Since forming in 1997, Capsula have been on a mission to secure their position as one of the best live bands of our generation, crossing the globe and generating worldwide acclaim. The band are based out of Bilbao, Basque Country, just north of Spain, though the hard touring trio are rarely home. Creating a whirlwind of psychedelic wonder and punk rock fury, their music roars with a combination of garage rock toughness and modern style that have earned the band comparisons from The Stooges and The Pixies to Sonic Youth and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. In 2009, the band released Rising Mountains on the celebrated Spanish indie label BCore Disc to rave reviews and a #1 chart position, earning the band invitations to SXSW, CMJ Music Marathon, Filter Magazine’s Culture Collide Festival as well as a massive worldwide tour. Witnessing Capsula live is an experience not easily forgotten, as they tear though blistering washes of guitar and pounding rhythms delivered with the true essence of punk rock attitude, garnering a great deal of acclaim from Rolling Stone, Wired Magazine, and The Chicago Tribune among others. The trio has returned in 2011 with their latest sonic masterpiece In The Land of Silver Souls, set for release on March 7th in Spain and Europe. Following the release the band will return for a third time to SXSW in Austin, TX (March 16-20) where the band will undoubtedly kick up a noisy ruckus to everyone’s delight. Coni, the band's bassist/vocalist was kind enough to answer a few questions for us amid their busy schedule...
EIS: Let’s start with some background information about the band. How did you guys come together and how long have you been playing?
The band started as Capsula around 1997 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Martin is the founding member. In 1998 Capsula toured Europe, supporting Super Furry Animals. That was acid! It was a good start. They went back to South America, there was a change in the line up, there I met Martin in a wild party. I was just arrived from New York, watching bands that literally changed my life. We started talking and became sticky friends. In that moment Martin was obsessed with David Bowie's Ziggy Stardsut album, and I could not spend a single day without listening to Lou Reed's Transformer. If two persons are under the influence of those albums in the same exactly moment, there is no other chance that they become adventure partners for long time. That's the awesome power of music, among other things nobody can explain.
EIS: Forming in Argentina, did the music around you play an influence on your sound?
While living in Argentina, some sounds really hit us. As teenagers we could spend hours listening to South American rock LPs and tapes from the 60s and 70s, bands like Manal, Pappo, Pescado Rabioso, Invisible... That sound is raw, really raw, psychedelic blues rock with surrealistic lyrics influenced by Latin American writers and images poetry as Borges, Julio Cortazar or Sábato plus drugs and a strong sense of freedom. All of those are in our bones.
EIS: “Rising Mountains” is a really great album that draws heavily from the garage rock sound while “Songs & Circuits” was more psychedelic, was it a conscious decision to incorporate more noise and punk into the music?
'Rising Mountains' was an album that we played live before recording it, while 'Songs & Circuits' was first recorded and then played. That made a difference. We play lots, and we play at different sizes and shapes of venues. That gave us the chance of exploring sounds, listening how we sound, depending also on the place. With 'Rising Mountains' we started playing live one song just right after another, without any stop, playing instrumental parts, the noisy ones, that goes on transforming and we kept that for the new album when playing live.
EIS: Your latest record In The Land Of Silver Souls is coming out soon, right? If so, how’s that going and what can fans expect?
Yes, the album will be out next 7 March 2011. We recorded it in Barcelona and John Agnello finished it with awesome mixes in Brooklyn at Headgear Studios. It was so great to work with him. He gave us a new way to listen to the songs. We always tend to hide the vocals behind tons of sounds. We are very shy about our vocals. But he was like come on! Led Zeppelin would not complain about having their vocals up and trying effects. Hahaha! He is amazing- It was really great to work with John, listening to his advice. We love the same bands, so it was easy to connect.
EIS: What’s a typical writing session like for the band? Do you write your songs with the live shows in mind?
Our shows are very energetic, we do not play slow songs live. However for the albums we like to explore different sounds and rhythms than what we do live. We got our rehearsal room filled with microphones everywhere. Usually Martin blows our mind with some new sound or riff at the rehearsal room and we start playing. Without knowing when, while we are playing, he starts recording. We do this before rehearsing the live set. After some months we got a bunch of songs from different periods of the year, influenced by different places. We listen to them and most of those recordings are a surprise as we completely forget them. Sometimes we don’t even recognize us in the recordings. We left a lot of material out for this record as we would need a 4 side LP to fit them in. Then, we start the lyrics, mainly dream stuff and exquisite corpses.
EIS: Your concerts are absolutely incredible, is touring a top priority for the band?
We have become touring creatures. If we don’t tour, we feel strange. We have our lives arranged for touring.
EIS: How would you describe your shows to someone who has never had the chance to catch you live?
Like a furious volcano from mars.
EIS: Bursting with energy during every set, does it get exhausting to play with so much excitement night after night or is it something that fuels the music?
During the day we are very calm and sweet. We like to have fun onstage. We are a bipolar band.
EIS: You guys have already been announced for SXSW 2011, making this your fourth year in a row. What’s your favorite thing about playing the festival? Do you try to play several shows a day?
Austin is a great time. For us it means meeting there with many friends, and friends from different bands that we had tours with during the year. That week is a wild party.
EIS: Will you be touring the rest of the States leading up to the festival or afterward?
We are planning to come back after summer. The tour last October from LA to Seattle and NY via Chicago was so crazy and awesome, we want to come back.
EIS: What do you think of the current “Psychedelic revival” that’s going on? Are you a fan of a lot of the newer psych bands gaining popularity the past few years?
More than fans we feel connected. We love guitars, we love fuzz and reverb. But we don’t like revivals or better said we don’t want to be part of a revival. We are always pushing front trying to catch what is unknown, bringing particles of past sounds that we adore so much we don’t want to be forgotten.
EIS: Seeing you guys at CMJ was easily one of the highlights of the entire week for me, filled with noise and pure punk rock attitude. Do you put a lot of thought into your performances or do you just let the noise take you where it may?
Every gig is important for us. But the intensity appears by itself. We let the sound tumble on us. We are not so conscious.
EIS: What’s the rock scene like in Spain? Is there a local community of garage/psych/noise rock bands and fans to play/attend shows?
There is a lot of good stuff going on in Spain right now. You can watch great bands from different styles an different cities from south to north. Its a very creative moment.
EIS: Have you ever performed any cover songs? If not, are there any songs you’d like to?
We always play cover songs at the rehearsal room. From Bo Diddley to Pescado Rabioso. We used to play live some of Velvets', Voidoids' and Luca Prodan's songs. We recorded a cover of "Run Run Run" for a tribute album a couple of years ago. But now, next April, we will be playing The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars whole album in a Theater, in Bilbao. We are in the phase of being absolutely in love with David Bowie.
EIS: What’s the best concert you’ve ever attended as a fan? Could they live up to a Capsula performance?
Iggy and the Stooges in Bilbao on 2005. It was a free concert. It was really outstanding. The reunion of the Asheton brothers with the patriarch. Mike Watt roaring on the bass. Iggy can live up to Capsula and more any time he wants. He is the master.
EIS: Thanks so much for doing the interview, can't wait to see you guys and hang in Austin!