17th September. Friday. I arrived an hour later to Juan Antonio´s home, one the most interesting pop songwriters all over the world.
And we spent all the afternoon and the evening talking about what we like most: MUSIC, telling me all his adventures and the current contract situation with Munster, and also his plans, and all he´d like to do... but we wouldn´t be alone, although his wife Merche would be home too, his son Adrián would accompany us all the time, the one who recorded some weepings on his last album "Supersonic Spacewalk". And later, Alfonso Schwarz, made us a visit too. It´s in this band, Schwarz, where Juan Antonio plays drums now. As Juan Antonio is more well-known as Ross, I will use "Ross" just since now to name Juan Antonio, and "ROSS" in capital letters, to name the band.
He would put Badfinger, Freddy Johnston, etc… on his CD player, and ROSS above all, I even listened to a new ROSS´ song, called "All Smoke Is Mine", still a demo song, recorded last year, but with a excellent sound. This is just a song heard by only a few people, as he doesn´t want it to leave home, so you only can hear it if you go to his home. So I feel very proud and lucky to hear it. But I had heard it before, in one of their gigs last year, before splitting up the band. He also told me that Francesc Solé put this song on the phone to David Basch, in Los Angeles, organizer of the I.P.O. (International Pop Overthrow), a famous festival where they played with Protones and some other famous international bands, like Pyramidiacs, etc…
As I had heard nothing from ROSS in the latest months, I felt curiosity for what he does in the meantime and what he has done after the release almost two years ago of their brilliant second album "Supersonic Spacewalk", so I asked him if he thought his second album was just the consolidation in the national scene:
"Yes, of course. I couldn´t expect the success of the album and all
the things that have happened to us. It was a very intense year. We were
always broadcast in Radio 3 and Chema Rey was mad about us.
We also played at the most important festivals, like Festimad, Benicásim,
and even we went to USA, to Los Angeles, to play at I.P.O. (International
Pop Overthrow), organized by David Basch, where I met Jason
Falkner, The Zeros, The Records,… it was incredible.
Here in Spain we went for a gig on TV, at Conciertos de la 2."
-EPA: Do you think you reached your top?
There´s no top. I suppose I may get the same with another album,
but better done, with less mistakes.
-EPA: I suppose you´ll be satisfied with the sound of "Supersonic Spacewalk", as you were the producer of the album at PM in Murcia.
Yes. Of course. The album sounds as I wanted it to sound, and I´ve
recorded even the effects all around the album, like the weepings of my
son Adrián, or the sound when I slammed the door. The sounds
from the birds were a bit difficult, because they didn´t sound clearly,
so I had to look for some better birds on an effects´ CD. On
the demo, the birds were real. We were recording the album in August,
over than 20 days. I´m very proud of it.
-EPA: Why is ROSS more well-known out of Spain (USA above all) than here?
It´s something cultural. Here´s a lot of envy: just when a
reporter says that the album is nice, then there comes up another one who
says the contrary, only because the other one has said it was good. In
USA there are no these kinds of prejudgements: they are listening to pop
music more years than we do, and they don´t get surprised if a band
from Murcia sings in english. Anyway, I think that I´ve been well
valuated here in Spain. I remember some years ago my first success, when
a man from Toledo sent me a postcard telling me that "magic" was
really beautiful, and asking me for the demo.
-EPA: Have you ever thought of singing in spanish?
No. I don´t want to sing in spanish and I´m very sure. If I
sang in spanish, I´d make the music I used to make when I was 14
or 16, just me and my guitar writing the music and the lyrics, like a folk
songwriter... but what I´m making now is british and american pop,
and must be sung in english.
-EPA: Who are ROSS now?
and backing vocals; Fran, drums, he comes from
de la Luz; and me, and… hey! I can use this interview just to look
for 2 more people. I need a bassist and a fifth member who plays a little
of everything, keyboards, and so on… this would be the ideal line up.
-EPA: and how are ROSS gigs now?
Now we only play Javi and me, and we make acoustic sets, but not
just acoustic ones, as we use electric guitars. The ideal gigs would be
the 5-member band I imagine.
-EPA: What music do you hear now?
The usual one: a bit of everything... from krautrock to power-pop,
but also jazz, classical music, symphonic rock… I´m a music
lover. I´m an eclectic person, but what I most love is POP. I like
for example Mogwai… and Belle & Sebastian… I don´t
like the "labels"
-EPA: Which is your last bought record?
-EPA: Tell me 5 national bands and other 5 international ones.
5 national: Los Planetas, Manta Ray, Automatics, Pribata Idaho and
5 international: Jason Falkner, Elliot Smith, The Posies, The Vandalias and Gigolo Aunts.
-EPA: How is next ROSS album going to be?
Well. I had thought of an acoustic album homemade, but this was last year.
This was going to be the last album with Munster, the third one, but they
haven´t called me yet... so now I´ve changed my mind and I
want to record an album like the last one... or maybe a double-album...
Anyway I think it will be in a long time, because I haven´t heard
of Munster, and I don´t know what I´m going to do.
-EPA: What are you going to do when you end your current contract with Munster?
I´ll keep on writing songs and I´ll try to sign with any other
firm, it doesn´t matter which. Besides, I sold my soul to the
devil, and I´ll never get elder.
-EPA: Which record company would you like to sign with?
With an own one, that I would call "Rossland", which was going to
be the title of my third album for Munster...
...Just now, Ross goes on writing songs, and also plays the drums with Schwarz, which were going to record a new album these dates, but they have splitted up their relationship with their record company Greyhead...
Anyway, Ross doesn´t matter that it´s almost two years from the release of his last album, and he even think that this is necessary, to have a rest doing other things so that later he can find again all the inspiration he has had over the years.