Interview with Luis Massot
By: Amir Kourosh - 2012-12-01
JZ: For those who still don't know TAIFA, can you make an introduction about the band's history, style and influences?
LM: Well, TAIFA was born in 1997 after I left my London’s band Mr. Cheese. Afterwards we had a deal with a record company of Madrid and we recorded “Mas alla del sur” Lp ["Beyond the South", editor]. Some years after we change as a power trio with a new powerful sound. New musicians came into the band (Antonio Medina & Marti Riera) and we recorded “ Alhambra” (self-produced) between 2007 and 2008. Now we’re just finishing the recording of our new album with the new guitar player Victor Arco, and we are playing often in Spain and in Morocco again this month.
Our style mix Progressive Rock, Flamenco and Andalusi music. Our influences came from the classical big bands of Rock ( Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep purple, …..) to the big artists of Flamenco (Camaron, Morente, Paco de Lucia….), and from the classical ansalusí music too.
JZ: The band blends different music genres, such as Progressive Rock, Flamenco and Arabo-andalusian music. Why did you decide to start such a project?
LM: Because we feel it in that way. Mediterranean roots with the power of the rock we‘ve been playing always is what I feel when I write songs.
JZ: You will play in Morocco for the third time, this time at the Metalkesh Festival. What do you expect about this concert?
LM: We’re ready to do our best and meet a lot of new friends there, we’re a band where fans become friends, we like to talk and hear the people that likes our music. The most important for us is that our feelings fly with our music to the heart of the people. Our two gigs in the Al-Lama festival of Oued Laou (Tetouan) were amazing for the power of the band in live and for the answer of the people. We are sure that it will be a good adventure to remember, hoping to start playing in other places of Middle East and North Africa.
JZ: What do you think about the Moroccan Rock and Metal scene? What would you highlight about your concerts there?
LM: Rock comes to stay in Morocco!! There’s young people that wants to do something for his country, and the music is one way. We feel that there’s a lot of future in these new musicians that wants freedom of doing what they feel. I hope they will never left the roots of their rich culture, because in Morocco the music is all over, you can be usually jamming with different kinds of music, but the young people wants Rock too.
JZ: In 2008 the band released its sophomore and latest album, called "Alhambra". What could you tell us about this album? Why did you decide to dedicate a song and the album title to a such an important place in the Spanish history?
LM: Was called "Alhambra" because for me is second home, a magical place with a lot of Baraka, where I use to go to find inspiration for our songs. “Alhambra” was the album of the beginning of a new era of TAIFA. I spent two years writing songs until I found the right people to record them. Good songs and a lot of feeling in a new musical experience, because never before any band mixed this three kinds of music. Some people told me that we were mad, but at the end the result was better than what we thought. Other good musicians collaborated with us, and finally the recording and production of Antonio Fructuoso gave us our particular sound.
JZ: Alhambra" was recorded between Majorca (the band's birthplace), Andalusia and Morocco. How was the experience of recording in such different places, with musicians from so different backgrounds?
LM: Wonderful and amazing!!!! With Nourdine Chkara from Tetuan was the first time that we worked with an andalusi musician, bringing us a new point of view of our style. Also with the Flamenco musicians (Ricardo de la Concepcion, Andres Manzano and Juan Delola) these songs took a new direction. Music is something magic, can break frontiers between different races, cultures and musical styles. For us was more than a musical or personal adventure.
JZ: The band's latest album was recorded 9 years later than the first one, titled "Mas alla del sur". What was the reason of so much time between the two albums? Which differences could you mention between both releases?
LM: Yes, too much time. We felt no good with our old record company, so we wait until we finish our contract to start writing new material, meanwhile I learned to play bass, so things keep in standby until everything was ready for the new TAIFA. The first LP had a lot of illusions and a Classical Rock sound; the second one had a powerful sound and experience. Both of them with good songs.
JZ: "Mas alla del sur" was produced by Manuel Martinez, vocalist of the Spanish Hard Rock band MEDINA AZAHARA. How was the experience of working with such a veteran in the Spanish Rock scene?
LM: The songs were recorded before he decided to produce the LP, so he works more with the sound of the mixing. It was a good experience that somebody like him wanted to produce a new band like us, and was an honour that he took our song “Con el corazon” [With the heart, editor] for his first solo album.