Interview with Luis Gotor, from the malagueño band Gaula
Luis Gotor is the singer, guitarist and songwriter of malagueño pop-rock band Gaula, which he formed with Jesus Muñoz (backing vocals and guitar) in summer 2007. Drummer Alejandro Alonso ‘Chicho’ joined soon after, and more recently, bassist Alejandro Muñoz. Gaula are currently promoting their third EP, Bailes y hurricanes.
AC: How and when did the idea of forming the band come about?
Luis Gotor: Jesus Muñoz and I have been friends since we were kids - both of us really like music. We formed the band in the summer of 2007 - one day, when we were 15, we were hanging out, and we decided to put together a group. We went to a second-hand shop to find a guitar that wasn't too expensive, Jesus bought one and I had already started writing songs. Then another childhood friend of ours joined the group as a drummer, and the three of us started rehearsing together at my house.
AC: How much time was there from when you initially put together the band until when you performed your first concert?
Luis Gotor: Very little. In October of the same year we were invited to play at the Eduardo Ocón Auditorium in Málaga. We only played three songs. There were lots of people in the audience and it was a little strange for us.
AC: What musical training do the members of the band have?
Luis Gotor: We are all self-taught.
AC: Why did you choose Gaula as the name of the band?
Luis Gotor: Because at the moment we´re a bit like Don Quixote - he wanted to be like Amadís de Gaul (a 14th-century knight whom Cervantes' epic parodies). Quixote tries to copy Amadis, but never quite succeeds. We try to do things a bit like the big groups, the popular singers, but in our own way; imitating them, just like everyone has to do when they start out.
AC: How would you define yourselves? What type of music do you make?
Luis Gotor: We have quite a unique style. When people listen to our songs, they can´t quite put their finger on the genre, because it's the sound of Gaula. For us, this is very important, because it means that we have our own sound.
We do pop-rock music, with a touch of rock'n'roll from the 1950s/60s which you can hear in the essence of the songs.
AC: What type of lyrics do you like writing?
Luis Gotor: It depends how I'm feeling when I'm writing. But they are nearly always social critique or love, which makes the world go round and which everyone can identify with. Generally, what comes naturally to me. I am inspired by books, films and my own life experiences.
AC: As a band, which other similar groups do you model yourselves on, or do you want to be like?
Luis Gotor: We don't have these types of goals. What we want is to get better every day. Our dream is to be constantly on the road, playing concerts, enjoying the music, and being able to live or survive off this.
AC: What have been the most important milestones for Gaula, from when you started your journey as a band in 2007, until now?
Luis Gotor: The recording of each new EP. In every EP that we make, we evolve further, because we are learning new skills in the process, meeting new people, and sound engineers are suggesting different ideas. By playing and listening to the same songs again and again when we are recording, we see how we can improve - maturing our musical outlook and understanding. The more songs we record, the more we are growing as a band, improving and developing.
AC: How has your new EP: Bailes y Huracanes been received?
Luis Gotor: Really well. People like it a lot and it´s been better received than our previous EP, which was less mature musically and had a more superficial sound. Although it's still tricky in terms of concerts - venues don't like taking the risk of putting on unknown groups. Which is why going out and promoting this latest EP is proving a challenge at the moment.
AC: Of the six tracks on the new EP, which do you feel most proud?
Luis Gotor: Every track has its own charm. Bailes y Huracanes is very catchy and so that's the single, because of its popular appeal. The track Apocalipsis is also very good; it is full-on and communicates well. People love hearing it live. And Desonecte de la realidad has lots of harmonies, which make it very attractive.
AC: How many concerts have you played since the band started?
Luis Gotor: About 40 or 50 concerts, in cities such as Málaga, Granada, Seville and Madrid, which are the places where we're playing for now.
AC: Have any particular gigs helped launch you as a band?
Luis Gotor: They all help... But, yes, it is true that some gigs have helped us more. Especially when we've played with well-known bands such as 84, a group from Madrid which has been signed by Movistar; La habitación roja or La sonrisa de Julia.
AC: Would you like to play outside Spain?
Luis Gotor: Yes, of course; in London, for example. But for now, we can´t even play in Barcelona! And to get as far as Latin America you need to be very well-known, with many records out which lots of people like, to be profitable and worthwhile.
AC: When will there be an LP?
Luis Gotor: That's the million-dollar question. Until recently our plan was to record lots of EPs, and use them to win fans until our audience wanted an LP. We hoped that some record company would notice us. But lately we have been seriously considering recording an LP, even though it would be self-released, because this would allow us to be seen as a more serious band, further expanding our external fan base so that record companies would see us as a proper band. However this involves a big investment, because if we do it, we want to do it well.