Latino Blues harp player Marcos Coll talks about Guitar Crusher, Buddy Miles, Flamenco and Hip Hop music

"You can’t understand the blues without paying a big attention to sociology, race etc...but also in Flamenco, Latin music ETC...popular music is LIFE, and it tells what  is and been going on with the people."

Marcos Coll: Saludos del Mundo Los Blues

Marcos Coll was born in Madrid, Spain but soon moved to Santiago DC. Started playing harmonica at the age of 13 influenced by his musician uncle and by Spanish harplayer Ñaco Goñi. After playing with different bands, like Red Bues Band, he formed his first band called Bluerags. In 1999 moved back to Madrid to join the most famous Spanish blues band at that time Tonky Blues Band. With this band, at the age of 21, he had the opportunity of touring and recording with Mick Taylor, Buddy Miles and Tom Jones! After those years of great experiences, along with his soul brother Adrian Costa, he was ready to form his own band 'Los Reyes del KO', that soon became one of the top blues references in Europe, earning several awards and recognition, and even appearing in the High School music books in Galicia. Sharing bills all over the world with Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Chuck Berry, John Mayall, Solomon Burke, Animals, Robert Cray and Fabulous Thunderbirds. In 2004 he moved to Berlin getting soon introduced in the scene by well know German blues musicians like Chris Rannenberg and Micha Maass. As a studio musician he has recorded with famous Spanish bands as well as music for TV or movies.

Also has worked as a harmonica teacher in music schools in Spain and this days does workshops and masterclasses all over the world, in Spanish, English or German. Nowadays, besides playing as Marcos Coll Blues Jarana, he also works often with the legendary Guitar Crusher, as well as his Mexican latino music band Los Mighty Calacas that is presenting their debut cd, that includes guest musicans as Charlie Musselwhite etc., doing a tour all over the world. Besides the discography with Los Reyes del KO, Los Mighty Calacas and also colaborations, should be highlighted his double album Marcos Coll "Under the wings" a mixture of old classic blues with more modern funk, latin or hip hop, and includes recordings with legends like Buddy Miles, Mick Taylor, Aron Burton etc.. Since 2014 he is hosting his weekly Monday Jelly Roll Session at the famous White Trash in Berlin. Also in 2014, along with Ambar Multimedia has published a modern online harmonica course called Harp & Soul that already have students from all over the world. In 2015 is expected that he publish his first album of his Hip Hop-Blues Project along with DJ FonkyOmar and obviously keep on touring the world with many different musicians like he is been doing since more than 20 years.

Interview by Michael Limnios

What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?

Well, the blues is a music that you can’t lie to it...whenever you are playing it, it shows who you really are...maybe in other kinds of music you can play a role, make an image ...in the blues you can’t!

The blues means to me the music that made me a musician,,,,I love all kinds of music, but it was because of the blues that I started to play harmonica, and later on became a musician.

"I miss the party element, at least in Europe...this days the blues in some places is turning like intellectual or academic, kind of what happened to Jazz, like an elite music in a way....and is just popular party music, to put your shit away!"

What were the reasons that you started the Blues experiments? What characterize your sound and songbook?

My grandfather was into the flamenco tradition, but my mother hated it (not now...) just because it reminded her the traditional Spain, the dictatorship years, so she and my father was kind of against that, so at that time the "rebel young" people was listening to the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Hendrix in fact my mom’s first concert live was Canned Heat...so that’s what I was listening as a kid in my parents record player when I was 10 or 11, I was into Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis and my uncle who is a musician  told me "If you like this guys, you gotta try Big Mama Thornton, Sonny Boy..." so from then on I got more and more interest about the blues...a couple years later when I was fooling around with several instruments, he showed me a harmonica...and I felt in love with the sound!

When I started, around 92, there was no internet, and where I come from, almost no blues information, so I started to search and search and trying to hear everything that had the name blues in it...I picked up things from many musicians, but never tried to copy them just rewinding the tapes at every harp line, maybe cause I was lazy and never been a good student LOL...I just heard them million times and got the idea...I think for the blues, you gotta know very well the traditional musicians, and the classic songs, the legends, but you gotta develop your own sound, as well as your own songs...we all have something interesting to tell, we just gotta find the way to tell it to the people in our own words.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

ufffff...so many things...but I’ll just be happy if there were no so called musicians that just gotta pretty face image and money support from their record companies or families, and can’t play at all...also if you wanna play big gigs, first you gotta play in the streets, clubs etc. for a while go step by step.

"I think all the popular music is kind of the same in feeling, the thing is that in the world we living, blues is the one that can go more universal...maybe because of the language, the structure,,,,is so straight that if you play it right, even in the smallest town of Spain, Germany or Indonesia, and even if they never heard it before, they can understand it."

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What is the best advice has given you?

