Born in Valencia, Pablo Conejero Lopez, writes and walks in NYC since 2006. Poet, singer and writer, Pablo has been a Mediterranean teenager in the English region of Kent, member of the cult punk band Vice & Vanity and author of Rock and Roll Jolie. Pablo Conejero Lopez is a real and honest man, who gives his soul in his writing and his performances. One of those who is brave enough to say he’s also scared from time to time. His latest book “New Reality”, a collection of poems and songs published by Shakespeare Foundation of Spain and illustrated by New York artist Vincent Michaud, reveals the progression of an increasingly intimate discourse and, in turn, increasingly universal. In a morning with an unending supply of coffee, we had a chat about literature, icons, rock & roll and the resurrection of a new generation of true artists.
Ever since I was a teenager both fields quickly became very important. I had been experimenting with poetry and keeping notebooks for a few years. Music was always something I loved as a way of life, with all the culture behind it. Researching bands, going to concerts and nightclubs meant everything. At the same time, I was being trained to be an actor so I started pursuing that as well. I didn’t consider becoming a singer till I was 22. It happened through a friend I made while i was working as a background actor for a theater company in Madrid. She was the only girl I had anything in common with. She knew a lot about good rock and roll music and culture. One day she told me her boyfriend played drums in a punk band and that they were looking for a front man and that I should try it out cause she could see I had what it took. Suddenly I was singing in a band, writing tons of poems and lyrics and touring the country. It was a drastic change but it made a lot of sense. I was fully dedicated to something I really loved and learning a lot. I started traveling to New York every summer, meeting new people, wandering the streets. Two years after that, I published my first book which was followed by more recitals and concerts. That time in Madrid was extremely stimulating. Moving to New York meant I had to leave a lot behind as well as a a fresh start. Though it was hard getting used to a new pace and responsibilities, it’s been worth it.
It’s easier to find the rhythm and projection of the words when I’m singing whether there’s music or not. The thought of it being a song makes it more automatic. Recitals are a bit harder if you want to give a proper reading. I try to find a melody and rhythm that fits the emotion so when I read , it’s still there. Even if people can't hear it.
Sometimes my lifestyle allows me to be that person who is able to satisfy an idea when it comes in rapturous ways. But when it doesn’t, I have to make the decision to be inspired, go through notebooks and look for those moments whenever I can. I see poetry as a very solitary and introspective craft.
Like I mentioned before, I went to acting class as a teenager. Every so often the whole class would participate in recitals for an audience. We would read monologues or poems by authors such as Shakespeare, Kavafis, Lorca, Cernuda, Gil de Biedma or Rimbaud. On my own time I started researching the Romantic and Symbolist poets. One day I stumbled upon this book, “The Basketball Diaries” by Jim Carroll. He’s been my favorite poet ever since. My whole world and perspective on the subject changed after that.
I don’t think I can explain it. As indecisive as I usually am in other aspects, when it comes to writing I have an easy time finding my way to the end. In other words, I just know.
Generally, whatever I’m reading or listening to at the moment. I’ve been archiving all these wonders throughout the years that keep on adding up. They remain latent in my subconscious and come out whenever it’s needed. I like thinking of them as part of my culture, religion and identity. It could be a person, a painting, a poem or a moment in time. Treasures or curses I carry with me everyday. It’s all the same. From a beautiful song to the most ordinary of things.
Very much indeed. In fact that is the main subject in my last book. It goes from my last days in Madrid and as a traveller in NYC to the first two or three years of actually living here.
I used to believe that artists, especially writers, need to travel a lot and accumulate many interesting experiences in order to produce quality work. I don’t really agree with that anymore. Obviously the place where you live is going to affect your work, especially a city like this. Yet even if I lived in the world’s deepest hole with nothing happening around me, I would still be able to find what I need to transcend reality there. Think of all the great works by imprisoned poets like Verlaine,Wilde, etc.
I love my apartment so much it’s hard to want to write anywhere else. I’m very domestic but also quite unorganized. So I don’t have a set place or schedule. The main requirement is solitude. I’ve lived in the Lower East Side - Chinatown area since 2008 and in this apartment since 2010. Most of my best friends and places of interest are only a couple of blocks away. I’m very happy in this neighborhood. It’s the only affordable area where it still feels realistic yet romantic and not so gentrified. It’s horrible to witness what’s quickly happened in Williamsburg or the East Village just to give you an example. It all looks and feels very corporate like in some kind of dark science fiction future film.
I see New York as an extreme exaggeration of the whole world where everything is constantly changing at a very fast pace. I’m a slow pace kind of guy with the worst social skills. This might sound tacky but in order to grow as a human being I have to push myself beyond what I think my capabilities are. Sometimes I fail and I feel like I can’t handle anything and I want to run as far away as possible. Other times it works and I get to meet and work with interesting people that are going through a different version of the same calvary. I’ve lived here for almost ten years now. It’s normal to often feel stagnant or uninspired. When it happens I dwell in there for a while till I eventually get tired of it. Then I think about everything that brought me here in the first place. The people I’ve met and those I’m yet to meet. I look for the traces that my heroes left. The ghosts of the Lower East Side. Anything that makes me feel safe.
I’m compiling options and ideas for a new book as well as planning the next musical adventure.
I like lazy sunday mornings with a cup of coffee and a cigarette at home, to help me find comfort in an endless state of longing for something that never existed.