[Interview Number 35]
This time, we get to know Bourbon Blues Ensemble. Their track "Body Soul & Blues" is featured in the New Artist Spotlight Family of Playlists.
Link To New Artist Spotlight Playlists:
Okay, let’s get into the Ten questions for Bourbon Blues Ensemble!
𝟭. 𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗵𝗼𝗯𝗯𝘆? I'm from León, México. The city of Leon is well known for its leather and footwear industry. However, in the last decade the city has also developed an important economic activity in the automotive industry.
As for hobbies, I guess it depends on the day hahaha. I'm quite a fan of F1 so I never miss a race. I also like to do handiwork, all my basses have been modified by me in one way or another, from upgrading the electronics, to woodwork, painting, changing hardware. I just love the feel, the smells and the reward of hard work. Of course I'm an amateur in this so the feel of "Don't mess it up coz there ain't no money for a new bass" is always there. Same with my bike, I do all the services, oil change, upgrades, just get my hands dirty. It's very satisfying when the job is done. And when I mess up, well there's lessons to learn.
𝟮. 𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼 𝗠𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗰/𝗠𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗰 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗱𝘂𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻? Thanks to my older brothers I was introduced to Hard Rock and Heavy Metal very early, I was listening to albums like "KICK" by INXS or "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" by Iron Maiden when I was around 8. So basically the late 80's where a big influence, not only on rock; my older brothers were listening things from N.W.A to Blondie, Kiss, Michael Jackson you get the picture. By early 90's I was into Motley Crue, Guns n' Roses and then came the Metallica "Black Album" and that did it for me. I had a friend who played guitar and was forming a band; I went with him to buy my first guitar, an Ibanes GT series from a pawn shop. I think it was like $70 dollars. He taught me how to play "Enter Sandman" and just like that I was ready for my first audition. Needles to say it went horrible (not because of me, I was very committed on being on a band, you know being in a band was cool and I wanted to be cool) the drummer didn't knew the song that well and blamed me, so I didn't got the gig. But they offered me the bass player position and I was like "Ok, I'll just play bass on my brand new guitar while I get a bass"
𝟯. 𝗪𝗵𝗼 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗯𝗶𝗴𝗴𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗶𝗻𝗳𝗹𝘂𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲𝘀?
At first I'd just emulated bass players like Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue, Duff McKagan from Guns, and Newsted from Metallica. I was so into Heavy Metal that it was years after I understood what my instrument was all about.
Later on when I started really writing music I took my influences mainly in pop. Coming from a "Metal" background I was fascinated with pop arrangements, from "Hit Me Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears to "Crazy in Love" by Beyonce, P!nk, Kylie Minogue.
Then came Eminem and it was another game changer for me, I was struggling (still am) with writing lyrics and here was this guy just throwing rhymes and spitting bars, so I dived into Rap and Hip-Hop, then I discovered freestyle and found out the best freestyler (spanish speaking) is Mexican "ACZINO" 𝟰. 𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗯𝗲𝗴𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗺𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗰? By '97 I was still in that same band called "Black Prophecy", where I met Fernz (he took the guitar player spot I was after, and till this day I still play with him in Bourbon Blues). We used to play covers just to get our groove and understand each other but we started writing our own stuff right from the beginning, so by that time (I was 17) we put all our money together and went to a recording studio.
Now, hiring a recording studio in my home town (León) in México was no easy fit, at that time there were probably 2 o 3 places to record and it was pricey to say the least. I guess the owner and recording engineer took pity of us and offered to record the whole album in one day, well half a day; we recorded 9 songs in about 10 hours, 2 of them written by the bass player. I think it was a Monday cause we all had to skip school.
To me that recording was where I started really making music, all that came before was just training. I became fascinated with the idea that you could capture your ideas on a $3 dollar CD-R and go back to your place and listen to it until it hurt, sell it for $10 and make some real money. We were planning on selling thousands, I think I still have a few hundred waiting to be sold.
𝟱. 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗴𝗼𝗮𝗹𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗰 𝗶𝗻𝗱𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘆? They've changed, evolved I'd say. As I mentioned, when I was a teenager I wanted to conquer the world, sell millions, big tour. As the industry has changed so has my life and my goals. Nowadays you have a much better opportunity to make it on a smaller budget than back in the day, if not make it big as those old time bands it's easier to find a niche where your music is appreciated. Things like NAS (New Artists Spotlight) are making a huge difference in the industry, pockets of like minded musicians helping each other is really revolutionizing and changing the field for independent artist. And this frame of mind permeates on your goals, it's not about making it big anymore for me, it's about finding the right people that vibrates with your music, that enjoy your music not because of fame or because it's "hot" on the radio but because it speaks to them. So I guess my goals are just that, to find people that feels excited when they hear my music as I get excited creating it.
