Rauw Alejandro on New ‘Saturno’ Spinoff Album Tour

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April 27, one day before the first. Two sold-out concerts of Rauw Alejandro at the Los Angeles Forum. His team is gearing up to bring next-level surround sound to the multiplex arena, as they’ve only done twice before on the “Saturno World Tour,” which will see Alejandro sing and dance for nearly three hours on a 360-degree stage. ” In Miami and New York.

Putting a 360-degree concert on stage is not only complex and costly, but also physically demanding for the performer, who must project it in all directions instead of one. It takes a lot of money: An hour before showtime, Alejandro, wrapped in bandages, jumps from an exercise machine onto a massage table where a team of physical therapists will work on his lower body. The following week, the doctor’s orders force him to postpone a show in Palm Springs due to his injury, despite his constant efforts to keep up.

“When you pose in a 360-degree scene, at no point throughout the show are you more on one side than the other,” says Alejandro. Variation. “There’s a science and choreographic formula behind knowing ‘I’ve been here for a while, I need to change that – to energize everyone on both sides of the stage equally. It’s harder than singing on a traditional forward-facing stage. After that, I probably won’t do it again.”

It’s not hard to see why the 360 ​​stage was abandoned for the remainder of the tour, which will see Alejandro (real name: Raúl Alejandro Ocasio Ruiz) bring “Saturno” to stadiums in Mexico, Europe, Latin America and South America. . (Dates for Latin America and South America have not yet been officially announced.)

Instead, these fans will get a taste of his album: Alejandro says the “spin-off” of “Saturno” is nearly complete and will be released later this summer. “This isn’t a prequel,” he explains, trying to find the right term in English or Spanish. “You’re watching a movie and there’s another story that unfolds in parallel with the movie – I have an album similar to ‘Saturno’.”

Alejandro did not confirm that the recording was finished, as he was “constantly adding, subtracting and changing his work” even in the days before the album was released – but “it’s a big project. I love doing big things,” he says. “It’s all connected with ‘Saturn’ because I am to travel this album is by the end of the year, so we will probably mix some of these songs into the set list.

The “Saturno World Tour” has evolved throughout its run, from changes in sound and lighting to the arrangement of the songs, and all changes require Alejandro’s approval. His instructions are meticulous, but they all share the same intention: “It should feel like a giant party.”

The aesthetic behind the 18-song “Saturno” is one that Alejandro envisioned long before any music on the album was recorded. Alejandro crafted songs with a cosmic plan in hand, using an eclectic audio toolbox of heavy synths and rolling traps to produce an ever-changing mosaic of electronica, hip-hop and reggaeton inspired by the sparkling Miami bass of the ’80s and ’90s.

The directorial production of the concert includes galactic animations and a custom space-themed wardrobe designed by Acne Studios, which Alejandro sports on stage. Outside the Kia Forum, concertgoers echo Alejandro: they come in asymmetrical metallic blues and silver tones, and the vibrating bass of “Saturno” comes from their car speakers. They regularly circulate “Saturno concert outfit ideas” inspired by what Alejandro wears on stage – everything from a long, reflective trench coat to a pair of high-end space glasses.

“I never thought this would happen,” Alejandro says of the viral fashion moment. “I still remember seeing all the outfits for the first show and being so happy. “I saw the fans getting dressed at my daughter’s concert,” she says. his fiancee, Rosalia seismic “Motomami” tour. “We had so much fun watching people enter the show in motorcycle outfits. I think the ‘Rauleeto’ character, the blue hair and neons, the general mood – resonated and it’s really cool to see people making fun of it a lot.

One of Alejandro’s proudest achievements on this tour is impeccable creative direction. “It’s always been my dream to do a 360-degree performance. [degree] “With the design of Saturn to be a circular planet, it finally made sense for us to pursue this dream,” he says.

Above the stage is a ring of LED displays that mimic a flying UFO (at one point in the show “kidnapsLifting it up) projects futuristic images and animations alongside candid close-ups of Alejandro singing. He regularly makes diligent eye contact with the camera in the hand of a man who regularly joins him on stage as he plays slower songs.

The show also features synchronized automation with ring lights moving up and down either side of the stage as the evening continues.

“As we prepared for our show in Puerto Rico, it took us five hours to perfect the stage just as he wanted it,” says Jose “Sapo” Gonzalez, Alejandro’s music director. Variation. “He’d run up and down the stadium and stop in every section from the VIP area to the last row and say ‘OK – press play’ and then demand change like that.”

When using surround sound, “approximately eight additional speaker groups [are] placed behind the audience. “There are also sound effects like rain and single keys or musical bodies applied to get behind the audience,” says Sapo, who is also the music director for Latin music stars like Daddy Yankee and Natti Natasha.

“It takes a lot of work to create an experience like this and it doesn’t feel like a gimmick – you don’t have to spot the tricks from the outside – it’s more of a feeling, a feeling that you’re in the music.”

Duars Entertainment

It was Rosalía who introduced Alejandro to the owner of the creative house and digital production company Sturdy Co., who worked on animations and other graphic designs for the “Motomami” tour and helped conceptualize the “Saturno” tour with the Billboard Awards and Latin America. Grammy performances.

“She was so involved in every aspect of her creative process that we were able to stay in line from concept to execution,” says Sturdy’s owner Adrian Martinez, whose previous clients include Drake, Bad Bunny and Kendrick Lamar. “Rauw has this unwavering focus and attention to detail throughout his show… every part of the presentation – all the images, themes, [are] It’s extremely important in creating something that feels right and authentic for this period of Rauw’s touring career.”

It’s a labor of love that requires a team of mind readers with the skills to know, anticipate and support your every move. That’s where Eric Duars, owner of Duars Live and manager of Alejandro, comes in.

“I know where he came from, I know his dreams, his disappointments, and frankly, he was able to feel the same from me after facing many challenges together along the way,” says Duars of his client who first discovered him as an R&B. -A trap artist in Puerto Rico in early 2016.

Duars continues: “Normally, people who work in huge venues like this [across the U.S.] has [Americans]great managers who know the artist and know the music. For them, it’s about investing in an artist’s vision and trusting what they can do.”

Alejandro usually works several steps ahead of the one in front of him. He jokes that it must be because of his short attention span, but Duars has a different theory: “He’s very safe. From the day he stood before me, Raúl maintained the same incredible confidence in what he wanted to do. And as I said, discipline beats talent, commitment beats talent, attitude beats talent.”

The timing of the “Saturno” tour was a strategic move over the years. Duars had booked a 2021 “Reverse Reverse” tour between cities in the US and Latin America just as the world was starting to reopen post-pandemic. And even before that, Alejandro and his team were high performing at their first performance at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico, which was broadcast live for over 1 million viewers worldwide at the height of the epidemic.

“We definitely felt the impact of that show because it’s every artist’s dream to play in that venue, and we saw it as an advantage when it was broadcast live and then turned into a live album experience,” Duars says. “People could see Raúl, they could see him dancing. And then, when they started removing their pandemic orders, we made it clear to us which markets wanted to see him the most.”

Every song Alejandro plays has a visual equivalent that develops throughout the show and envelops the audience and takes them to a final climax. Before Alejandro leaves the stage, he gives off a final burst of energy for the closing song on the setlist: a huge club gang called “De Carolina”.

“Everything keeps growing. The scenes, the fans… the enthusiasm,” he says. “We did a show at the Kia Forum last year and now we’re here to do two. I think that’s a good sign.”

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