Q&A with Barcelona-based Wax & Boogie, one of the best bands of the blues, rhythm and blues and boogie-woogie scene

"The music in the past was soulful, it was made from the heart. Nowadays, the focus is on commercial music and economic profit. I fear that technology will replace the great artists of the past, people who only played an instrument for fun and achieved amazing things. I worry that there will never be a new Louis Armstrong or Meade Lux Lewis again."

Wax & Boogie: Let The Good Times Roll

Over the years, Wax & Boogie have been gaining recognition and have become one of the best bands of the blues, rhythm and blues and boogie-woogie scene. Ster Wax and David Giorcelli have been able to capture the true spirit of African-American traditional music in an exceptional way and turned it into their own means of expression. They master the language of black music in a rich and varied way. Ster and David surf easily and confidently on the different waves of the genre. Shuffles, boogie-woogie, rock’n’roll, swing or jumps are part of their usual repertoire, not to mention intense and hot “slow downs”. That’s where we can appreciate the power and the feeling thatboth David on piano and Ster on vocals, as well as the rest of musicians who play with them, have brought to this style of blues that was developed by black people in the 'South Side' of Chicago a few decades ago.                       (Wax & Boogie / Photo by Jose Angel Ribas)

Besides what has been mentioned, Kansas City, Texas blues and 50s R&B are present in all the work of the couple, with the constant influence of Pete Johnson, Albert Ammons, Otis Spann, Esther Phillips, Big Maybelle, Big Joe Turner, Johnny Otis, Amos Milburn and Wynona Carr, among many other great names of the forties and fifties.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Rhythm & Blues and Swing music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

David: The influence this musical genre has had on me has always been that of togetherness, of being able to relate to people from any part of the world through a common bond -in this case, music- and share moments, not only on stage but off stage too. Travelling has always been a motivation to grow and evolve in music.

Wax: I discovered the blues and Rhythm & Blues gradually throughout my youth, as my father had always played me good music at home. But little by little one starts to dig deeper and get to the roots. Travelling while playing music is what makes me the happiest, and I'm amazed by the love there is for swing in other countries. I love it!

How do you describe your band’s music philosophy? What do you hope people continue to take away from your music?

David: The philosophy of our music is to make the audience have fun through a journey in which we play the most passionate and primitive styles, such as Boogie Woogie piano or traditional Blues, as well as more modern styles such as Funk or Soul. We expect to attract people who love any Blues genre, since we are a formation (Wax & Boogie) that is difficult to classify.

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

David: I remember stopping at a self-service restaurant in Poland with one of the Boogie Boys and buying a one-litre bottle of beer for each of us. How delicious it was! Or at a festival in the heart of France, walking through a field and looking at the stars in the sky. I once played for a dog parade at a disco in Barcelona, and played soccer at a private event with one of the most renowned actors in Spain... music has given me so many unforgettable moments!

Wax: I'm a live singer, being in the studio is hard for me. Although I have to admit that the last album we recorded in Paris, at Jam Start studios with Drew Davies, I felt very free and comfortable.  A club I have fallen deeply in love with is the "Half Note" in Athens, there is so much energy in the audience that you feel like you are on Olympus with the gods!

"The positive impact of music on society is unlimited. Music brings people together and allows us to feel possibly all emotions that we experience in our lives. So that is exactly what I would like music to continue evoking in people." (Ster Wax and David Giorcelli / Photo by Jose Angel Ribas)

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

David: The music in the past was soulful, it was made from the heart. Nowadays, the focus is on commercial music and economic profit. I fear that technology will replace the great artists of the past, people who only played an instrument for fun and achieved amazing things. I worry that there will never be a new Louis Armstrong or Meade Lux Lewis again.

Wax: I miss the music of the past, because it's the music I like. I think we are losing small and medium sized concerts where artists merge with the audience and true magic happens. I wonder if we will see anything like that in the future...

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

David: I don't intend to change anything, each stage has its characteristics; but I would use institutions to try to install more music in schools, make young people aware that culture is essential -there are traditions that should not be lost-, and support live events.

Wax: I hate singing contests.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

David: In my musical career, I would highlight three important concepts: firstly, patience, never stop working but don't expect immediate results; secondly, honesty, to achieve your goals you must not step on anyone's toes, you should be respectful and have professional ethics, and thirdly, generosity, I have also learned to be generous, and I enjoy both working and giving work to colleagues. If you don't follow these rules, you will rise quickly but the fall will be very rough.

Wax: To be humble and to surround myself with good people, both in everyday life and in music.

"I miss the music of the past, because it's the music I like. I think we are losing small and medium sized concerts where artists merge with the audience and true magic happens. I wonder if we will see anything like that in the future..." (Wax & Boogie / Photo by Jose Angel Ribas))

What does it mean to be a female artist in a man's world, as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

Wax: It means feeling lonely at times, and at other times it means feeling empowered. As in any other field of work, in music, a woman always has to do double duty, as well as always being perfect. Luckily, we are gradually working through these problems...

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?

David: Well, music, in this case the blues, has always had an informative social purpose. Let's not forget that culture is essential; preserving traditions that characterize a community, a social movement, is one of the roles of music, and even more so when it comes to roots music like the blues. The blues explains the blows of life, not only in its lyrics. It is a language with more than 100 years of history. People are meant be influenced positively, have fun, know these stories and feel like main characters.

Wax: The positive impact of music on society is unlimited. Music brings people together and allows us to feel possibly all emotions that we experience in our lives. So that is exactly what I would like music to continue evoking in people.

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

David: I wish I had known Kansas City in the Prohibition years, where Big Joe Turner played with Pete Johnson at the Kingfish Club or the Sunset: two of my heroes and role models of blues and boogie woogie.

Wax & Boogie - Home

(Wax & Boogie / Photo by Jose Angel Ribas)

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