By: Aleyda Ortíz.
In order to properly talk and understand about any given project, it is needed to know about its origins and to get sharp when looking for the exact moment of its creation, to dive inside its own history and inside the creative mind behind it to watch from that perspective the growth of the creative seed that every day is watered with talent, effort and dedication.
Surrounded by an unbeatable weather and an impressive scenery as it is a wooden cabin located in the middle of a rain forest in the beautiful state of Hidalgo in Mexico, we go to our meeting with Daniel Martin del Campo to do the third chapter of this “One on one” interviews series for the Red Page musical project, headed by Danny himself.
“Red Page was born since 2004, when I was in Norway working as a musician; I had the opportunity of being part, as the bass player, of a band that got formed in the Oslo community: The Intergalactic Movement, which reunited several music styles, it was totally eclectic; we had diverse influences: there were african rythms, norwegian singers, rock guitar players, etc. We performed at the yearly Karlsøy Festival, held up in the north of Norway, precisely at the Karl Island. There were norwegian musicians and more musicians from the whole Scandinavia; in a rehearsal we played a Jam Session and there I realized how international collaboration could drop something of every culture into the music: It was a blues that sounded to each one´s influences; it sounded as the origin lands of each one of us. I got impressed by that. Some days after that, in the very same Karl island, I composed “Oceanic Idyll” the openning track for the first Red Page album while watching to the sea. This track is an instrumental rock blended with baroque influence. That´s how the idea of inviting singers and musicians from other countries to perform my music generated in my brain.”
Tell us about the name selection.
“The Red Page name synthetizes a lot of my history as a musican and as an individual. My favourite rock music band is Led Zeppelin by far, and obviously my preferred guitar player is Jimmy Page; from there comes the “Page” part, that in a double reading is a clear reference to my literature fascination. “Red” comes from my favourite color and it has to do with the NFL team The Arizona Cardinals from which I´m a big fan since I was 5; the football philosophy is as well an important part of my life. The red color means fire, passion, irritability, protesting… all of that is part of my personality and it reflects in my music. Even the Red Page logo has a cardinal bird and a plant, because the fauna and flora are important components in my life development too.”
Who designed the Red Page logo?
“The logo is a Marlene Parra´s creation, she is a designer from Guanajuato, México –who by the way is against getting so much credited-, inspired by the project´s idea, she asked me to hear some music by Red Page and on top of that she designed the current logo; the result was magical, because from her sketches, Marlene draw a little bird that a while after I asked her to complete as a cardinal, adding the little tuft over its head; but everything just flowed in such a natural manner, the whole process was always very organic: The strokes seems to be bio-natural structures.
That is why with the singers I just follow the same process, first I deliver the raw song to them so they can hear it, to see if the feel it and if the song says something to them, if the music leads them, that´s what I love about this concept!”
Speaking about that, which one is the Red Page essence? Which are the strenghts and the characteristics that are different from other projects?
“Inside Red Page I´m looking very forward for the natural conection of my guests with the music, what does it tell to them? most importantly, what do they feel? Musically speaking there is something about improvisation too, due to the huge creative freedom; I´m searching the craftsmanship for the album making and the fact that we dont know exactly where any given song is leading us it is simply excting.
I just don´t foresee, nor ever has been my idea, the massification of Red Page, I´m convinced that the most important thing is the pure artistic expression, and that implies a sensitive, select audience, and because of that scanty; now, if the massification happens because the music itself opens a self way for a lot of people to enjoy it, that would be good! that way we still following the organic route.”
Were you always interested in being a musician, Danny?
“Artistically I started with the visual arts, as a child I loved to draw and I was serious on it, I drew everything, but the music always captured my senses, overall the TV jingles; so I went to the academization at the National Fine Arts Institute (INBA) from where I ended up being a musician. On the academy I understood I´m a born musician, that´s kind of my mission, I don´t have any doubt abou it; still, linguistics and literature were always art fields that I enjoyed a lot too, but I couldn´t study them precisely because of the musical studies. So, let´s say I alwas have been attracted to Arts, in general.
Because of that interest in literature, I started a bachelor degree on spanish linguistics and literature at the National Autonomus University of Mexico (UNAM) and I discovered it has a lot to do with the musical work; for instance, you understand that the poets feed themselves with images, personal experiences, things that they observe and that they try to transform, with impossibilities, existencial anguishes; well, a musician suffers those sources too in order to capture a musical idea. Also, when analyzing literary or musical works, we see with a major clearness their similarities, specially with the poetry, that allows us as the music does, the access to unthinkeable possibilities, allowing the transformation through the aesthetic enjoyment.”
The today´s most important construction in Daniel´s life, is the first Red Page album: “Beyond the Black” each one of the pieces are part of a puzzle that will give birth to a unique concept and that should be joined in a perfect and armonious manner.
“The creation of “Beyond the Black” has been a very long process due to different life situations that in one way or another have delayed the whole process. However, these “delays” have a lot to do with the music itself, whenever a song does not tell me anything it gets static for a while.
It is so difficult, technically speaking, the making of a project with such characteristics, the ambitious thing here is to invite a lot of people who is located in diverse geographical points, this of course without the internet would be impossible to achieve.
