Estos días, Retribution Gospel Choir andan de gira por aquí. Con este motivo, entrevisté via email al gran Alan Sparhawk (vocalista también de Low que, como muchos sabéis, es uno de mis grupos favoritos), y fue publicado en el Metrópoli del pasado viernes. Aquí va la entrevista original en inglés.
This will be the third time in one year that you come to Spain. How special is this country for this band?
It is the first place that took us in, as a band. Our first time there went very well, we were lucky. When we came back, people were excited, they made us feel good. We met so many great people, most of them were people who worked at the places we played and people in Spanish bands. It's like coming back to see friends now. Low has always had great shows in Spain, and the people have been there for me, personally, through some of my darkest times. The Spanish people have passion.
It seems you have a better time playing on stage with RGC than with Low, like a kind of liberation or something. Is it true? Did you need to do something more electric and visceral in contrast with the slower and more controlled sound of Low?
It is a bit of a liberation. The guitar responds very differently at a louder volume and it can sometimes feel like a release, but much of it is still very controlled. RGC takes alot more out of me, physically, on stage - maybe that's why i look like I'm having a better time. I can't explain it. My body has always been a slave to the music.
There’s a sensation of freedom in your concerts, you improvise, never do the same solos, you can also take your shirts off…, is it important for you to let things happen?
Yes. I have fallen on my face many times, but I've learned to trust the moment.
What do you feel when playing live with this band?
Most of the time it feels like barely hanging on in the saddle of a sweaty, galloping black horse that knows the way home through the woods, even though it's the middle of the night. It feels like a fight to save the world. It feels desperate and bold, even hopeful. To then have that resonate with someone in the room is pure love.
What are your main inspirations in RGC?
Musically, I'm inspired by anything that is or has been original and visceral. We listen to all kinds of music and I suppose little parts of this or that could be inspirations for how the band sounds, but we're trying to make something new, even if we are using the same tools others have used. I'm probably just as influenced by other art and the people I've been around.
I remember after finishing your last show in Madrid you said “hold your friends”. In the back cover in your album you’re holding hands as well. Is it there a philosophy of union, of taking care of each other, in the band? A kind of spiritual union towards electricity?
Yes. I'm probably more intimate than most people.
Some songs have been played by both Low and RGC. How do you decide which ones go for each band? For example, the kind of lyrics… does it help you to decide with which band do you want to play the song?
Usually by the time I'm done writing the song it is obvious which group it would work best with, but there are many times i have tried both to see what worked best. I never write with intention. The song comes first and it will know where it needs to go.
What does Mimi Parker (Low drummer and Alan's Wife) think of RGC?
She is our coach. She thinks we're too loud. She comes to see us every once in a while and tells us how the singing is sounding. She has high standards, but we would get lazy without her. She would tell me if the band was crap - so far it's going well. She's glad she does not have to play some of the places we play.
You’re gonna play “The Great Destroyer” album in Primavera Sound. How do you feel about that? That’s the Low album that sounds closer to RGC, but for some fans that’s not really Low. So, it could be quite confusing (I must confess it’s my favourite Low album, ha)
It will be strange for some people maybe. We have played most of those songs live many times already, and we still play them, so we haven't had to do much homework. For normal shows, it's hard to choose a setlist sometimes because we've done so many records - it's nice to have liscence to just focus on one section of songs for a whole show.
Any future plans for Low? I loved the new song “20 Dollars” when you played it in Madrid 2 years ago.
We have a group of songs we're working on, including "20 Dollars". We hope to have something recorded and out either by the end of the year or shortly thereafter. We've been working and performing with a contemporary dance group for the last two years ("Heaven" with Morgan Thorson.) Unfortunately we don't have anything to release from it to prove it. I wish everyone could have seen it.
Canción del día: "I Will Follow" (U2)
Frase del día: "El arte no puede cambiar el mundo, pero si los artistas no dijesen nada el silencio sería ensordecedor" (Angela Weight, historiadora del arte)