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Nuar, growing as a group

Old Age (Compartint), Longing (Aire), Humanity (L’autòmat), Acceptance (L’altre jo), Reinventing oneself (Escapistes), Hidden Truth (Iceberg), Debut (La nit perfecta), Carpe Diem (Un demà inexistent), Ardour (Isaac) and Life (La gran caiguda) – with these eleven terms, every single one of the songs that make up the disc Perseguint Gegants by the band Nuar can be described. Last week, they presented their first clip from their second job exclusively on our homepage and we wanted to know more about this group from Barcelona with influences from American rock. Meeting them in a space very suitable for a talk about music, El Arco de la Virgen in the Raval quarter in Barcelona, where they regularly give concerts, this is what they told us...

Let’s first talk about that new disc you’re presenting, Perseguint Gegants, the second disc of the band. How was it received?

Albert Carbonell: Perseguint Gegants was released in January but we only started to promote it in the media two months ago. It’s still early for knowing the reception it gets but it is true that at the moment all the reviews we receive from the media are positive. Everyone stresses the change we made both at the level of production and of musical style and that it is a disc with more character and more coherence when it comes to style. With regard to the audience, the comments we have received have also been positive. At the moment we’re very happy because it was a good start.

What does the release of this second job mean to you?

Tony García: It means to keep doing things, keep developing. All that remains of the original group is Albert, the whole cast has changed in this second disc. Even now, we’re not all the same who recorded the disc. But the new members are really very important in giving form to the sound. The disc attests to a composing, interpretative and conceptual development. With the first disc, even though it is a cool disc, you notice that it is a “first disc”, because it is a bit incoherent – especially when it comes to the concept you want to convey. In this second job, we have worked more on this aspect, we have dropped and redrafted many things, we didn’t say yes to anything straight away, we have thought a lot about everything and you do notice that in the result.

So these are the main differences from Respirar?

TG: We can say that Perseguint Gegants is a more mature disc.

AC: About Respirar, they said it was eclectic. That it goes in different directions, but also that this is normal because it was a first disc and what it does is explore. It was also material that I had accumulated over many years. It’s difficult to then make it all have a final coherence. In contrast to that, this second job – even though it was slowly cooked over two years – was indeed realised with a more concrete direction to go to, where we have discarded ideas that didn’t fit in the whole. Respirar was also sweeter – like a sweet fruit –  and Perseguint Gegants maybe needs a second or third hearing, especially with regard to lyrics and in order to make you extract more juice from listening.

What did you hope to win from being produced by Valen Nieto (Raydibaum)?

AC: We went to see him ourselves because we really liked the work he had done before and the sound he produces with his band Raydibaum. Moreover, in Blind Records they have experience with recording groups with a similar style to ours. We had already thought a lot about the arrangements because we had worked a lot at them in the rehearsal room before, but with regard to sound, moods and effects, we knew that when we counted on him we could haul out even more. And it was like that, it was really worth it.

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Which musical influences can we find in your music?

TG: The disc as a whole contains a great mix of influences as we all listen to a lot of music. Concerning the production, there are also influences from Valen, who took groups like Wilco, which are more or less similar to ours.

We have now talked about this second job, the most recent, but let’s now go back a little and tell us how Nuar was born.

AC: The band was born around 2008, when I played with the drummer Alex Carballo and studied in the Taller de Músics. There I got to know Pol Cruells and being three we founded the first band. But above all, it came into being in order to answer to my interest in composing and find a common interest as the composers we were then. From then on, after the first disc, Pol started his career as a singer-songwriter, and even though I kept working with him, the group started to separate a little. But then, little by little you find new friends, new musicians like Tony and another guitarist who joined the project and you find the pieces that fit... until today, with Pol having rejoined – even though we have never really stopped cooperating...

Where do you have your name from? What does it mean?

AC: Actually, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s a name that we like because it’s short, has a good sound and is easy to remember...

You have been classified as “elegant music”. What do you think of this categorisation?

TG: I’m an elegant guy (laughs), I like it, yes...

AC: We’re not a rumba group, a party group. I guess in order to not have to call us serious they call us elegant, so I agree.

