I’m impressed. I’m still not believing that Pablo did accept this interview. I’m sure that -like me- you have some artist that you follow since ages. This is the case for me regarding Pablo. As I’m an absolute fan of one of its former band
Ekkaia, I did listen to absolutely everything he did. As many, I think that
Ekkaia is -still- one of the best melodic crust band («Crust de Salon» in French, copyright Trash Manu) that did ever exist. I’m still listening to them, not from time to time but regulary, and I’m still not bored by all of their albums. This style was very popular in Spain between 2000 and 2010.
The main goal of this blog/zine was to interview bands after their "split". As you see, I did succeed to do this only one time (with
Shall Not Kill). As not as many bands did play during the past two years, it was not so easy to interview active band. So I did try to interview individuals. I still do not remember how I got Pablo’s Facebook contact but he did answer positively to my request. I was supposed to see him playing with his band
Sangre De Muerdago in Rouen, but the show was canceled, due to «you know what». So trying to interview him was for me a kind of consolation prize.
So here it is. Here’s the Pablo’s interview. It did take a lot of time, but it’s finally here and I hope you will enjoy it.
Once again thank you Pablo for taking the time to answer this interview.
All band’s pictures were provided by Pablo.
Ekkaia flyer by David S and Pablo.
You did play more than 10 years ago in
Ekkaia which is a crust/punk band. How did you move from this style of music to traditional Galician music ? Was it something you did at the same time or, were you just bored by extreme music and wanted to play something else as this two styles are totally different ? Are you aware that you did introduce Galician folk music to a lot of people listening to
Ekkaia (Before knowing
Sangre de Muerdago I wasn’t listening to any traditional music at all). Are you still playing in punk bands or is it something that now belongs to the past for you ?
I've been always loving music in general, definitely being sometimes more fond of some styles than others, but I ultimately love the language of music and the emotion you can express and receive through it. I always had an acoustic guitar at home in which I played any kind of music on, from punk to folk as well. I didn't move conciously from A to B, neither feels like that.
Sangre de Muerdago was something of my privacy, songs I wrote at home that were rarely heard by anyone else, until it slowly started coming out and developing into what it is today. There are obvious differences in the shape of music when you talk about punk and folk, but the spirit that runs throughout both of them is often similar or just the very same. I'm always happy to hear of punks enjoying folk and traditional music, and not only that, I love to encounter punks that are into art in general, and the sensibility of poetry or delicate music.
I still play loud music and have a pretty ferocious punk band called Lamia with old friends Jon Hurt (State of Fear, Consume..) and Tom Radio (Tau Cross, Frustration..), but we haven't released anything yet.
Are you still following the scene from Galicia/A Coruña, is the punk still alive there ? What do think about these new Spanish crust bands like Tenue or Herïda ? Are you still going to this kind of concert, or have you any interaction with the Spanish DIY punk scene ?
I don't really follow any particular scene besides following the music that moves me, not that I have not an interest, but music is so wide that focusing on a small fraction of a style would be sad. Yet I know often what's happening over there in Galicia, not only punk related but in music in general. I keep great friendship and contact with many musician friends from over there. I don't know the bands you mention for example, but I definitely keep going and enjoying loud concerts of different nature very much.
I heard from Christophe Stonehenge that he planned to release a full discography of
Ekkaia. Can you tell me more about the project, when will it be released ? Can we hope for some unreleased or live songs. A lot of people are waiting for it, and we see that
Ekkaia is now part of the bands that do not exist anymore but that have a strong impact on the scene (I’m thinking for example of Alerta Antifascita doing new
Ekkaia t-shirts …) any thoughts about that (that
Ekkaia is now part of « History ») ?
Yes, the discography is about to be released. Unfortunately there won't be any unreleased material, we have nothing like that in the pockets. Regarding
Ekkaia tshirts and the like, my thoughts are that I believe that many people around the world have been doing a good sum of money with them, probably more than we ever did. It wouldn't matter to me if we would have been notified or when at least, the money raised was destined to solidarity.
If I’m not wrong you did play in a black-metal band called Antlers. As you are from Spain and, I think (correct me if I’m wrong) other band members are from Germany, how did you make the connection with them, how did you do to write the music ? About Antlers, is the band dead or do you plan to release something new one day ?
