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Only one year after its conception, Rey Lobo has become an exciting addition to Spain’s indie music scene. Last October, the band, led by Víctor Hernández, a student in the Master of Music in Music Production, Technology, and Innovation program, won the singer-songwriter award at CreaMurcia, the most prestigious arts festival in Hernández’s home region of Murcia, Spain. “The prize includes an invitation to play at the Biennale of Young Artists of the Mediterranean, which is a great opportunity to expand my music,” he says.
After performing at other festivals such as Big Up, Rey Lobo has charmed audiences and journalists, many of whom highlight the intimacy of the folk/electronic music composed and sung by Hernández, accompanied by Javier Pasquin (keyboards) and Alejandro Jiménez (guitar). In June, Rey Lobo will play at Vida Bands 2018, an initiative created by Vida Festival in Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain, to provide coverage for emerging bands and DJs. This year’s lineup includes Franz Ferdinand, Calexico, and St. Vincent.
Hernández seemed predestined to start a musical career. “My father and my older brother Álex are really good musicians and I learned almost everything I know from them,” he says. “When I was a kid, I used to see them play guitar at home, so I tried to imitate them without knowing that eventually it would become my passion, too.” From 1999 to 2002, he attended the Escuela Municipal de Música in Alcantarilla, Spain, where he specialized in Spanish guitar.
Hernández also was influenced by the music his father listened to at home, including Spanish folk singer-songwriters such as Silvio Rodríguez, Violeta Parra, and Joan Manuel Serrat. Their style seems to have permeated Hernández, given the sensitivity he displays in lyrics and music he composed for the Rey Lobo’s first EP, Nonduermas, named after his hometown. “Later on, I started listening to more experimental music like Radiohead or Bon Iver. In Rey Lobo, I decided to mix both styles,” he says.
Watch Víctor Hernández's music video for his original song Media Legua, performed with Rey Lobo:
Hernández has a few ongoing projects with his brother Álex, one of his “music mentors” with whom he enjoys sharing ideas. “We have composed several songs with a defined and unique style, but we are waiting for the right moment to record them properly, as we have our personal projects going on, as well,” he says.
Rey Lobo—which translates to King Wolf—is another wink to his region; it was the nickname of Muhammad ibn Mardanis, king of Murcia from 1147 until his death in 1172. “He was one of the greatest conquerors of the 12th century in Spain, and during his reign, Murcia achieved an immense splendor. I felt curious about his legend, considering the fact that many people in my own city didn’t know him,” Hernández says.
Film Scoring, Cinema, and Production
Hernández has more talents up his sleeve. He was preselected two years in a row for the Premios Goya (Spain’s version of the Academy Awards) for the songs “Run for What You Want,” which he wrote for Ahora o nunca (2015), and “Nunca Más,” which he composed for No culpes al karma de lo que te pasa por gilipollas (2016). He earned the opportunity to write and compose these songs during an internship at BCN Sound, which he held after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Audiovisual Communication from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 2015.
“Although music has always been a big part of my life, so is cinema. I’ve always been interested in shooting my own stories and I love documentary film,” Hernández says. “My biggest dream is to make a film someday.”
Film scoring, he adds, allows him to combine music and images to create something new. “As a composer for visuals, I have the advantage of not exposing too much of myself in the final cut,” he says. “As an artist, I create music from my feelings, which ends up being much more complicated but at the same time more rewarding.”
After self-producing Rey Lobo’s first EP, he joined Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain, to expand his knowledge in this area. “I wanted to professionalize my work further and make connections with fellow artists around the world who wish to do the same,” he says.
So far, Hernández says he is learning a lot—not only technical aspects, but also “how to apply them musically when I produce.” He describes the campus as an inspiring place to work, “not only because of the multicultural experience of collaborating with other students, but also because of the knowledge of the teachers. The studios are great and I try to spend as much time as I can there. I wish they were open 24 hours.”
He also is focused on completing Rey Lobo’s first album, expected to be released in October. For Hernández, discipline is critical to running his band while attending college. “I try to be organized, especially when we have gigs to play at, but these are mostly on the weekends, so I can manage myself well,” he says.