I need to go back to Donosti, August the 16th 2007, to start to talk about how my feature with Fermin Muguruza became reality.
The above date it’s the day when the Fermin Muguruza Afro-Basque Fire Brigade finished their world tour. After the last concert, the band and other friends were celebrating a successful tour that took the 14 musicians through all around the world, from America to Asia. I met them because of my friendship with Fermin and other members of the Basque crew.
So, the night was good; I was talking to Fermin, and joking I told him that he should include some beatbox on his next album, and that I was the right man for that. More jokes, more beer, and fun till late night. Afterwards I completely forgot about what I said about my beatbox, but apparently, he did not.
On January 2008 I received an e-mail literally saying:
“Whatz up, Javi?
Soon I’ll send you some audio tracks so you can get ready to do some beatbox.
Big hug: Fermin”
After reading it I was like… ‘Wow!! This is ain’t joke, man. This is going serious. Pheeeew! That can be the coolest thing of my life. Let’s work hard on it.’
I was patient and I didn’t told anybody anything about it. And I waited until February to contact Fermin again to know what was it all about. He did send me some instrumental stuff to start to work with, and we decided to meet in May in Irun, the city where he was born and where he lives.
TIME TO RECORD
So, the time passed faster than expected and the day to catch an Easy-Jet from Bristol to Biarritz arrived. Yeah, I was nervous, but also feeling confident with myself.
Mr Muguruza is an important figure that could impress someone that hasn’t met him before. But I knew Fermin personally for more than three years, and I must say that our relationship has always been very easy-going. I’d say it’s just natural.
He came with his wife, son and daughter to pick me up at the airport, and even though I knew all of them, I must say at the beginning I was quite embarrassed. But cool.
We took a walk through the seafront and everything was much better. Biarritz is a beautiful place and makes you feel easy.
Afterwards we went to Irun (it was my third time in the city) and they showed me some amazing views of the city from a mountain on the back of the city so we could see the sea and the frontier between France and Spain.
Then we spend the evening catching up, having a beer and he told me the work planning of the two coming days. It was going to be a non-stop, but I was happy and full of energy.
SOME PICS OF THE TRIP
The day after we woke up early and after having breakfast we went to Azkarate, a small village in Navarra where Angel Katarain, Fermin’s personal sound engineer, has got his studio.
The place is amazing. In the top of a mountain, there’s full of massive family houses (called Caseríos) and a church. The place is one of the houses that have been reconverted into a professional sound studio.
In our way from Irun to Azkarate, I had a good conversation with Fermin; talked about politics, music, personal stuff… It was a good one. Don’t know why, but I feel comfortable to speak out my mind in a car. I open myself and I start to talk.
Then, after a quick rehearse in the studio, the musicians started to play and record. First they did the guitar, then the bass, keyboards, voice and finally, the beatbox. I did some drum and bass phat beats and the musicians add some rock sounds on it. Also I did work with keyboarder by suggesting her which kind of sound would better fit with the song.
It was a long day’s work, so at night and after dinner we could relax and have a nice conversation with some beers, all the musicians together.
The day after we said goodbye to the Madrid crew, and then Fermin and me started to work side by side on different rhythms, organic scratchings and other sounds made by myself.
At launch time we met Rossy de Palma, who was coming for a feature in the album. We went to a really nice restaurant were they mix nouvel cuisine and basque traditional food. The food was impressively good and we had nicer conversations as well.
We spend the early evening working hard: while Rossy was recording her stuff, I was concentrated writing my rhymes for the song that gives name to the album; Asthmatic Lion.
I tried to compile some key words or sentences in the past career of Fermin and add it to my rhymes, but at the same time I tried to make it as personal as possible. Leave my blueprint and style.
I did a mistake the first time I tried to record it, but at my second chance all of us were happy with the final result: a quick rap, but full of vitality and positivism, as the album is.
Then we took Rossy back to the airport and afterwards Fermin and me went back to Irun. We only had a salad for dinner, watched some TV, talked about hip-hop origins (Fermin was going to be interviewed the day after about it) and went to bed.
Surprisingly, when doing the interview with Fermin, the ETB journalists asked me to do something in front of camera talking about the relationship of literature (poetry) and hip-hop. I did my thing and the result can be seen here by clicking the fifth video called “Rapa 2008.”
It was over. Two days of great time with some awesome people. I flought back to Bristol and kept the secret until october, when the album came out.
Now the album is out, and my name is on it. And what’s more; my feature songs are playing on the radio, specially the one with the rap, due to its colourful sound and my lyrical references.
One of the singles is a funky song called Shoot the singer, but also there’s jazz, reggae, soul, hip-hop, dub and all the different forms of Jamaican music that you can imagine.
During every song of the new album there’s so many instruments, voices, samples.
Please go to http://www.myspace.com/ferminmuguruza and listen the album. It’s worth it.
Also below there’s a couple of radio interviews for the Spanish listeners and the official video clip of the main single.