Let’s go back to the current situation of the band. Since the formation of Nuar, there have been various changes in its cast, as you have already told us. Currently you are: Albert Carbonell (vocals/guitar), Tony García (drums), Carlo Doneddu (guitar) and Pol Cruells (bass). What would you stress in every single one of them, what does every single one of you contribute to the band?

AC: Tony (drums), above all, and that is the difference from the first disc, has helped a lot to develop the sound with his way of seeing the instrument. There are a few instances in the new disc which include a lot of percussion and that is what gives them a lot of character. He is a musician who has much sonority when he is playing. More than just the rhythm, he gives a lot of importance to the sound.

Pol (bass) is a guy who has tempo and with very little tells you a lot.

TG: Yes, he has an incredible opinion of the instrument, and, personally, I really enjoy playing with him in the bass-drums relationship.

AC: Carlos is the latest discovery. He came to join us for the live shows and has integrated very well into the group. The funny thing about him is that he has a classic training and working on the disc, we used many arrangements, guitar arpeggios, many inverted positions, and he knew very well what he did here from the classic music and that makes him very useful, with all his knowledge...

TG: I have been playing with him since 2007 and apart from the classic training, he works a lot with Mediterranean music, in geapsy [gipsy??], theatre, soundtracks... he is a very complete musician. I think the fact that we have a classic guitar in the group gives it a differential aspect, a rather curious smoothness.

And... Albert! He’s a very nice guy (laughter)... He is a great composer and a great singer and guitarist and because of that he’s the band leader. It’s his repertoire, but he always makes us all contribute things. We work on the group’s general sound together when we’re in the rehearsal room and that is why we sound like we do, but the germ of all of it are his compositions, his way of singing and the way he uses his instrument – which is also rather particular, he’s no ordinary guitarist.

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You have edited this second job with Microscopi – what did working with them bring you?

AC: We’re very satisfied with working with Microscopi, with David Mullor. It brought us the opportunity to work with someone who is very close, who works incredibly much, because the Microscopi project is only just starting and thus they really spoil the groups they take in. He is a very close person in that you can talk to him at any time. Furthermore, he is also a musician, he will soon release his fourth disc with his band lx! And because of that, the experience he has has helped us a lot, as he knows where to go and where not. Very satisfied.

What expectations do you have for this new job? Which “giants” do Nuar chase?

TG: The “giants” are important vital issues. The 11 songs that ended up making up the disc talk about important topics in life and those are the “giants” that we chase with the disc. We, as a band? Few, we just play and do what we do.

AC: and have a good time!

TG: or a bad time, sometimes you also have to have a bad time...

The current situation is that, on the one hand, there are many bands and a lot of musical supply, but at the same time, the music industry is complicated. How do you experience this situation? What is your opinion?

TG: I think that this is one of the best moments for the music. There is a very interesting supply and the big part of the music industry that needed to fall has indeed, luckily, fallen and the small labels are doing very interesting things. What flourished in the 90s has matured in Barcelona, and many other places, of course, but only in Barcelona, there are heaps of bands that do really interesting things. We can always complain about things but I actually think this is a good moment.

AC: To be different, you need to believe in what you do and be honest with your project and whether it has more or less success in the end depends on what the people want. I agree with Tony, currently there is a lot of musical wealth.

When it comes to the audience – how do you see the musical consumption of the people?

AC: Here, I am little bit more critical. It also depends on the sector in which you move. Tony, for example, has a record label and there you work with people who have more of a musical culture. When it comes to the global audiences, I think the situation is different. In my opinion, there are a series of groups which have amazing discs and which I’m a real fan of, but which are also very unknown. But it is indeed true that when it comes to festivals there are many, there is a lot of supply and it’s ever growing and if people didn’t go to concerts, there wouldn’t be as many. But it is also true that there is still a bit more general interest missing. Also, I often think that the media don’t really help the situation because if you look for radio stations that really play their songs in response to what is offered at the majority of the festivals you don’t really find any. And for me, this is criticisable.

TG: I don’t believe in the traditional means of distribution and that the radio stations play this music or that doesn’t matter to me – because they have never done that. Maybe a little in the 60s. It would of course be great if they did but there are many things that would be great but aren’t. But I think that every group will eventually find the audience with which they feel comfortable.

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