Easy Rider: Power Metal from Spain
Interview with guitar player Daniel Castellanos
Please tell me something about the history of the band, something about the members!
EASY RIDER were formed around 1990 by the musicians which constituted then their basic line-up: Javier Villanueva (guitar), Daniel Castellanos (guitar), Jose A. Villanueva (bass) and Antonio M. Chaves (drums). This line-up has been stable to date. During these days there were many singers in the band and 1996 Eugenio Garañeda joined the band and recorded three first Easy Rider albums:
"Perfecta Creación" 1997
"The Lord of the Storm" 1998
The name Easy Rider was taken from the movie. Thereīs a typical American motorbiker, whose home is a highway and his motorbike is valuable (like Hellīs Angelsī bikes). I think that musicians in general, we are a bit similar: Lots of time on the road and our instruments are like only company for us. Anyways, we liked this name, because it sounded good and we liked it.
Are there earlier releases? What about the label, the success?
Before forming Easy Rider some of us played in other bands. But never released any album. Locomotive Music is an independent record label and they have different bands in their catalogue. It is the most important company of Heavy Metal although all their bands are not metal ones. Easy Rider are one of the most popular bands in Spanish metal scene.
How would you describe your music?
We donīt really like to label our style. I think Easy Rider is a Heavy Metal Band and it includes all the sub-genres of its style. Heavy Metal means energy for us. Thatīs what we try to search in our songs!
What about the influence of other artists to you?
We have quite much variety in our tastes, but in general, we like 80īs bands (Iron Maiden, Queensrÿche, Judas Priest, Yngwie Malmsteen, Accept..), and more current bands like Dream Theater, Machine Head, Pantera, Conception, Gamma Ray etc. etc. We donīt want to avoid any influence which could enrich our music and make us grow as musicians.
Is there a mastermind inside of the band or are you more a "democratic" band?
We donīt have any leader. We make desicions in a democratic way. Frankly, we are a group of friends and we like to play music and have a good time.
How does the songwriting work in the band?
Normally there is someone with an idea (a guitar riff, one melody..) and together we develop this idea.
How are the reactions of the people in your neighborhood to your music?
Very well. Evidenty we are not any commercial band, but in a heavy metal world we have been accepted by the audience and the media!
What about your live experiences? Will you present the new material during a tour?
For us the main thing is playing live. It motivates us because of the straight contact with people. The atmosphere between the band and the public is quite special. When we had only our first album released, we played quite a lot new songs on stage to make concerts longer. Now we have published quite much material and we only play new themes sometimes to see what is the audienceīs reaction.
How did you come in touch with your current label? Was it difficult to find a record company?
We released our first two albums by a small independent company. We knew some persons from Locomotive Music, because we had played concerts together with their bands. In 1999 we were offered a project by Locomotive Music and it was really interesting (Transilvania 666, A Tribute Album to Iron Maiden). īEvilutionī was the first album released by Locomotive Music and we are very happy with the result. They have also bought the rights for the first two albums and they re-edited them, too.
Is there a most important event in the history of the band?
I think that all of us we have some particular memories regarding what happened during Easy Rider years, but probably one of the greatest memories is when we were invited to support Yngwie J. Malmsteen on his Spanish tour in 1995.
What about your success/feedback in/from different countries?
From media we have received a very positive feedback: the reviews are great and we are doing lots of interviews. So far we havenīt toured outside Spain, but I hope our forthcoming album will have similar feedback as īEvilutionīhas had.
What do you think about the situation of your musical genre in the presence and what will change in the future?
Musically spoken there are more bands than ever and people are labeling them too much (dark metal, gothoc, power, speed, trash...). When we were young, we listened to different types of rock without thinking in which category the band could fit. Nowadays people are labeling bands too much. It is difficult to foresee the future of heavy metal. In Spain there are bands qith quality and one reason for that is the support from companies like Locomotive Music, which have increased the quantity of fans and sales, of course. The life is going round and round and it is not impossible that we would return to the 80īs...
What kind of compromises would you make to push your career?
The musicians in general sacrify quite a lot, as we want to do what we like most and the reward doesnīt always compensate the effort. If you asked if we would change our style to sell more albums, the answer would be: NO! We make music because of passuib abd of course we would like to sell more albums, but if the music was business for us, we wouldnīt be playing Heavy Metal. There are other styles which are economically more profitables.
Can you tell me something of the process of creating the new record? Were there any problems or went everything well?
We pro-produced for instane īLord of the Stormī for 9 months, recording demos, polishing every detail before entering the studios. Just the opposite happended while preparing īEvilutionī. We started composing it one month before entering the studio and when we finally were in the studio, we had only rhythmic bases and we had to do everything: arrangements, vocals, solos, melodies in the studio. Problems? In every studios there are GHOSTS and every time there is a group which denies to work, but nothing that wouldnīt be solved.
How would you describe your relation to new media as internet, virtual reality, mp3...
Internet is a big market and we can listen to bands which are not distributed in some countries. The problem of mp3īs is having an effect on the industry due to the piratism and the level of authorsī rights. The piratism sort of helps musicians to make their music popular, but it also decreases the benefits of record companies and obviously, if there is no benefits, the production, promotion and publicity are decreasing, as well. It should be found some kind of mechanism which is taking advantage of this technology and at the same time is reminding the rights of musicians and industry.
So you could make a choice, with which band would you like to play live on stage, for example as support?
To be honest, we donīt have any preference. The best band would the band which would bring lots of people. We have grown up listening to lots of bands and of course it would be great and an honor to play with a band we like.
How would you like to develop in the future? Do you think about changing your style?
We donīt really have any particular direction to develop the band. We donīt think about the future too much. We work day by day. We are open-minded musicians and always, inside heavy metal we can compose different types of themes!
more info on the Easyrider website: http://www.musicaactual.com/easyrider