Q&A with Sevillian guitarist Carlos Moreno (Kid Carlos) bases its repertoire on classic, modern and eclectic blues

"The most important lesson that I have learned in my musical path is that you have to be a good person above all else, you can be a great instrumentalist or musician but what everyone who knows you will remember when you leave is the energy that you transmit, the music that you share and how you treat others."

Kid Carlos: The Blues Is Alright and Well!

The Kid Carlos band led by the Sevillian guitarist Carlos Moreno (Kid Carlos) bases its repertoire on blues classics, reinterpreted and passed through a modern and eclectic filter and on their own songs, which leave clear evidence of the direction that the band has taken in recent years. Although the band has its roots in American music, especially in the blues, it fuses the musical influences of each of its components, which the band makes it its own. Kid Carlos Band is a group formed in 2007. Since his debut in 2009 con 'Talkin' About The Blues', work composed entirely of own songs so far, the band has stepped on the stages of the most renowned blues festivals in Spain. Since then on and during those long years, many things have happened to the band and especially to Carlos, like to spread his blues in some European festivals or that legendary producer Mike Vernon has rely on him for his last project, Cat Squirrel Blues. Mike Vernon's latest band featuring Kid Carlos on guitar, play their brand of ‘Old School’ BLUES with loads of Attitude! Carlos had the good fortune to meet up with a number of other experienced and popular touring (mostly) American Blues musicians – the likes of Kirk Fletcher, Carvin Jones, Monster Mike Welch, Sugar Ray Norcia and Otis Grand. 

(Kid Carlos, European Blues Challenge 2024, Braga Portugal / Photo © by Aigars Lapsa)

Kid Carlos is a solid musician that moves in the field of Blues/Rock, performing classic blues as well as own compositions, all them perfectly developed thanks to his experience and knowledge. In 2018, released “Cannonball”, a tribute album to Texas guitarist Freddie King. Kid Carlos published his first solo album “Fango” (2020). Kid Carlos & Quique Bonal have an album of instrumentals entitled “Last Man Standing” (2022) that shows their joint guitar knowledge and mastery of their chosen instrument – blues, jazz, swing, country, ragtime and western swing – all those styles together! Kid Carlos Band represented Spain at the European Blues Challenge 2024 in Braga Portugal.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues and Rock music influenced your views of the world? What does the blues mean to you?

They have been the musical styles that made me enjoy music from the beginning and the culprits that made me pick up the guitar for the first time. In my house we have always listened to good music thanks to my parents, blues, rock and jazz were always present. Thanks to that early influence I became interested in listening to music long before I came into contact with a guitar for the first time. When the first guitar came into my house, I tried to play in a self-taught way everything I heard around me and little by little the blues gained my interest over the other styles. Currently it is the style that makes me happiest when I play it. I can say that everything I have achieved with music I owe to my parents and the Blues.

How do you describe your sound and music philosophy? What's the balance in music between technique and soul?

When I play, I try to reach people's souls, for me that is the most important thing and the most difficult to achieve. Technique and knowledge about the instrument are essential to be able to make it sound good but it is not everything, you have to say things and those things make feelings arise in the listener and in yourself while you play.

As for the sound, I try to make it organic, have dynamics and adapt well to each song or style I play. In blues there are different aesthetics and styles, the sound must be based on each one of them, in addition each sound makes you play differently, it is important to give it its importance and take care of it.                   (Photo: Kid Carlos Band)

"In Spain, there is complicity between the public and musicians. We musicians know a large part of the public that usually goes to festivals and concerts and thus we share good times. Being a minority style of music creates a family atmosphere. That's one of the things I like most about Blues."

What moment changed your music life the most? Are there any memories from gigs, jams, and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

There have been many important and beautiful moments, experiences that have made me grow as a musician. I fondly remember my first concert in my town, the first jam sessions, when I played with important artists whom I have always admired, the tours I have done in England and Europe, and recently participating in the European Blues Challenge representing my country with my band.

Why do you think that the Spanish Blues Scene continues to generate such a devoted following?

In Spain, there is complicity between the public and musicians. We musicians know a large part of the public that usually goes to festivals and concerts and thus we share good times. Being a minority style of music creates a family atmosphere. That's one of the things I like most about Blues.

You’re an Sevillian musician, are there any similarities between the blues and the genres of local folk music and traditional forms?

In reality there are no similarities in musical terms, they are different cups of tea. But there are deep similarities. Blues and flamenco are two deep-rooted music, from two places located in different parts of the map, but which have directly influenced Western music from the 20th century onwards. Even though they are different, you can play some blues in flamenco or the other way around, resulting in interesting things. We have been doing that type of fusion for a long time here in Seville.

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

Evolution has caused some things to be lost or changed, something I notice is that less and less Blues is programmed at Blues events and festivals and more derivatives of it are programmed, soul, rock, heavy, funk... Businessmen sacrifice the blues for other substitutes because these attract more people. It's not that I'm a purist, it's about calling a spade a spade. You can't call blues everything that has a minor pentatonic in the middle.

"When I play, I try to reach people's souls, for me that is the most important thing and the most difficult to achieve. Technique and knowledge about the instrument are essential to be able to make it sound good but it is not everything, you have to say things and those things make feelings arise in the listener and in yourself while you play." (Photo: CAT SQUIRREL - Kid Carlos, Mike Vernon, and Mingo Balaguer)

Currently you’ve one release with Mike Vernon and his project Cat Squirrel. Do you have any interesting stories about the making of album 'Blues What Am' (2023)?

It is an honour for me to be part of this exciting new project working alongside two legends of the Blues world. Mike Vernon produced many of the albums that I listened to when learning to play the Blues and, at that time, I could never have imagined that years later I would find myself actively working with him as part of Cat Squirrel. And then the legendary Spanish Blues harmonicist Mingo Balaguer – for me the best in my homeland. As a child I would go to see and listen to his concerts – the experience was scintillating; and now we are the best of friends and Blues companions. It has also been a pleasure to work with Pascual and Oriol in the studio – their high levels of musicianship permeates the whole of our debut album – a truly exquisite rhythmic base!

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

Tell me what you listen to and I'll tell you what you are like. Listening to music can give you as much as reading. It furnishes your head, it feeds your soul, it comforts you when you feel bad, music is culture and therefore makes you wiser. Everything you do for music she more than repays you. I think that in these times people should investigate a little more about the types of music, musicians and musical trends that exist or have existed because the majority only listen to commercial music that comes to them as a rebound and they miss all the musical legacy that we have at our disposal. scope.

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

The most important lesson that I have learned in my musical path is that you have to be a good person above all else, you can be a great instrumentalist or musician but what everyone who knows you will remember when you leave is the energy that you transmit, the music that you share and how you treat others.

(Kid Carlos / Photo © by Clapo Villegas)

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