own as Smvt, often losing her voice, and even opening for local noise artist Rat Bastard on his tour while finding a new drummer to play with every night, Campos was ready to take Smvt to the next level: finding bandmates. Now Campos, alongside Souto and Milgrim, who is a Sweat Records partner and founder of record label Other Electricities, together form Las Nubes. The name translates to "the clouds" in English.
With a DIY approach, the trio has released two catchy singles with music videos in the past six months, both of which appear on the upcoming nine-track album. With a music video filmed at Miami's own Santa's Enchanted Forest at Tropical Park, the first single, "Hell Bag," was recently featured in Iggy Pop's radio show on BBC Radio 6, a feat the band is quite proud of.
The single "QSW" features lyrics completely in Spanish and has been featured in Brooklyn Vegan, Remezcla, on Univision, and more. Born in Miami with Argentinean and Cuban roots, Campos' first language is Spanish, allowing her to write lyrics easily in the language and translate Milgrim's lyrics from English, which she did for "QSW."
Some songs are simply catchier in Spanish, the bandmates agree, but there's another reason for Las Nubes' multilingual efforts. Accepting their own diverse cultures is part of the drive to write songs in different languages. Souto is Brazilian, so the band is working on a song in Portuguese.
"Growing up down here, I felt like there were a lot of people that were almost ashamed of where they're from and would be embarrassed to speak Spanish. I'd be like, 'What the fuck is wrong with you, that's so fucking cool. You know another language and you grew up in this different culture,'" says Milgrim.
And there's another emotional element too. "[The songs] are mostly about relationships and being fucked up from them," Campos shares. "I was in a really weird relationship when I wrote most of those songs. So a lot of them were me being in denial, but then writing these about how I felt, and being like, If I write these songs, I'll feel better about it and things will change, but it didn't end up working out that way. But these songs came out and I guess that's a good thing."
You can hear that influence in the songs. They gush heartbreak in the melodies and riffs, and the harmonies add even more layers. "I just want people to hear it and I want it to be stuck in their heads... A lot of bands that I take inspiration from, as far as lyrics go, is because when I hear it I feel something," says Campos.
Many of SMVT's tracks were originally recorded and released as DIY GarageBand recordings on Bandcamp by Campos under the moniker Smvt. Years later, Las Nubes took the songs to Fuzz Baby Records in Broward, where the record took a year and a half to record and finish. Original bassist Johnny Love had to back out during recording, so the group added Souto permanently to play on bass and join in the harmonies.
Milgrim's partner Mariana Mendoza provided the image for the album cover and designed its duo-tone blue tint. "She was reminding me that she had all of these cool vintage photos of her mom in Nicaragua in the '60s, so she suggested we look through them and find something," Milgrim shares. The centerfold art will also feature photographs from the same collection.
Because Milgrim and Campos both work at Sweat Records, they have been immersed in the inner workings of the album release through the store's record label, Sweat Records Records. "We're so involved in the process because we help do stuff for the label by default. It's a good thing because there's a little bit more oversight in what we're doing," says Milgrim.
SMVT is available for preorder as cream-colored vinyl through Sweat Records. It can also be purchased at the album-release party, and streamed online or found in-store at Sweat Records after its release June 14. The party at the Bridge will have vegan food to munch on, Las Nubes-inspired flash tattoos, merch, and, the band promises, some surprises. Plus, the event will be all-ages, something Campos believes is important for the scene.
"I just want younger kids to be able to come and enjoy the show," she says, "because when I was 15, 16 in high school, that's when I started going to shows."
//courtesy of The Miami New Times
Las Nubes- Hell Bag (First Single)
Las Nubes - QSW