We Chat to Barcelona’s Echoes in Smoke Ahead of Their Debut Notts Gig at Rough Trade

Words: Phil Taylor
Saturday 08 July 2023
reading time: min, words

This month, Barcelona-based trio Echoes in Smoke make their debut appearance in Nottingham, as part of a whistle-stop mini tour of the UK. Ahead of their Nottingham Rough Trade show, which will take place on 14 July, Phil Taylor spoke to Anastasia (vocals, bass), Pat (guitars, synths) and Jose (drums, synths and programming)...


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You’re a very international group, with members from Sweden, England and Chile, and a base in Barcelona. What’s your backstory – how and why did this band happen?
Pat moved to Spain in the summer of 2017 to start a communal house-share in the hills of Barcelona with lots of space for artistic projects. He then met Ana through a mutual musician friend and had an instant musical connection. After composing some indie tracks along with a loop station and drum machine, the missing link joined the fold – established drummer and producer Jose. The band shifted into the fusion sound that we have now, introducing synth layers and bass, and composing a lot by improvisation. We didn’t set out with any particular goals for the band, just to see where it went.

You mentioned connections. To what extent do you share musical background or inspirations?
Jose and Pat were already playing music in their home countries in the '90s. Ana, being younger, grew up in the '00s but was listening to music from the '70s and '80s from a very early age. All of this has a huge influence on our sound – from indie / shoegaze, punk and new wave to electronic music to heavier guitar-based stuff. We are also inspired by soundtracks and are very drawn to surfy guitars, abstract soundscapes, the dystopia and space. 

You describe your genre as “psychedelic post punk indie electronic”, and I think it’s fair that the psychedelic element features heavily.
We never set out to be specifically psychedelic, but it’s more the fusion of our influences that can make the result pretty trippy. Particularly our love of electronic music and repetition: mix that with tribal drums and surfy guitars and smoky textured vocals and it ends up sounding pretty psychedelic!

Very cool. Do you have any particular inspirations?
We are very inspired by the counterculture movements, rave and punk ethos, dadaism and surrealism as well as very real social matters. We do have an obsession for replicating the atmosphere of dream-like scenarios as if we were creating little short films when composing. We look up to bands such as Souxie and the Banshees, The Cure, The Clash, B52s, Nine Inch Nails, Pj Harvey … to name a few!

Any names you’d dream of supporting one day?
Your Dad’s Electric Nipples. But also The Cure, Pj Harvey, Viagra Boys, Baxter Dury …

We are very inspired by the counterculture movements, rave and punk ethos, dadaism and surrealism as well as very real social matters

And what’s behind your name?
We wrote a song about dragons, with this title, that we later ditched. We couldn’t think of anything else as all good band names seem to be taken, and it stuck!

It seems to sum you up well! Let’s talk about how your songs come together. Does this happen organically or are you more structured?
Ana and Pat create lots of ideas and set the tone, then they meet Jose to put some logic and structure to these ideas. We also experiment a lot with improvisation.

For those who don’t know your songs, where should they start?
Behind The Teeth or Boxes to Mars – the videos! THese were both directed and shot by our ‘fourth band member’ Ju Camarroque. They represent the energy and playful side of the band … 

Can we expect this element at your gigs?
We enjoy making people move and like to be playful as well as melancholic. Our shows are energetic, cathartic and trippy. 

Upload in Barcelona in the midst of the pandemic is probably our favourite show so far. Lockdown was extreme in Spain, and the strain of people being cooped up was really showing – we totally lucked out in having the opportunity to play a headline slot in one of Barca’s best venues in the tiny window of time there was to hold an event, just days before everything got locked down again. Hence the crowd blew the roof off! 

How did your gig at Rough Trade come about?
We got booked to play the excellent Noisily Festival on a stage alongside The Orb and GONG … this created quite a stir and as a result we got booked for a bunch of other gigs, including this one and The Windmill in Brixton. Unfortunately our stage at the festival got pulled due to an over ambitious expansion of budget. We came anyway and are planning to do a pop-up appearance at the festival and of course call in at Nottingham…the show must go on! 

Beyond this tour, what do you want to achieve next?
To get as much material out there as possible and to play out in as many places as possible! We have an album cooking and we are excited to share our newer sound. 

Echoes in Smoke will perform at Nottingham's Rough Trade on 14 July 2023.


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