I like musical variety and the possibility of choosing among different soundscapes without being locked or commited to only one. I feel that in this year -2013-, we have had great advance, we are working in the distance sending demos, enhancing the songs and making the first stage of the production: an accoustic demo for internal usage.”
How do you do the selection of the voices that will perform each one of your songs?
“From the very moment I am designing the music, I imagine it with certain type of vocals already; based on that I make the selection of the probable singers that could fit into it. The music itself has asked for a voice in particular, it is a judgment matter, of being receptive to your creation; but as Red Page is a rock music project, generally I´m looking for voices that are able to sing what I believe is rock music in a more “pure” state from which it can transform into whatever required sub-genre. Bhetzy Velvet for instance, one of our guest singers, she impressed me because her voice synthetizes this whole concept: her voice seems pure rock to me.”
Tell us about them, who are the “Beyond the Black” singers? Where did you meet them? How they arrive to your life?
“Some of them I met them through the net, others I met them at her countries, others referred by others, others, such as Marike Groot, because they were part of important rock acts in my life, but lets get clear on this:
The first one I worked with was Larisa Shelest, the ukrainian. For her I´m very proud of being her “discoverer”; she was too young when I met her, her natural talent impressed me so much that I knew it was only a matter of waiting for her develop as a more mature singer; what she is now. It is so nice being part of her development and musical growth, UPDATE 1: unfortunately, she won´t be on the first album available, but I hope we can work together for the second one, let´s see what happens.
I met Maly Reyes in México and I invited her to Red Page because I had seen her work closely at the The Gathering tribute parties -that we have done as a freelance work thanks to our fabulous admiration for that dutch band-; I always felt attracted by her voice, ideal for the melancholic expression. She represents and brings with her that part of the gothic dark mexican rock branch.
Alis Heded is an impressive soprano, I heard her and just loved her operistic approach and got fascinated with her taste for metal music. Without any problem she could perform her song and whatever new version of it.
Bhetzy Velvet, continuing with the mexican singers, was the last one joining thinking mainly that, when this project gets to the live stage in Mexico, due to its own characteristics, it will be very hard to bring all the singers together, so she could carry the weight of the whole album live and loud. Her voice is so powerfull! I guess she is one of the best rock singers that I´ve heard in Mexico, capable to sing whatever you put on her.
Mavi Solano is a friend from Málaga that I met several years ago, while visiting Spain for a The Gathering live show. She, along with Curro -her boyfriend and guitar player-, gave me her Overdub band demo CD and when I heard her voice, I identified a very special timbre on her, so special that I inmediately wanted to record something with her. I´ve always wanted to work with Mavi and it is until this album that we will finally do it.
This year also joins Simone Alves, a world music singer who represents three different cultures: the lusitanian, the bretonnian and the turkish; I contacted her because I´ve got engaged very much with her Astrakan Project whit its whole oriental charge; anybody could think that Simone is not for singing rock but that is the delicious point of this experimental try, we´ll see to where this song leads us all.
And well, Marike Groot is part of the dutch rock history and I think that alone validates this whole project. The fact that she enjoys my music until the point of composing together is simply apotheosic to me, something that without any doubt revitalizes me.
UPDATE 2: Emmanuelle Vigneron expands the core of guests singers for the debut album, she has a beautyful voice and her approach to a track that I envision as a very important and weird one has caught my ear, she is from France.
I don´t know if everyone of them will appear at another Red Page album again, but for the debut, they had precisely to be, organically.”
Speaking about this album creation implies not only the selection of the tracks and vocals, but the part of the musical assembling. Will this Red Page debut album have the presence of guest musicians? How the prduction part of “Beyond the Black” will be?
“For some tracks I´ll invite musicians, for instance that play Harmonica, maybe we´ll have two or three more guests, but I´ll play all the regular instruments as a base.
Regarding the production phase, I´ll do it personally, the whole of it; after touring several studios, after talking to prefesional producers, even with independants, one of them Yann Gourvil, a great breton musician who lives in Turkey and who has become the audio assesor for the project, let me very clear why you, as the creator of your project, should be its own producer too, ideally.
To me, it was something I had a strong respect for, overall for the software managing, the seting up of a decent home studio with its special requirements; but, I found that there is a lot of technical myths surrounding the audio engineering of capturing sound, I mean, think about how they used to record in the Rock and Roll days, for instance? Personally, a bunch of those recordings are true artworks, diamonds. So, as I already said, I´ll go the path of craftsmanship in order to keep it pure and simple regarding the technical processes in my self-producer debut, while I obtain a non repeatable atmosphere on the studio, which I am designing and constructing already, this will be delicious.”
October the 12th of 2014 is the expected release date for the debut album by Red Page, “Beyond the Black”, that will be available trough the official website.
“Exactly in 2014 I´ll have 25 years of musical career and I´ve never released one of my projects officially,– says Danny- I think this album synthetizes all of that, is a work that implies a lot to my very own history.
There is music that let us something and there is inconsequential one, I hope that all the numbers that conforms Beyond the Black let something for those who want to listen and permit them being part of their lives from there on. ”
Thank you all for reading, let´s wait for the next One on one!