I live in Leipzig since many years, yet the origins of Antlers go back to my last year in Galicia. It was not until I was in Leipzig that a line-up started taking shape and the project started developing in a more serious fashion. The band lived for 7 full years but it is very dead and buried right now. It ended up in a very sad way and there are no plans to wake ghosts of the past up.
Sangre De Muerdago was supposed to be on tour at the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic (I was waiting for your show in Rouen, France). How did you live the fact that the tour was canceled ? Will this tour happen again (in the same town or same places) or did you plan something else ? I do believe that you were going to play songs from the new album ? Was it hard to release a new album without being able to play it (defend it) in live ? How as a band or as person did you go through this very harsh pandemic time ?
Yes, we actually did start the tour and played the first few shows, but soon enough we decided/had to cancel the whole tour and drive back home. It was a hard blow, and we have only played two concerts ever since.
We were playing songs from the new album indeed, and yes, it was hard, but life turned out way more difficult for many other people in other parts of the world, so I would feel not good complaining about it.
As I come from a DIY scene I was asking myself, is
Sangre de Muerdago a ‘DIY’ band. I mean you seems to play in big places and the music itself seems to attract more people than punk rock shows. Is
Sangre De Muerdago a « professional » band, or are you still open to play in squats, or in small/tiny places ? For instance,
Sangre De Muerdago seems to have its own label called Musica Maxica, are all the album self released, why did you choose to do that ?
We operate in a very DIY way at all levels, not only in music but in life itself. We play some big places but we play as well many small ones, including squats, we are open to play anywhere where people are receptive and open to music.
Sangre de Muerdagois a professional band yes, and we survive along with the music. Life is humble and cosy, no luxury around us besides having the time to invest in what we love to do.
We have our own “label” as well as you point out, if you can even call it label. It is a very small DIY operation in order to self release our work and very occasionally help friends to release their work as well.
Speaking about playing live. Does
Sangre de Muerdago need a special acoustic to play (as you are playing traditional instruments). I saw that you plan to play in churches, or in place with a good acoustic. It is something mandatory for
Sangre de Muerdago or can you play in any places with a poor acoustic (even outdoors?)
It helps very much to play in locations with good acoustics, we appreciate that a lot. It is not a must,
but it helps tons!
If this question is too personal, I’ll totally understand you will skip it. You did write a song about your dog Pippi. You relationship with her seems to be very intense and I’m super sorry for you loss. I was asking myself what are in general you relationship with animals (domestic or wild). I often think that animals are better than humans ... Speaking of that do you live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle ?
Thank you for your words. Pippi was a dearest friend and love of mine, she was born at home in Galicia when I was living in a caravan in the country, and the bond we shared was of the strongest kind. Sometimes I couldn't make a different between her and I and often felt like we were one single being. I still cry her very much.
I have always an eye out in the natural world, I usually spend hours a day in the forest and place myself in that world at many levels, I observe birds and many other creatures, plants, trees... I also like to study them on a regular and ceasless basis.
I do live a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle since the mid 90s, my diet is ever changing though as I learn about nutrition, I listen to my body, and I learne more and more of the impact that food production has on the planet. What I'm doing at the moment is to eat mostly vegan but I eat dairy as well which I try to adquire organic and as regional as possible.
Who are the other
Sangre De Muerdago members. Are they related to punk music. Do they play in other bands. Who is writing the music and the lyrics in the band, is it a collective work, or something else ? On the other are the other
Ekkaia members still doing music do you still have some connection with them ?
Sangre de Muerdago members are my friends and my family, I love them all very deeply and just to think about my bond with them moves me to tears. They're related to punk in a way or another, not really musically, but really on attitude, which is what to me, creates punk.
I may write all the songs, melodies and lyrics, but they all write beautiful voices and arrangements to the songs I initially compose.
Sangre de Muerdago songs wouldn't be what they are without them.
I believe every other
Ekkaia member is still doing music, and with most of them I keep a close relation and they all feel like my brothers.
