Interviewed by Anders Sandvall.
Thanks to Hobbe at Sound pollution for help with the interview.
Thanks to Stephan at Massacre Records for getting me in contact with Sandalinas.
Promo pictures provided by Massacre Records.
Jordi SANDALINAS is an up and coming guitarist that currently released his debut with his selftitled band/project SANDALINAS. His originally from Spain and I got curious on what SANDALINAS had to say about his new album, about the band/project and what he has done prior to SANDALINAS so I took the chance to interview him and here are his answers.
Hi Jordi, would you please like to tell us about your band/project SANDALINAS?
Well, SANDALINAS is my pure band, the definitive kick-ass-band that will rock Europe with straight songs, great melodies and sincere metal direct to your heart. SANDALINAS is pure truth and shows happiness, sadness of the band through its songs. Now we?ve released our debut album ?Living on the Edge? through Massacre for Europe, Canada & Australia, through Nightmare Records in USA and in Russia through Art Music.
According to the bio I?ve read it says that you?re a Spanish guitar hero, where does that description come from and how does it feel to be considered a guitar hero?
I don?t know if I?m a guitar hero or not, I really don?t care. I?m just a guy that plays the best he can and puts his best effort in building up great songs and metal anthems. Anyway, it?s cool when you hear nice things like that, even if it?s something the label uses in order to sell albums, haha.
Have you played in any bands before you kicked off SANDALINAS, if so what bands and what kind of music did you play?
Yes I did, I played in a band called Angrist, a local band from the city I?m from (Barcelona). We played metal and some Iron Maiden and Metallica covers, we released an EP called PAIN but without not much success. The funny thing is that I sang in that band, I told to myself, ?Jordi just play guitar ?J, no singing anymore?
You decided to form SANDALINAS back in 2000, how come you wanted to have your own band?
I was tired of going nowhere in music and I wanted to do my own songs. I knew they were good enough to finance my own ?repertoire? and become the executive producer of ?Living on the Edge?. I also thought, ?Man it?s now or never?. I did not want one day to be forty years old and look behind blaming the good things I could have done and I did not dare to attempt.
I have to ask if SANDALINAS are a band or a project and how come you name the band after yourself?
Well, I?m the executive producer and I?m the one who started the whole thing; some might say I?m the master-mind, this is ok because behind any company, project, band, must be someone behind that makes the final decision and be responsible for the future of the band. Talking whether SANDALINAS is a band or a project, it started as a project but actually I would love that the guys remain in SANDALINAS would stay here as long as possible.
You have recorded your debut album LIVING ON THE EDGE in Los Angered Studios located in Gothenburg Sweden with Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) as a producer, how come you chose to work with him? Do you consider Andy being a role model in the guitar department?
Indeed, Anders is the best producer in the world. Look, I was searching for a great producer, checking studios around the world, like Hilversum (NL), Galaxy (Bel) or Top Beat Studios (L.A.), Anders? choice was the best so far, he?s not only a great producer but a guitarist and a great luthier.
You and Andy have together produced the album, how was that and did you have a lot of different ideas on what the outcome should sound like?
Andy is the technical producer, the true professional and expert behind the desk. I am the executive producer, meaning by I financed the whole thing and was the one who was supposed to be satisfied and I am 100%. Concerning the ideas, we both had the same opinions, you know, he?s a great producer and he has the ability to understand your feelings just like that.
It says in the info note that Andy was a bit hesitant to your material from the start, how come and what was it that made him change his mind?
Well, Andy was not aware of who the fuck I was. Imagine, an unknown guy from Spain gets in touch with GOD and asks if you would like to produce his album. HE IS ANDY LAROCQUE man! He?s GOD. Then he realized it was worth to get into it and, he?s really happy of the final result, so is the label.
When was LIVING ON THE EDGE recorded, how long did it take and why have you chose exactly that title, is there any special reason behind the title?
The album was recorded between September 2003 and March 2004. We stayed in the studio about 3 months in total. You know, I chose Living on the Edge as a title because it represents they way I?ve been doing things until know, just upstream, no matter what people says about my music, and no matter when they said I was crazy. Now I say, yes, I was crazy enough to release my album worldwide.
What makes Andy so special as a producer and how was it to work with him?
Andy is a great guitarist, I admire him a lot and a great producer. He has the ability to make easier things that at first sight might seem really difficult to get.
