Canadian hip hop and Spanish indie rock, all in one week?! Yes, we’re asking you to open your minds, but we’re rewarding you with exquisite treats. Spain’s Boat Beam first came to our attention due to a collaboration they did with another great Spanish band called Havalina. The real treat came when we listened to their debut record, Puzzle Shapes. Beautiful female vocals wrapped around a deluge of sounds and instruments that come together to create brilliant quirky, pop songs. This is how pop should sound in our world. Josephine from Boat Beam took some time to gently explain that there is more to the music world than your narrow little NME/Spin field of vision.
TDOA: How is the music scene in Madrid? You’re the first band we’ve come across from there. We’re wondering if you’re an anomaly or if we’re just scratching the surface of a great music scene.
BB: The music scene here is thriving. There is so much talent and it seems that people are much more interested in going to see live music than in other countries. Maybe it’s got something to do with the Spanish culture – they’re generally less addicted to their TVs and more motivated to get out of the house.
TDOA: It seems that American bands are able to become popular in Europe and Asia despite the language barrier. Is it frustrating that Americans aren’t as open-minded in listening to music from other parts of the world?
BB: The US has always had a bit of cultural dominance in the rest of the world, and people in non-English speaking countries listen to music in English even if they don’t understand it. But the US has also fostered music from all parts of the world and its rich musical heritage has inspired and entertained us for decades.
TDOA: What led you to record Puzzle Shapes in English?
BB: As I am an Australian who came to live here two years ago, English is my native language and I usually compose lyrics in English. Lately I’ve started penning a few in Spanish and we sometimes play them at concerts. I’d like to compose more and more in Spanish so that the audiences understand what I’m singing about. But the good thing about English is that people from all over the world – be it the US, Germany, France or Japan – can get into the music.
TDOA: Vocal melodies play such a huge part in your music. When writing songs, do you usually start with the vocals?
BB: No, I usually start with a chord progression or a riff on the guitar. I then bring the lyrics to the music and try to weld them together and that’s when the vocal melodies arise.
TDOA: We’re quite fond of the production on the record. Who produced the record for you and to what extent did they influence the “sound” of the album?
BB: The album was started in Australia and finished in Spain, and during that time there were various people involved in the recording side of things. But the most important touches were in the final stages, by myself and by a Spanish producer by the name of Manuel Cabezali.
TDOA: How did the collaboration with Havalina come to pass? Listening to the songs you did together led us to hunt both of you down. Perhaps you can also tell us a little bit about Havalina
BB: Havalina is the band of Manuel Cabezali. He’s a good friend and an absolute genius when it comes to sound. Havalina has released a number of records and are one of the most respected rock bands in Spain (and they also sing in Spanish, which we like.)
TDOA: There seems to be a great deal of thought put into the artwork for the band. Who does this for you?
BB: A young artist by the name of Sandra G Tenorio, who is still studying her degree at university but who really is quite ready to rock the art world (in our opinion.)
TDOA: Your website lists upcoming shows in Hanoi and Ho Chi Men. Really?! How did that come to be?
BB: Someone from the Spanish embassy in Vietnam saw us play here in Madrid, in a tiny show in someone´s flat. She recommended us to the people in Vietnam who are organizing a festival there, and they contacted us and naturally we said “yes yes yes” so we’re going. It’ll be Aurora’s first time out of Europe.
TDOA: Any chances we’ll see you in the U.S. in 2010?
BB: Hopefully!! It’d be awesome…but we have to wait until a US label licenses our record. As soon as they do, we’ll come over.
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