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jc perez: ulysses return to the red theatres. myrian gartzia   I  antero sergio It’s been six years since Juan Carlos Perez last released a record. He’s back with "Hiriko Historiak”. We went along to ask him about his return, and he received us warmly. The media response to his latest piece of work has been encouraging. 20 Years. “The most important part of my life, both professionally and personally, finished when Itoiz broke up. As a friend of mine puts it, everything that I’ve done since has been more of a hobby type of thing. That said, a lot of things have happened. I started composing contemporary music. I left the whole stage-rock aesthetic to one side and tried my hand at another type of music. It mightn’t seem like it but that period has really influenced the other things I’ve done since then. On “Atlantic River” I wrote the arrangements. I’ve learned how to write music, and to a lesser extent I’ve done some of the stuff live. Music has been my bread and butter. I want to maintain the sound I’ve managed to create on this record. I really like how it sounds live, I feel like I’ve achieved something and I want to follow this lead I’ve come up with. I’m working on music for a trombonist, for the trombone and an orchestra.”

12-bar blues. “The live thing threads it all together, and jazz and the blues make it make sense. We’ve come with a nicely rounded sound even though there’s not much stuff there. More than a record of new creation, it’s one of arrangements or revisions. A new look at old songs. I hadn’t sat down to write songs for God knows how long. I was more into the music thing rather than in writing songs. In classical music you can hear the input of blues, jazz, rock, whatever you want to call folk music. We used to fish there for inspiration before. Zappa, The Who, Quadrophenia are my references, masters and ghosts, the ones who say to you: “I did something similar, it can be done that way.”
"Even though we are a rural people, we play city music. They have been our founts, just like rock or blues fans, like opera fans, we’re all a bit enslaved to that. But it’s very easy to see a person’s attitude to life or to music in the work that they do. It’s easy to see if they believe in a god or not.”

Universal Language. “I’m really lazy, I’m always looking for something but it’s curiosity that gets me at it. I need new things to really get moving. I like to drink the universal language that is music, I like to write music, compose, give it to someone else and have them play it. A completely different image strikes me from the Itoiz days. The image of the lead singer. It just couldn’t be helped I suppose. What’s more, before the figure of the singer was one who lacked importance, a second-level musician. When we recorded the voice was mixed down, not upfront. That’s changed with time.”

The Piano, a place to leave your music sheets. “The piano leads you to come up with songs and music in a different fashion. It’s a more open instrument, it’s more jazzy in a way. I don’t like to repeat things, which is probably why I started to learn the piano. You know, new channels to explore. Otherwise I’d just get bored. The piano has really given me the opportunity to approach music in a different way, especially as far as composition is concerned. That’s what I like the most.”

Red Theatres. I didn’t choose theatres for this tour for any particular reason. It’s something that’s kind of sprung from town to town. I mean, I feel more comfortable in a club or something because I still haven’t gotten used to the silence in a theatre. People applaud and then it’s silence again. I don’t think I’ll go to Barcelona or Madrid this time around. You need to find your audience. I’ve only been there the odd time.”

The Industry. “Sometimes I’m really amazed at the whole thing. You see, when we started out, we knew absolutely nothing and we did everything through intuition. As regards the Basque Country, there are some really good musicians, studios and technicians knocking about. And they’re getting better all the time. But as far as the music industry is concerned, we living through a time of change and I don’t know how that will affect the Basque music scene. The standard here is pretty high. What’s happening worldwide might put the brakes on some of what is going on here but there are still plenty of people out there.”