Interview with Leone | Revista independiente de música

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Interview with Leone

LEONE is the new Project of Jesús Canet (guitar and voice, Motel 3), Juan Pérez Marina (guitar, Corcobado, Cartografía del Ruido), Jesús Rodríguez (bass and voice, Hazte Lapón), Jesús Alonso (drums, Corcobado), who replace David Talbaila (Ornamento y Delito), y Rubén Lizana (percussion).

They came together since the middle of 2013 in order to output some demos recorded at home. They made their live debut in 2014 and in July they finally recorded their first references, which have just edited in two albums: A four-songs EP in vinyl and digital format  (Leone Ep) and a two-songs single  in digital (Tus Huesos).

LEONE wants to claim the spanish bar and el plato redondo.

1.How was LEONE created? ¿Why did you choose that name?

I had some pieces which I recorded at home and they didn’t fit in my other Project, MOTEL 3. However I believed in those songs and my friends encouraged me to release them.

It was in the middle of 2013 and the idea was to record those songs with the support of MOTEL3, whose members are from Almería. One day, however, our current drummer Jesús Alonso convinced me to create a band in Madrid, where I live, and to forget about the nonsense.

So I came back to Madrid from holidays and I phoned Juan Pérez Marina and he quickly joined the Project. He helped me to find a drummer (David Talbaila, Ornamento y Delito) and a bass player (Jesús Rodríguez Chinchilla, Hate Lapón). The best of these mates was everyone went for the songs, they really liked them. And this helped me to believe even more in that project. The day when I phoned Jesús Alonso to tell him I followed his advice he almost got angry with me because I did not rely on him as drummer…(Lol).

I uploaded the demos to SoundCloud and I created the profile in Facebook. The same day, with the usual hurry that we have with Leone, I decided the name almost without thinking (I listened in a Punset program that the first decision is usually the right one). The name is a tribute to Sergio Leone, and It seemed to make sense to recall the images of spaguetti western made in Almería because of the American roots but also because of the Spanish and Mediterranean air.

2. How do you define your music? ¿What do you think the difference is?

I like to call it, as a joke, “bolero western”. Although no single style has been looked for, the truth is the sound and pieces have something very personal. On the one hand, there is a Fender sound with reverb and delays closer to surf and American music. On the other hand, there is a certain attachment to spanish tradition in the kind of singing and texts and also the use of minor chords.

Whilst there are certain current wave of bands influenced by surf and western, what distinguishes us from others is the spanish sound. I don’t think we have similarities with any actual band and, in my opinión, this is good.

3. What are your musical influences?

American music with border aspects like surf, western, garage, etc.

Traditional spanish music, genres like bolero, rumba, copla, flamenco, mediterranean songs and spanish rock.

Some artists are: : Dick Dale, Joe Meek, Morricone, Raphael, Gabinete Caligari, Roberto Carlos, Lole Y Manuel, The Shadows, Olga Guillot, La Rumba Catalana, Triana, Rafael Farina, Trashmen, Holly Golightly, Gary Usher, Manolo Caracol, Bo Diddley, Santo And Johnny, Tornadoes, The Kinks… 

4. How is a LEONE live act?

Well, I think is quite faithful to the original music but much more immediate and with a lot of attitude. I like to think we are like a punch, as a journalist has said. Attitude is something that has always concerned me. I believe in Rock and Roll above all things, so even though they are not dance songs we play with every intention.

Sometimes we play with more prestigious bands and the audience is impressed by our live intensity…


5. How do you see the spanish music scene?  

Uff, there are terribles mafias (hahaha). It is incredible how in such a globalized world in which the amateur people has many broadcast channels about music, the last word in what works and what does not in music is up to a few (very few) medias and labels. There is a process of centralization in the music industry and mostly of the labels and "independent" medias have left to be it.

In general they have been nice with us, but you always feel like you are not in this or that clan. Actually I don't really care. I think we are independents and we do our way. To play and reach the people, all around is just noise.

I like to think that we do everything with some immediacy and inocence, but it does not mean to be unprofessional. We take very seriously all we do but always having fun. The main thing is to transmit with our songs and the gigs, and to make people empathize with our stories.

The right side in this business is the amount of places where we can play. New technogies also help: new broadcast platform for music have intesified the interest for the oncoming bands and there is a lot of people listening and supporting new projects through the social media.

6. How is LEONE's work process creating new songs and stories?How has been this same in the last album?

Songs are writing for me myself and then I bring them to the studio. I use to record some demos at home with all the instruments and then every one in the band contributes to this new composition.

Songs use to start with a melody inside my head. I look for the chords and record a main line with the voice and the chords and then I work over adding instruments to get an almost finished song. Composition is an equation to solve. A maze to you need to get off. There is just one way out and just one song if I find the value of X. In other situations we work deeply at the studio and the rest of the band have more weight in the composition. I think this last method is working more often in the future.

About the lyrics I am not very interested in the spanish meaning when I am singing. Images, diction, rhythym and  the cadence of the letters in the bolero or the song texts are perfect to fit in the music sung in Spanish. Sometimes they look so inoncents and not much worked out. I just preffer the armony and rhythym with the context in the music. I mean, it is a song, not a poem. If you read Lorca you can clearly see a difference in the poetics texts. Sound of the word rules. In the other side, I like using some texts and images previously used in spanish music like in blues or flamenco used to happen, styles in which same texts have been used in several songs. If you listen the last demo we uploaded to Soundcloud (Sed de mal) you can find references to Vino amargo (Rafael Farina) or Dame veneno (Los Chunguitos).

Lyrics are so personal and use to have a initial image I am workin on. Somtimes is a bad joke, a gag we have done being on party. Sometimes I start from a cultutal reference (a book, a film...). Althought this ideas work as a vehicle to tell once again a personal state, sometimes is pretty embarrasing because people who knows me also knows what I am talkin about everytime.

7. Any habit or mania before play?

Well, we are rockers, before the stage we make an excess ritual. Sometimes this has been a personal toll, obviously, because you can have a reasonable ammount to reduce the stage fright but without exceeding it (Lol)…

For my part, the live is the goal of the band: practising, recording, promoting… Everything for the stage.

8. Any place (club, festival…) where you would like to play…

In a medium-size festival. This year we are late because we had terrible problems with the vinyl fabrication (actually, we are still waiting for the fabric) so the festivals were already closed.

Our obssesion right now is to reach out to a new public and festivals are a really nice platform.

9. Any band you recently listend and suprises you.

The Young Sinclairs, a neopsichodelic band with californian pop reminiscents and The Byrds. There is also a very funny band I didn't know not long ago called Interestellar Vilians.

In the opposite end a recently deceased flamenco singer, Curro de Utrera.

10. An artist you would like to work with.

I don't know... there are so many. I've many times asked for sing together to a spanish band singer which name I am not saying you. I hope he catch the message and we finally do it (hahaha). I'd also like to do something with Javier Arnal who just released a brilliant album (Canciones defectuosas) and he like pretty similar to me. 

11. Future projects.

We are looking for a bass player to replace Jesús Rodriguez, who can't carry on with the band for personal reasons.

In the other hand, we will get the vinyl of our first reference (LEONE EP) on september and do some promo.

Finally, we want to release a single with two song we recorded the last year and are availables on Bandcamp: Tus Huesos y Quién quiere ser JC. And probably to record two more new songs this summer with the idea to release another single: Sed de mal y La vida no vale nada.