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?

Jose: There's someone who brings ideas.
Bernardo: Someone who brings many more ideas than the rest of us ...
Bernardo, Jose, Patricia, Oscar: and that's Fran.
Fran: It's me!
Patricia: Farán [Jorge: affectionate nick Patri uses for Fran, so no more Fran, but Farán. LOL]
Fran: No, it depends, one thing is to write with a given harmonic base, or any melody that always end up smashed by them (laughs) and so, the songs from my first original idea to the way they end up as completed songs, usually have nothing to do.
Jose: Any similarity is mere coincidence.
Fran: Well, another different story are, obviously, piano and voice songs, like whe we'll do guitar and voice tracks, Bernardo obviously will have the leading role, then in piano and voice tracks it's me doing the work.
Jose: And whenever we'd do bass and drums songs, then... (laughs)
Bernardo: I think that's a matter of aim, more than anything else, Fran have had more aim about that.
Fran: Oh, by the way, I got a new song that... (laughs)

The arrangements are done among all of you, obviously.

Bernardo: I'm the one who says no.
Fran: Yeah, he's Mr. No.
Oscar: Censorship is Bernardo.
Patricia: I'm the one who is always away.

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.

Bernardo: Yeah, I'm kinda dictator. (laughs)
Fran: [Imitating Bernardo] I'll never go that road!!!

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...

Oscar: 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.
Bernardo: The thing that is common to all of us is the fact that we all grew up listening to this kind of music on our stereos. Except Patricia who loved Georgie Dan! [Jorge: An Spanish pop artist mostly know for his kinda summer/beach/girls songs, really, you wouldn't want to listen to him! LOL](laughs)
Patricia: That's not true!!! (laughs)
Bernardo: Yes it is, you told me once!
Patricia: No I didn't tell you that!!!
Bernardo: Ok, it wasn't you, that's true! [He turns serious] That was the common thing, and the truth is that we were at the reahearsal and went like "How cool would it be to do this song!" and we went for it, "Let's do Stryper!" and me "you are crazy! How can you get to play that! That aint gonna sound well!!" And we did that and people loved it.
Fran: But always having in mind what is and what's not suitable for the band. That "average" is very measured. For instance, we haven't played any Deep Purple though Oscar would definitely love it. However, maybe that's not the more suitable style for us, is it?
Oscar: Yeah, an average, but keeping the line the band follows, we couldn't play any Genesis as well.

Who of you had previous experience on former bands, who hadn't?

Patricia: I think everyone had but Bernardo, right?
Fran: But you had that band of yours...
Bernardo: No, that was for a month or two. A try of. But no, Nexx was my first band and my first live show ever was with Nexx.

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.

And with 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.

Patricia: Grannie!
Jose: Patricia, Oscar and me had a band before Nexx.
Patricia: And that's all you have to say about it?


What style did you play?

Bernardo: Nexx covers. (Laughs)
Jose: What we always dreamt of doing... (more laughs) and even things with quality (here the laughs become louder)
Patricia: Yeah, it was pretty much alike, it was also very melodic, we played Toto, Europe, Queen, Kansas [Carry On Wayward Son, also played by Nexx live].
Oscar: Yes, it was maybe, even if still melodic rock, but leaning a bit towards pop, you know? Toto, Roxette...
Patricia: Yeah, that's true. We even did some tunes by The Corrs [Jorge: Thanks God that didn't make it to Nexx!!! :-P] And well, I dunno, I've also been playing with Oscar, fuck it, I've been...oops! I said fuck!!!(laughs)
Bernardo: (acting like a father) Don't say dirty words, Patricia!

Never mind, you wont expect me to type every word on the tape right?(laughs)

Patricia: 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.
Fran: Well, I played on a band and we played symphonic pop, which is an style I dig a lot, and that is like symphonic rock , but lighter, like for instance the lattest Genesis albums with Phil Collins and such. But we were very bad, awful! (laughs)

Question would be: Do you think you've improved personally since then?(laughs)

Fran:(laughs) Remarkably!

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?

Patricia: Anybody knows?
Fran: Not like the first Bon Jovi album. Not that.
Bernardo: The only common thing is melody. But as far as the rest is concerned...Melodic rock without prejudices, so to say. That you can almost feel... influences are really subtle. I would like something personal, I guess that's what everyone else would like.
Patricia: Yes, like you can play the record and don't end up saying "oh that reminds me of such and such". No, I want it to sound like us.
Bernardo: We don't want to innovate, just to make honest, sincere songs.

