Hard Rock Cafe
Interview by Amanda Astramowicz
What makes your cover band different from others?
Maxi: We love classic rock and all the classics, but we want to surprise people with something they are [currently] listening to on the radio and not expecting to hear at a pub - even songs that were not written to be played by a rock band, you know, like songs from artists like Lady Gaga, Cee Lo Green or Black Eyed Peas. Just so that we can use that surprise factor – everyone’s [always] expecting to hear the Beatles or the Rolling Stones all the time…
How do people react when they unexpectedly hear a pop song?
Maxi: The thing is that we love the songs, it’s not that we’re doing it because people like them – we really love those songs, and people sometimes tell us, well, you’re a sellout because you’re just playing these songs – but they’re great, people like them and people dance to them and enjoy them, you know?
What else can we expect from a Milkers show?
Maxi: We also play indie rock stuff, like Mumford and Sons, The Killers or Kings of Leon. People would like to see these bands in Barcelona but they never come here because they play festivals. So if you want to see the band [in Barcelona] and listen to the songs - you can’t do it, so we play those songs. If you want to hear ‘Sex On Fire’ in a bar, you can do it [by watching us], and it’s going to sound like the real thing, not just 4 wanna-be guys. We play like a real rock band, like a real professional band. We like to do it, we like the songs, and we have fun doing it.
How do all your separate personal projects affect the band?
Maxi: We work as a family, so everything that is extra is good for the band. It makes us feel more proud of our friends and our projects. We support them as if they were from our own brother. We share our problems and we share our happiness.
As The Milkers, what are you looking forward to in the near future?
Xavi: We are celebrating our 10th anniversary next year and hopefully we can play in better places and on bigger stages here in Barcelona, as well as more cities all over the world.
Xavi Soto: Singer
Apart from being the singer in The Milkers, you perform as Xavi Malacara alongside Tony Wilson. When did you start playing as Malacara?
Xavi: I started playing blues and folk music three years ago. I sing and play the guitar and harmonica, and Tony plays the guitar as well. Tony is a guitar legend from the 1960s, he was born in the 1930s in London and played with a variety of different bands. Finally, a year ago we got together and started playing some blues and folk around Barcelona. We’ve already done about 24 gigs.
Where have you already played as Malacara & Wilson?
Xavi: We are currently playing monthly in different bars in Barcelona like London Bar, Philharmonic and Alfa Bar, as well as during the Fiestas de Gracia, and Fiestas de Parallel.
How would you describe the sound of your first album, Malacara feat Wilson Blues Vol. I that was released on August 30th 2013?
Xavi: We have a raw sound. The album was recorded live with a Fender Telecaster (which is not very typical for blues music) and a Gibson hollow body 1960, accompanied by my voice and harmonica. Some artists we cover in the album are sounds by Tampa Red or Jelly Roll Morton to Mike Farris and Tom Waits. In blues, people usually copy the olden days, but in our album a lot of our references come from rock and roll.
What are your future plans for Malacara and Wilson?
Xavi: We want to get weekly gigs here in Barcelona, but we also want to play outside of Barcelona - there are a lot of blues and folk festivals across Europe that we would like to take part in.
Are you planning a second album?
Xavi: Yes. For our next album, the second volume, we’re planning to compose some original music as well as play some more covers. I’m already in the process of writing some of the original tracks for volume two.
What’s the difference between performing with The Milkers and as Xavi Malacara?
Xavi: For me, performing as Xavi Malacara is a more relaxed feeling than performing with The Milkers. With the band, the work is more stressful – high level energy and high level voice. When I perform as Malacara, I can sit on a chair, relax my voice and relax my mind.
Preview and buy their album here.
Luis Aznárez: Bass
What inspired you to write the book, No Temas?
Luis: I really wanted to write about our stories and adventures as friends together in a band. I started writing the editorial, Huevos Frito, a year ago and with that, the book came to life. Everyone has a story to tell, whether it’s a waiter or a journalist, everyone has something interesting to tell the world - and No Temas is my story.
The book conveys the stories and adventures of six guys traveling and playing shows together. Who are the other two musicians in the book that are not part of The Milkers?
Luis: Marcus & Albert. They are another two friends of mine, the three of us were a band before I joined The Milkers.
So it has only been a year since you’ve had an interest in writing a novel, and yet it’s already published and on the bookstore shelves, how did you manage that?
Luis: After I finished writing the novel I realised I had no idea how to publish a book, and nobody knew how to help me, so I went and figured out how to go about publishing the book by myself. I called a woman named Caterina, a well-known publisher, and she helped me with everything I needed to do: editing, the layout, everything that needs to be done basically.
