Matthew Koma likes Barcelona, but the Spanish metropolis has nothing to do with Winnetka Bowling League’s new single. Typically titling songs something “weird” or unrelated, “barcelona” centers less around the city and more around love, particularly the lasting endearment for the other person, long after the relationship ends.
“I always feel the urge to discredit every ounce of a relationship after it’s over because it feels way better than scrolling the highlight feed,” says Koma, “but sometimes there was a lot of good worth recognizing and the ending doesn’t have to be this big dramatic ‘delete all.’”
Initially playing with a rough voice memo of the chorus, Koma sent the makings of “barcelona” to Sasha Sloan—both connected when Winnetka opened for the singer-songwriter on her tour prior to the pandemic—who ended up co-writing and singing on the track.
“I had the chorus and the verse melody for a few months last winter but didn’t have any overwhelming desire to finish it for some reason,” says Koma. “Sasha and I were exchanging voice memo demos of new tunes on New Year’s Eve, and she flagged that one [‘barcelona’] in particular. When I finished it, I sent it her the full song, and she asked to sing on it which made me super stoked, because we hadn’t collaborated with any other artists yet.”
Produced by Koma, who has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Keith Urban, Demi Lovato, Shania Twain, Kelly Clarkson and formed Winnetka in 2018, “barcelona” was co-written with Dan Book and Sloan. A follow up to the band’s 2020 EP, Congratulations, and the first track off Winnetka’s upcoming EP, “barcelona” continues to shed more sonic skin. Evolving from the full of pep of its initial release in May, Koma recently revisited “barcelona,” demonstrating the resiliency of the lyrics, in an acoustic rendition.
Recorded live in one take at a studio in Nashville, Sloan and Koma regrouped, along with Winnetka keyboardist Sam Beresford, for a stripped back version, revealing the more sentimental pulses of “barcelona,” wrapping around chorus Just cause we reached the end / You went right and I went left… It doesn’t mean, it doesn’t mean that I loved you any less.
“This was the first time I ever set aside time to write and record an EP for the band with no other distractions,” says Koma of “barcelona” and the new Winnetka material in the works. “Usually I’m writing Winnetka songs between tours or other artists’ projects so it was a totally different experience to lock down for the sole purpose of making the record.”
Koma adds, “I’m not sure there’s a concept or theme that threads through as much as the head and sonic space. I think sometimes I use quirkiness to avoid digging too emotionally deep and this time I tried to hide a little less.”