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.

Oscar: Maybe just because of that, being a cover band for a while, you tend to run away from that.
Fran: Yeah, the words "that's so typical!" are the most used while we're writing songs.
Patricia: "That sounds like whatever to me", No no dude, remove that!
Bernardo: (complaining) Ther's no song without a couple of changes in tune. I go crazy, the harmony drives me crazy!
Fran: And we tend to write the harmonies not to be the typical ones on AOR. It's not a question of making complex progressive songs, but if we can solve certain parts with an harmonic progression which is not the more obvious one within AOR, the better!

What are your hopes on the album?

Patricia: That it sounds good.
Bernardo: I, for one, to be happy with it.
Patricia: Of course.
Bernardo: That I like the way it sounds, the way it's performed, the way it's produced... and have it there, like a record that if it wasn't mine, I'd like it.

And what are the label's hopes in you as far as you know?

Fran: The label seems to have a lot of hopes on us.
Patricia: Dunno what they hope, but I hope they wont be disappointed! (laughs)
Fran: Either they praise a lot on us or they truly believe on us. I think the bet on us is quite good. The investment they are doing is a quite strong one. Not the typical one a label could do on you like "let's see what happens". We are very surprised on that.

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?

(risas)Patricia: I think it was the travel, right?(laughs)
Oscar: What made up our minds for N&T or what made up our minds not to choose the other one?
Fran: Obviously, the investment from N&T was way bigger, the other label was smaller than that and couldn't offer as much as N&T.

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!"

Bernardo: 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.
Patricia: Of course, being signed to N&T was not even in our dreams.


And after that did you start to believe a bit more or not?

Jose: After playing the Gods, yes. After seeing such reaction over there yes we did.
Oscar: Yeah, let's say we came back with the whole thing talked, or almost.
Bernardo: Untill we had the date and time of the filght I didn't believe a thing.
Fran: Right, but ever since the Gods the thing was almost done. It was just a matter of waiting. Or maybe not, because they are very reluctant to sign a female fronted band. In fact, I know of some conversations in the Gods between N&T staff people and some fans telling them they wouldn't sign us because they didn't know how to market a female fronted band. They told them they didn't have commercial results. But then, on the other hand, other people at the N&T staff told us to be confident, as we would be signed. And that's why we were not 100% sure on the issue, as it seems that they have problems when marketing those kind of bands. And that's because, and I extend so you have to type more [Jorge: Thanks, I really appreciate! :-/] the vast majority of female fronted bands there's always been a female singer and some pro-musicians behind, not a real band, and thus it's really hard to bear with that, cause the band can't tour as the musicians have other commitments, the band doesn't have it's own personality as they rely on the songwriting of Mr Such and Such, etc. Then, I can fully understand the female fronted bans have always been a bit underrated as real bands, as so many times they really weren't a real band, but a girl on the front an some musicians hired for the occasion.

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?

Fran: Not right now. Obviously if somebody drops by the studio and we talk, somethings can be done, it would be cool!
Patricia: It would be great!
Fran: But as I said, right now there's nobody planned to appear. But that's not a closed door. I believe it is more of a spontaneous thing, along the way... if someone happens to be there and would like to do something, then cool.

What do you know of Pete Coleman, the producer?

Bernardo: As far as we have read it seems to be promising.
Fran: And listened too!
Bernardo: As far as they've told us, he works really well, and he seems to be a very nice person as well, which is also a very important issue when you're gonnna lock up in the studio with a guy you don't know at all before...
Fran: The last thing we heard was what Tommy Denander told us, he mailed me and told me he had been recently doing a Boston tribute album with Pete Coleman and was really coool, nice, and a very smart election as a producer, he told us the record is gonna sound great and such. We are very happy about that.

The record should be finished by late Oct/early Nov. When is it planned to be released?

Fran: On the announcement mail they sent out, it said early next year.
Bernardo: I guess it would get relaxed, after the recording, the thing will move on slowly.
Fran: Yeah, it all depends on the label, on the releases they have and how do they want to scheldule them. I remember last year, at the Gods, we could listend to some of the new Harem Scarem songs, and they didn't release it till March. It all depends on the label and how do they want to handle it.

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?

