Esplendor Geométrico Interview

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Hello, first of all thank you for attending us, it is a pleasure to talk with you.

Esplendor Geométrico’s history goes back almost 40 years, a long time has passed and there is a lot to tell about your whole career, so I imagine that this question will have been repeated to you until satiety, but it is essential to I ask you first of all about this leap from Aviador Dro to Esplendor Geométrico, both in the change of project and musical style.

(Arturo Lanz) At that time, Gabriel Riaza, Juan Carlos Sastre and I started to get tired of the “new Madrid wave” (which was starting and then they called “la movida”) and we didn’t like the more pop line that Aviador Dro was taking.  We were passionate about the firsts releases from Cabaret Voltaire, T.G., SPK, DAF, The Normal, and more extreme things.  Personal friction was also a factor. Let’s not forget that we were only 18 years old.  Anyway, Servando and I have been very close and we keep the relationship.  We’ve seen each other more recently. I even took part in the 35th anniversary party of El Aviador: it was a lot of fun to remember that time.

In 1980, in terms of musical culture, Spain still breathed dictatorship and the show of Franco’s repression, the punk and post-punk scene carried very little or no weight, although the first outbreaks of what was later called the Madrid movement were already visible, but still the population was not open to extreme tendencies, and your first stage was something very daring, what reception did you have for the Spanish public in those early years?

(Arturo Lanz) Our first repertoire of 1980 was very well received in Madrid, because it was in the line of songs like “Moscú Está Helado”, that is to say, still with connections with the techno pop of Aviador Dro, although colder and more radical.

But in 1981, when we released “Necrosis en la Poya” and turned to more “industrial” and noisy music, everything changed.  People in the more supposedly extreme and dark groups, such as Parálisis Permanente, etc., were shocked! They said that we were crazy and that we had gone too far.   They didn’t want party pooper, we were at the antipodes of what was called “la movida”.

And outside Spain, how did it go in the 80s? 

(Arturo Lanz) Very well and since 1980 because the “Moscú Está Helado” was published that year by the guys of the German group Der Plan on their label Ata Tak within the international compilation Fix Planet!  This opened the doors to the first single (1981), and to later albums and cassettes.   We reached the golden age of the international underground network of cassette labels, with distribution and exchange by mail.  Our first cassette sold more than 600 copies in successive reissues and was also published in Germany a little later.  We received many letters from all over the world from interested people and other artists (such as M.B., Masami Akita/Merzbow, or Graeme Revell from SPK) as we put our post office box contact in the editions.  That motivated the creation of our label Discos Esplendor Geométrico already in 1986, of which Andrés Noarbe (Rotor) took care mainly.   In the middle of the eighties we also began to act outside (Italy, France, Holland…), quite a lot more than here in Spain.

Do you think you would have enjoyed more repercussion if the band had been British or German?

(Saverio Evangelista) Probably, yes. In the UK it’s very difficult to succeed if you’re not a British band. In almost forty years we’ve only played twice in London.  On the other hand in Germany we play continuously. They love us very much. I wonder if part of the success abroad is due to the fact that it is exotic that an electronic music group comes from a country like ours.

As for your sound, it has been a constant evolution, nowadays, is there still some research or do you have a predefined line of action in each new work? and how has that evolution been in terms of sound and style throughout your trajectory?

(Saverio Evangelista) The evolution is exactly due to continuous research, although much also depends on chance. Our sound, and its change, is a reflection of the evolution of technology. In the 80’s, the technology was analogue (Korg MS20, guitar synthesizer, EKO drum machine, coil magnetophon,…). In the late ’80s and early ’90s things started to change: we started using digital technology (KorgWaveStation, SamplerRoland W30, Casio RZ-1 drum machine,…). From the late ’90s we started working with computers and more recently even with iPad applications.

You signed your first album in Tic Tac, record label with a quite diverse catalogue but that included interesting releases, then you started to self-manage your labels: Discos Esplendor Geométrico, EGK and Geometrik, with Gabriel Riaza and Andrés Noarbe in charge. Now, creating a label is a relatively easy job, how did it work in your early years? I imagine that bureaucratically it should be quite complex.

(Andrés Noarbe) We always have to clarify that Tic Tac was not properly a stamp with a line: it was simply a company that gave legal coverage to people who wanted to self-publish in exchange for paying for this service.  They wouldn’t mind pop, flamenco, industrial music, or jazz as long as they paid for the edition.  We took care of everything else (promotion, distribution…) as if we had published it ourselves.   Later in 1985 we made our own “legal” seal and of course it was complicated then by the amount of paperwork and by the company that controls the copyrights, which in those years controlled a lot of this.  The copyright had to be paid in advance, and if the musician was not in any society of authors, we had to prove it!  Now it’s much easier, of course: the scene has changed a lot in every way.

Your project was a pioneer in Spain, but in my personal opinion, both the Spanish public and their specialized press have never treated you properly, and I reiterate again that it is my opinion, do you miss the support of your countrymen?

(Saverio Evangelista) Over the years we have had more and more audiences in Spain. And it’s great to see in our concerts here that there are people from very young to our age. I don’t know how often a generation is considered to change, but we are sure that in our performances we see many at the same time. 

As far as the press is concerned, other people have told us the same thing you say. Some articles appeared in rock magazines, but little more.  

(For Arturo) In 1990 he joined the band Saverio, since 1993 the only partner you have had in this project. Today you live in China and Saverio in Rome, but the current technology allows you to be constantly communicated, what was it like to work with Saverio in the 90’s?

(Arturo Lanz) At that time I lived and worked in Mallorca, so the best time to work together was in the summer. Saverio would come here on holiday and, between an excursion and a swim in a small island cove, we would find the time to prepare a new album.

Have your first releases been revalued?

(Saverio Evangelista) Continuously. First the first vinyls and cassettes were reissued on CD, then, when vinyl became fashionable again, the first LPs were reissued in this format as well as the albums that in the ’90s had only come out on CD. 

Doing a quick review, how have your live performances evolved technologically?

(Saverio Evangelista) Let’s say that more or less the evolution of the live shows has followed the evolution of our way of working in our houses. In the first live shows we took, for example, the magnetophon and the MS20. Then came the time for digital keyboards: the Wavestation and the W30, which really weighed a lot! I still remember carrying them around Tokyo on our first tour in ’95. It was awful. Luckily now everything is easier: carrying a computer, a MIDI keyboard or an iPad, does not destroy your back and the results, although the more purists will not have our same opinion, are very satisfying as well.

Are you working on any new albums?

(Arturo Lanz) Yes. It’s already finished and in the next few months it’ll be on sale. It will be an album, we believe, quite different and will be called Kinetic.  We present it at the end of May in Barcelona and La Coruña.

How do you see the current industrial scene?

(Saverio) I honestly don’t follow music much these days. What I can tell you is that, when we are invited to play at some festivals, we come across something interesting

 (Arturo) I don’t follow her at all.  I hear something about the bands that perform before us at festivals, and most of them bore me a lot. I listen above all to Esplendor Geométrico.

The interview gives for a lot, for a lot more questions, but I don’t intend it to be a punishment. Thank you very much for attending us and congratulations on that great trajectory. A big hug.

Ximo Noguera


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