What’s your favourite moment in the book?
Luis: I think that all of the moments in the van are the best. Especially the times I had with my previous band members, Marcus and Albert. It was the time when we started playing our first shows and hooking up with girls, our first rehearsals, and when we released the first album. Those were the most emotional moments that I remember. When we grow up we begin seeing the negative and fake aspects of the music industry and that inital passion tends to die out a little.
Are you thinking about writing another book?
Luis: Yes. It’s inspired by my friend Javi and a girl who is a blind bank teller. She gets annoyed by everyone and ends up killing them all. It’s going to be sort of Tarantino style. I’m really looking forward to it!
The book was released in September and was rated number one on Amazon’s Spanish books to read related to the music industry. It can be found in the bookstore called Espai Literarion on Ramon y Cajal, 45. They are also available to download online from Amazon for only €1.98.
Go to http://www.huevosfrito.com/ for more information.
Ricky Malo: Drums
Mine! was one of the most important Catalan bands in the recent years. They won first place in the biggest Battle of the Bands contest that they do here in Catalunya. The prize was a professional record deal. They released three albums and received great reviews from some of the most important media critics in Catalunya. Ricky has now finished with Mine! and has moved onto his new project: Falciots Ninja.
What was the Mine! tour all about?
Ricky: We toured for 2 years, and we had about 70 gigs. All of our gigs were in Catalunya and we had one in Madrid. We sing in Catalan but even some people in the USA have heard of us because of the great feedback we received on our album La fí del Mon (The End of the World).
Can you tell us about your new band, Falciots Ninja?
Ricky: Falciots Ninja consists of myself and one of the singers from Mine! called Albert. Our sound is pop rock - we are inspired by the Beatles and a lot of bands from the 1960s until now. The style is sort of like a “Catalan town party” you can say.
Are you the drummer in this new band as well?
Ricky: Yes, but I also help with the arrangements of the songs, but Albert usually decides most of the things that have to do with the band and its direction.
What are you working on right now as Falciots Ninja?
Ricky: We are recording the first album now, called Falciots vs. Ninja, and our first gig will happen around April next year, although we are not quite sure where yet. If our first album is successful, we plan to make a second and hopefully, a third.
Maxi Moscardi: Guitar
What inspired you to write the children’s book, Cinco Cuerdas / Five Strings (or how I wrote my first song)?
Maxi: I really love children’s literature, you know, classical stories - and I love drawing too, so I was trying to come up with a project related to drawing. At first I thought about an exhibition, I wanted to have an [art] line but I needed to find something in common for all of them but I couldn’t think of anything. Somehow, I came up with the idea of writing a short story, so I could illustrate that story. I was thinking about talking about why music for me has been so inspiring and has brought such good things into my life such as friends, experiences and also creativity, and of course [it also became] a thing to do even when you’re feeling sad or down.
Does the story in the book relate to your life in any way?
Maxi: I remember when I was a kid, music just appeared into my life and it just changed everything. It made me become more of who I am, and helped me have an identity. As musicians, music is something that defines us very well, so in this book I’m talking about how a kid discovers music and realises that through music he makes people happy.
How does your book differ from other children’s books?
Maxi: Most of the time, books are talking about fantasies a lot, you know, like fairy tales or just animals that speak, or monsters. I wanted to do something more real - about real life. People who go to school, about a parents, or conflicts – whatever. I want to write about normal people, not rock stars or special people – normal guys who just want to do something different.
Are you also the illustrator?
Maxi: Yes. I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid, like everybody in the world. Most of the people just stop doing it and I don’t know why. Kids come up with good stories when they are little, and then [when they grow up] they just stop doing it. But I never stopped doing it. I like it so much that I just keep on doing it. It’s not that I believe that people who draw are artists or special, I just believe that everyone should keep making art throughout their lives. For me, it would be normal if a guy working in a bank makes art, or if a guy who is working as a lawyer makes art – it’s an expression, and it doesn’t make you special, it makes you normal. People always think that if you’re making art, it’s because you are special or you are some sort of person that people need to know. Most of the time artists don’t know why they are doing what they do, you know, and it’s quite simple. It’s like saying, well why do you eat? It's just part of us.
Maxi started working on the book a year and a half ago. He’s finished the writing and illustrations, now it’s time to publish. He hopes it will be published before April 2014. Every book is bilingual, written in both English and Spanish.
You can preview some of the artwork on his blog: http://maximoscardi.blogspot.com.es/