Interview: ’77

77 are a Spanish rock band who released their debut album, ‘21st Century Rock’, on May 10th throughout Europe after a self-release a year before in their native Spain. After moving to London, the band were signed by Listenable Records and now they are looking to make an impact.

I was offered the chance to submit some questions to the band which you can read below.

Could you tell our readers a little bit about the band, history of where you all come from?

The band started in 2005 by my brother, Armand Valeta, and I, LG Valeta, singer/rhythm guitar and lead guitar respectively, in Barcelona. We’ve been playing since 2007 with the actual line up. In the first two year was very difficult to find the right people to complete the band, but after lots of auditions, the actual drummer, Johnnie, joined ’77. The last member, Raw, joined the band in 2007 and then ’77 began to work really hard to obtain what we want, and now we’re happy to say that we’re achieving it.

The name ’77 reflects the era of music that as a band you love; who are your influences from that era and in the 21st century?

Our main influences are based in bands from the 60’s & 70’s, the golden age of rock’n’roll. The strongest one is AC/DC, of course but we’ve learned things from other bands: the high energy of The Who in their live performances, the “savoir faire” on stage of Led Zeppelin, the spectacle concept of Kiss, the organization of The Ramones… And we love all the classic rock’n’roll from the 50’s, artists like Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Little Richard, etc. because of the great music they all did.
We don’t listen to many bands from the 21st Century, but Wolfmother fascinated us since the first time we listened to them, the same that The Hellacopters did, they were really great! It’s curious, by the way, that all this kind of bands are doing nothing new, they’re doing something “retro”, like us, or like Airbourne, The Hives, The White Stripes…, those are nowadays bands and nobody’s inventing nothing new. This is the greatness of rock’n’roll, it’s timeless!

AC/DC are of course a major impact on your sound. What do you say to people who believe you a clone/rip-off of their trademarked sound?

We know that we’re not doing nothing new and we know that people always will compare us with AC/DC, but, it’s bad when somebody compares you with a legend? We think it ain’t bad; for us, when some critics talk about ‘77 as we were something like the “Bon Scott’s AC/DC” is an honour. This is what we want to do, we want to play rock’n’roll and we’ll keep doing it at the moment.

But, on the other hand, there are some people talking about us in a bad manner just because of that and we don’t understand where the problem is, we mean, how many heavy metal bands sound exactly like Iron Maiden? Or Helloween? Or try to imitate Metallica, or Pantera? Or whatever? The answer is clear: hundreds! So we don’t know what the problem is with ’77…, we have to judge if the band in question is great and the songs are good, and try to forget if it sounds like this or like that…, we’ve something like a slogan related to all this: “If you don’t like ’77, fuck off”! Haha!

It took only a year from the release of the album until you were signed up by Listenable Records. How does it feel to be so quickly recognised for the music you are creating?

It feels really nice of course, is the thing we need to start our world-conquer! But we can’t say that it was easy or that it came quickly because we’ve been working hard with the band these past 3 years, especially the last one; we moved to London about one year ago, because we thought that there we could find what we were chasing, a contract with a record label or a management agency or whatever, something that makes the band grow, you know? So we went there with no idea of where to go, who to talk with or what to do…, so the first days was something like an initial contact. We booked lots of gigs in a few days and we achieved to be the resident band of a venue in Soho. But things didn’t go how we expected…, the problem is that nobody cared about us because we had not a record released in the UK and we were not appearing in the specialized media, things we learned that are very important there…, so, you know, we had not got a job and we could not live from the money of the shows…, it was a very difficult situation. But then Listenable Records appeared and offered us a contract…, it was a really big surprise for us, but we were like “we did it, finally!” a kind of compensation for the hard work we were and we keep doing!

The press in Spain has praised the album and are in full support of the band but now with positive reviews coming in from around Europe and the US, are you starting to feel like the dream is coming true?

