Music Interview: Gabriel Urgell Reyes ‘Altera Majestas’ Out Now!

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Gabriel Urgell Reyes

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Gabriel Urgell Reyes has released the stunning single ‘Altera Majestas’. We caught up with this excellent musician for an interview. Enjoy now!

Who or what got you into music?

I was born in a family of musicians and artists (my grandpa was a Zarzuelas singer, grandma was a printer and tailor, my father is a pianist, my mother a singer and choirmaster and my brother a dancer). Nevertheless, the choice to become a musician was really mine at a quite early age.

Nobody, apart from an actif artistic environment, forced me to do it. I wanted to play the piano, and I asked for it!

Tell us about your latest release ‘Altera Majestas’?

‘Altera Majestas’ is a meeting point of two characters: a being who was born and grew up through the music and poems of my previous album ‘Metaphor of Silence’, and a woman (a friend) who comes to share the work and the experience in the Arboretum (the album).

In terms of music, this is my own vision on what the classical genre “Leader” can become by borrowing from popular music of our time.

We see ‘Altera Majestas’ started off life as a poem, what inspired you to set it to music?

Each work that I start is what you can call an “ultra-artistic process”, a kind of revelation of its potential and its diversity of existence. Often I find myself having a hard time to limit the story I want to tell only to music or poems… 😅, and it is certainly due to the influences of the artistic diversity that I was talking about before.

‘Altera Majestas’ is an experimental, avant-garde track, what draws you to the genre?

Diversity! To dive into a blend of experimental music, Jazz harmonies, Cuban rhythms and Electronic sounds grounded on a classical music genre, is an exciting adventure! And not only for the pleasure, it can procure to me but also for the pleasure to share it with all those curious listeners out there looking for new and different musical æsthetics.

‘Altera Majestas’ was recorded at Studios Malambo in Paris, what was the process like?

I invited the great French Mezzo-Soprano Isabelle Druet, who sings with ease both popular and classical music and I sent her the score and a premix of the track. We talked about the style I had in mind (mostly for the slam section of the piece). She came with a perfectly balanced interpretation in which the characteristics of a lyric voice melted into a whole new colored popular voice. It was wonderful!

Last June we recorded the track in two days at Studios Malambo, one day for the piano takes and the other one for the voice. I did the final mix in my own studio (with a little help from my friend and sound engineer Aude-Marie Piloz (also in charge of the recording sessions) before sending it to Abbey Road Studios for mastering by Simon Gibson.

What’s your dream venue to play?

My dream venue is a place that promotes a wide spectrum of music styles and artists that make demanding performances. In London, for example, there are several of those places, like The Royal Albert Hall!

Other than music, what are you passionate about?

Drawing, literature, cinema, jogging

What changes would you like to see in the music business?

There is a lot going on in the music business today. There is a wide democratization of the means of production, and many musicians can put their work in front of the market.

Nevertheless, the weight of tonal music, often exploited in an overly simplistic way, forces artists to mold their creativity into a sort of mainstream style which can stifle diversity and consequently, the curiosity of listeners. But changes can’t be seen without actions, so I bring my own contribution in the best way possible.

How do you feel about how the internet plays a role in the music business today?

The process can be painful since the internet is not a thing that acts on its own (for now at least!) and there are actual people behind how the music industry works today. That being said, it’s also a big box with plenty of opportunities.

As artists, we have to adapt and get advantage of this tool by being aware of what our rights are and the ways we have to keep them safe.

Have you started working on your next release?

Yes, I have a quite busy schedule 😅 !

FV Music Blog December 2020

Twitter: @gabrielurgell

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