Touring bands have a lot to worry about — temperamental equipment, deadbeat promoters, the risk the van crashes or the plane goes down. The list goes on, but seldom does it include:
“Do what we say or you’re dead.”
Last October, Spain’s electronic rock quartet Delorean, which plays Barboza Tuesday, traveled from Barcelona to Mexico City. Its plan was to perform at the high-profile MUTEK festival, and build some buzz around its new album “Apar” — the follow-up to 2010 sleeper hit “Subiza,” which cracked Pitchfork’s Top 50 that year — before embarking on a monthlong North American tour.
After the gig, however, things took a sinister turn. Under the pretense of a security issue, the band was lured from its hotel to a different one — and into an extortion scheme known as “virtual kidnapping” — by a local drug cartel.
Though not physically abducted, but clearly now under surveillance, the musicians were threatened via telephone: If their families failed to pay five million Mexican pesos’ ransom ($375,000), they would be killed.
The ordeal lasted 30 hours. The group was eventually located and freed by police — but the emotional toll was heavy.
“Due to the psychological manipulation inflicted on us by our kidnappers,” its official statement read, “the threat of death was real. Thanks to the fantastic work of [police], we were successfully rescued… [but] the abuse we were subjected to… has been extremely difficult for us and our families.
“At this time, we ask that you respect our privacy so that we can return to normality in our lives.”
Delorean is beginning to do that now, working on new songs, remixes and mixtapes, and making up the U.S. dates postponed following the incident — Seattle among them.
Speaking via Skype from his home studio, singer-guitarist Ekhi Lopetegi declined further comment on October’s events — preferring, understandably, to talk about the band’s music.
It’s worth discussing. Drawing inspiration from the populist synth-pop of artists like New Order, Prefab Sprout and Phoenix, “Apar,” the group’s fourth LP since forming in 2000, melds traditional rock instrumentation to sleek, modern electronics.
Like the hours between midnight and sun-up, it’s ebullient and delirious. And in light of what the members went through, its most emotive material — “Dominion” (listen), “Walk High” (listen) and lead single “Destitute Time” (listen) — feels especially moving.
“What we like about dance music,” Lopetegi explains, “is that it’s personal, yet open to anyone… you can say something powerful, and speak for a lot of people. Music is our escape from negativity. It’s our getaway.”
For Delorean, nothing could be truer.Delorean, Until the Ribbon Breaks
8 p.m. Tuesday at Barboza, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $14 (206-709-9467 or thebarboza.com)