Well it could be something like that, of course, because it’s great to see that people from different countries likes our album, and it’s fantastic to see the great acceptance the album had in our country, of course. But we know this is just the beginning, that now starts the difficult part and the hard work; we’re not saying that these past years have not been hard, we’ve been working a lot with the band and the way to be where we are now was very difficult, beginnings are never easy at all, you know… So, we could say that the “dirty job” it’s done; now we’re on the right track and now we’ve to conquer the world with our music and our live shows, something that it’s a big challenge for us. We know it will be hard, but we will do it, for sure!

Having already released the album in Spain in March 2009 and now a worldwide release coming in May, is there anything on the album that you wish you could have changed or worked on since the original release?

No, definitively, and let me tell you why. We think the album sounds great, but we know that you could tell us that the album could sound better, that it’s not a big production…, well, you would be right probably, but we’ve to bear in mind that the album is produced, financed, recorded and mixed by us, and the budget we had was limited; we could not stay lots of days in the studio, we could not pay a producer… So, working in those conditions is complicated, but we think that the result of the album is the best we could obtain in terms of production and sound quality, taking account of the limitations we had. The truth is that we’re very happy with the result of “21st Century Rock”, especially because we did every process of the album, the musical and the visual ones.

One of the great aspects about the album is that you keep the music relatively high without slowing it down too much; the tempo is always high. Was this something you set out to do from the start? What in your ears really makes a great album?

Haha, this is an uncommon question! Well, we didn’t thought about it when we were recording the album…, but you’ve got Wicked Girl, which is the fastest one, and Shake It Up, the slowest one, in the same recording…, they are very far in tempo one from another. So, we think there’s variety of tempos and styles in the album. But the thing is that all the songs appearing in “21st Century Rock” are like a “compilation” of songs we did in the first years of the band, so, we never thought too much about the tempos, because we were not composing for an specific album in the beginning, we just started to do songs when we the inspiration came to us, you know?

With the four main members, who takes on what role when you sit to create music (lyrics etc) or do you work collectively and all throw ideas in until it makes something?

Well, I (LG) do the bulk of the composition work, lyrics and music, sometimes I terminate a song and I show it to the guys how it is and sometimes I’ve got an idea, you know, a main riff and we work on it in the rehearsal room, or I show it to my brother and he contribute to make the song grow with his ideas, you know? My brother is my partner in composition terms, he does his riffs and lyrics too, and then I give him some ideas…, you know, we ain’t got one unique way of working, everything is quite spontaneous.

Armand: With a lot of foreign vocalists, they are able to mask their accent well but when performing on the album you could never tell that you were Spanish. Did you work on your voice to help remove the Spanish tones or is it simply natural?

This is something completely natural, of course that I worked a little bit on it, but, contrary to other people I know, for me it’s not difficult to remove the Spanish tones, as you say. The thing is that I’m used to listen to music or watch films in English and that’s where I notice and learn the accent and all that. The rest is just practice a little bit, and you’ve got it!

Are they any key tracks off the album that are favourites to the band or that you really love to play live?

We love each song of the album, but we love to play songs like “Big Smoker Pig”, “Shake It Up” or “Less Talk (Let’s Rock)”, they’re fucking great! “Big Smoker Pig” or “Less Talk (Let’s Rock)” are the songs when I (LG) can do my solos, it’s my moment! Haha. Apart from this, are very tough songs, we love them! “Shake It Up” is the sexy one, you know, the lyrics and the music are addressed to the female part of the crowd…, Raw and I do those sexy dance steps or postures, just to provoke them! Haha! “Your Game’s Over” is great too. It has always been, and we think it will be for a long time, our opening song, it’s a great title to do that because it’s like a shot in the head to the crowd since the first note, you know?

For people who haven’t heard the album, how would you describe it to them to hook them in and make them want to listen, sell it to our readers.

The main reason to take a listen to “21st Century Rock” is that it’s a great rock’n’roll album, filled with great songs that will make you move your feet; so, for those who love classic hard-rock’n’roll records, with “catchy riffs”, great choruses and big solos, “21st Century Rock” is an album to bear in mind.

Can you give us a little insight to the meaning behind some of the songs?

Hardworking Liar – This song, in fact, talks about somebody who was a friend of us but, you know, things didn’t went well at all finally…, so you could think that the song is about a relation with a girl, it’s not that exactly.

