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One of the biggest surprise of 2017 to date has been Atavismo. A trio from the southern part of Spain that rose from the ashes of the underground stoner band Viaje a 800 and recently released a delightful album called ‘Inerte’ that blends vintage psychedelic rock, progressive and Spanish music traditions in order to create something unique. We talked with Sandra, the band’s drummer about what the band’s history and future.

By: Jan-Simon | Archive under stoner

band imageThank you for taking time to answer a few questions. Your latest record ‘Inerte’ made quite an impression over here at Lords of Metal and it seems we are not alone. What do the positive reactions mean to you?
We are very happy and surprised about that; when we recorded ‘Inerte’ we didn´t realize how many satisfactions it would bring to us, even abroad. A lot of people congratulate us about the quality of this new album. That gives us the feeling of having done a good job.

Can you give us some background on the history of your band. How long does Atavismo exist, what did you do before this band was started etc.?
Atavismo was born at the end of 2013, we had a previous band called Mind! (space-rock, Kraut, progressive rock); the three of us were playing in it, but not at the same instruments, I was bass player, and Matt played guitars. After the release of our first and only LP in 2013, we decided to finish because of personal issues, but Pot and me decided to continue, only with other playing roles. Then we thought about asking Matt to play bass, and he said yes. The first rehearsal was successful, so that´s it.

The three of you have your roots in other, similar bands like Viaje a 800 and Mind! Does that mean there is a thriving scene for heavy music in Algeciras, or the larger area of southern Andalusia or is this coincidence and is it a small group of people moving from band to band?
Well, these bands do not exist anymore. But now it seems to be again a scene for underground music in Southern Andalusia because there are some good bands in this area starting to grow up… maybe this year would be good for that haha. There are some collective of people and new band promoters who are increasing the amount of gigs in several cities in Andalusia, for ex Málaga and Sevilla, and they´re becoming ones of the most important cities about cultural and musical issues.

Can you tell us a bit about the interaction between the various bands? It seems that the same people are involved, on different instruments though?
That´s something usual here where we live. We´ve been friends since a lot of years, and luckily we all play several instruments. In fact, Pot and me play in other bands together, even changing instruments, for example one of them called HIDRIDO (post alternative progressive experimental rock) where Pot is bass player and me drumming, we´re near to record our first LP album; and also next shows in Spain. For now, only Atavismo, and also another bands as I said. We have to focus in present, even some people would like to see that bands like Viaje a 800 reunite and play again, but right now that´s not possible.

Spanish rock music is a bit of a black box for us here in the northern regions of Europe. About 10 years ago there was a bit of hype with Orthodox, who made extremely slow doom, but other than that, most people here know nothing of what's going on in Spain. Can you enlighten us a bit?
Spain, in spite of the difficult for us to join a band, and have other jobs just to keep them working indeed, talking always about underground music, there are now a lot of good bands who have much to say. Talking about Orthodox, they still are in active, but there are many other doom bands like Grajo, Santo Rostro, R.O.L.F. (Matt is drummer in this band). And also in other styles: Prog-psych: Cró!, Melange, Cuzo, jazz prog: Gambardella, Malheur, Stoner rock: Arenna, The Shooters… (Sorry to all the bands that I forgot to mention). This is only an example of all the scene is actually growing in our country.

In addition to the last question, is there something like Southern-Spanish rock, or even Andalusian rock?
Well, not much; I named Melange, they have some “marks” of southern Spanish rock, even not been an Andalusian Rock. I´m talking about these years. But in the past, there were a lot of bands in that music style called Andalusian Rock. 70s was a very important decade for that music style in Spain.

In many interviews and also in the press information you refer to a legendary Spanish band called Triana. Forgive us for not knowing them, but what makes this band such an influence for you?
In the previous question I’ve been talking about Andalusian rock in 70s, and of course, the most important band was TRIANA, they were pioneers mixing flamenco and Rock music, vanguard, of course; their first album ‘El Patio’ was one of the most important and bests LPs albums created in all Spanish Music History. A totally clear influence to us because of their feeling, and originality.

Your records are issued by Temple of Torturous records. How does a band from the most southern part of Spain end up with a record label in Sweden, specialized in Black Metal which is completely different from what you do?
Well, we had another record label at the beginning but finally, we weren´t able to get into terms with them about our first LP release; in that time TOT got in contact with us, telling us how much they love our music and offering the possibility to work together. We got that chance as unique, so we´ve been working together since 2015.

