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Friday, November 27, 2015

These Go to 11: interviewing The Birkins

This week we are extremely happy at the Blog, because we recover the interview series after another hiatus and, to do the comeback in a proper way, we have one of our favourite national bands answering the questionnaire (can't deny we have a soft spot with them). We are referring to The Birkins! One of the funniest and sincerest interviews we have had, something logical considering how charming and good-natured are this folks, as nicer as their music. Thanks for your time and honesty, we laughed a lot! These Go to 11!

Canarias' finest: The Birkins, islanders of pop 
The Birkins
Daniel Machín, Sergio Miró, Alby Ramírez and Cristina Santana formed The Birkins in 2008 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. They quickly started to make some noise, as a year later they won the nationwide Heineken Greenspace contest, signing with our beloved label El Genio Equivocado in 2011. Then came their self titled debut album and instantly, we fell in love with their mix of British pop, French chanson, Americana and an intriguing experimental side. Two years later, in February 2013, they released 'Châteaux en Espagne' a new example of classy, diverse and colourful indie pop. Finally, this last September they have launched 'Souvenirs', another gem on a flawless career so far, one where each song shows their care, taste and scope of their idiosincratic way of understanding pop, something you can also see if you have the wisdom of watching them live. Here we go!

 Scarier than Nostradamus's profecies
1. First record that you bought (be honest)
Alby: The first one I got with my own money (I saved for weeks!) was a vinyl of 'The Final Countdown', by Europe, I was 7. You asked me to be honest! (laughs).
Daniel: I was more or less the same age as Alby when I bought my first tapes (yes, I am that old). I bought 6 tapes by The Beatles looking for ‘Yesterday’ because I didn’t know its name at the time.
Cris: I believe I was eleven years old and my mother gave me some money… and I bought a copy of 'Nevermind' by Nirvana. I was in love with Kurt Cobain.
Sergio: My first recollection of a proofed purchase with my own Money is for a VHS, 'The synchronicity concert' by The Police. My player had a poor quality copy of it at home that had already made me decide that I wanted to play drums.

We had to choose the pic, but we'll keep the secret...  
2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
Alby: The first concert I recall attending to was Miguel Rios (big Spanish act back in the 80s) during his Rock ‘n’ Rios Tour, although I may have attended way more before that time and I just don’t remember them. My parents used to take me to concerts from a very early age. The last ones were U2 in Barcelona and Dave Matthews Band in Madrid, both during the same weekend.
Daniel: The first concert I attended to was Suede. The concert started at midnight but we were there by seven p.m. And the last one was Patti Smith, it was a great concert.
Cris: Dani is lying because I know that his first concert was Emilio Aragón, near his house (laughs). I don’t remember my first concert… maybe a concert by Los Sabandeños at Teatro Pérez Galdos’, here in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The last was one was a week ago: Japoneses Dos here in Las Palmas too.
Sergio: The first one was Luz Casal, and the last one was Asian Dub Foundation at WOMAD Fuerteventura. 

Ejem, ejem better not to comment!
3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Alby: I guess I have quite a few guilty pleasures, such as Abba, The Bee Gees or ELO. Or maybe I shouldn’t feel that guilty about it, should I? (laughs).
Daniel: I’ve always wanted to make a tribute in one of my songs to the opening credits of “Deep throat”
Cris: I really couldn’t tell.
Sergio: Like Alby, I have plenty of time for Abba and the ELO; I´m also willing to defend a couple of songs by Lady Gaga, but only if you force me to.