𝟲. 𝗜𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗮 𝗹𝗼𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗶𝘁 𝗯𝗲?
I've never gave it much of a thought, I'd love to be on the Java Jazz Fest in Jakarta or some big venue like that, but I'm more inclined to something like the "Fête de la Musique" which translates to "Music Day" or "Make Music Day" where amateur and professional musicians are encouraged to perform in the streets in París. Well it's worldwide now but if I can choose, yeah Paris sounds great.
The original idea came from the Director of Music and Dance at the Ministry of Culture Maurice Fleuret, he applied his reflections to the musical practice and its evolution: "the music everywhere and the concert nowhere". Many free concerts are organized, making all genres of music accessible to the public. Two of the caveats to being sanctioned by the official Fête de la Musique organization in Paris are that all concerts must be free to the public, and all performers donate their time free of charge. I mean, how badass is this? To me this is still revolutionizing even though it first took place in 1982
𝟳. 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗮𝘃𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗴? Ah! The dreaded question. I don't think I can name one. There's so much music out there, and so many I haven't heard. I can name a few that marked me either because of the era or because what meant for me as a musician. I'll start with Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue. I was heavy into Metal as I said and this song had everything, great guitar riffs, big choruses, amazing groove. It kind of formed the idea in me that you could use the production values of Pop music and still kick ass. There's this track that got me into Jazz, and I'm no Jazz player by any means, but helped me understand how I could incorporate that "jazzy" feel and sound to my songs. I don't think the band has their music on Spotify. The album and/or band is called "Bob's Diner" and the track name is "Over Easy" amazing musicians, you can find it on Youtube if you search those terms. Last time I checked they had like 685 views and I think at least a hundred are mine.
𝟴. 𝗠𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗺𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁? So I guess it was around 98 or 99. I was still playing with "Black Prophecy" the band I auditioned for guitar and ended up as bass player. (Actually I still play with the guy who ended up being the guitarist "Fernz", to this day as Bourbon Blues!) So, we were doing a gig we've put together at a bar. We invited the press, around 100 people were there (which was huge for us). Around the second song I started hearing this ground noise coming from the bass amp, you know the one a bad cable does.
So I thought no problem, once this song is over I'll change cables. And I did that. But when I unplugged the cable from the bass it came out with the input jack and wires. I was standing there in front of everyone thinking, well I don't know if I can write here what I was thinking but I'm sure you can imagine. Next thing I hear is the drummer giving the count for the next song (I guess he panicked and thought "The show must go on") the band followed suit.
Meanwhile I was on the stage with sweaty hands, almost no light and the fog machine not helping either trying to tape the wires to the input jack , to no avail.
Half a song goes by and a guy from another band steps up and says "I can fix it bro" I said: Ok. He rips the input jack completely, and starts peeling the wires with his teeth, on his knees while I was standing there just watching in awe. He tries to tape the wires directly to the cable and says "Give it a go" I turned on the amp and man! There was this massive boom! coming from the amp and the PA, static everywhere, the band still trying to play. He says to me "It's not working, I'll hold the wires to the cable with my fingers, just don't move" Thank God for his good soul, I wish I could remember his name so I can thank him here for his effort. So we tried this for a couple of songs, me not movin and him on his knees trying to hold the 2 wires to the cable. It was never going to work, every time he slipped or I moved a little BOOM! a terrifying sound. The guy working the mixer and the club owner where giving me this dirty look that said "You are paying if any gear breaks down"
We tried this for a couple of songs and we had to call it a day, said our sorries to the audience and press and stepped down. I think I still remember some booing and whistles as we stepped down.
From that day on I always double check my gear before a gig, and give the appropriate maintenance.
𝟵. 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗱𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗔𝗰𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗵𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁?
I guess when my father came to see me perform live at a blues festival. It's called Madero Fest and it was the first time my dad watched me play. He's always been very supportive of me being a musician, but as most fathers I guess, he was a little worried for me. There's no one in my family that's into music or any other arts for that matter, so it's always been a little foreign to him. Nevertheless he's always been there for me (as long as I kept my grades up and finish college), so to see him in the audience was an overwhelming sensation, I felt very proud and very nervous, more than any other time I've performed. I felt like "Hey I made it this far because of you, and I ain't messing this up"
𝟭𝟬. 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝘀𝘁 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗮𝗯 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗶𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝘀𝗲? Another hard one! When I get asked this question my mind always drift to famous names, Elton John, Paul Mccartney. But truth be told I've found such talent in independent artists, guys like Amaury Laurent Bernier, who is part of the NAS family. This week I listened an amazing artist, Naughty Alice. Must check her out, I love what she's doing and I'd love to work with her.
I'd love to sit with Eminem just to watch him work, how his mind operates when writing lyrics. Also Dave Grohl, I'm not the biggest fan of his music but man, he is a great musician, a true artist.
"Body Soul & Blues" on Spotify
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