Planeta Imaginario: Stretches in Spain
MC: We have been developing this shift from progressive rock to jazz slowly, step by step. It has been a logical result of the musicians who have joined Planeta Imaginario over time, especially the brass section. Natsuko, Liba,The-Hien and Alfonso are mostly jazz musicians. Dimitris, our bassist studies with Gary Willis and he is mostly into jazz-fusion. So naturally we are combining the jazz and rock elements into a more effective mix.
AAJ: There have been changes in the lineup since your last album Biomasa. Do those changes make the group somewhat of a "Collective Action," as suggested on the first composition of the new CD? Please talk about the new lineup.
MC: Yes, some kind of collective action, everybody brings their own influences and inspirations to the band, so each time a new member joins us the sound of the band changes a little bit.
AAJ: The music appears to be composed in a very detailed and complex way, yet there are minor fringes of free form that appear on songs like "Xarramandusca," where just the reeds and the drums seem to break out. Are these spaces in the compositions meant to allow for some improvisation?
MC: Some members of the band are into the free jazz/improv scene, so we thought that it would be a great idea to use some of these influences in the mix. Alfonso and Vasco play in a free improv duo called Alfonsina y el Mal, so it was natural for us to include some elements of that kind of music.
AAJ: What other types of music or projects do you work on outside of the band?
MC: Other Ppojects outside Planeta include: October Equus (a very good band from Madrid where Alfonso and Vasco play); Filthy Habits Ensemble (a Zappa tribute band); Alfonsina y el Mal (a free-impro duo with Alfonso and Vasco); Liba's Traum trio (a very nice trio that includes our new saxophonist Liba Villavechia); I.E.D 8 ( free-impro octet); Outer zZone; Pablo Selnik Quartet.
AAJ: How did you and Vasco first meet?
MC: We first met at a Gong concert in Huesca, and after that Vasco responded to an Internet announcement. A King Crimson, Soft Machine, Gong-influenced band was looking for a drummer and it happened to be my band.
AAJ: Of the many different influences that can be heard in your playing, what pianists, keyboardists, and composers influenced you the most and why?
MC: Dave Stewart: I like him for his approach to playing the Hammond and Fender Rhodes, and his interplay with the band. Frederic Mompou: He's an excellent composer from here. He knows how to create images with his harmonic vision. He can build them into extremely beautiful landscapes. Bill Evans: a jazz player who made poetry with the piano. Fred Hersch, as well as Faure and Debussy.
AAJ: I have question for Vasco. Am I correct in hearing a type of Bill Bruford influence in your snare drum sound? Also, what drummers have primarily influenced you and why?
Vasco Trilla: Yes, for many years Bill Bruford was my favorite drummer, especially his King Crimson work, I never studied his style but obviously listening to his playing must have had a strong impact on me. I was also influenced by the Frank Zappa's drummers (Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta), Neil Peart was a big hero to me at the beginning, and now I like Jim Black, Joey Baron, Gavin Harrison, Stephane Galland (Aka Moon), Dan Weiss and, of course, some jazz drummers such as Elvin Jones and Tony Williams.
AAJ: Marc, this might seem like a difficult question, but what are your five favorite albums of all time and what is special about them?
MC: Third and Fourth by Soft Machine: Soft Machine has been the most influential band for me since I heard their first CD at the age of 13. I think that Third and Fourth are their creative peak, and the highlights of the whole Canterbury scene. In The Court of The Crimson King by King Crimson: it changed my personal vision of music. You, by Gong: Gong showed me that madness is an amusing thing and what's more an integral part of freedom. Leg End, by Henry Cow: it teaches you how creative and original you can be in a rock band. The Rotter's Club (Virgin, 1975), by Hatfield and The North: For me it's a perfect development of jazz-rock with superb compositions and tasteful Hammond solos.
AAJ: What type of feedback have you been receiving on your music outside of Spain in the past couple of years?
MC: The feedback has been very positive. We have gotten praise and flattering reviews outside of Spain, but we hope that changes with our new CD.
AAJ: Have there been any thoughts in collaborating with or even just playing with musicians outside of Spain that play this genre of music?
MC: Yes, in fact we'd like to ask Allan Holdsworth to collaborate with us on our next recording.