Guapo are an amazing 3 piece prog rock style band from London. Apparently they've just been signed to Ipecac so no doubt you'll hear a lot more about them soon. Fully deserved though because they are incredible.
Give us a bit of an introduction to Guapo.
Otto Amon said it best:
Blaze the Light of Ten Thousand Suns!
So cries Elizabeth Clare Prophet, spirit channel and avatar of the Church Universal and Triumphant as she calls upon all the gods and goddesses in existence to grant her beloved victory. Her mission? To destroy The Beast and the Dragon That Gave It Power. The Dragon is rock'n'roll, its power the syncopated rhythm of the fallen ones and the misuse of the four-four time. I suspect that through her prayers, and those of her followers, Elizabeth Clare Prophet has unwittingly given birth to Guapo.
What do you hope to achieve with your band?
It varies from week to week. Today we aim to conjure the spirit of Chitipati, skeletal lord of the funeral pyre.
I remember quite a few years ago picking up your first few 7"s which were in a more old Amphetamine Reptile style. So how and why did the transition form that to the more prog rock kind of sound come about?
We had all been listening to a lot of different and obscure forms of music for quite a while. Everything from progressive music like Magma, Soft Machine, Univers Zero etc through to folk, electro-acoustic composition, minimalism, musique concrete, hair rock, noise, jazz, improv, and everything else that captures our imaginations. It was just a matter of finding our niche through trial and error, and discovering a medium that uniquely reflects our passions and interests.
What do you all do other than the band?
We run our own recording / rehearsal studio in Camden. We rehearse a lot with both Guapo and our other band Miasma and the Carousel of Headless Horses, which is our more folky chamber band. We have too many non-musical interests to mention.
Have you ever been tempted to writie a Sheriff/BennieThe Bouncer style 'silly' song like ELP used to do?
I happen to think that Bennie the Bouncer has a profound depth of detail to it that goes far beyond 'silly'. Those songs essentially became the template for our compositional approach.
I generally tend to ask the kind of weirder hardcore bands what kind of non-hc stuff they're into but as you're coming from a different kind of perspective I'd ask if you're into any hardcore type bands?
There are some hardcore bands out there that appear to be trying something different. Although I feel that generally hardcore tends to be emotionally one-dimensional and formulaic. I can listen to some of it. The other thing is the boundaries aren't really established. For instance I would say the Boredoms were at one point playing hardcore, albeit a fucked up unrecognisable car-wreck version. But I'd say it was more interesting for that reason. Is Masonna hardcore? Seems pretty hardcore to me!
I remember you saying that you don't really enjoy playing with hardcore/metal/punk type bands because you go down like a lead balloon. Why do you think so many people are so close-minded about music?
You didn't say we had to write an essay! I think a lot of people want to feel comfortable. They want to hear something and immediately understand it. When they hear something that challenges their audial routine, they often reject it. That's not to say that everyone who attends shows of a hardcore/metal/punk nature would react this way, I'm just speaking of narrow-mindedness generally. Our stuff is easy listening if you put it next to someone like Stockhausen or Conrad Shnitzler. We like playing with metal bands though, so Mr. Halford, if you're reading, please get in touch!
What current bands in the UK or elsewhere do you reckon people should hear?
Current UK Bands: Spaceheads, Defeat the Young, Coil, Skullflower, Tool-shed, AMM, The Penalty for Harbouring Partisans, Volcano the Bear, Hafler Trio.
What's the future hold for Guapo?
Two new albums. One which is due for release in 2005. A tour of Europe with Fantomas in May and an American excursion in September 2004. Check out our website for updates www.guapo.com.
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