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Rodrigo Y Gabriela Interview

Nadia Jaynes catches up with the Mexican musical duo...

Published on November 6th 2012.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela Interview

MEXICO'S finest Rodrigo Y Gabriela are heading back on the road with several UK dates throughout November. With purist fans unsure about the Cuban band’s setup during their last tour, the pair have stepped away from the big band sound and gone back-to-basics.  However, accompanying the duo on this tour is pianist Alex Wilson who played on their album, Area 52.

 “About three years ago President Obama invited us to The White House to play for him.  He said he really digs us – he likes our music and said he has us on his iPod.”

They said: “On our last album we had reworked some of the old tracks to incorporate a full Cuban band. We had toured for about a year and Alex had done most of the arrangement on the album so we decided to have him on a couple of tracks for the show. It still has a very Cuban feel but much more pared down from the album, we’re testing out new songs for the album which we’re hoping to release early next year.”

Plans are afoot to release a new album in the New Year after a few years spent composing music for huge feature films including 'Pirates of The Caribbean' alongside Hans Zimmer. They said: “Working with Hans was very easy he’s very relaxed – he came to see us about a year before in LA then invited us to breakfast and we became friends long before we worked together.  He’s super talented and works in a very different way to us – but only good things have come out of us working with him.”

The upcoming UK tour will give the duo the opportunity to showcase some of their recent material before the next release: “We’ll test the album out in full – we’re not going to guest anyone on this one we spent three years writing music for films so we’ve learned a lot it’s a very different experience as you don’t have time to mess around you’re working to someone else’s deadlines so you have to write and then move on. 

It’s not your project so you have to work quickly but sometimes you listen back and think yeah that sounds really cool and it’s a direction that we wouldn’t normally have gone in if we were writing for ourselves so it’s broadened us musically”. 

As well as the tour, Rodrigo Y Gabriela are likely to be found in a field near you this summer. They are regulars on the festival circuit and although they haven’t confirmed which festivals they’re playing next year, they’re certain that they’ll be appearing at some of them.

“It’s early days to talk about festivals but we have to meet with our management in Europe soon so if we do a full album release we’ll have to decide which festivals to play. Even when we don’t have an album out we usually play some of the festivals so we’ll definitely be out there”.

The talented duo have come a long way since their humble beginnings in a variety of Mexican thrash metal bands and count some pretty big players in their fan base.

They said: “About three years ago President Obama invited us to The White House to play for him. He said he really digs us – he likes our music and said he has us on his iPod. We did about a half an hour set just before Beyonce.”

As well as their signature musical style, they are also notorious for their support of animal rights charities: “We’re both vegans and living a vegan lifestyle is important to us but we think it’s more important to get the message out there about what that industry creates. We’re not trying to make everyone turn vegan we’re just trying to raise awareness – we’ve worked with PETA and many other big organisations – it’s more about connecting all the societies in the world and getting that information out there.”

Rodrigo Y Gabriela play Manchester Academy on 26 November.

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