Niño y Pistola (« Kid and Gun ») comes up in Galicia (Spain) around 2006. Their first album « Como un maldito guisante » shows us a fresh, brilliant and classic pop with some similarities with their great musical idols like, for instance, The Beatles. After this tasty work comes another stewed in the same previous way : « Culebra » is a blend of vocal harmonies and themes with a great acoustic and melodic burden. In 2010 something starts to change inside them. We witness an alter-ego, as Jack Kerouac or Charles Bukowski experimented before, called Arthur&The Writers. And below this pseudonym, their artistic soul travels to the far West and give us 10 folk-Americana songs that represents a beautiful tribute to bands like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jayhawks or Bob Dylan, among many others.
In 2013, comfortable with this receipt, they have decided to increase the ingredients and the cooking to bring out from the oven a cake deign to mention: There is a man with a gun over there. To emulate the sound of these artists can always turn into a dangerous trap of swampy terrains, but the cake is not burnt, solidified, short of of sugar or saturated of it. It is very well done, full of genuine ingredients and with a exquisite aftertaste of the honoured bands. This album make us come back to the more electric years of the 70’s America. So much, that its listening and their great concerts deserve digging up the cowboy boots and the hat. The Kid has grown up and he is well armed now.
– How did you conceive Niño y Pistola (« Kid and Gun ») ? How was the process of forming the band, and its evolution?
The project started some years ago with a couple of songs that I recorded singlehanded- says Manuel (the singer and leader guitarist of the group). At the beginning I did not think about concerts, it was just a matter of recording some songs, but when I passed them to my friends the idea of creating a band came up. So, we were four friends playing all around Galicia. We started to send our EP to record labels, without many hopes of getting a reply. But one day, one of them answered us very interested and then we did our first album.
– And that « Kid » grew up listening to what bands?
A lot of time has passed between our first album and this last one. In the beginning we had some current British influences : Radiohead, Björk or Divine Comedy, but you could always find a classic tread in our music, in fact many people tend to compare us with The Kinks or the The Beatles. Little by little we started to immerse ourselves into the 60’s and 70’s American classic, with Neil Young as our reference point. That magical Western coast sound is what attracts us the most now.
– From the blend of all these previous mentioned genres you release two classic pop albums that could be labeled as « indie ». How was the composition and recording proccess of them ?
One of the most incredible things was when Mulberry Records, a Barcelona label, contacted us to edit our first album. We went to a real studio for the first time, we played outside Galicia…In that moment the Internet was not so powerful as now. There were no bandcamps, even Facebook was not like now, so everything was a bit more complicated. The most touching moment was when Chema Reay played one of our tunes in El Bulevar. I was at work, with my headphones and suddenly « Chetaah Belt » started to sound on the radio- says Manuel. It was like that scene from The Wonders film when they listen to their song on the radio. With the second album things were slightly different. We were not lucky editing it with Astro and we have not good memories although it is a record that we love in musical terms.
– In 2010, Niño y Pistola turns into Arthur and The Writers and with this work we noticed a blooming of the folk-Americana vein. How does the idea of this album and the change of direction come up ? What is the theme of this album ?
After the second record we had a small crisis, I guess that it was provoked by the bad treatment we received from our previous label. So I think this change was like a way of escape. We wanted to start from scratch again. That American vein has always been there, in fact, in our first records we played cover from Jayhawks and Neil Young. We only exploited a bit more this latent side. So we made up «Arthur and The Writers», our alter-ego band, as The Beatles or Bowie did in their moment with «Sgt. Pepper» or «Ziggy Stardust».
– And this 2013, the « Kid » has grown up and is close to the legal age, has reaffirmed himself in these new tastes and has changed the gun for a « Winchester » to emerge himself in the most electric and Americana 70’s sounds. Have these ideas been macerating little by little from our beginnings or has it been something sudden ?
That American sound has always been there, but we try to change and evolve in every album with regard to the previous one, because we also change and listen to different things. In all the albums we have attempted that our evolution was coherent with our musical line. So in this last record we only followed the path marked by ourselves and our previous works.
– What is the theme for the latest album? « There is a man with a gun over there » How was the recording and composition process? Can we find in this work any symptom of maturity ?
We always create the music before the lyrics. When we start working in this album we had six or seven songs and there was one that was different from the others. It was longer and sounded better than the rest and was powerful. We liked it a lot so we decide to dismiss the others and focus on this one. We worked a lot with it, we streched it until we got two uninterrumpted 20 minute blocks of music. When we finished the musical development we started with the lyrics and they had to be connected with the music so we tell a story and each song is like a chapter of the narration. We attempted that every atmosphere created by the sounds evoked a scenery or action : the most violent moment of a murder, the most psychedelic moment of an introspection, the moment when you return home after a long stay abroad…So the story was building itself on its own. It was not easy but finally we arrived at a tale of a day laborer that, in the 50’s, decides to buy a gun and kills his boss.
– How do you see the Spanish musical future ? Is there any hope of making it a living ? At least, are there any hopes that it keeps being a source of illusion ?
For some years, with the help of the Internet, music has reached a wider audience, although it is difficult to make it a living. We would love to do it, but it is not easy, especially playing the music that we play : a revival one and in English. I think in Spain there is a tendency to despise what we have here and praise what comes from abrod. I think this is a matter of education that we still have to develop. Anyway, for us releasing a new album or doing a new tour is a source of illusion and, the moment that it is not, we will quit playing.
– Which is the musical trend of the moment ?
We have no idea but I know that we do not belong to it. The majority of the albums we have at home were released before 1975, and that it is the reference we take.
– Any concert do you remember in a special way ? Any venue that you have not visited before and you would like to ?
Maybe one of the most incredible moments we experiencesd was playing as a supporting band for Keane in Vigo. We played in front of 15.000 people. We also loved playing in « Los conciertos de Radio 3 » because it is something we have watched millions of times. Anyway, we are enjoying very much our last concerts. Maybe it is because we play 20 minutes of music in an uninterrupted way, with a lot of developments, and we get into the songs as we did not before. That is the most important for a musician in a concert. And of course, the public gets infected with us.
– You would like to share a stage or collaborate with…
Personally, I would love to play with Neil Young, Kula Shaker or Midlake- says Manuel.
– And with regard to this last questions, any amateur band in which you see a great deal of talent and you would like to collaborate with ?
In Galicia, there are a couple of great groups : Guerrera and The Soul Jacket. The first ones play psychedelic gypsy blues, like a blend of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin with an awesome live and really powerful. The Soul Jacket is a southern rock band, like a mixture of Joe Cocker and The Black Crowes. They have a very good live too. I hope we can make something together soon.
– Would you like to dedicate a few words to this decadent Spain and to the couple Urdangarín-Borbón, Bárcenas and so many others?
The current situation of the system is pathetic and to see how politicians and aristocrats make fun of us playing with public funds, destroying the rights for which our parents struggled a lot to get, destroying the society of a whole country and lying to us every day is shameful. We should make a big revolution that stops this blot that is the political class. They should realize that nobody wants them and all the surveys do not support them. But in this country nobody resigns and that is the true “Spanish brand”.
Photos: Luis Díaz