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
Alby: I’m really proud -being a record collector- to have our last album 'Souvenirs' on vinyl as a part of my collection. But collector mode on it could be a copy of Queen’s 'A Night at the Opera' dedicated by Brian May or the box set reissue of Peter Gabriel’s 'So' also by the man himself.
Daniel: A 1966 Lp by The Beatles.
Sergio: I grew up as a proud member of the CD generation, so I don´t think that any of the ítems from my Collection has an Amazing value other than the music that it contains. The whole mono recordings by the Beatles are something to hold on tight to, and also the beautiful editions of  'The complete Motown Singles', of which I own seven volumes (now, if I were to find the long out of print Volume six, that would certainly be a valuable item)

5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Alby: 'Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see'. You just can’t fail with The Beatles, right?
Daniel: 'La cobardía es asunto de los hombres no de los amantes' by Silvio Rodriguez, which means 'Being coward is a matter of men, not lovers'. And another one is 'who wants to live forever, when love must die?', by Queen.
Yes indeed, everybody knows...
Cris:True love will find you in the end, you'll find out just who was your friend, don’t be sad, I know you will, but don’t give up until, true love finds you in the end’ by Daniel Johnston. Easy and clear.
Sergio: 'Everybody knows that you've been faithful / give or take a night or two / Everybody knows you've been discreet / But there were so many people you just had to meet / Without your clothes / And everybody knows', by Leonard Cohen; in Spanish I could pick this one by Josele Santiago, from Los Enemigos: 'He debido llegar ya, he debido de llegar. Sí, porque al abrir la puerta allí estaba yo viendo la tele con mi mujer, conmigo y con mi mujer'.

6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Alby: I’d love to have the chance to speak to Nels Cline, guitarist of Wilco, because I’m a great fan of his playing and his approach to the instrument. But I’d love to have a nice conversation with Dave Grohl too. I think that guy has one of the most brilliant minds in music nowadays and he has such wide knowledge of music that it has to be awesome to share a coffee or something with him while chatting.
Daniel: I would like to have met Serge Gainsbourg and Lucio Battisti. I think they were very good song writers and I think we are like-minded.
Cris: I’d like to know Serge Gainsbourg, drink some whisky and smoke some Gitanes with him.
Sergio: I can´t think of anyone more huggable and interesting than Leonard Cohen.

Saints the great Aramburu painted 
7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Alby: Spinal Tap’s 'Smell The Glove' (laughs) Nah, just kidding. I really loved Blur’s artwork for their last record. So cool! I don’t have a favorite though.
Daniel: 'Between the Buttons' by The Rolling Stones.
Cris: I really like the artworks of Javier Aramburu, especially the ones for Los Planetas: ‘Unidad de desplazamiento’ and ‘Encuentro con entidades’.
Sergio: I wouldn´t be able to pick a single favourite one. The one I´ve appreciated the most this year is 'Why make sense', by Hot Chip, and for some reason, while I was writing this I thought of 'Abbatoir blues/The lyre of Orpheus', by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

May the 'original' force be with you
8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Alby: If books, the Game of Thrones saga (so much fun in those pages), if movies, Star Wars (the original one, aka Episode IV). I saw that movie on VHS when I was 5 and I’m still shocked!
Daniel: 'One hundred years of solitude', 'Cien años de soledad' by Gabriel García Márquez. It’s a book you should read at least eight times.
Cris: Books and movies!!! It’s very difficult to choose! A book: ‘Ensayo sobre la ceguera’ by José Saramago. A film: ‘Les 400 coups’ by François Truffaut.

9. Song (of yours) you are most proud of
Alby: Probably 'Toute cette lumière', from our second album. To me that’s the best example of co-writing we’ve had in the band so far.
Daniel: 'De profundis Clamavi'. I wrote it in 30 seconds.
Cris: 'Chloè'. A sound impact with three chords.
Sergio: In terms of how they ended up being arranged and recorded, all of the above, plus 'Chloè' and 'Arabian nights'.

10. What does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
Alby: This is not mine, I am copying from Sergio here, but to me it means “asking for favours”.
Daniel: It means creative freedom whichever the style is.
Cris: We do what we want, when we want, where we want… without conditions.
Sergio: There you go, Alby said it for me. To quote the great Kermit the frog, it´s not easy being green, and being indie is not much easier. It´s also good fun, though.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 
Alby: I’d love to be touring the world with The Birkins, still making records and hopefully reaching a wider audience with our music.
Daniel: if I knew it, I’d become a fortune teller and make millions. But I hope we will get better and better, time will tell.
Cris: Touring with The Birkins!!!!

                                                                                                                      Zillion thanks The Birkins!

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