This interview was originally published in March 2010. Rodrigo y Gabriela perform next at Chastain Park Amphitheatre on August 9th!
Combining the sensual heat of flamenco and the hardcore touch of metal in their music, Mexican duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela have captivated the world with their rhythmic guitars. With their latest release, 11:11, the duo have added another hit album to the list. On tour to promote the record, the duo will be adding some spice to the Center State on Saturday, March 13.
For people in Atlanta who have never heard of you, or have only heard your name, how would you describe your sound?
Rodrigo: Well, it’s good to let them know this show is not very quiet. It’s pretty loud. Some people think we play flamenco, whatever, no. It’s totally the opposite. We love flamenco but this is not flamenco style. It’s acoustic rock and it’s very energetic and it’s quite loud. Just to warn people in case they expect someone else.
With your last album, you were influenced by many artists, but who would you say would be the artist who inspired you to pick up a guitar your first time?
R: That was probably Metallica. I have an older brother, so when I was ten he was in high school, and he came back with the Kill ‘Em All album, and that was my first introduction to their music. He was listening to stuff like Motley Crue and all crazy sh…um…bands. Once he discovered Metallica, he stopped listening to that and we were really into that.
How did you guys evolve from your first stage of thrash-metal to your current sound?
R: We just heard about this project as a plan to become a duo or whatever, it’s never gonna happen. I think it was natural evolution. Coming from this metal background and going to Europe to play on the streets and all that, it was just to have an adventure. We were not looking for a record deal. We were a lot younger than we are now. Things just came together organically. It was just a natural progression. Also, we had to travel lighter and acoustic guitars make more sense than the electric guitars with the amplifiers.
Out of all the songs you’ve done, what song would you put in a time capsule for future generations to hear to know the sound of you guys?
R: Well, that’s a good question. It would be between these two [first and second] albums. I think in this album we have more things going on. We added more effects to the guitars. I like the track we dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, it’s totally different from the things we used to do. Once again, I think that the first track is a mix of, we open the track of the album with a metal riff with an acoustic guitar and it turns into a “Latin” thing. I could find a few in the new album which I think are more interesting than the first one. The first one has a “Latin” kind of vibe.
Are you happy with the first album?
R: Well, it’s great because people like it. I like it too. You know every time you do an album you wanna do another one straight away. You learn many things and once you go back you wanna re-record everything. I think that’s natural process for all musicians, and certainly that goes for Gabriela and myself. There are musicians who put their show together and they can do the whole thing every year. I’m not unhappy. I didn’t really like the sound on the first album, but that’s why we change the approach on the second album. People love the first album and that’s why we were able to be where we are now. It sold almost a million copies across the world.
With all the interviews you’ve done, is there a story you never got to tell?
R: Well, that’s another good question. Perhaps the question you just asked before. You just said it man, the question I’ve never been asked before. I like to talk about music all the time in the interviews, no personal stuff. So basically when we do the interviews, the interviewer knows we are all about music. But also, probably talk about the album, and re-direct the attention from us to other musicians that we want other people to know about.
What would be the worst or least appropriate question you’ve ever been asked?
R: Like “what have you had for breakfast?” or “are you a couple?” Normally people who like our music are that are really into music and when you get those type of questions you realize that kind of publication isn’t going to be the right one.