Sunday, 5 October 2014

Spatial Moods Interview with Jorge Apaza!

Prepare fly to outer-space and sample the blues rock atmosphere with Lima-based band, Spatial Moods. Hailing from the same city as one of our other favourite experimental outfits here at DYEP?, Spatial Moods carry the same South American twang which makes their music especially refreshing to listen to. Hearing their current discography, which boasts two full-length LPs and one live EP, I decided to catch up with Arturo from the group to delve into their spaced-out warblings a little deeper... - Interview conducted by Daniel Sharman. 

Dan: Where do you hail from, and who is in the band?

Jorge: The band was formed spontaneously. Gean Karlo Vargas, and me have always been meeting to compose and plan musical projects. In October 2012, he moved to live in Italy, and a day before he travelled, we recorded all afternoon with Daniel Rojas on drums, to whom Gean Karlo had introduced me to weeks before. Gean Karlo Vargas was on bass, me on guitar/vocals, and Arturo on saxophone. We loved the recorded album and decided to go on. This was "Spatial Moods I". In November, Daniel [Rojas] moved to Cusco [Peru] and the same thing happened, two days before he travelled we recorded an entire album during the night, titled  "Spatial Moods II".  This time with Carlos Betancourt was on the bass. 

Only after, when I edited, and mixed the record did we invite him to the project and publish "Spatial Moods I" in February 2013. We invited Arturo Qnuispe to record saxophone and atmospheres for both albums. Months later, Spatial Moods was invited to a event of psychedelia, but neither Gean Karlo Vargas or Daniel Rojas were in Lima, so we got Fleks (bass) and Is Te (drums) and stayed in the band. Then the current alignment is: me on guitar and vocals, Fleks on bass, Is Te on drums, and Arturo on second guitar and percussion.

Dan: Lima, being the capital of Peru, must have a vibrant music scene. Can you tell us a bit about what it is like to be part of that?

Jorge: Many very good bands are appearing, and not just only in the capital. Basically on the internet all these bands get to be publicized. We have a good circle of friends' bands with which we share and organize small concerts. Even so I feel that the music culture in Peru is still very low, there is not much demand and not much gain. Basically what we do, we do for the love of art. This has a lot of good in it, because you get to see much love in what is done. The same members of the bands are the managers, they are the recorders, they are recorded in their homes, they burn their own CD's, and they drawn their own album covers. All with their own hands. And good, but the money is also a very important factor for the speed at which your band will be released.

Dan: Spatial Moods records its album's live, why is this the way you choose to do it?

Jorge: When I say live I am referring to all the musicians playing at the same time and no instrument by instrument overdubbing. It is the same on both recorded albums. Drums, guitar and bass all recorded at the same time. Subsequently we overdubbed our voices, effects, and other instruments that help us give more atmosphere to the recordings. Also, it is in our style that we communicate a lot bodily, with signs, etc. it seems to me that it all sounds more real and more sincere, despite the fact that it may be possible to make mistakes, but at the end of the day these mistakes will also give the recordings a very special touch.

Dan: You write outlines for your songs, but then jam the rest out live. Why is this, and can you tell us more about this style of writing?

Jorge: More or less what was going on is free jazz. We agree on the riffs and structure created previously and then we improvise on top of these giving signs for changes. So it was in that way we recorded our first album. Basically, we created a riff and then improvised around it.

Dan: Spatial Moods' sound is sort of blues rock meets proto-psych experimentation. What are some of your influences, and what inspired you to put a saxophone into the mix?

Jorge: Gean Karlo Vargas (bassist for the first album, Spatial Moods I) told me that when we were recording the first album he was thinking about the song "Dizzy Moods" by Charles Mingus. Listening to the recordings, I find that the bass resembles it, although with more space, which is why we call ourselves "Spatial Moods". With regard to my influences, I am greatly influenced by funk, experimental music,and the blues. Basically bands from  1960's and 1970's. The saxophone was subsequently recorded for filling in some gaps in the recordings and we applied lots of reverb to make it more atmospheric. The reason for adding it was precisely that Arturo had a saxophone available and we were thrilled to try it out in both the first album and the second was as well. Same with the recording of voices and keyboards.

Dan: Can you tell us how you decide on the names of the jams, or 'moods'?

Jorge: Yes, more or less what I am guided by is what I am hearing when I listen to the recordings, or what it makes me remember. We do not worry too much about the names. In the case of "Test", is so called because it is just that, a test, 100% improvisation. In the case of "Goodbye"  it was because it was the first to be recorded and the recording was like the "goodbye" to Gean Karlo Vargas, who moved away the next day.

Dan: What guitars were used in the albums?

Jorge: In the first album, my only electric guitar, a Japanese-built 1992 Stratocaster and Gean Karlo Vargas used his jazz bass. For the second album, I recorded with the same guitar and Carlos Betancourt recorded with a Ibanez Gio bass.

Dan: And amps and side effects?

Jorge: We use a Marshall JCM 2000 for the guitar, and for pedals we used a ProcoRat, Ibanez TS9, Boss DD3 and an Ibanez wah (WH10). For both albums, the bass used a Hartke HAS3500 and a wah, although I don't remember the model. For the second album it was just with the amp, without any effects. We placed the wah effect in some parts of the hour-long mixture.

Dan: What about other instruments, such as the far out sounds heard on tracks like 'mom'? 

Jorge: In the song "mom" the background sounds that are heard are only my own voices doing harmony with fairly reverberated signals. In several songs I did that and also I overdubbed with synthesizer sounds as in "angelic Moods" and "ouroboros Moods", which are the more experimental songs so to speak.

Dan: What is the next for Spatial Moods?

Jorge: The next step is new topics and further refine our songs for when we play live. Much of the songs are from bands of different alignments but the feeling is the same.

Do You Even Psychedelic? would like to thank Jorge for taking the time to complete the interview, and Arturo Alonso Quispe Velarde for setting everything up. 

You can find all of Spatial Moods' albums here for download.

Also remember to like the band's Facebook page to keep up to speed, here

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