Band of the Day

2012.06.05

Guadalupe Plata

Swampy Spanish blues rock full of devilish mayhem
La experiencia mas significativa es que mi hermano me regalo un CD del blues.
Band of the Day Interview

Guadalupe Plata is a blues rock band from the Andalusian town of Úbeda, Spain. Their name comes from the patron saint of Úbeda, the Virgin of Guadalupe (la Virgen de Guadalupe). In June of 2006, Pedro de Dios Barcelo (guitar/lead vocals) and Carlos Jimena (drums/maracas) began experimenting with making music reminiscent of early American blues legends like John Lee Hooker, R.L. Burnside, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and Son House. Soon after, they added Paco Luis Martos (washtub bass) to complete the band. Martos' bass is handmade from a zinc washtub, a wooden stick, and a chainsaw string, which gives the band its distinct raw, dirty blues sound. In 2009, Guadalupe released their self-titled, 6-song debut EP. This was followed by a full-length LP, also self-titled, which was released in 2011 on Folc Records. The group has played numerous festivals, including Austin's SXSW Festival, and are currently touring and recording.

Guadalupe Plata's lead singer/guitarist Pedro de Dios Barcelo has a deceptively virtuous last name (“de Dios” translates as “of God.”) But any puritans out there might want to steer clear—this trio of Spanish blues rockers are known for singing about sinister things like the devil (“Satanica”), death (“El Boogie de la Muerte”), and for occasionally performing with strippers on stage. With Paco Luis Martos' washtub bass thuds, de Dios Barcelo's scratchy slide guitar riffs, and Carlos Jimena's voodoo-like rhythms, it'd be easy to mistake Guadalupe Plata for being contemporaries of early American blues legends like Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Robert Johnson. Instead, they come from the town of Úbeda, in the southern region of Spain, and their self-titled debut album was released in 2011. We spoke with Jimena to find out more about their affinity for early Blues, their fascination with dark imagery, and what they hope non-Spanish speakers will get out of Guadalupe Plata's music. And in honor of Guadalupe Plata's roots, we have the interview in both English and Spanish.

Band of the Day: Question: What's the ideal environment for listening to Guadalupe Plata / Cual es la situacion ideal para escuchar a Guadalupe Plata?

Carlos Jimena: Well, I'd say the ideal situation we actually had last Saturday here in Spain. We play at this strip club every year. The owner of the club from last Saturday had girls doing acrobatic moves and the environment was spectacular. Any kind of environment is good to listen to us but we usually play at small bars. / La situacion ideal la vivimos esta pasado Sabado porque aqui en Espaňa tocamos cada aňo en un club de chicas. El dueňo del local donde tocamos tiene chicas que hacen movimientos acrobaticos y el ambiente fue espectacular. Cualquier ambiente tambien seria bueno pero nosotros tocamos en barras pequenas tambien.

Band of the Day: For someone who's never listened to Guadalupe Plata before, what song should they start with? / Para alguien que nunca los haz escuchado, que cancion recomiendas?

Carlos: Pollo Podrio.

Band of the Day: What was the first meaningful music experience you've had? / Cual fue la primera experiencia significativa de musica que tuviste?

Carlos: The most significant experience I’ve had was when my brother gave me my first blues cd, which had music from Terry Shaw and Brownie McGhee, and we listened to it over and over, therefore I fell in love with it. That was the first contact I had with the blues. / La experiencia mas significativa es que mi hermano me regalo un CD del blues donde estaba Terry Shaw and Brownie McGhee los escuchamos varias veces y nos encanto. Ese fue el primer contacto que tuve con el blues.

Band of the Day: Why do you feel so connected to American blues music? / Porque te sientes tan conectado a la musica de blues y ese tipo de musica?

Carlos: The blues has a broad meaning and it’s all over different countries. It’s a feeling and something that is palpable. We’re from the south of Spain and we actually have some sort of blues that is connected with life itself like work, the hardships of life, the happiness, all these have so many things in common with those feelings. / El blue tiene un significado muy amplio y hay blues en cualquier pais del mundo. Es un sentimiento y algo que es tangible. Nosotros somos del Sur de Espaňa y aqui tambien tenemos una especie de blue y si te paras a pensar parte de la misma vida del trabajo, del sufrimiento de la pena y la alegria, y tienen muchas cosas en comun y es es un sentimiento.

