You might remember that The Whitest Boy Alive, the dance music-centric group led by Kings of Convenience's Erlend Øye, released their first new music in over a decade earlier this year, and the band were gearing up to play festivals this as COVID-19 swept the Western hemisphere. In fact, Stereogum notes they had already traveled to Mexico for March's Tecate Pa’l Norte festival in Monterrey when word came it would be canceled.

But there was free studio time in their boutique hotel in San José del Cabo as part of the deal and they were determined to use it, but because of travel restrictions, only Øye and drummer Sebastian Maschat could make it to the studio. So Øye and Maschati made Quarantine at El Ganzo, an album of breezy tropicalia a la Sergio Mendes or Burt Bacharach with half the songs by Øye and half by Maschat. They ended up spending three months in San José del Cabo working on it.

You can stream the whole thing, and read more about its creation via Øye, below. You can also watch a short documentary about it here.

Quarantine at El Ganzo

All the members of Whitest Boy Alive had arrived in Mexico. Myself on March 3rd from Norway. Daniel and Marcin on March 13th from Germany and Italy. Sebastian on March 16th from Costa Rica where he had been the whole winter. The day before we got the news that both festivals were definitely cancelled.

The only thing that wasn’t cancelled was the four days of free studio time we had been given by Hotel El Ganzo in San Jose del Cabo in the remote state of Baja California Sur.

Intent to make the most of it, we were very disappointed when they informed us that the same state of Baja California Sur had just issued new Covid restrictions, so newly arrived Europeans could not enter unless they had been 14 days in Mexico already.

So we were forced to separate. And me and Sebastian Maschat and our booking agent Jorge travelled to San Jose de Cabo and Daniel and Marcin remained in Mexico City.

They couldn’t even travel home directly because most flights had been cancelled.

First we tried to collaborate remotely but it was of course pretty complicated since our band is so much based on live interaction between the 4 of us.

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