CHRONIQUE / REVIEW
ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW
Release date: October 07, 2015
Format: Digital, CD
Label: Self Released
Richard Hawey - Avril 2016
CHRONIQUE / REVIEW
APPLESMELLCOLOUR est un nouveau projet du guitariste expérimenté Lluís BARCELÓ, le groupe fût fondé à Tarragone, en Espagne en 2012. Le nom du groupe est inspiré par un poème écrit par le poète catalan Gabriel Ferrater. « Sans désir, la lumière est en train de mourir sur nous qui était de couleur miel, et que maintenant à la couleur pomme odeur ». APPLESMELLCOLOUR est composé de Lluís BARCELÓ (guitare), Àngel ARROYO 'Loti' (basse), Marc Claramunt (batterie), Pep Espasa (guitare, saxophone et flûte), Mo Espasa (clavier) et Uri MAS (chant et guitare). Après trois ans de travail acharné le groupe sort enfin leur premier album « Unscrupulousness ». Cette première production est un album conceptuel qui traite du manque de scrupules dans son sens le plus large: les origines et le développement de l'univers, l'évolution de la vie sur la Terre, l'exploitation massive des ressources naturelles, les conflits sociaux actuels et la lutte des classes dans la poursuite d'un nouveau modèle social, les émotions et les contradictions venant de l'amour et des relations amoureuses, la contemplation et le passage inexorable du temps et enfin, la mort inévitable qui nous conduit à un univers non régi par des scrupules ou par la moralité humaine.
S’il vous arrive de vous ennuyer des années fastes du progressif où des groupes comme King Crimson vous faisait rêver, et bien tenter votre chance avec APPLESMELLCOLOUR. Mais ce n’est pas que du K.C., vous y retrouverez des saveurs à la Genesis ou Pink Floyd et aussi Porcupine Tree. L’album s’ouvre avec « Stings Field » c’est un narrateur qui nous introduit dans le concept. Puis l’influence évidente de King Crimson se fait sentir sur « I’m an Atom in the World », vous n’aurez aucun doute, c’est un excellent titre. « Mary Montser » malgré ses airs naïfs vous surprendra à coup sûr. « Oil Slick » qui nonobstant une façade assez rude, vous montrera son côté tendre avec un beau moment de piano en son centre jumelé à un changement d’atmosphère, puis retour à la case départ. La pièce titre est instrumentale, elle est un autre moment fort de l’album avec le jeu du saxophone et la dextérité de la section rythmique. Les délicates chansons « Chris » et « Death in the Mirror » offrent un chant tout en nuance et une flûte superbement jouée par Pep ESPASA, elle vous rappellera possiblement « I Talk to the Wind » en raison de la flûte. « Landscape » et son sax jazzy, est un autre superbe instrumental, où vous entendrez une guitare subtile et une section rythmique tout en retenu. Je ne peux passer sous silence la plus longue chanson de cet album, « Boss of Wizards ». Une rythmique bien appuyé sans exagération, une belle mélodie accrocheuse à la guitare, et encore le jeu du flutiste ESPASA.
S’il y a une nouvelle formation qui mérite toute votre attention c’est bien APPLESMELLCOLOUR. Chacun des protagonistes se donnent à fond quelquefois avec puissance ou avec délicatesse. Tous sont des musiciens de haut calibre. Un album hautement recommandé qui contient tout ce qu’il faut pour satisfaire les plus exigeants. Ne passer pas votre chemin, arrêtez-vous quelques minutes pour écouter « Unscrupulousness ».
Musiciens / MUSICIANS :
- Lluís Barceló / guitar
- Àngel Arroyo 'Loti' / bass
- Marc Claramunt / drums
- Pep Espasa / guitar, sax and flute
- Mo Espasa / piano, keyboards
- Uri Mas / voice and guitar
PISTES / TRACKS
1. Strings Field (1:38)
2. I'm An Atom In The World (8:44)
3. Mary Monster (4:26)
4. Chris (4:51)
5. Unscrupulousness (6:03)
6. Boss Of Wizards (10:22)
7. Oil Slick (6.11)
8. Landscape (4:37)
9. Blank Look (4:19)
10. Death In The Mirror (3:51)
11. Eleventh Dimension (1:40)
ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW
WITH: URI MAS
MAY 04, 2016
Performed by: Fred Simoneau
The English version of the interview is available in written format below this video screen !