Have you heard anything that Andy had produced before you went into the studio with him?
Except some King Diamond albums, honestly no, I didn?t.
Do you think you?re going to work more with him in the future?
Of course, I?m dying to do that. I would love to enter into that tomorrow; we have tons of new stuff.
It was Andy that introduced you to Apollo (lead singer) and Daniel (drums) but how did Victor (guitar) and Fran (bass) ended up in SANDALINAS? And have they played in any other known bands before?
Victor and Fran did not record the album. I knew them before, Fran is from Sao Paulo, he played in a Kiss tribute band and he?s a great bass player and a great musician. Victor is a friend of mine since long time ago; he?s played also in local bands in Barcelona. He?s a good rhythm guitarist.
Have you heard any work of Apollo or Daniel before they joined you? If so what did you think of that?
No I heard nothing at all. I trusted Andy 100%, and he?s right. He?s my bro.
Andy appears on two tracks on lead guitar, how did you get him to do that? Was he hard to persuade?
It happened just like that. We were recording the guitar parts for All along the Everglades and all of a sudden, out of the blue, Anders took my guitar and played the fill guitar that goes underneath the chorus; it happened also during the recording of It if wasn?t for you. I almost fainted.
When you recorded the album was everyone on location in the studio or have you recorded any parts separately?
Every instrument was recorded separately. First we recorded the reference guitars, then the drums, keyboards, the bass, guitars and finally the voices.
How long did it take to mix LIVING ON THE EDGE and who?s done the mixing?
Andy LaRocque was in charge during all the mixing process. It took us around one month, as far as I remember. I was an intensive process because we wanted the album to be as perfect as possible.
The info note also says that all of the 10 tracks on the debut was written by you during your early years, when did you write the material and do you have more material laying around?
Sure, Actually I have tons of material waiting to be released in my forthcoming album. Actually, talking about Living on the Edge, except All Along the Everglades, Heaven and bits and pieces of The Day the Earth Died, all tracks were written between fall 2002 and July 2003.
What are the lyrics about, have you written about anything in particular?
Yes, I normally write about feelings and experiences. I intend to make an album as close as possible to the audience. I do that because I am pretty exhausted of swords, irons, metal and wizards.
How would you describe what kind of metal you play?
Well, I think we?re playing something like new-AOR. It?s some kind of progressive hard, AOR influenced but with today?s sound.
How has the media greeted the album, have you got any reactions yet and have you read any reviews?
Yes, of course. The reaction of the media has been great. Everybody around such as magazines, press, radio stations, journalists, every distributing company plus the label are really happy and satisfied about how the record is developing. That?s why we expect great sells of the album. Also, thanks to our manager, Claus Jensen, we?ve signed two licensing contracts with American label Nightmare Records and Russian Art Music.
What are the thought behind the cover artwork and who have done it? What do you think of it and do you think that?s important that a cover reflects the music on the album?
The cover of Living on the Edge has been done by master Thomas Ewerhard. I believe it intends to show isolation; the isolation feeling comes when you do things upstream, against everybody?s thoughts, but with the strong determination because is what you really think is right.
The bio proclaims SANDALINAS to be a unique band, how do you comment that?
Well, as it?s stated on the SANDALINAS official biography; musically you would be able to compare SANDALINAS to classic hard rock acts, such as Rainbow, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, but also inspirations from the neo-classical guitarists such as Malmsteen and Uli Jon Roth, to the melodies of AOR acts in the vein of Pink Cream 69 or Gotthart. It’s all there, and it’s what makes SANDALINAS a unique band.
Was there many labels that were interested in releasing your album and how come you chose to sign on for Massacre Records?
Indeed, there were different labels interested. Thanks to the work of Claus Jensen, my manager, we received different offers, but we thought Massacre?s was the most advantageous choice.
What do you think of Massacre Records so far, have they done a good job with promoting the album?
Sure, they are promoting Living on the Edge as much as they can. They have put all the efforts in this album and it won?t disappoint anybody. That?s why all media are giving the it high rates, which I?m thrilled about considering the amount of all the recent releases.
How was your stay in my country Sweden? What do you think of Gothenburg and for how long did you stay in Sweden?
