” And the destination was empty ”
Natxo Velez | EITB Media
The quartet has released the album “Eta hutsa zen helmuga”, the fourth of their career, a powerful compilation of songs that has accompanied them in the process of closing the wounds opened by the pandemic.
Liher makes it very clear from the very beginning of “Eta hutsa zen helmuga” what ingredients make up his proposal and in what state of mind they are. Is to press the play and the most identifiable tracks of their sound appear: playful guitar melodies, sharp rock guitars on which all the sonic artillery rests, bass full of grain and melody, powerful and deep drums, and, above all, the force of the voice of Lide Hernando, who modulates feelings and reflections accumulated in these times full of restlessness and frustration (“Hautsi ginen baina zati guztiak hartu / arrakalak urrez bete eta aurrera jarraitu – We broke but we put our pieces together / we filled our scars with gold and left go ahead “, they sing in” Kintsugi “).
In “Eta hutsa zen helmuga”, Liher breaks with the unity and sound correction of his previous album, the conceptual “Hemen herensugeak daude”, and they shine less uniform, harsher and free. On a stylistic level, this new album also invites you to a more varied journey, where you start from hard rock and what has been called alternative rock to guess the brilliance of soul, American music and blues (“Aint ‘no lullaby”, “Hasi “, the choruses and arrangements of” Orri zuri batek “…), stoner and metal and even some mathcore streak (did Dillinger Escape Plan slip into Garate?) in the chorus of the song” Arrastaka “.
In the lyrics, the open wounds in the group from the pandemic are guessed, but also the lessons learned from them; We may not be living in the best of times, but they are our times.
We have spoken with Lide, guitarist and singer of the group.
“Eta hutsa zen helmuga” seems more than ever a record composed from the guts. Has the composition and production been more immediate and free than in previous works?
Totally. The songs came out without any planning, most of them in the head and hands of Iñigo Etxarri (guitarist) and long before it was convenient.
The release of the previous album fully coincided with the pandemic, and, therefore, these songs emerged during confinement, without having been able to present our previous album with dignity. The musical basis for this album was created for May 2020!
Despite this, it is obvious that the songs are very elaborate: choruses, guitar melodies, bass lines, other arrangements, samplers and interludes … When do you finish a song at the venue and what margin do you leave to inspiration? in the study?
As I have explained a little before, one of the things that distinguishes this album from the previous ones is that there has been less collective work on the premises. The pandemic has prevented us from getting together too much, and, as Etxarri is a sound engineer and has a recording team at his workplace, it was he who originally created those guitar melodies, bass lines and arrangements that you have mentioned.
After the summer of 2020, when we listened to those songs that I had saved for months, we freaked out and said to ourselves: this has to be used on a new album.
Then, of course, there are always ideas introduced by Ander (drums) and Joshka (bass); and I have taken care of the lyrics and melodies.
What does a Liher song have to have to push you to work on it?
There is one thing that almost always appears in our songs, and it is intensity, which emerges in different ways: as a progressive song, starting with soft sounds until ending with power; variable dynamics; or emotional passages supported by the choirs.
Also, I personally like to make sure that the lyrics have a second round; that are understood the first time, but that offer more meanings in a second reading. I can’t say we always get it, but at least we tried!
It seems to me that this album has a more classic and rough sound, with more grain. What did you look for in Kaki Arkarazo that you did not find in Santi García (he was the one who produced “Hemen herensugeak daude”) and what have you found in Garate?
It’s true about the roughness. Precisely, many people believe that with Santi García Liher he found the best sound he has ever had; But one of the reasons for thinking that is that the parameters of current music, modern rock, were used on that album. For example, the drums were easier to hear on that previous album, because all the kick and snare hits were the same.
This album is more incorrect, more natural, it imitates our way of playing, and we believe that this has great value; precisely, we went to Garate in search of that.
How have you filled in the gap that left you not being able to present your previous album as it deserved, very present in the lyrics? What have you held on to “fill our scars with gold and get ahead”?
First of all, to creativity. If we had not been able to create, the frustration generated by this time would have been even more frustrating. Also, close people: family, friends, couples. What would we do without them!
And finally, of course, we have also caught hold of those people in the field of music that we have helped each other; the community of musicians and musicians and some medium that another, which has facilitated the way and has become an ally.
How, if at all, has your attitude to the blank page changed as the group has accumulated more weight, more followers and, therefore, higher expectations?
More than fear, what grows between records is the level of responsibility. Anyway, luckily or unfortunately, we still haven’t found any magic formula to make an album or a song of ours go viral, and, thanks to this, in each new job we continue to do what we like the most: explore, work on new ones. styles (for example, in “Arrastaka”), insert new rhythms …
Hard rock, alternative rock, stoner, soul, music of American roots, metal, some echo of mathcore… It is obvious that you have a varied musical taste. What do you listen to and what musical territories do you share?
I believe that Liher’s wide range of musical styles makes our heterogeneous musical origins very clear. The bass player likes System of a Down, Tool and those kinds of bands; the drummer listens to everything from rumba to hardcore; the guitarist loves the psychedelia and irregularity of The Mars Volta; and I come more from blues and soul, from black music.
Anyway, insofar as we are music lovers, we have points in common: now the group At the Drive-In, Jack White and Queens of the Stone Age come to mind.
You have already given some concerts since you released the album. How do the new songs in the repertoire work? How are Liher’s concerts now?
The good thing about having released four albums is that you can make a better set list by choosing the best songs from each of them, or at least your favorites. The public that has accompanied us from the beginning will enjoy these concerts more, because we have tried to put in the most memorable songs.
Anyway, it is true that many times we move against the current, and we try to put in people’s ears songs that are not so well remembered, let’s see if we can convince them once and for all that those are also good! Hahaha.
We are also preparing a version, because on each tour we put a new one, but we lack ideas …
And how do you do it to take the songs in which there are collaborations to the live? There are four guest singers on the album …
The truth is that for us we would take those and those great artists to all the concerts, but, since it is impossible, most of the time we try to guarantee that those songs work only with my voice.
It has become clear how fragile the plans are, but where and how would you like to be in a year?
As you have said, the most useful lesson the pandemic has taught us is not to make plans and to relax those inflated hopes a bit.
All we ask for a year from now is to keep playing, that our relationship continues to be as good as it has been up to now and not yet think about a hypothetical next album; We are very forward looking! We want to enjoy the present more.
The only thing we ask for a year from now is to continue playing, that our relationship continues to be as good as it has been up to now and not yet think about a hypothetical next album. We look too far into the future. We want to enjoy the present more.
A foreign group or soloist: Jack White
A Basque group or soloist: The Zozo group (had a short career, but ugh!)
An essential album: “Where the Light Is”, John Mayer live in LA
An unforgettable live: The Rivals Sons concert at the Mad Cool 2018 festival.
One or one singer: Whitney Houston (Lide)
A guitarist: Frank Zappa (Etxarri)
One or one bass player: Flea (Joshka)
One or one battery: Aric Improta (Ander)
Your favorite place to play: In this we are going to aim outside. The KTS space in Freiburg! We have had two memorable concerts with the people there.