Mikel Markez: "The freedom to sing what we want is not negotiated"

At the age of 20, he re-recorded his songs with new arrangements. In his turn of 30, however, Mikel Markez has opted for the live (Errenteria, 1971). Somewhere, he wanted to leave a "snapshot" of what he has done at concerts in recent years and has presented at the Durango Fair. He was joined by Arkaitz Miner (violin, mandolin, guitar), Julen Alonso (trikitia and sound), daughter Esti Markez (voice) and Andrea Bidart (voice).

– Why did you decide to record in a studio and not in a concert hall?

– Because there is a big difference in sound quality and lower pressure recording. This is a formula that is widely used here and I wanted to try it.

"I also perceive these racist-populist discourses among the Basques" "They will call me romantic but I think that making good songs is the only way"

– How was the recording?

– We invited forty people, including family, friends and fans, and we all made our return: having people look at you forces you to get another strain. We also went to the band, all looking at each other – that's why we put the title 'Round' on the record. We didn't have to do a lot of shooting. Generally, what is heard on the disc is a step that we made public.

– There are eight songs to summarize the 30-year track. Was the selection difficult?

– I would say that the songs were our own choice: some because Esti and I like to sing, another because we gave Andréa Bidart songs, others made repairs … I didn't spend more than five minutes deciding which song I should join.

– 'Your eyes' and 'But it's the same' are written when you were 20 years old. Today, you are almost 50 years old. What do you feel when you recover them?

– These two are teen songs, because they were made by a teenager! I have sung so many times where they look like a picture, a postcard, a letter … They flew me. They have their own integrity and they have even surpassed me. 30 years have passed and they still serve the people.

– Do you look very naive in these songs?

– I don't judge these songs anymore. Of course, I wouldn't write now, "I am nothing without you, I live without you", but at that moment I was very much in love with writing it. They are a desperate, gross and honest chronicle of a moment in my life. I'm not one to change a comma.

– But did you ever admit that you ended up disgusted with that romantic songwriting image?

– At one point I wanted to be something else, to do something else, to give another image, but that romantic songwriter took over me. I didn't realize that it was just my prejudices that it didn't make sense to hate that. In essence, we are always the same, even if we dress differently and even have a different image of ourselves.

– What was the key to moving from that stage to another new era?

– The release of 'Erotic Songs' (1997) brought about a change. Some people used to listen to romantic songs and I came out with erotic-pornographic songs. I also saw people getting up and walking. Normal, they were going to hear one thing and I was giving them another. Their departure was normal, but I also had the right to sing whatever I wanted. Yes, I had to warn you beforehand. (Laughter)

– 1995's 'Why Limit' for Sexual Freedom. Unfortunately, his message is needed today.

– We are going back a lot of speeches and I am not talking about the Spanish Vox party. Amongst the Basques, I also see these racist-populist discourses: that those who come from outside will take away our bread, that social aid is only for them. It still seems like a 'novelty' for a child with two fathers or two mothers. Unfortunately, the song you mentioned has not lost its news and we will have to make new ones too.

– 'Herrimina' is the only new song on the album. It has a Mexican touch, perfect for the party …

– I heard that song in Washington when we were at the Smithsonian festival. The Texmaniacs team were in the same hotel as us and were partying the night away. I immediately heard and thought I should speak Basque. He speaks of Herriminia, who must leave his country for a better life, which he must adhere to. Our father came from Huelva to work in the Basque Country. When we Basques went wrong here, we went to Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico or the United States, and we all have ours.

– This time you have always been faithful to the essence of classical songwriting.

– I always have a guitar starting point for singing. If the songs I create cannot be defended with a simple guitar, they are of no value to me. In my opinion, a song necessarily has three things: words that will bring something, a melody that will become bone-flesh with those words, and a proper musical harmony that will round everything. If that sounds good, the song is made of steel.

– Have you ever been tempted to approach other areas? Rock, for example?

– Temptation yes, but more laziness. However, you never know when!

– Compared to 30 years of experience, does an author like you have to play very different in today's songwriting?

– Think about how things have changed since we started … We were making a record and it was a novelty for three years; now, three weeks have passed and the news has expired. Anyway, they'll call me romantic but I think the only way to make good songs is because the songs find their own way.

– You went to self-production on the latest albums …

– The path goes from there. Now 30 years old, or maybe more, music is heard, but it is almost completely digital. New cars and new computers do not have a disk drive … More and more weight is the drive itself, which leads to self-production. However, I do not know how long, but it seems that we also need the object, physical disk, view photos, read letters …

– Nowadays, the codes and values ​​have changed, more attention is paid to the words of the songs, people are much easier to speak … Do you keep that in mind when writing?

– There are always two things here. If those who speak are oppressed in society and are empowered, I am with them. I am against macho or homophobic lyrics, even if they were made unconsciously. We still need to unlock many of the codes we have learned. On the other hand, I do not agree to censure someone for speaking out against power. Well, can you imagine going to a police gig in Evaristo 30 years ago for something that the mic has said? Please! In this we don't even have to take a step back: the freedom to sing what we want is not negotiated.

. (tagsToTranslate) micel (s) marking (s) musician (s) wanting (s) singing (s) negotiating (s) freedom (s)

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