Das spanische Duo ist momentan auf dem Wege ein grandioses Debüt entstehen zu lassen, welches im Emotional Rock neue Maßstäbe setzen könnte. Dazu verleiten die ersten Titel zu der Erkenntnis, den traditionellen 70ies/80ies Hardrock/Pop in ein neues Gewand zu kleiden. Ihre Einflüsse nennt die Band im Interview selbst, ich würde eventuell noch Meat Loaf hinzufügen.
Den ersten Song, den ich damals eher zufällig bei Bandcamp entdeckte, war das traurig melancholische “Clown’s Mask”, welches mit einer betörenden Melodielinie und kraftvollen Vocals zu überzeugen weiß. Wie ein Stück aus einem tragischen Musical besitzt es neben rockigen Facetten immer eine stimmungsvolle Energie, welche sich im eindringlichem Chorus offenbart. Die Vocals agieren voluminös und toben sich mit viel Gefühl und Emotionen aus. “Crystal Lake” ist im Gesamtgebilde etwas straighter inszeniert. Die Saiten treten etwas trockener in die Szenerie und garnieren das Stück mit progressivem Gefrickel. “Twilight Hour” ist das beste Beispiel für die stimmliche Breite, welche die Songs zu wahren Perlen macht….und was für ein Refrain!
Das Duo tobt sich auf der Spielwiese des emotionalen Rocks aus. Die einzelnen Stücke besitzen einen dramaturgisch geschickten Aufbau, der sich mal balladesk, mal bombastisch, mal verschnörkelt und mal gradlinig in die Gehörgänge schleicht.
Nun viel Spaß mit dem Interview (im Original)
1. You are united for one year under the name Neferlight. How did you come together, and what there is for musical Vita to say.
JR.Sanchiz: We met about six years ago, in a covers band. Each one took already our long career working. My father put a guitar in my hands with only 8 years and Xavi started in his school choir, with just over 5. Each one have had their own musical journey, playing in several bands, writting songs, performing live gigs … but when we met, since the beginning we noticed a big mutual feeling, we started writing songs together and we saw that they sounded like something different, something special…
X.Roncero: As Freddie said, “it’s kind of magic”… Whenever Jose Ramon picked up the guitar and began to improvise, I directly would sing over and we saw it fit perfectly, it is difficult to explain… It’s like if we understood music from a similar point of view. We’ve spent years writing together, we’ve got already about 25 songs, and a year ago we decided to form Neferlight seriously, leave apart versions and focus in our own music.
2. The band name “Neferlight” refers to hieroglyphics. In addition, you use the symbol in the signature. Can you tell something about the idea behind it? (A good side effect is that the band is easily found on Google)
Xavi: We are passionate about Ancient Egypt, and there is a precious word, “Nefer”, meaning “beautiful inside and out” and coincidentally, the hieroglyph used to write it, is an Egyptian lute, somehow, is the first type of guitar in the mankind history. We think remarkable that this ancient culture, to write “Beauty” they draw a guitar. At the same time it is as if our songs came from some kind of inner light, a contrast between light and dark, we believe “Neferlight” (beautiful inner light) describes the type of music we do.
3. Is there already a date for the release of the debut? Are the songs already finished?
JR: The songs are all finished and recorded, we are now in the process of mixing and mastering. But we wanted to show in advance five premixes, as demos, so the people and the media began to know the type of music we make and evaluate their reactions. We’re going ahead with the work, and about the middle of the year we can surely talk about having a physical copy of the album in your hands.
4. Is the album released on a label or it appears as self-production?
JR: We are now evaluating some very interesting proposals and open to receive some others also, but nothing is signed yet. Everything depends on whether we reach an agreement, but the release is imminent, and if there is no agreement, we will make it by our own production on the planned date.
5. There are already several songs to listen to Bandcamp and Revebnation. “Clown’s Mask” is a beautiful song. One could almost describe as a tragic musical. The topic has been already repeatedly sung. The history behind more than just the interior views of a clown?
Xavi: Thank you very much for the appreciation … Well, our particular clown represents all artists that, when finishing a show, and get off the stage, we face the real world, and we feel as a void inside… But also, we all, everybody, we do wear a mask, we try to smile and make laugh everybody else around us… until we remain alone at the mirror, in front of our own image, then we are stalked by our demons and doubts. We all have dreams to fulfill and we feel the frustration and loneliness as we struggle to get them.
6. The second song “Crystal Lake” is somewhat reminiscent of Melodic Metal and has a pleasant chorus. Can you tell a bit more about the song?
Xavi: It’s about a spirit from the other side, which can only see our world through mirrors and reflective surfaces. And one day, he looks through and sees a beautiful girl, and falls in love with her, and begins to follow her through every mirror he find. He dreams with her, dancing with a broom imagining it is she, until one night, she bathes on a calm lake, with a crystaline surface, and he gets so hot that he cross the water and gets through to our world. Then she sees him and she realizes he has dreamed a thousand times with him, she knew him already, and she loved him too… we think it’s a nice story, about love beyond life and death.