Bernardo: Of course, and with lots of illusion on that!
Patricia: Oh man! We are really eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeager to do that!
Fran: We're thinking on it already.
Bernardo: We'd love it, as far as the album is out.
Fran: Yeah, once it is on the stores.
Oscar: We hope it to be in Manolo's shop [Sun Records, an specialist in AOR/HARD/METAL here in Madrid] and some more! (laughs)
Bernardo: And in Madrid Rock [the biggest record stores in Madrid], man, it has to be in Madrid Rock.
Patricia: (ironic laugh) Ha ha.
Bernardo: Yes, you wait and see, it will be there, you'll see, Jose Herrera [band's manager] will get it there.(laughs) It has to be, it has to be there.

Now you mention Jose Herrera, what has Jose meant for Nexx?

Bernardo: About this? Práctically everything.
Patricia: Everything!
Bernardo: He has been our conection with N&T.
Patricia: If it wasn't for Jose Herrera we wouldn't have played on Nemelrock and of course we wouldn't played the Gods, we wouldn't have played on many places. We wouldn't have met the people we have met, and such, I think without him, we wouldn't be where we are now, or maybe yes, you never know, but...
Fran: He's been of capital importance.

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?

Oscar: Yeah, sort of, we have it in mind...
Bernardo: Once the record is out, we'd love to.
Oscar: Yes, once the record is out we would go to play to, I don't know, Barcelona, Bilbao, maybe Zaragoza, Murcia...
Fran: But yeah, we've thought of it, although it would depend on our daily job commitments.

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?

Patricia: Andorra? (laughs) Hey, that's interesting... (laughs)
Bernardo: Galicia he he ... Have they told us something? I dunno.
Fran: Well, they commented that the record would be first out in the UK and Spain, of course, but they told us both the German and the Japanese markets are really big, then...

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?

Patricia: 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)
Oscar: It was like saying "I'm with another guy"(laughs)
Patricia: So that was the story. The truth is that I was very stressed for a while, as on one hand there was this, what I really wanna do, recording and album wiht Nexx and stay with them, because I want it, there are our songs, we've always stayed there, and there's soemthing that's really our thing.

And what made you finally decide on this?

Patricia: I think it was the deal, the deal came firsr and I signed it. (laughs)
Bernardo: We've got pics!
Oscar: Yeah, one never knows, he he.
Fran: Well, we should say on Patricia's defense, for those who don't know it, that she is the only pro-musician in the band, the rest of us have our daily jobs and University studies, then, it seems logical if she is into this for a living, then she has to live out of this... Honestly the decision was a very hard one.
Patricia: Oh yeah, the truth is that this decision could have made me (being the other way round) not have to work in a very long time, and owning a house in Marbella,, or as it looks like right now, to start working in a cafeteria in November, (laughs), you know? But oh well...
Fran, Bernardo, Jose, Oscar: (looking at the sky pretending innocent) lalalalala...

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?

Oscar: Well, it was a menacing dark cloud that was very near indeed! (laughs)
Bernardo: I think we took it seriouly enough.
Oscar: Yeah, we took it seriously.
Bernardo: And we said oh fuck, what a pity, at the right time, with all that long road walked...
Fran: Oscar, 15 years into music ha ha and now that I'm gonna record an album... (laughs)
Bernardo:... and now things can get twisted in such a way. Yes, we thought that.

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...?

Patricia: 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.
Fran: Someone's got a flower in his/her ass [Jorge: An Spanish saying meaning someone's very lucky] but I'm not gonna search which one is that! (laughs)
Patricia: Yes, that's true, there's been a factor... we've been at the right place at the right time, and that's being lucky, but then, besides that, we've worked a lot.

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...

Bernardo: Quite a few hard work!
Fran: Well, like waht you said for instance, when we came back from the Gods, we had 5 original songs, and N&T was there, searching for us, and we had to write like mad...
Patricia: Like mad!
Oscar: Totally under pressure.
Fran: So we wrote a lot of songs, in January we had already 7/8 songs written, we demoed them on February once the exams were over, and they were daily sessions here (at the rehearshal studio) from 3/4 pm untill 11 pm every single day, and even more hours on the weekends! And that was for about a month... no, three weeks.
Patricia: I don't know how we could have some many ideas on our heads!
Bernardo: Then record them and mix them...
Fran: Right, the mix, that was a lot of work too!

Do you work better under pressure?

Jose: We don't knwo how to work without pressure!
Patricia: That's true!
Jose: Actually, we've always worked that way, we can't do it any other way.

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...

Nexx: Thanks to you.
Fran: No thanks, this will cost you some beers at the club later tonite... (laughs)

Consider it done, man! ;-)

Interview by: Jorge "Vigilante" Antonaya