*** Please note: This wrtten interview constitutes a resume of the 28 minutes long french video interview
PROFIL - We are pleased to interview Uri MAS, vocal and guitar player from APPLESMELLCOLOUR directly from Tarragona, Spain via Skype.
PR – Good day Uri, How are you doing!
URI – Hi, actually it is 10 pm in the evening here in Spain :)
PR – First, can you present APPLESMELLCOLOUR‘s musicians and provide us with a little bit of their story with regard to music.
URI – AppleSmell Colour was borned with Lluís Barceló who started playing music in the 80s but never recorded any material. He was part of some bands since the eighties and now he recorded his first album with 5 musicians which I am part of. In my own words, all 5 musicians were kind of orbiting around the same center. I was playing with the bassist (Loti) in a band called “Noumen” as well as with the saxophone (Pep) and drum player (Marc) in a conceptual album called “Projecte 34”. Marc and Pep also played with Lluís, one in “G.A.N.A.” and the other in “Fireplace”. Mo is Pep’s sister and Mark’s girlfriend so as you can see, we were all already circling around the same orbit. At the end, we crystalized into this band called APPELSMELLCOLOUR.
PR – On my first listen of the album “Unscrupulousness”, which is your first album, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. Your sound is mature and the recording quality is impeccable. Could you tell me what are your musical influences and how did you guys as a band decided to play Progressive Rock music ?
URI – Our music influence is clear: KING CRIMSON! As I mentioned, APPLESMELLCOLOUR crystalized based on our music influence and for the entire band, KING CRIMSON regardless of when the album was released, was the main one. This said, we also look to many other bands like GENESIS, PINKFLOY, QUEEN, PROCUPINE TREE and even some Jazz like the firsts few albums of PAT METHENY. APPLESMELLCOLOUR decided that we were going to play that kind of music and not try to re-invent a new music style but instead, propose our sound and version of this music genre. You just said that you found our sound to be mature. Well, when we first came into the studio, we had songs to work on but never actually had a chance to play them as a band or live on stage. This was mainly due to the lack of time and simply because we couldn’t do it at that time. The main reason why such a quality in the production this album is our record tecnitian Miguel Ángel Barberán, who is also the owner of the studio MBG AUDIO which I believe is the best music recording studio in the area.
PR – Can you give us a bit of information on the writing of the music and lyrics? How did that go?
URI – Most of the music comes from Lluís Barceló who will share with us his ideas like, the drums could do this, the bass could do that… In our studio, we then work on these songs. For example, “I'm An Atom In The World” is a song from our album “Unscrupulousness” which was previously played by another band, “G.A.N.A.”. While it is similar in many aspects, we gave this song a different twist and sound. As far as the lyrics are concerned, Lluis writes the lyrics and then passes them on to me so I can review them. The funny thing is that Lluis doesn’t speak English therefore, he uses a dictionary to achieve his goals but he sometime comes up with his own lyrics of words that don’t even exist or that barely used. “Unscrupulousness” is a great example. This is one of those words that was created with a dictionary and that is particularly long to pronounce! This is a uncommon way of speaking english!
PR – The album is presented as a concept. Can you please describe this concept ?
URI – It is a concept but more like “Dark Side Of The Moon” and not “The Wall”. All songs are basically based on the lack of scruples. We only really found out about this relation between the songs while we were ready to produce the album. Scrupulous is used and perceived in many ways; Life, love, society and even death.
PR – The album was launched in October 2015, since that time, have you had a chance to present on stage a few times?
URI – Yes, we played two electric concerts and three acoustics ones. In response to the electric format limitation, we developed an acoustic version of our songs so we can play them live. Not sure how it is for you in Canada but here in Spain, it is hard to play in electric format. That didn’t help us and money is always an issue since the venues ask us money in order for us to simply do our job. We’ve a law system that limits the volume, and the interpretation of this laws use to be very restrictive (it seems that the things’ll chand, al least in Barcelona... I really hope so!). So the venues had to spend money on upgrades and they turn to us to pay for their lost. But next Saturday, we will be playing for free at a festival called Tótum Revolútum, in the electric format!
