Some weeks before they went to England to record their debut album for N&T Records, we were with NEXX at their rehearshal studio, and had a very long chat on past, present and future of the band formed by Patricia (lead vocals), Bernardo (guitars and extremely hi-pitched vocals), Jose (bass and vocals), Oscar (drums) and Fran (keyboards). Here you have what they told us:
Well, tell us a bit the story, not the whole story of the band, but since you start writing your own songs up to now, when you're about to record the album.
Bernardo: Why did we start to write our own songs? Well, we managed to stand each other, we got along very well and doing covers... I think it was that, people told us it sounded good [a cell phone rings], that Fran's cell sounded great (laughs)... and maybe the creativity of some people within the band, wanting to record some stuff, you know?
I would ask you who writes the songs, but you will say you all do, right?
Patricia: Yes, that's the way it is.
But there isn't a main songwriter, someone who brings along the ideas?
There's someone who brings ideas.
The arrangements are done among all of you, obviously.
I was aiming for that, Bernardo, I've heard you were, so to say, the ears of the band, in terms of deciding, or even having almost the last word on what is suitable or not for the band.
Yeah, I'm kinda dictator. (laughs)
Have you any family in Cuba or something? :-P
Bernardo: No, but I've plenty of Galicians relatives, so maybe...
Really? Oh shit!!![Jorge: Former dictator in Spain, Franco, was from Galicia, so that's kinda inside joke among us Spaniards]
Bernardo: Yeah, back on what you said, is true, more or less, we all throw in some ideas.
You started out as a cover band. You make covers of a lot of bands... The covers you make, the bands you cover, are representative in any way of your influences? [Looking at Fran, a huge Marillion fan, (a band never covered by Nexx)] In some cases I know they're not, but...
Well, let's say it's an average. We all have similar tastes in music,
but our influences are quite different. Then, when it comes to choose
the covers we're going to play we make some sort of average, which we
all like to play.
Who of you had previous experience on former bands, who hadn't?
I think everyone had but Bernardo, right?
The rest of you played this style of music or quite different things? Any of you comes from techno?
(Laughs)Oscar: I think, being the older on the band I'm also the most veteran on this issue, and well, the truth is that I've played from symphonic rock ala Emerson Lake & Palmer with keyboards, bass and drums, I've played Purple, I've played pop, funky, fusion, I've played virtually everything.
a lot of bands, I've played rock n roll, blues, rhythm n blues, let's
say due to my age I have a long musical career playing with a lot of
different bands and styles.
What style did you play?
Nexx covers. (Laughs)
Never mind, you wont expect me to type every word on the tape right?(laughs)
You sure will spend a whole week laughing at home listening to this!
(laughs) Well, as I was saying, I've also been with Oscar playing soul,
rock, funky... And on the orchestra, with Jose too.
Question would be: Do you think you've improved personally since then?(laughs)
The album. We're not going to dig into which songs will make it, as I guess you want it to be a surprise till it's announced, but, what kind of mood do you want the album to be? Because your music covers a wide spectrum of styles within the melodic rock genre, you have hard rock tunes, more progressive parts, very melodic tunes, even more modern parts on some tracks... Do you want to reflect all of them on the album or do you want it to be, I don't know, a more traditional melodic rock orientation, a more progressive one, a more... how do you want it to be?
Anyway, I must say about your songs that, even if they have their influences, like everyone else's, they are not too obvious. I mean for being a band playing covers for such a long time, is not the usual thing where you find resemblances all over the place, you always put your personal touch on your songs.
Maybe just because of that, being a cover band for a while, you tend
to run away from that.
What are your hopes on the album?
That it sounds good.
And what are the label's hopes in you as far as you know?
The label seems to have a lot of hopes on us.
How many serious offers did you have before this one?
Serious ones? Just one, I mean the one from N&T and another one. Telling you you have to record so many tracks and such, another one.
And what made up your mind?
I think it was the travel, right?(laughs)
Let's go into the already famous story of the first Nemelrock festival. When you played there and you were told by the people of Fireworks Magazine that you should play the Gods, and such, did you imagine things would get so far?
Patricia: Actually, it was very funny, I remember a talk we had here at the rehearshal studio like "listen man, what if we end up going to the Gods!". We were not sure to go then, they had told us, but nothing confirmed, and we said, "no, no way", "but let's imagine for a moment that we go to the Gods, and such..." "come on, dude, stop dreaming!"
In fact, we held a kinda contest each time we rehearshed, and that was
who was the mad of the week.(laughs) There were such incredible reviews
and some people told us such good things that we couldn't believe that.
There were no pretentions when we played the first Nemelrock.
And after that did you start to believe a bit more or not?
After playing the Gods, yes. After seeing such reaction over there yes
You are leaving to England on Oct 8th, I think, you're gonna spent the whole month there recording... how is it gonna be the recording process, how is it all planned, schelduled?
Oscar: Really intense and fast.
The producer has already listened to the songs, the label has chosen the ones that will make it to the album... Did they tell you something about how do they want it to be done, how is it going to be the recording, are you all going to stay the whole time...?
Oscar: No, there are no guidelines as yet. I guess once there, the producer will tell us how to do it. An on the other hand, the recording is going to be done really fast. Three weeks of recordings and another two of mixing. And no, we're not all gonna stay there the whole time, there's plenty of return air tickets!
Temptatively, who's staying to do the mix with the producer?
Fran: Bernardo and me. If only because we were the ones who mixed the demos, and that's the way we thought it should be.
