Calexico: Interview with John Convertino

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Dimitris Antonopoulos talked with Calexico's John Convertino. Read the full interview here.


Dimitris Antonopoulos:  First of all, it’s a privilege! So, are you ready for ATHENS? What can we expect here? So many fans for so many years here as you know...
John Convertino:
We are truly looking forward to coming back to Athens, through all of the tough times we have had to go through we keep coming back to what is so important to all of us, Music! We have a bunch of new songs to play, we have pulled out some real old ones too, a new keyboard player Sergio Mendosa and a new bass player who sings Ryan Alfred. It's going to fun.

D.A.: Can you tell me an inside story about the makin' of 'Sinner In The Sea'? Such a great song really.
J.C.:
Thank you. That song, as we were recording it, felt like the true beginning of the record. We had been working on a few ideas, but when that rhythm track went down, I knew we had something special. Lyrically, Joey was inspired by a book called "The World That Made New Orleans" that book combined with a trip we made down to Havana Cuba for recording with Amparo Sanchez revealed to us some similarities to what it is like living in Arizona bordering Mexico, how we are all connected and yet divided by governmental walls and embargoes.

D.A.: I think that 'rhythmm' (many airplays @ my radio show in 2012 - Rockzone/Channel One) a really 'typical' Calexico record, but on the other hand there's a new 'step' for your sound/music..How do you feel really about your new album?
J.C.:
I think 4 years of life since our last record sounds out in this new record. We really try to put into the music our life experience. I feel really good about the record, i think it was important for us to keep our sound aesthetically, but continue to explore deeper our emotion.

D.A.: We're in deep shit (to put it straight...) here in Greece, as i think you might know. We're under IMF for 3 years now. So, is there a LIFE really beyond the bankin' system...or we 're just the NEW slaves/workin for the markets...?
J.C.:
I really see us all in deep shit these days, I get the feeling that some countries hide it better than others. In trying not to be too pessimistic and somewhat realistic, I think the economic woes worldwide are pointing and pushing us to a major change and shift...which ultimately is a good thing.

D.A.: Can you tell me about your music influences as a band? Looking back if you wish..?
J.C.:
That list can get really long.... but i am happy to name a few. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neal Young, Afro Cuban Music, Portuguese Fado, Reggea, Ethiopian music, Miles Davis, Charlie Mingus, Joni Mitchell, Hank Williams, Lightning Hopkins, Eric Satie, Igor Stravinski, Gustav Mahler, Frank Sinatra, The Staple Family, Billy Holiday, and on and on and on...

D.A.: Are you feeling 'the desert rockers' as UNCUT magazine describes you nowadays?
J.C.:
Yeah the journalists will always attach the desert to our music because its so easy to do, and the desert is such an identifiable region...but i feel like the music goes beyond that, and always has.

D.A.: The new album sounds so fresh! Really, really fresh, you know..Are you working already for a next one? Is there a new project?
J.C.:
Thank you for saying that, I think so too, and playing these new songs live has revealed to us that these songs have some guts, and something to really dig into. I think we are always working on the next one...In the past we would leave our selves open to working on other projects, but i think since its been so long since our last record that it might be a good idea to follow up on this record sooner than usual.

D.A.:  Lets have a trip with a time machine for the next 24 hours (!) so,WHERE and WHY would you really wanna go for a whole day..?
J.C.:
We were just in San Diego and i went for a run along the beach, then i jumped in and played in the surf. There is no feeling like that. So i would like to be by the sea, in a house that has high ceilings and windows that open, with a nice old piano and a well stocked kitchen.

D.A.:  Can you tell me 5 of your fav albums ever?
J.C.: 
Kind of Blue - Miles Davis, A Love Supreme - John Coltrane,  The Early Piano Works of Erik Satie, The Rite of Spring - Igor Stravinski, Let's Stay Together - Al Jackson

D.A.:  For the end, any special moment from your previous gigs here? A really good one,you know..
J.C.: 
So many special and hilarious moments in Greece! To choose just one would be an injustice....I really should write a book. One of my favorite gigs there was when we played at the site of the Olympics and we were joined on stage with our friends Beirut, and A Hawk and a Hacksaw. There was a lot of special clear Greek drink in unmarked bottles....music off and on stage, and lots of laughs!!!

See you in ATHENS,thank you really,

Thank you!!!


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