PR – You would be more than welcomed here in Quebec to play you’r music as loud as you want!
URI – Whhooo, don’t say it twice...
PR – How was the crowd reaction when playing live?
URI –The response has been very positive. Even some of those friends and family that purchased our album just to help us, came back and shared their appreciation! During concerts, the response is also very positive even regardless if we play the electric or acoustic version.
PR – What about the sale of your albums, is it done directly through the band or through a label company?
URI – No, we produced it ourselves and we self-released it.
PR – How is it possible, for a Prog Rock band, to get known by the public in 2016?
URI – If I knew, I would have to kill you… lol. We use new technologies like online market, we do all shipping ourselves, and we created the album cover, contact websites for interviews and reviews and used a crowd funding campaign in order to finance the album. Not all bands partners with Sony or Universal. If that happens, we’ll be happy, but at the same time we’ll have to tink about the good and bad things of this. Nowadays we love to work with the people that likes us and follow us and spread our music from here on. I think this is the key. The festival we play in on Saturday, the Tótum Revolútum, has the same mentality. It was created by bands for the bands. We are not getting paid to play but we get to play for free and have the opportunity to get better known and sell albums and merchandises. Myself, I made the decision to invest myself in the festival’s activities and promote it the best way I possibly can. I believe that in order to succeed, it all start with the musicians themselves. They have to share, be around other bands, see them play live and then people will show up to the venues. This is especially true in the Progressive Rock industry.
PR – To help you finance your album, you took part in a crowd funding campaign. How did that go and what were the negatives and positives?
URI – The positives aspects… well, it allowed us to work within a team concept and work our way up starting from the basics. At that time, we had not played our music live but when people started listening to our samples and excerpts, the response were very positive. At the end, we were able to raise an extra 1000$. As far as negatives aspects, time is huge factor since the campaign only last 40 days. Using this type of financial tool also means that we need to manage the entire campaign ourselves. We need to figure what we will be offering for what amount of money, make all the reywards and ship them to all the patrons. It’s a huge job!
PR – Were you worried that you wouldn’t meet your goals?
URI – Maybe but in the first 10 days, if you can raise half of the total amount, you will more than likely be able to meet your goal and this is what we were able to achieve. I was just about to be interviewed when I looked at my cell phone and noticed that we had raised 100% of our objective. I was extremely happy !
PR –What can we expect from AppleSmell Colour in the near futur ?
URI – We now have the acoustic EP of the album which is called « Fireplace ». This will allow us, I hope, to perform more live concerts. So from here on, we’ll make as electric and acoustic concerts as we can!
PR – If you could pick a band or an artist to share the stage with, who would it be?
URI – It depends on which Era... Today, it would be King Crimsons, Opeth, Steven Wilson who will soon be playing at the “Be Prog My Friend” festival here in Barcelona. A month and a half ago, I gave Adrian Belew a copy of our cd after interviewing him. He took it and said: This is mine, and you are a reference! If we could tour with Adrian Belew, it would be great and a dream comes true. But we are also proud to play with the bands that starts like us and that are absolutely amazing. For example this next Saturday, we will be playing with “El Tubo Elastico” and “Soul Aside”, two great bands! Many other bands will be performing during all this festival and we are extremely grateful to be watching them live!
PR – Where can we purchase your albums from?
URI – It is called Entradium. This is a platform that helps the bands selling tickets as well as allowing us to showcase our merchandises as; CDs, T-Shirts etc. We deal with shipping ourselves so we can sign each items before it being sent to you :) You can order it at http://applesmellcolour.entradium.com/es/site/applesmellcolour/tienda
PR – All good things come to an end. I hope this interview will help our readers to better know AppleSmell Colour. As far as I am concerned, I learned a lot about you guys. Thank you so much for participating in this interview. You have the final word.
URI – The last words are for you. When I say that bands need to help each other, I am adding you in the lot. We play a music genre that doesn’t have tons of fans and your support is precious. It allows people from all over the world to know about us. Yourself, by accepting to perform this interview with a Barcelona’s musician who comes up with an album called “Unscrupul… what? Unscrupulousness”, this is great and we appreciate the efforts.
PR – Once again, thank you very much and best of luck with your future projects!
URI – Thank you!