Mycket bra (that?s Very Good in English). I had a great time. I had been in Sweden before and I have good friends in Sweden. During the recording of ?Living of the Edge? I was somewhat around three months. I loved Gothenburg I really like Scandinavia, it?s a great place and I love the Swedish weather. It might seem strange coming from a Spaniard but it?s true, I hate hot weather. It?s like living in a melting pot (Living on the Edge..haha). When every summer day it?s 45 degrees Celsius, you get mad. At least I do.
Where do you live at the moment?
Actually I live in Barcelona.
Are there any current plans on continuing releasing albums under the name SANDALINAS?
Indeed, sooner than everyone expects.
Are there a steady line up in SANDALINAS at the moment or is there anyone who?s a session musician on the album?
We?ll see, but I intend SANDALINAS to be a band.
Apollo sounds really great and he has an amazing voice on LIVING ON THE EDGE compared with what I?ve heard from him on the later albums with Time Requiem…it really sounds like he?s having fun. Why does he sounds so different on your album do you think? Personally I think that you gave him more artistic freedom to interpret your material in his own way, is that true?
Apollo did an excellent job. I?m sorry but I can?t compare his singing with other albums but of course he was told to sing the way he felt, even if I write the lyrics and all the music lines. He?s GOD, of course, he has the name of a Greek God (Apollo),so he sings like one of them.
Are there any current plans on going out on the road and do live shows at the moment?
We still would like to see how the album is actually working before committing to any tours. A lot of bands think they should go on a big big tour right after the first album, but it takes carefulness to choose the right moment and the right tour. That?s the job of my management (Instrumental Management) to take care of that.
Are you content with the album or do you feel that you should have done anything different on it now that you look back?
Sure, I?m really satisfied. We all are. Anders (LaRocque) thinks this is a great work and Apollo is very satisfied with the quality of it all. This is one of his best singing albums.
Do you have any favorite song on the album? In that case which one and why?
?If it wasn?t for you?. I think is a great song, it has everything a hit must have to succeed.
Do you know when the next SANDALINAS album is going to come?
Sure, I think fall 2006 would be the date. I?m working on the new songs right now.
What are the plans for SANDALINAS during the rest of 2005?
Well, we would like to play live a bit here and around Europe if possible, and of course promote Living on the Edge in USA and Russia, because of our recent agreements and start rehearsing the songs for our new album.
Why did you start playing guitar in the first place?
At the age of 16 I changed my piano for an electric guitar when I listened to Adrian Smith’s way of playing. I was just 14 years old when bought Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave” and “Live After Death” albums, and from there on my heart was sold to heavy metal. In 1992 I went back and forth to the United States to study guitar at New Milford’s NGSW, where I took lessons from Terry Syrek (www.terrysyrek.com), who was a class mate of Zakk Wylde at Berkeley School of Music. Terry is undoubtedly one of the best US guitar shredders, and I learned a lot from taking lessons with him. I also played in a lot of bands, I did Iron Maiden and Metallica cover versions with a band in the States and also was in lots more here in Barcelona.
On the other hand, I?ve been inspired by many artists. Guitarists like Adrian Smith, Steve Clark, Mike Oldfield and Dave Mustaine above all. I love bands like Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Def Leppard, Tesla and Dokken. Also Fleetwood Mac, Beatles and Bee Gees. Everything as long as it is good music.
Can you live on being a musician or do you have a ?regular? job as well?
Actually I?m into the music market fulltime, because I am a legal adviser – I?m into Intellectual Property Rights.
How?s the metal scene doing in Spain, are there any famous bands from Spain?
There are good metal bands but I think most of them have chosen to sing in Spanish, that?s why we don?t see them around. Anyway, metal is not the most successful style around, it?s more like U2 and Latin music.
What do you think of the Swedish metal scene? Do you have any favorite bands from Sweden?
Sure, Swedish musicians are, by far, the best musicians around, really professional and accurate. Well, I love Europe, Hammerfall, Yngwie, Andy LaRocque, John Norum, among others.
Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of metal-rules.com?
Of course, I would like them to buy the album and I hope they like it as much as I enjoyed recording all the material. It?s a great work of all the musicians involved, hence, Apollo did an excellent job, and it?s a producing masterpiece, indeed.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions.
Tack sa mycket (thanks a lot) brothers I love you all. See you..
More info on the band: www.sandalinas.com