I saw on the last
Sangre de Muerdago vinyl that you did hide a sentence from Henry David Thoreau saying « All good things are wild and free ». Why did you choose to carve this sentence on the vinyl. Is it related to nature ? Do you consider
Sangre De Muerdago as an ecological band ? For instance I did notice that you did sell a t-shirt to raise fund for an association defending the elephants. I also noticed that a lot of
Sangre de Muerdago’s songs talks about the nature. So can we say that
Sangre De Muerdago is a political band ?
Regarding Thoreau's phrase, I love the meaning of this sentence very much, and I guess I can say that everything we do is related to nature. It has some kind of duality to say I consider
Sangre de Muerdago an ecological band. Yes I do, and it is the path i want to keep walking, yet despite the fact that we try to live by these standards, we still jump in the tour van to go play concerts or have jumped in planes to go on tour to America or Asia. So well, I like to think of us as an ecological band because our decissions and actions are conditioned by our “green thinking”. We've done several fundraisings mostly for animal rights, and I like to think that the message we communicate through our music is worth jumping in the tour van or very occasionally, i would say even rarely, on a plane.
The elephants tshirt was one of those campaigns in which we raised funds to send to Botswana to Elephants Without Borders, you can find more info about them online.
And yes, I would say
Sangre de Muerdago is a deeply political band, even though we don't express ourselves in the language of political propaganda, the depths of all our songs are political in a way or another.
I'm asking this question (the exact same question) to each band I interview. I wanted to have your opinion about the rise of social media (facebook, instagram), and music streaming "applications" (bandcamp, spotify). Do you think it changed the "scene" ? I mean ... I feel a lack of sincerity when using those things (for instance a political action is now resumed by changing your profile photo on the Facebook) and see it more like a threat than something good for the music and the scene we love. It changed a lot the way the gigs are going on (I did stop going to show for more than five years and saw a lot of changes), people always using their smartphone, to film or take photos and sometimes forgetting the most important thing ... listening to the music, enjoying the music. Do you think the rise of these new technologies changed a lot of things during shows. Do you think there is also a paradox in the scene, a lot of bands, venues are clearly struggling against what we call "capitalism" but are using those applications (facebook, instagram), the thoughts and the actions are in total opposition. I do believe that punk is capable of more for instance why not using software which are open-source, decentralized, and not owned by the biggest fortune companies of the world ?
It has of course changed the scene, very deeply, if you ask me. To me it is a constant struggle and I stumble through it a lot. I have to force myself to post things on our social media and try to function with these tools. I have a lot of inner conflict with all of it and I would be lying if would say I don't. I won't also deny the power it has to spread news or information when you are a band, and artist, a collective, run a personal business, or for any DIY efforts. Yet many beautiful aspects of our community are now lost and gone for good. I think it also affects deeply in the way people enjoy and pay attention to music and the message of it, there's basically no space for lyrical content when you make use of digital music, and I think the whole pull of the digital world drags you to not dig the music itself as deep as some years ago.
Regarding the struggle against capitalism and at the same using its tools, I think the debate here is so great that we would need a one year lecture just to try to cover some aspects of it. The inbalance of the world is bigger and bigger, and we keep on running blindly towards it. Not only using these new technologies, I think, the point we should acknowledge here is the susteinability paradox, and the will to bring all people to live by “first world” standards. If everyone would live like a German, we would exhaust this planet in an instant. The planet can't stand that each human owns 1,5 cars average because there wouldn't be oxigen left to breathe. And so on, it goes one fact after the next and the next. Despite all this, we keep on and on on this road, expecting that there'll be a miraculous turning point while every other species is disappearing and the ecosystem is exhausted. So I try to live a more simple life at a more relaxed pace in general and focus on art and how it can impact, and trigger thinking, self-criticism, reflection and introspection.
I have the feeling that punk is capable of certain change, but not much anymore besides changing the lives of a few, if you ask me. I may sound pessimistic to many, but I think it is a matter of opening our eyes, and we need to acknowledge as well that as some of us have embraced punk as a means to change, to learn, to construct, to live passionately or embrace a different way to build our relations and to love and to care for each other, for many other people it is an act of self-destruction. Punk is capable of certain change, yet it feels to me that it comes at a very small scale and I believe it is more efective when open-minded, shape-shifting, and binded to different sorts of artistic and creative expressions.