The Unfinished Sympathy
One of the best and therefore one of the most popular bands from Spain is definitely The Unfinished Sympathy. I saw them live in Karlsruhe, Germany, a while ago and liked them. But it took the release of their latest record "An investment in logistics" to finally convince me to do an interview with these guys. So here's what Eric had to say...
Hey there, who is answering my questions, how are you at the moment and do you have anything to start this interview off with?
Hello, Eric from the Unfinished Sympathy here writing from a public library in Sant Feliu while recording vocals and guitar for our forthcoming album!
I already liked your first record, but "An investment in logistics" is definitely a great piece of Indie music. I'm totally into it. But I was wondering why it took you so long to put it out. I mean the songs were recorded between late 2002 and early 2003, while the album came out in late 2003. Or did it come out earlier in Spain and only the rest of Europe had to wait for it a longer time?
The album was released in Spain in February 2003, we had just recorded it in December, January as you say. But there's a slight delay between our Spanish releases and Germany, as we're not talking about major multinational stuff but about two labels with different schedules and timetables. It came out in Germany in December 2003 or this past January, when we could tour Germany at last after a couple of attempts before...!
How do you feel like doing interviews for this record? Isn't it a bit strange because maybe it seems to you that you're talking about old songs? Or don't you care anyway, haha?
Well, I don't really feel some songs are older than others, I mean old are from the past and "what interests me now is what I'm doing now". It's not that; for me songs are like your sons, and I love all of them in the same way, so I like to talk about our old songs, not-that-old-but-not-new-songs and really-new songs :-).
In my eyes The Unfinished Sympathy made a huge step forward between the first two albums, would you agree? As I said before, I already liked the debut, but the second album is really mature and I think you definitely found your own sound with this record. Would you say the fact that you were touring a lot in the past was responsible for this development?
Sure, as the more you play the better you do it and know how you want to sound like. It's natural and human. The main difference between both albums for me is that first one was made thinking "we are a post-hardcore band or emo or call-it whatever-band" and for the second we thought "we are a rock band". That let us try things in composition and production that we wouldn't dare before.
You also did a video for the song "I killer her but that's not the point". I haven't seen that video yet, so what can you tell me about it? Is there a certain story behind it, who shot it and is there a specific concept shown in the clip?
In fact one day the guy in charge of shooting it came up with the idea of something very narrative, like a filmed story about a girl in a room like crazy and stuff. I said stop man, we don't want histories here, this is not a movie. We want flashing and lights and movement, whatever the concept of it is, as the concept has to be in the music, and a video can add interest to a song by visual effects, not for showing in images what the song already sings, which is redundant.
I was a little surprised that you picked this song for a video, because in my eyes this tune is a little bit different compared to the rest of the record. Would you agree with me? Why did you choose this particular song?
Because it's the one our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, girlfriends and close friends said it was the most surprising, the more "attractive" in terms of catchyness and commerciality. We thought we would get rich with that song.. we'll have to wait for our next album.. :-)
I read in an info from your label Strange Fruit that your third record is scheduled for this summer, so you must have written some songs for that one? What can you tell me about those new songs? Any drastic changes concerning the sound of The Unfinished Sympathy? When and where will you start recording the songs and will you again work with Santi Garcia?
Well, as I told you in the beginning we're doing it right now. I won't give any tracks about it, except that it is somewhere in the middle between the Ramones and Duran Duran. It will be released in Spain in September.
Are you still on BCore as well as on Strange Fruit? Does BCore release your records in Spain while Starnge Fruit is putting them out in the rest of Europe? What about the US, are your albums available there, too?
Strange Fruit takes care of Germany quite exclusively. We have two mother labels, Bcore in Spain and Strange Fruit in Germany, and in the other countries we have distribution (Overcome in France, Engineer in the UK, etc), so you should find us pretty everywhere I guess (and hope...)
How come you recorded those Peel Sessions? I guess that was something very special for you as so many great bands recorded Peel Sessions before?
Yes, that was one reason, and the other is that we are the first Spanish band ever to record a Peel Session. And also, the only one who has done the second already! (I'm not quite sure if Eric is correct here, because I think that Napalm Death did more than one Peel Session in the past? - Stefan)
In the past you played with bands like Jimmy Eat World and Bad Religion. As I like those two bands a lot (especially (old) Bad Religion) I'd like to know what you think about those bands musically as well as personally? Did you have time to talk with them?
We got very well with Jimmy Eat World, they were friendly and close. We absolutely love their whole discography. Can't say the same about Bad Religion. They were very polite with us but we really had not a lot of communication. Some jokes, some comments, that's it. I understand, we must be the band 1.000.000 to play with them...
In the past I saw you on stage in Karlsruhe, Germany, where you played at a club called Erdbeermund. What are your memories about this special club, haha? I mean weren't you surprised when you found out that it's a gay club?
Oh, I didn't know it was gay, I though there were prostitutes there on the weekends... (Well... - Stefan) or somebody told me so, maybe with bad intentions... Well, there was no really "gay-atmosphere" there... but I remember our guitarist Oriol saying to me, at my ear, "We definitely have no glamour" before playing!
As you are on tour a lot I was wondering if you have jobs besides the band or is the band a full time thing for you? Can you live from making music?
Well, as we get half of our salaries from the band, we have to do something else to get the second half. Our daily jobs depend on the band, but not the opposite, I mean the band is our first priority. Oriol is engineer and is ending his project, Xavi is a record producer, Pablo has a clothes shop and me I'm a teacher who doesn't teach...
In my opinion Indie is having something like a comeback. I mean it wasn't really dead or something, but in the last years it seemed that people were more into that Melodypunk sound whereas nowadays Indie bands gain more and more attention again. Would you agree and what's the reason for this development in your eyes?
The concept "Indie" is very different in Germany than in Spain. Here it means "a bit poppy and quite soft" rock, as Spanish Indie tradition has more to do with nice sounding pop than really guitars and distortion, though there have been great Indie rock bands like El Inquilino Comunista or Beef.
I know it's stupid but I have to ask you this anyway: What are Heroes del Silencio doing nowadays? I'm asking this because their smash hit "Entre dos tierras" is still being played in clubs over here, but I haven't heard from the band for years. So I was wondering if these guys are still active in Spain?
Not anymore. The singer, Enrique has already three solo albums, all of them different from each other.
Usually I don't ask many political questions in interviews, but with the terrorist attack in Madrid in mind I'd like to know what you think about that and how is the situation in the Spain at the moment after these horrible events?
It has proved that people's compassion isn't really true; everyday we see thousands of deaths on the t.v. and no one cares. But if it's close to your house, then you get so compassive... it's ridiculous.. it's pure unfinished sympathy. I talk about this in our next album.
What are your future plans concerning the band? Hopefully you're coming to Germany again? By the way, how did you like Germany when you were here?
By now, we are going to Germany on June 18th and 19th, in a festival near Strange Fruit headquarters, near Stuttgart. See you there?
I guess we're at the end of this interview, so is there anything I forgot to ask you? If so, feel free to say it now.
Thank you very much, hope meeting you soon in Germany! Take care and danke schön!!!