Band of the Day: For people who don't speak the language, what do you hope they'll get out of your music? / Para las personas que no hablan el idioma, que es lo que pueden esperar o sentir con su musica?

Carlos: Well, we try to transmit energy whenever we do any performance without any tricks, so our music doesn’t consist of any background music. It’s purely live, we try to make music as dirty as possible and people can see it and they love it. This energy is transmitted to people and they end up loving our music. / Bueno nosotros intentamos tanto cuando cantamos o hacemos un disco, que sea como una especie de energia, sobretodo que no sea de artificios o artimaňas. La gente puede ver que lo que hacemos esta ahi e intentamos hacer la musica lo mas basura que podemos. Entonces esa energia de mala lecha se transmite a la gente y queda encantada.

Band of the Day: Can you tell me about the music scene in Ubeda, Spain? / Me puedes decir acerca de la escena musical en Ubeda, Espaňa?

Carlos: Interestingly, there's a really good scene here. This is a small town with a variety of groups of rock and roll and blues. What all these groups have in common is the mantra root influences of blues. Their music is pretty much based with deep roots. / Curiosamente es que hay una escena muy buena. Es un pueblo muy pequeňito y hay varios grupos de rock and roll y de blue. Y lo que todos estos grupos tienen en comun es que tienen influencias del blues y musica de mantra. Se basan mas en en tener musica de raiz.

Band of the Day: Why are you so fascinated with darker imagery like snakes, skulls, and fire in your music and videos? / Porque estas tan fascinado con la imaginacion oscura tales como las serpientes, calaveras, y el fuego en su musica y videos?

Carlos: We’re in love with the Mexican imagery, the images of the skulls and snakes represented in the Day of the Dead. This is part of us and it comes out in a natural way. Both cultures have lots of things in common like the language, the culture, religion and folklore. In one way or another we feel a deep connection to their culture. / Pues no se tambien estamos enamorados con al imagineria de Mexico, con las imagenes de la mala muerte y un poco con las serpientes y pues esta dentro de nosotros y casi sale de una manera natural. Se podria decir que las dos culturas tienen bastante en comun, el habla y la cultura religiosa y los folklores. De alguna manera nos sentimos conectados con la cultura.

Band of the Day: If you had an unlimited budget, what would be your ultimate concert set-up? / Si usted tuviera un presupuesto ilimitado, cual seria su concierto ideal?

Carlos: Well, it would be a little difficult to have who I want to have in that concert because most of the artists that I like are dead now. But if I could revive or reunite some it would be R.L. Burnside, Cabeza de Castel, Lady H...and if I could, I would have the White Stripes reunite. / Bueno pues es un poco dificil porque casi todos los artistas que me gustan estan muertos ya y si pudiera revivirlos, seria R. L. Burnside, Cabeza de Castel, Lady H...y si tambien pudiera juntarlos de nuevo seria a los White Stripes.

Band of the Day: Can you tell me about the album you just recorded in Austin, TX? / Hablame acerca del disco que acaban de grabar en Austin , TX?

Carlos: Yes, well, we have been recording in a radio studio in Austin. We’ll be creating the mix with Mike Mariconda by next week. We spent about 3 days in the studio and we recorded 13 songs, and the album will sound really nice and natural. The three of us played together with the engineer recording at the same time. The album will be beautiful. We have been playing with creating dirty sounds with our music and I think we have done a great job. / Si, pues bueno estuvimos en el estudio de radio en Austin, y vamos a hacer la mezcla el master con Mike Mariconda para la semana que viene. Estuvimos 3 dias en el estudio y grabamos 13 canciones y el disco va a salir muy natural todo ha sido sonido directo, los tres tocando juntos y el ingeniero grabando y yo creo que va a quedar bien chulo el disco. Estamos intentando cada vez ser un poco mas sucios en cuanto a sonido y yo creo que lo estamos logrando.

Band of the Day: Who is your Band of the Day today? / Actualmente cual es tu banda del dia?

Carlos: Lately, I have been listening to this beautiful album by Sabicas called “Rock Encounter”. It’s one of the first albums recorded in Spain that had a mix of rock and flamenco. / He estado escuchando una banda que esta muy chulo el disco se llama “Sabicas” y el titulo es “Rock Encounter”. Es un disco de los primeros cuando se mezclo el flamenco y el rock en Espaňa.