Capsula Talk Nabbing David Bowie’s Producer and Heading to Kentucky to Record ‘Solar Secrets’ Album
Having paid homage to David Bowie throughout their 15 years together, Argentinian trio Capsula finally nabbed the Thin White Duke’s longtime producer Tony Visconti for their latest release, ‘Solar Secrets.’ The band’s name is derived from the Spanish form of “capsule,” as mentioned in the Visconti-produced Bowie classic ‘Space Oddity,’ so working with the studio ace brought the group full circle.
Fronted by husband-wife duo Martin Guevara and Coni Duchess and featuring drummer Ignacio Villarejo Solimo, the group plays high-energy ’70s style garage rock informed by Stooges-era proto-punk and glam. Before launching a tour that will take them through Europe and America, Guevara and Duchess chatted with Diffuser.fm about relocating from their home base of Bilbao, Spain, to record ‘Solar Secrets’ in Kentucky. They also looked back on their early days and reminisced about discovering rock ‘n’ roll, despite government and parental censorship.
How did you end up working with Tony Visconti on the record?
CD: For us, it was incredible. We have a friend in common from Barcelona, so he introduced us to Tony. At first, the idea was to show him the demos so he could check them out. He had just gotten done working with David Bowie on ‘The Next Day.’ When we sent him the demos, though, it was a big surprise that he wanted to be in the project just after ‘The Next Day’ album. For us, it was like walking on clouds.
When we sent him the demos, in that moment, it was OK, because we never thought about it or though anything would happen. But he is really amazing. He came to see us live first before coming to the studio. We ended up in the studio with him for two weeks, and it was great to receive his ideas for production.
MG: We really saw him as the fourth member of the band. He is an incredible producer, but also an amazing musicians. So he gives great musical direction.
Did he know about the band’s David Bowie past and how he was such an inspiration to you guys?
MG: He really didn’t know about it. We were a little shy about showing him our album of Spanish versions of ‘Ziggy Stardust’ songs, and about his influence as a band. We eventually gave him the album, and he liked it. Our relationship became very natural and in a short period, we became really great friends. He’s been working with so many musicians that the studio is just a natural place for him.
CD: We really love experimenting the studio, and he became a good person to try that with. He has a great production ideas.
MG: Yes, like putting microphones in strange places to create something new.
Having worked previously with John Agnello on the last albums, how did the two producers differ?
CD: We have a wide range of influences, and we put them through out own filter. It’s always something different, but in both cases, the two producers fit into our very strong, more universal influences. John, working with Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth, brings that kind of sound in the structure. But the vocal harmonies I would say are more from the ’70s, so bands like T. Rex or David Bowie, come from Tony’s world. Working with them makes total sense for us, and we feel very lucky.
MG: Yes, very lucky. It’s strange also that both of them come from Brooklyn, so they have the same reference and come from the same worlds.
And you recorded ‘Solar Secrets’ in Lexington, Kentucky. Had you been there before?
CD: No, it was first our time. Our plan was to be in a studio where we could go and not have any distractions. We wake up and go straight to the studio every day.
MG: And also live like a family. The band, the producers, the engineer: We all live together, cook together, work together. Everything you do as a family, we wanted to do together.
Had you recorded like that before?
MG: The last album we did, we did with John in Hoboken, New Jersey. Where we recorded the music, they had accommodations, and John lived a few minutes from there. In this case it was very different there, however, because we knew there was a lot right outside there was nothing. A lot of this was going inside ourselves, and it was the best experience of my life. We turned on the radio every morning and listed to bluegrass. [Laughs] Maybe next album we can use the banjo.
What music influenced you when you were living in Argentina?
CD: When we were growing up, everything was more isolated, way before the Internet. We would go to the record stores and find all the classic albums.
MG: Most of the American or English albums were censored, so our parents would find them and listen to them first. So when we were kids, we were listening to a lot of psychedelia from the 1960s and ’70s, from American and from South America.
CD: Those moments, in your brain, are very connected to your imagination because you still don’t know exactly how the world is. When we were teenagers, that was the first time we could find albums from the Velvet Underground and bands like that. That kind of music made us feel like the universe opened up, and all you could think was, “I want this.” But because of the language, we could only understand some of the words. It very much influenced the way we write our music, though, because we really connect to the way the music sounds.
MG: Yes, even if we could only understand one or two words, we would have to imagine the rest. We have our own versions of those songs with our own lyrics. It’s sometimes better that way because when you read words; they might not be as good as the ones you imagine.
What is the music scene in Bilbao like?
CD: Bilbao belongs to its own community and is part of the Basque country. The Basque country has it’s own very rich music scene, and it’s very much connected to the culture of Barcelona, I would say.
MG: And because we’re on the border of France, there is some of that influence in the art here, as well.
CD: Now at this moment, I would say it’s very rich in experimentation and different sounds. We started the band in Argentina, where we grew up, but the band really came up in Bilbao, so we really connect the music scene here. We get to see a lot bands from all over and go play all over because this region and the weather attract a lot of western Europeans. That really influences us, too.
Now that the album is out, what are you looking forward to most?
CD: We have a lot planned now for for fall, and in November we’ll be back in America. We’re really looking forward to playing on this tour with another band from our label called Os Mutantes, a very legendary Brazilian band from the ’60s. We’re very excited to be playing this album right now.