JR: About the instrumental part on this song, I think you can notice some Latin flair, both in composition and rhythmically, but then in contrast the more rocking, energetic, hard and bright chorus. It’s like if in our style, each song we make would have a unique twist, but without intention, is what comes from us. In fact, both “Clown’s” and “Crystal” are songs born in joint improvisation sessions, there was no will in the creative process, just feeling.
7. In “Paradise” you are a seeker. It is about the search for paradise. Is it also about the personal meaning in life?
JR: It’s exactly what it seems, it is as if everyone were always looking for something, and sometimes we do not realize that we already have found it. But “the search” is the important thing. In “Paradise” what we mean is that life is brighter if you live it with love, and you can search for happiness along the world, on the skies and earth, and keep looking but…
Xavi: “I could live for a thousand lives, and look for something side by side …” but the message in this song is that Paradise is affordable for everyone: “To love and to be loved, that is “Paradise”
8. The vocals are remarkable. Do you have a classical vocal training?
Xavi: Thank you very much, humbly!… Well, actually not, I guess I am what is usually called a “natural singer,” I learned to sing … just singing. Then… later, yes I’ve added to my training Music theory and Harmony, which has helped me to improve my skills. I also followed selftaught the method “Speech Level Singing” by Seth Riggs, a vocal coach who has worked for the biggest, from Michael Jackson to Barbra Streisand. And, about the choirs of the compositions, I am lucky to have a wide vocal range, spanning several classical registers, and I take advantage of this feature to provide multiple voices and “personalities” to the interpretation.
9. How would you describe yourself the music of Neferlight? How do you share you the work in the songwriting?
JR: Neferlight’s music is rock, of course, but it is a kind of “emotional” rock, that cannot easily be tagged into a subgenre. Yes, you can see some gothic touch, but not as dark as gothic rock, and the toughness of Hard Rock but not so aggressively, and this is produced by all the colors we use in the keys and chords, that convey more complex feelings than those which people can usually hear.
Xavi: Generally, the songs arise either from the joint improvisation, and other times, from an original idea of Jose Ramon, which sometimes is a draft, and sometimes even the song nearly completed. What I try to do then, is to feel what it inspires to me and then, I try to create a story that is consistent with that feeling and the images that appear in my mind, from there, it borns a story, the lyrics, structure and the vocal melody. And then Jose Ramon deals with all the instruments, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards … until we’ve got a first sketch, which is coproduced later together.
10. Where do you see your influences. Is there in addition to music influences from literature or art?
JR: Our musical influence is very wide and extends genres and artists of the past, as both Xavi and Myself have got older musicians in the family, and have heard a lot of music since childhood, like Beatles, Rollings, Eagles, Dire Straits, Boston, Deep Purple and … that’s the case, our influences are stale, of very long term, they are not copies of new existing sounds or fashion slaves. So I guess the best way to say our influences is to say our favorite artists, which in my case are: Queen, Led Zeppelin, Van Hallen, Toto, Whitesnake, At Vance, and as guitarists Steve Vai , Satriani, Gary Moore … and many others, and recently, I’ve been hearing and probably also be influenced by Guthrie Govan from Aristocrats. Xavi: Mine ones are Queen, The Cure, U2, Michael Jackson, Dream Theater, Metallica, Heroes del Silencio … and as singers, just themselves, Freddie, Smith, Bono, Michael, Labrie, Hetfield and Bunbury. And yes, there are influences of art and literature in us, especially in the stories. I read a lot, when I have time, and I have a very visual mind, plastic, I love movies, photography and painting.
11. Do you already have ideas for a video and what song is intended?
Xavi: Just because of the visual conception of the stories… which is something that many people have told us when they hear our music, it makes every song worthy of having his own video, but the first film we’ve got planned is for “Clown’s Mask”: The show ends, he walks behind the scenes, and the world is slower, the laughs die down, people paused, but he continues at the same speed going into his wagon. He sits in the mirror and begins to sing. While his makeup is removed, it is becoming an empty face, no eyebrows, no nose, no mouth … absolutely nothing. And finally, he removes the clothing with just a hand movement, and disappears, leaving only a music box opened over the dropped clothes with a little clown spinning around inside.
12. Is soon a tour or festival plans? Is it hard to find performance opportunities? What can the fans expect at a concert?
JR: We do not have gigs planned yet, we are focused on the production of the album. Once we finish it, we think there will be opportunities to take the stage, our true home, because we are live performers musicians, what we like is just that, to be in touch and contact with the public, to see them scream and jump. And for those who come to see us, what they can expect is an appropriate adaptation of our songs to sound harder, stronger, and in the most spectacular way possible, being faithful to the album, but bringing that extra energy and drive that a live performance can achieve.
13. Will you tell our readers something?
Xavi: To the people who listen to music we want to say that there are a lot of completely unknown artists and bands of great quality, that they won’t conform to what they can hear on the radio and look for new music beyond. And to the musicians like us, we encourage them to continue working hard, very hard, demanding, and thrilled, because if they do it, someday, someone really kind of a cool magazine will call them, and make them such a professional and pleasant interview as this one 😉
14. Thank you and good luck with your project.
Xavi y JR: Thank you, thank you very much for giving us room in your magazine, we congratulate you for your great work and we will keep you up to date with our progress. Good luck and plenty of successes.