Big Smoker Pig – The story of a hang out night time before creating ’77…, it was crazy, so, the lyrics are a little bit strange… haha!

Less Talk (Let’s Rock) – Talks about bands or people in general we don’t like because the only thing they know to do is talk or fantasize about what could be great to do, and they are always telling you what’s the best for you, what you should do, instead of move their arses and do something productive…, so, we say to them “Less Talk, Let’s Rock”, you know?
Let The Children Hear Rock N Roll – The title says it all…

21st Century Rock – Well, this song talks about how we see the world we’re in and the business we’re in too…, we think it’s necessary a “generational relay”, you know what we mean? There are hundreds of good bands playing everywhere and nobody cares about them, we keep talking about the same old bands…, they’re great, but we have to give way to new young bands because they, well in fact, all of we will be the 21st Century Rock!

You have been opening for Airbourne on tour, how has that experience been?

Yes we just played one show with them in Madrid, the first one of their Spanish tour. The problem is that they cancelled the other two gigs because Joel, the singer, was very ill. But, anyway, it was really great for us to share the stage with them because it was a big opportunity to play in front of their public in a sold out venue. We know that we’ve got a similar style and it means that their public could enjoy us too, and they really did! We could not speak a lot with them but they’re cool guys and all their crew treated us very well. We’ll be playing with them again in Barcelona and we think it will be a great night, because this is our city and it will be very special to play for a big crowd of headbangers here!

After hitting the road with Airbourne, what would be an ideal tour for the band now? Who would you tour with or want to support you on a headlining tour?

Well, supporting Airbourne was great, so, it could be fantastic to make a whole tour with them. The main reason behind it is that the kind of public they’ve got is ideal for us, you know, headbangers and metal heads…, so, be their opening band could be a great promotion tool for us, because, being honest, we’ll not be able to play in big sold out venues around the world now…, so, playing with them could be really really great!
On the other hand, we could have as a support band in our headlining tour a band called AC/DC, do you know them? Haha! I was kidding of course! Now seriously, we don’t know who could be our support band…, the first step is do a headlining tour; we think we’ll do it soon, we’re trying to book a tour around the whole Europe, but it’s not easy to square the dates and all that, you know?

You will playing the Azkena Rock Festival on June 25th, the same day that KISS is scheduled to headline and you’re also set to headline the Luarca Metal Fest. What do those two big dates mean to the band?

Playing in the Azkena Rock Festival is something very special and an honour for us, because you know, it’s the most important rock’n’roll festival of our country, and we’ll be playing the day Slash and Kiss are the headliners…, this is fucking great for us! Apart from that, it’s a festival we’ve gone several times in the past, when we were teens! There we saw lots of bands we love! So, playing there is, as we said, special for us, because it’s a dream come true!

Some band having touring rituals before they go on stage, is there anything that the band does or anything strange you take on stage? I’ve seen everything from the Jason Voorhees hockey mask, bongs and also a pink care bear.

Haha, no…, we are normal guys, with no stupid caprices or strange rituals. We just try to do our job the best we can, that is, drive to the venue, do the sound check, meet people and make friends, do our show like it was our last one, pick up our stuff and then well, stay with the girls, drink a little bit with the guys or whatever…, the day after, the same.

Is there anything your fans, even the die hard fans, don’t know about the band or are you wanting to keep the secrets tied up?

We ain’t got secrets if we’re talking of everything related with the band, of course, but we don’t like and don’t want to talk about our personal life and problems, because it’s something that nobody have to care about. So, you can know everything related with the band in our myspace, facebook or twitter!

What is next for the band? Do you aim to tour in more countries in support of the album release or are you already thinking about the next album?

We can tell you that we’ve got plans to tour around Europe, maybe after summer, but it’s soon to talk about it, because we have to square all the dates and all that…

Anything you wish to add?

We want to say thank you to EspyRock for allowing us to be heard in the UK!! And, in case you want to now more things about the band, visit our myspace, there you can find pictures, videos, music, press references…, you know, everything related with the band!


About ??

Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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