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Rodrigo Y Gabriela Interview


That would have been quite unique what you were doing…

Absolutely! When people are eating they tend not to listen but some came up to us and asked what sort of Mexican music we were playing and that it was ‘so lovely.’ It was really good for us and we didn’t care that people weren’t paying attention to us at all. We didn’t care because we were doing exactly what we wanted to do and we lived at the beach and met people from all over the world. It was a place with a lot of international tourists, so it was quite inspiring and we played guitar all day…


I was fascinated to read on the sleeve notes that you met someone in Denmark who recommended that you listen to FRIDAY NIGHT IN SAN FRANCISCO (my favourite acoustic guitar album). And when I listen to your record I’m reminded of that style…

That album came across as something quite unique then. Nobody was expecting three acoustic players making people go crazy (in the audience of a live gig). It was not like playing Flamenco music which is ritualistic, it comes from the gypsy music…


You could see the crowd being drawn into the music…

Yeah. It was different, it was another language; it was not like a rock set-up. That guy made that reference because when we were playing in Denmark people were getting excited - a rock reaction to non-rock music.

When he told you about that album did you listen to it?

We already had that album and we loved it. My mother had it and when I was little I didn’t know who John Mclaughlin or Paco De Lucia were but I played that album all the time and loved it. And we also have all the guitar trio’s albums anyway; we’re big fans of those three. So that was an obvious influence in what we do.


Jumping ahead now, you ended up in Ireland (the story is in the album sleeve notes) and released a live album of songs played in Manchester and Dublin. Did that raise people’s awareness of the duo?

Not really because before that album we released a folk album which was really an experiment for us and we didn’t tour at all. But suddenly for some reason the company wanted us to do a studio album which we didn’t want to do. They said we had to do it and I said No! We were touring with Courtney Pine at that time and were recording our live pieces on mini-disc so when the company tried to push us into a studio album we suggested they take some of these recordings from real tours (some sounded good some not so good) and the best vibe and sound of all was from the Manchester show. And believe me to master that album was a pain in the arse but we wanted to do something that was ‘happening.’ So that’s how that came about.


But this new one is a studio album and one of the most surprising things about to me over here was that it went so high in the Irish pop album chart… Did it surprise you?

Yeah, of course, because we were surprised at the amazing reviews from the last album (which we thought was cool). We actually wanted to record the new album at the beach in Mexico but when we went there we were drinking with Irish friends who were supposed to be helping us with the recording, and we didn’t record anything! So we came back and eventually came across John Leckie who loved our music. So we recorded in the studio but were advised by many people that we should record a track with a voice if we wanted to hit the charts. So we said ‘fuck off!’ We said that we didn’t want to hit the charts, this is the way we play and we cannot change that! We are not that materialistic. It also went into the charts in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and in The States they are playing our music on the radio, so it was fantastic because we didn’t expect it…

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