First, and as I told you, my uncle...since I was born  he was playing me music, then I got to meet, and later work and become like family with the pioneers of the Spanish blues Tonky de la Peña and Ñaco Goñi, I learned a lot from them, cause  as they are Spanish too they was the ones that was closer to me... then when I was working in Tonky Blues Band I had the change of touring and recording with the great Buddy Miles (photo), who really blew my mind, and made me go a big step forward in musicality, cause at that time I was too much into the traditional blues, and with him I started to fool around with Funk, Soul...all of them gave me good advices, but if I have to remember one nice advise it was from Aron Burton, one of the legendary bass players in Chicago blues, who once told me "respect music, but don’t be afraid of it!" Anyway, I gotta say that I learn a little from every musician that I play with, and that’s what makes fun...also from my good friend and violin player Alfonso Franco I learned a lot about acting like a pro...from Chris Rannenberg, about the importance of the lyrics with my partner Adrian Costa, and our band Los Reyes del Ko, we had the chance to share the stage with lots of blues and rock legends, so just by seeing them, in the backstage or doing sound check, you learn something of course from my friend Charlie Musselwhite, I learned how to experiment with the blues harp in other kinds of music....

With the music I had the change to travel a lot, and I learned many things from every country, the different ways they see music, but if I have to choose one place would be Kinshasa in Congo...the musicians there are out of this planet, the way they play, how they feel the music...it’s totally different to anything I saw anywhere...I learned a BIG lesson there.

"Well, the blues is a music that you can’t lie to it...whenever you are playing it, it shows who you really are...maybe in other kinds of music you can play a role, make an image ...in the blues you can’t!"

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Well in more than 20 years as a pro I have tons of memories and funny things...many of them will remain secret...LOL but I remember one that really touched my heart...in a recording session with Buddy Miles, after we hear the track, he said "this aint right!" when we asked him why, he said, "he don’t  have a solo in it!" pointing at me....imagine me with 22 o 23, that really encouraged me ...Also with the great sax player Sax Gordon Beadle, after he recorded his solo (a great solo by the way!) in a song called Cool Cool Mama written by Eddie C. Campbell, he said, "I gotta repeat it", and he said..."sorry guys I didn’t pay attention to the lyrics"…so then he recorded a much cooler and sexy solo! LOL ...the music gotta go with the lyrics!

And then I got many crazy histories involving musicians, nights, clubs, alcohol, woman...but those shouldn’t interest nobody..."Aint nobodys bussiness!" LOL

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Well ...I miss the party element, at least in Europe...this days the blues in some places is turning like intellectual or academic, kind of what happened to Jazz, like an elite music in a way and is just popular party music, to put your shit away! My only fear is that the people forget where the blues come from,,,,and when I say that I don’t mean that they forget Muddy Waters or Son House, I mean that they don’t realize that this music was created in really F****D up times, by people who was really oppressed and miss respected.

"I love all kinds of music, and the similarities between blues and hip hop, is that is music from the people that tell what is going on in the streets, society etc...and in a way is kind of the same, pure black music."

What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues from United States and UK to Spain and Germany?

I think all the popular music is kind of the same in feeling, the thing is that in the world we living, blues is the one that can go more universal...maybe because of the language, the structure,,,,is so straight that if you play it right, even in the smallest town of Spain, Germany or Indonesia, and even if they never heard it before, they can understand it.

What has made you laugh lately and what touched (emotionally) you from the local music circuits?

I work a lot with Guitar Crusher...he is the real thing, he is 84,so every night he touches my heart somehow,,,,,its unbelievable the power he is still got for touring etc...the other day after the first set, he started to feel really sick, he even fainted, so we started the second set without him. He was supposed to come back for one song or two at the most, and only he was feeling good enough he came back...and did another whole hour set finishing with James Brown I feel Good...a lesson in life!

What is the impact of Blues music and culture to the racial and socio-cultural implications?

You can’t understand the blues without paying a big attention to sociology, race etc...but also in Flamenco, Latin music ETC...popular music is LIFE, and it tells what  is and been going on with the people.

You have a Hip Hop-Blues Project. What are the similarities between: Blues and Hip Hop?

Yes I have my little hip hop blues project, as well as my Latino music project cause  those are my roots, with Los Mighty Calacas from Mexico, I love all kinds of music, and the similarities between blues and hip hop, is that is music from the people that tell what is going on in the streets, society etc. and in a way is kind of the same, pure black music.

"I think for the blues, you gotta know very well the traditional musicians, and the classic songs, the legends, but you gotta develop your own sound, as well as your own songs..."

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?

Difficult question LOL...but yeah probably Chicago in the mid-50s...cause there was so many great musicians at the same time in just one town, the clubs, the sound...and cause from all kinds of different blues, if I had to choose just one, I would pick up Chicago Blues....

Marcos Coll - Official website

Views: 324

Comments are closed for this blog post

social media

Members

© 2019   Created by Michael Limnios Blues Network.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service