SXSW regional preview: Europe
Buenos Aires-via-Bilbao, Spain-based rock trio Capsula are bordering on becoming SXSW lifers. The band, which plays a grungy blend of garage rock and Sabbath-style metal and just released a new album, "In the Land of Silver Souls" (produced by John Agnello, who has worked with Sonic Youth, Drive-By Truckers, Kurt Vile and many others) is going on five years at the fest. Unlike some (most?) bands, it's not just to party — as Europe-based musicians, it helps them meet other bands that they end up touring with, says the group's two principal members, Coni Duchess and Martin Guevara. We caught up with Duchess and Guevara from New York, where they were busy getting some gear to use in the U.S. as they made their way to Austin.
What is the music scene like where you live in Spain?
Coni Duchess: We live in Bilbao, in the northwest of Spain. It has a very good scene with lots of bands doing different styles.
Martin Guevara: Maybe it's because of the weather or the sightseeing, it has a lot of mountains and the sea is very close. The Basque country where we live, the bands coming from there have a very special attitude I think. It's kind of like the Detroit of Spain. It was an industrial city, during the 20th century. There were a lot of rock bands playing there. I think we take that energy and transform it into a new sound.
On your new album in particular, you seem to blend in some metal along with the garage rock sound.
Duchess: We don't see ourselves just as a garage band, but it's true that the distortion of the guitars and the strength of the drums (are like garage rock), and sometimes we play very fast on stage are similar.
Guevara: The closest to metal we are is the grunge sound — Mudhoney, Nirvana. But we love Black Sabbath also.
Duchess: (laughing) We don't live the metal life.
Guevara: And we don't play long solos, we don't have metal hair, we are not very technical, also. I think metal is very technical, and we are not technical at all.
Almost everything that's been written about Capsula mentions the Velvet Underground and the Stooges.
Duchess: Those are bands that we love. I cannot explain how immense our love is for the Velvet Underground
Guevara: I think the essence of our band is similar. We wanted to be in a band because of the Velvet Underground.
When did you move from Argentina to Spain?
Guevara: We first moved in '98. We were living in Buenos Aires, in Argentina. We wanted to tour around the world. In South America, all of the distances between cities were so far. In Europe, it's very close to travel from one city to another. In the Basque country, we found a lot of friends, and it's so beautiful that anyone who goes there wants to live there, and we decided to move there.
In your band bio, you talk about how you were inspired to play music in part by censorship in Argentina when you were younger. Bands were not allowed to write about subjects such as love, sex, justice, revolution, drugs ...
Duchess: When were kids, we listened to bands that were writing songs during the dictatorship. We were born during the dictatorship — there were a lot of feelings that we write about that were really influenced by censorship.
Guevara: Yes, living in South America when I was younger, it was very dark.
Official showcase: 9 p.m. Thursday at the Iron Bear.
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