They come from Madrid. Toundra combines in their music heavy sounds with traditional Spanish influences. However, they would like not to be seen only as a metal band. I talked with the guitarist of the group Esteban Girón about the blissful influence of music on humans.
You’re somewhere in the middle of this part of the Vortex tour. How does it go so far?
We’re almost done with this tour. I think we had around 50 shows because the album was released in May 2018. We have to stop at any point because we think we have to record a new album in 2020.
Are you excited about the rest of the tour?
Yeah, it’s not the end yet, we are going to have 10 shows more, but it’s almost the finishing point.
We’re living in the times of the Internet and there are lots of new bands. Do you think that it’s much harder to make people interested in your music these days than it was 30 or 40 years ago?
These times we are living with all the communication and the noise you can see on the TV, on the digital platforms. You have a lot of noise and not a lot of information, real information. I think that people as consumers of music not used to have a passion to enjoy music as we used to do in the past when we were young. We used to go to a record store to buy an album and played it a lot of times. Right now every Friday you have a lot of bands releasing records, but you listen to it once or twice because this is for free. On the other hand, I think that we are so lucky because at the beginning of the band we could distribute our music for free on the Internet to spread it around the world. We got a lot of people attending to our career during those years. It’s like a knife with two sides, you have good things and you have bad things.
Toundra is the band that plays instrumental music. Do you think it’s more complicated to write a song that makes people interested in your music?
No singing was our bigger weakness and it has been transferred to our best weapon. We can play in Sevilla in southern Spain and we can play in Oslo and everybody listens to us the same way. Our message is not a message that needs a singer or lyrics to be expressed. I think that music is a language and you can send a message with that language. Over the years of music history, you can see a lot of classical music with no words. For me it’s not strange to have a band with no singer.
Some time ago in the other interview, you said that writing songs with no anger in Toundra is not possible. You have to be angry or sad to write songs in this band…
Being angry is an attitude for life. Our music is part of a result of that attitude. It doesn’t mean to be angry with the people you have by your side. You need to be angry to want to change the world. To be angry about what you don’t like in your life and want to change it. I’m angry because I’m not going to make my dreams come true.
So making music it’s kind of catharsis for you?
Yes, when you feel sad and you’re alone in your living room with your guitar or you are angry because you had a very bad week those times are the times that you can express yourself with your instrument.
When you’re putting so many bad emotions in your music do you think that people will also get sick of all this bad stuff?
I don’t know if people feel my sadness or my happiness in music. I have been doing it during the years, but I think something that science can’t explain is why one melody sounds sad and why the other one sounds happier to us. That’s what I was telling you that music is a strange language in which you can send strange messages with that kind of magic. That’s why people like you and like me are crazy about music. Because there is no explanation.
Nowadays in the media, there is more information about famous musicians’ suicides. As a musician, do you think it’s easier for artists to get depressed?
Yes, it is.
What is the cause?
First of all, people that want to be musicians are different than the rest. The second part is that these people are working on a kind of unmaterial art. It’s not like a painting, not like a sculpture. That’s in your mind all the time. You are a little bit an outsider. As you are working with that team during the years, people can be crazy after that. On the other hand, you have an uncommon profession which gives people a lot of fun. You are playing for them while people are working. The third part is that being a musician has a little high cost. You have a lot of lights behind you, all the people are looking at you. It’s really dangerous for your mental health. I have been feeling depressed. I think I’m a sad guy. You can see me laughing all the time, but then when I was drunk yesterday going to my home after the rehearsal I was thinking this is not for me anymore and I was sad. But this morning I was working with my company and I haven’t thought about that anymore. So we are not really balanced people.
I always thought about your music like that one which paints pictures in your head instantly…
…oh, thank you.
Recently you’ve made live music interpretation of Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, right?
Yes, we did that soundtrack. Actually, we are going to the studio tomorrow to record an album with that.
If you’ve been asked to make any other soundtrack for movie would you do that?
We would like to do more but I don’t know what kind of. We would like to do another soundtrack for a film of these times not for the past. As long as I can share the scene with my mates and do different projects together I’m happy with that, because we’re really close friends. On the other hand, it’s really difficult because a lot of people look at us as a metal band. We know that some people in Spain wanted to book us to do some tracks and after thinking about it a little more they decided to not to do it because they thought we were going to do metal music.
Talking about that, I have to say I saw you last summer at the Mad Cool Festival and it was kinda unusual. Your concert was cool and I was really excited but it was very different from the other band playing there.
Thank you for being there a thank you for your words. As long as we are playing live music we’re happy. We come from the hardcore underground music scene in Spain. We met together for the first time in a punk rock show and used to listen to punk rock music in bars. We want people to smile at us while we’re playing. I don’t want these people to be sad. So let’s do it like they found what you see.
I saw a video of you playing with the orchestra. What made you do that?
We did it because beyond punk rock music we love classical one too. We hate Metallica’s album with the San Francisco orchestra but we listen to a lot of composers of neoclassical music. We wanted to put together these two things.
Thank you very much for the interview and see you in November!
Thank you very much.
Intereview by Karina Pompa