When we compare your debut album ‘Desintegración’ with the new one 'Inerte', there are many differences. Changes for the better, if you'd ask me. How do you see this yourself, is 'Inerte' what Atavismo should sound like?
Our first album was created in an time that we were very relaxed, after finished our work in another bands, and get the music concept we really wanted, so the album composition was very calm for us. The way we do that, has a direct relation with our inner feelings. And the result, was ‘Desintegracion’. But now, our souls wanted to be shaked, and more movement, and we did 'Inerte' as the same way of composing, being faithful with our inner feelings.

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Was it a conscious choice to make this new album have a more progressive feel to it?
No, it wasn´t at all. We feel our music in a way of making what we want to do in every moment, despite what it makes more sense or not. Only the way in what our soul ask us to make things, that´s all.

The sound of Atavismo is in a certain way very vintage, which must be in part because of the equipment you use. Can you tell us a bit about your love for older instruments like Farfisa organs and Mellotrons?
All our backline is vintage. We have the belief that the best sound is created with high quality instruments and equipment. And we´ve spent much time searching for our original sound, mixing vintage equipment and instruments with pedals (in guitar case) or cymbals (in drums case) but the origin of that good sound is vintage stuff. About keyboard and synth, we played a Farfisa Matador keyboard, and Mellotrons, also synths like Moog Prodigy. That absolutely creates involving atmospheres. Very appropriate for our lysergic psych music.

Where do you get such equipment? Is it easily available in Spain?
Being vintage equipment, you have to search it in second hand market, you know. It took us years to get our stuff, and still working at it. And it is not always available in Spain, even more in European countries.

What do you think of current rock trends? Do you think Atavismo fits in with the hip music scene?
Well, I don’t really think so, but it´s true that people now are starting to talk about us, even in several media press dedicated to hip music scene. Being original is paramount, and we believe we are, and also we think the most important about playing music is “feeling”, not being a robot, or a stereotype of any music style. We are true people, we love music and love what we do, that´s all, and people who really love music (not trendy rock ones) will realize that.

Is listening to music as important to you as making music? In other words are you guys record collectors?
Yes, the three of us are record collectors. Listening to music is also important to make your mind grown about composition, and different ways of thinking. We don´t understand any other way of life. Listening and collecting music, and also playing it: perfect .

Suppose that you were allowed to keep only five records, what would be the music you absolutely cannot throw away?
Difficult to say. The first five albums of Black Sabbath would totally fit in that question, but I have to name Neil young ('Harvest' for example), Pink Floyd ('Live at Pompeii'), Triana ('El Patio'), Wishbone Ash ('Wishbone Ash'), BÖC or even more actual band like Motorpsycho ('Little Lucid Moments', 'Heavy Metal Fruit'). Oh don´t do that to me, I cannot choose only five! That´s really impossible!

Is there anything – apart from good music – you cannot do without? Or things you’d like to get rid of immediately? Does this in any way affect the music you create?
Well, the most important thing for us is music, everything else doesn´t matter.

Am I right to assume that you have reinforcement during live performances? How does that work, do you have someone extra for keyboards or for bass?
Yes, we have a new guy for live keyboards. Koe Sánchez. Amazing keyboard player, one of the best decisions we made. The atmosphere is totally amazing now.

Just recently you did a small tour that brought you to several places in Germany and Belgium. Did you do shows outside of Spain before, or was this a first?
This was the first time we played outside of Spain. Several shows in Germany, Czech Republic and Belgium.

What was the tour like? Was it some sort of holiday, as I suppose you don’t do tours like these very often?
It was a wonderful experience, we had time for touring, because we had some days off, but worked very hard as well. We don´t do this very often because of where we live, in the most southern point in Spain. But we´ve started the planning for the next one.

So what's in store for the future? More touring, new recordings? Other plans or projects perhaps?
Of course more touring, in Spain and also other countries. Continue the promotion of ‘Inerte’ and start composing new stuff of course, never stop the wheel.

Atavismo popped up on the wishlist of a few key figures in the Roadburn organization. Have you already sent Walter, Mr. Roadburn, a promo and other bribes in order to get a place on the 2018 festival ;-)?
We´ve been talking with Walter, sending our old and new stuff, and wondering about the possibilities of be included in Roadburn Showcase 2017. Last year 2016 we were included in Roadburn wishlist, and also 2017 as well, as you know, maybe next edition we´ll be lucky.

Thank you for your time. Any final words or wise thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
Thank you for your interest in us, for supporting. Hope you and your readers enjoy our music. Best regards from Spain.

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