Basque Math-Rockers Madeleine on Politics, Community, and the DIY Spirit
快3开奖结果查询It wasn’t until this past summer that I truly understood where Basque Country was or, let’s be honest, even?knew such a place existed. An autonomous community in northern Spain (and even a bit of France) with its own distinct?culture, identity, food, and?language, it’s a compact region of land, where each town sports its own unique flavor, but often gets skipped over for its larger, more bombast neighbors. Zero in, however, and you’ll find a plethora of art to?dig into, not least the music scene, which despite most bands singing in Basque, is easily accessible and brimming with talent. Enter math-rock outfit .
快3开奖结果查询Since 2008, the San Sebastián-based band has been enchanting audiences across Europe, crafting a sound whose gruff exterior barely covers its tender?heart, layering?pulsating melodies with large dabs of emo, shoegaze, and rapturous dream-pop.
Earlier this fall, the band teamed up with fellow Basque musician E?aut?of Shanghai breakthrough outfit Shanghai Qiutian, for a string of shows across the region. Now, E?aut is returning the favor, with a five-stop tour across China over the New Year that includes?a stop in Beijing on Monday, Dec 30?at DDC. I shot the band some questions about how their hometown shapes their sound and how the tour came together.
So for the culturally blind and historically lost folks out there (i.e. me), what’s the best way to describe Basque Country??
It's our country. The funny thing is that not everyone over there would answer this question the same way. Seven provinces form a small but super-amazing piece of land in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Our main treasure is our super old language, Euskera, which has several different dialects. Historically, the civil war, Franco's dictatorship, and the terrorist group ETA are the main elements of the last century, which has turned our country into a battlefield many times over. Sadly, the battle continues now in people's minds, and in the government, therefore,?some people identify themselves as Basque people, as we do; others don't. We all coexist in this universal world now. Essentially, Basque Country is like a warm place in our souls. Not everybody understands that. But that's life.
Considering the region has its own refined culture, where does that leave the music scene? What’s its relationship to the rest of Europe, particularly Spain??
快3开奖结果查询Culturally there are and have been so many artistic expressions over the last centuries. Some may disagree, but apart from the language, which is our main defining feature, I feel like there's a Basque sensitivity towards the world. This is?hard to explain, but that's how I feel. Historically, there are tons of names I could tell you, amazing bands and huge artists. The scene is super-rich. There is an underground sort of scene and also huge names?– artists making a living out of their art. The relationship with Spain and Europe is usually good when politics and closeminded people don't interfere.?
What music would you say has changed your life and brought you to here??
I'm not sure if you are asking about a specific kind of music but, personally, I don′t think any kind of music has changed our lives. Music has been and still is our main motivation. It has been this way for the last 12 years and this has given us a huge opportunity to experience so many things and make life-long friendships. I guess it has given us a sense of community, which is a super-nice feeling. Everybody helps each other here, it feels like we share the same passion and we are just trying to make our own path. But sharing it makes you feel special; makes you feel part of something bigger.
What was it like to meet and hear Shanghai Qiutian on your home turf? What was the audience's reaction??
It was great. Basque Country has an amazing underground scene formed by small communities, young squads, and DIY dynamics. Venues are small, but everybody working in those places does it for free, so I think that gives an extra value to the situation. Seeing the Shangai Qiutian guys playing here was an amazing experience for us, and I guess it had to be special for them also. Audiences were amazed to see some Chinese dudes playing their songs in our country. It was super special, and the quality of their music was great also.?
Was that where the idea of the tour came together? Will this be your first time in China? What are your expectations?
快3开奖结果查询We met E?aut so many years ago – he is a great friend. We were amazed when he went to China and started his own adventure. Now, being part of that adventure, going to another country and playing our songs is an amazing experience and arguably the biggest thing ever for our band. The idea of touring China was something E?aut instilled in us early on. I felt like it started as a joke because it's not that easy to make it happen, but yeah, time passed and it is actually happening, so we couldn't be more excited. It's our first trip to China, and I think our biggest expectation is to have an amazing time, experience the culture, and meet?some amazing people to share our music with.?
Catch Madeliene at DDC on Monday, Dec 30 at 8.30pm. Tickets are RMB 100 on the door or RMB 80 advance.
Images courtesy of Madeleine