SPELLBOUND RELEASES NEW ALBUM ILUMINADOS DESPITE ROUGH TIMES FOR INDEPENDENT ARTISTS
October 2012, Los Angeles, CA - Since the late 1990s, Bobby Moon and Paul "Pablo" Thomas AKA Spellbound have been developing a growing and devoted cult following with their infectious blend of Urban and Tropical rhythms mixed with Spanglish lyrics. Iluminados (Selfish Recordings SRCD17 - Release Date: 11/13/12), their first new album in almost three years, was recorded amid intense personal struggles, illnesses, unpleasant surprises, and a distressing lack of funds.
"More than a few times we felt like we were fools for even trying to continue," says vocalist/lyricist Bobby Moon.
Indeed, many independent, and even mainstream acts, who were thriving five or ten years ago, have completely folded under the current economy and the dire (and shrinking) musical climate. Almost miraculously, Spellbound has managed to stay alive to see their new album come to light.
"It was like the light at the end of the tunnel, so we called it Iluminados (Spanish for illuminated )," explains composer Paul "Pablo" Thomas.
Most of the music is handled by Thomas on guitar, keyboards, percussion, and background vocals with Moon on vocals, keyboards, and percussion. Both songwriters performed much more of the music themselves on Iluminados than on previous Spellbound albums. This was more the result of having a new recording studio of their own this time (Tripsville Studio in Los Angeles), than any conscious choice. It also resulted in an intensely critical approach that kept Thomas and Moon on their toes and sometimes at each others' throats. After the dust cleared, the new album emerged with 10 tracks: nine new original Thomas/Moon compositions and a wild Latinized take of the Allman Brothers classic "Whipping Post." Also spicing up the music are longtime associates Mike Daigeau (horns), flute virtuoso Art Webb, and vocalist/percussionist Candi Sosa (on the funky Brazilian-flavored "Sleight Of Heart"). Iluminados is a return to form, after the band's eclectic 2010 epic United Front, which featured a genre-defying array of guest musicians and vocalists. From the first song on Iluminados, "The Village Idiot," the Spellbound sound is there - the soulful dance grooves, the fun, carnival vibe, the Latin horns, the funky guitar, and of course, Bobby Moon's vocal wordplay.
Spellbound, with their racially mixed live shows, featuring male and female performers of various ages, has always been a hard sell. They have depended primarily on sales of their substantial recorded output (on their Selfish recordings label), rave reviews, and word-of-mouth to sustain their livelihood. Their immensely dedicated DIY approach has garnered them much critical acclaim, songwriting awards, and the respect of the independent music community. Spellbound rose from the ashes of Life After Death, a Post Punk/Goth/Art Rock band that Thomas and Moon formed as teens in the late 1980s. Together just over a year, Life After Death created a small whirlwind in Los Angeles for a moment, which involved being courted by major record labels, a promotional video, a flurry of gigs on the Sunset Strip, and a four-song vinyl E.P. record which is now a collector's item. The band imploded after just 15 months, leaving Thomas and Moon to forge ahead with songwriting and attempting to put new bands together. After many false starts and stumbling around the club circuit, the pair re-appeared with a new band, Spellbound, in the 1990s. By this time they had traded in their guyliner and black clothing for dancing shoes and a decidedly more 'adult' sound, which incorporated Funk, Afro-Latin Rhythms, and World Music. A number of demos were recorded and Spellbound shopped for a record deal. Eventually picked up by a label specializing in Latin music (which was booming at the time), the band, featuring guest artist Johnny Polanco, recorded Funqueros. The label, however, mysteriously folded before releasing it, leaving Spellbound with an album and national distribution deal, but no label. Undaunted, Thomas and Moon put Funqueros out on their own Selfish Recordings label in 1999, and were able to enjoy a brief period where they could walk into Tower Records and see their CDs for sale. Print Media was also still thriving, and Funqueros received quite a bit of coverage and a number of rave reviews from the English, and Spanish music press. With a growing profile, Spellbound has continued to release a remarkably regular flow of albums on their label up to the present. Acquiring a studio of their own in 2008 has allowed Thomas and Moon to work on solo and side projects as well, including, Bobby Moon (2009), Pablo's Fully Baked (2011), and Candi Sosa's Faded Blue Jeans (2012). With Iluminados, Spellbound is back, shining brighter than ever.