There's nothing planned neither on your behalf, nor on the label's on any kind of collaborations by anyone outside the band?
Not right now. Obviously if somebody drops by the studio and we talk,
somethings can be done, it would be cool!
What do you know of Pete Coleman, the producer?
As far as we have read it seems to be promising.
The record should be finished by late Oct/early Nov. When is it planned to be released?
On the announcement mail they sent out, it said early next year.
Does your deal have any terms telling you should play any given show? The fact that you are signed to N&T implies you should play next Gods or something?
Bernardo: Contractually not.
Do you have in mind to do any live presentation of the album in Spain?
Of course, and with lots of illusion on that!
Now you mention Jose Herrera, what has Jose meant for Nexx?
About this? Práctically everything.
You have played a lot live, but basically in Madrid. Have you encouraged Jose, or has Jose encouraged you to go and play in other places?
Yeah, sort of, we have it in mind...
Yeah, incredibly enough, many people outside Madrid have never listend to you, even with the Internet thing that reaches anywhere on the world.
Oscar: Well, once the record is out and running we'll get on the road.
The deal is for how many records, or how much time?
Fran: We're doing two records, in the beginning. The deal has some terms as to do another more and such. The truth is that it is written on a very good spirit, it's all very clear and very well said. And we hope to do not only those two, but some more. Anyway, what we didn't want was a kinda deal like 5 albums and stay there our whole lifes... Not that they offered that to us anyway, but...(laughs). But it all has been very cool and honest.
Have they tell you the posibility as to get the record released on other territories outside Europe? Japan, US... Andorra?
Andorra? (laughs) Hey, that's interesting... (laughs)
Is it not going to be released in the whole of Europe at the same time?
We don't know. They have not given us the full list of countries, they only commented briefly on the issue. And they've told us what are our main target markets, which of course doesn't mean it wont be released on other places as well, right?
Rumours maybe well or badly founded, you'll tell me now Patricia, pointed at the posibility of the whole thing, recording the album and such, may get very compromised by a personal situation of a band's member, namely you. What can you or what do you want to tell us about it?
Patricia: (laughs)Me? Well, I could relate you my whole life, but you'd run short of tape, he he ... Let's see, the castings I did for Operación Triunfo...
[Jorge: A highly successful TV show seeking voice talents to go to the Eurovision contest and offering recording deals for the participants on the weekly tv show, they would be recluded on an Adademy where they would study vocal techniques, dancing, and all that show biz stuff]
What did lead you to present yourself for that in the first place?
My cousin, aunt, mother, sister... almost the whole of my family led
me. It was not that they encouraged me, they phoned and gave my name
and such without me knowing it. So that I went with the idea I would
get kicked on the first casting, but no, I passed the first casting,
I passed the second one... and I thought "uff! Let's see". In the beginning
when I started I didn't even think about it, being in such a tv show,
but then when I kept passing the trials and the whole thing came suddenly,
then I had to think seriously about it, because entering a show like
this might mean earning a lot of money, which, honestly was the main
reason for me to do that, well, the classes they give you there may
be good too, and such, but well, the fact was that I was thinking about
it for a while, trying to make up my mind on what to do, and then the
deal came (with Nexx) and I said to myself, if the deal comes, I will
sign the first thing that comes, and the first thing that came was the
deal with Nexx
and honestly, I don't repent a single thing...and I'm still waiting
for them to call me for the next casting, but it doesn't matter now.
[Jorge: Days after, while I was putting this interview together to
post it on the site, Fran told me the following: "Well, they called
Patri the other day for the Operación Triunfo thing, to do the final
casting (she was among the final 200 out of 80.000 applicances). She
had to go to Barcelona for 3 days... the thing is that she said no,
she couldn't go to any contest on October as she was going to record
an album with her band. The girl on the phone was shocked, of course,
she told Patri if she knew that was a once in a life chance and blah
blah, and Patri said, "yeah, I know, but no, I wont go anyway".]
And it was very funny the day when, seated right here, I told them (the
rest of the band) "listen, I want you to know I have made the castings
for such and such" and they started like, "oh, well, we'll have to start
looking for a new singer..." (laughs)
And what made you finally decide on this?
I think it was the deal, the deal came firsr and I signed it. (laughs)
How did you, the rest of the band live those moments? Did you ever feared to be left without a singer? Or did you see that as a distant, menacing dark cloud?
Well, it was a menacing dark cloud that was very near indeed! (laughs)
There are some people, like everything in life, who think you have been very lucky, that you have had way more chances that other bands usually have... There are people (me included), who think you have to earn your luck... Do you think you've had a lot of luck, or that you've worked really hard, or that you've won the lottery...?
Look, I believe, I dunno what the rest of you think on this, but, I
think, we've had a lot of luck, and then we've also worked really hard,
so we've looked for our luck.
Yes, because apart from being lucky or not on having the chance to play at the Gods and such, after that, there were quite a few months where you stopped playing live to lock yourselves on the rehearshal studio to write songs, with the result we could see on the rehearshal show [Jorge: a show in which the band presented their new songs to the fans to get their opinion on them], and that's nothing more than hard work, and there luck has no place at all...
Quite a few hard work!
Do you work better under pressure?
We don't knwo how to work without pressure!
Well, thanks a lot for letting us taking you out of the rehearshal and for spend your time with us, we leave now, as you have to keep on polishing the songs that will be on your debut album. Honestly, it's been a pleasure...
Thanks to you.
Consider it done, man! ;-)
Interview by: Jorge "Vigilante" Antonaya