Q: So today we are talking with the members of the Ecuadorian band, Basca, could you take a sec and introduce yourselves and tell us your role in the band?
A: Basca is: Juan Pablo Hurtado: Vocals, Xavier Calle: Bass and Backing Vocals, Paulo Freire: Guitar, Jonatan Jara: Guitar and Backing Vocals, and Tito Bravo: Drums.
Q: I see that you have a 20+ year history making music in the metal scene, can you explain your sound to any possible new fans for the readers who may not have heard your music before?
A: Basca is mainly a heavy metal and thrash metal band, we try to add new sounds so the band stay loyal to our roots and at the same time still sound modern to the new audiences.
Q: What does your band name mean?
A: Back in the late 80´s and early 90’s when records used to be around, it was very exciting for us to read the credits in the records booklets of the bands we loved, bands like Baron Rojo, Angeles del Infierno etc, and we always saw that word (Basca) on EPs and Cds of almost all of the bands from Spain we used to listened to, you could read (in Spanish) Thanks to “La Basca” and we were really curious about what that word meant cause in Ecuador we don’t use that word, so when it was time for us to name our group we thought that was a good name cause it meant something for us - metal heads- who identified with that kind of music. We didn’t understand what it really means until years later when somebody from Spain told us it means “crowd” or the people who go to support bands at shows.
Q: That's really cool about what it means, it shows true community within the scene! How did you form the band back then?
A: We were a little group of friends from the same neighborhood who were really into the same kind of music, with two main influences: one from the US and the Uk, (Metallica, Iron Maiden, ACDC etc.,) and the other one from this –at the time- new movement that was happening in South America called “Rock Latino” bands like Soda Stereo, Los Prisoneros, Angeles del Infierno and so forth. We decided to form our own band trying to emulate those bands, of course we didn’t know how to play any instrument but the passion and the attitude this music generated in us was bigger than the talent we didn’t have back then, so we started palying with brooms and pots until eventually we got real instruments and slowly learned how to play them.
Q: Brooms and Pots? Sounds like you could also possibly make your own heavy metal cooking show or cleaning service, haha. That is not only humurous but it also shows a true drive and dedication to your craft! So now with all this time and history you've put into this musical entity in Ecuador, from pots and pans, to major gigs, could you describe for the readers the Ecuadorian metal scene to us?
A: At the begging of our career there was no metal scene in our city, maybe it was starting in Quito (Ecuador Capital) so we were seen as freaks, satanics, drug addicts or some kind of weirdos. It’s growth happened really slowly until the mid 90s when it became really big, there were bands all over the country playing this kind of music but even then, it was stiill underground so there were massive concerts but still crappy sound and poor organization, bands started to record their originals and we were really lucky that our songs, that didn’t sound professional at all, started to get popular in the underground metal scene, we had big crowds especially in the north of the country and it was a huge surprise and honor for us to have packed concerts with people chanting our lyrics and buying our records. We are lucky enough to say that this is still happening till today, there have been bands that came around, had some level of success and quit because in Ecuador there’s no such thing as a “Music Industry” most of the bands that are still playing and recording are pretty much independent, there are no labels or companies that support music and especially metal, and also - as we all know- how music is distributed these days, records aren’t a big income so there is rock concerts almost every week in most cities here but the metal scene is just surviving.
Q: Do you primarily play in Ecuador or other southern regions, or do you play abroad?
A: Sadly it is really complicated for an Ecuadorian independent band to go play in other countries, for instance in the US they ask the band members and crew to have work visas which are really difficult to get and expensive too, never the less Basca has played over 10 times in the US but it had been with the bands own resources and basically in bars and small venues, we´ve also been to Colombia, Peru and Mexico where the scene is pretty much alike so we kinda know what to expect. Now the band have plans to go to Argentina and Spain, hopefully in 2024 we can achieve that dream.
Q: What are the differences between different cultures within the metal scenes that you've noticed when playing in other countries compared to the Ecuadorian metal scene, what stands out the most to you in comparison?
A: We feel that heavy metal and rock n roll in general is a language, it’s a community so anywhere we go to, there’s always something in common we share with that particular place and people, our lyrics talk about politics and things that have negative impact in our societies, so it is pretty amazing when people from another context can relate to that, it makes us think we are in this together
Q: That being said, walk us through the writing process when coming up with new material. Is there a routine, a process you follow, or is it just whatever comes naturally?
A: Within over 20 years there have been 2 main composers in the band: Paulo Freire and Leandro “Folo” Jara (+) - music wise - and sometimes they have written the lyrics too. Some of the lyrics are written by Juan Pablo Hurtado, but as an exception to the rule, there are songs by other members who have left the band throughout the years but those songs have remained with us because we think they’re good songs and our fans like them. Basically the composer brings the song to the band or sends it through email, sometimes the song is already composed and we get a full band demo or after the song is presented in a basic form every member creates their part or we let it flow in the rehearsal room, every record had been different according to who’s in the band at that particular phase.
Q: Ok, how about influences then? Musically what inspires you guys?
A: We all like heavy stuff, that’s something we all have in common but every guy in the band listens to a variety of music, for instance: Xavier Calle, the bass player, has a degree in standup bass, so he has studied jazz, classical, academic music, etc., other members listen to or play different styles because music is their job, working as producers or teaching music, but when we get together we sound like Basca, heavy, loud, fast, and aggressive.
Q: Excellent! What about lyrics? What do you use to draw inspiration from when writing your lyrics?
A: Like we said before, our lyrics are about horrible governments, society injustice, that sadly we have to still talk about, even after all these years, but we also talk about personal issues, but not with a negative approach, we try to make people feel strong about themselves and about reality, and that no matter what, music and metal especially will always be there.
Q: Yeah, Music in general has a way of reaching people with its messages. Do you have any crowning achievements or special moments or memories you'd like to share with the readers?
A: Sure, we have been really lucky in all these 20 plus years, we still want to keep growing and bringing our music to new crowds and make more music together:
Opening for Metallica was a really huge honor, privilege and achievement, getting to know our idols since we were little kids was an incredible highlight in our history, also Megadeth, Testament and a big list of bands we have played with over all these years makes us feel we are doing things the right way, we still play as the main act in almost every festival and concert we do in our country so all of that give us the impulse to keep doing what we love and bring energy to the crowds and to the fans.
Q: That is a badass and impressive list of accomplishes! Is there anything coming down the line that the fans can look forward to?
A: We´re in the process to re-release our first two albums as LPs in Vinyl: (Hijos de… & Tierras Nefastas) with a new and better sound for collectors and fans in general, also we are working on songs our dear brother “Folo Jara”, who sadly passed away last year, wrote, and as a tribute to him and to his music and his talent and because they’re really great songs, we will record and release them as singles and eventually between his songs and our new songs we will put out a full album hopefully by the end of 2024.
Q: Sorry to hear that guys, I am sure he would have wanted that with his music and the band, that is really cool of you guys to do for him. And finally, I like to end all my interviews with an oddball, weird and funny question. Who would win in a fight between Freddy Kruger(Nightmare On Elm Street)or Pinhead(Hellraiser), and why do you think one would win over the other?
A: Freddy Kruger, because he listens to heavy metal!!
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