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Saturday, 10 December 2011 08:23

Wired in #26: Manel

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Following on from the Wired in special review by Heart editor Marta, I thought it'd be great to interview the guys from the Barcelona-based band Manel this week. If you wondered how Kenneth Branagh has inspired their songwriting or how artists deal with the empty feeling when you start a new album from scratch, read on!


E&M: You are already very successful in Spain. How do you plan to conquer the rest of Europe?

Manel: Well, we are not really planning to conquer anything. Actually, we never did. Four years ago, when our first album came out, we hadn't planned or expected that it was going to be this succesful. We were happy because we liked those twelve songs and that was all... Now, if we play in Europe and somebody wants to see us, it's amazing, but we don't have a master plan.

E&M: Your two albums have very interesting titles (translated to English "Europe's best Professors" and "10 Miles to See a Good Armour"). Can you explain how you came up with them and what they mean?

Manel: Those titles don't have a strong meaning, they don't contain metaphors of the albums or anything like that. They just sounded good, we guess. "Europe's best Professors" is a verse from one of the songs on the album, "Pla quinquennal"; "10 Miles to See a Good Armour" are Benedict's words from Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing". Well, actually, we took it from Kenneth Branagh's movie... .

E&M: I'm sure you gained a lot of experience recording your first album. Was making the second album different for you?

Manel: Not really. In a way, starting to prepare the second album was like starting the first one. We had no songs for that album so we really had nothing. Emptiness in front of us. It's true that the experience with the first one and the time we spent touring probably gave us more knowledge of each other and more experience as a four-guy band, but most of the time during the work for "10 milles per veure una bona armadura" in some ways we felt like starting over, as if what we did before meant nothing. It's probably going be the same when we start the third one.

E&M: You are based in Barcelona, a city people love to travel to. Can you share one insider tip for a great thing to do in the city?

Manel: Ha, we guess you should really know that Girona Airport is not that close. It is an hour and a half away by bus. Some tourists fly there without knowing that.

E&M: You sing in Catalan which a lot of people in Spain don't understand. Is it ever weird when you are touring your own country and people don't understand your lyrics?

Manel: We're not really sure if it's weird, it's just always nice having any kind of audience listening to you.

E&M: Is there a European band you guys love, where you don't speak the language they sing in and don't understand their lyrics?

Manel: Some of us listen to Gainsbourg, José Afonso or Franco Battiato.

E&M: Your lyrics often seem to be inspired by daily life. But what inspires the melodies and harmonies you write?

Manel: We don't have an answer to that. Sometimes you want to talk about a subject, sometimes you start with a melody or just one verse you like... In the end, we work - and probably most people do this - until we don't feel ashamed about it. Then it's time to show our work.

E&M: If you look at the music scene in Spain, what would you say are the most exciting new developments?

Manel: They are not that new, but the four of us would all recommend Nacho Vegas, La Estrella de David, and Mishima.

E&M: Is there a particular direction in which you want to develop your music in the future, or new sounds you want to try out?

Manel: We don't know yet. We never had a plan when we started working on our two albums before though.

E&M: And finally, what does Europe mean to you?

Manel: Well, Europe means an ensemble of foreign things that are never that far away!

For more about Manel check out their website at http://www.myspace.com/gatmanel.

Last modified on Friday, 16 December 2011 09:06
Rike Maier

Rike Maier, Sixth Sense of E&M is orignially from Cologne, Germany, but now lives in Berlin where she studies law. She loves music (most of all jazz) and uncovers some of Europe's unknown bands for 'wired in'! If you know a great local band from anywhere in Europe, send your suggestion to rike@europeandme.eu!

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