SonLosGrillos: Darkness Turns To Light In A Sacred Place

SonLosGrillos are Marta Rodríguez and Mauricio Mora and they come from Valencia,Spain.At the end of 2010 they released their debut album,a fragile and dreamy bouquet of songs,presenting a blend of much unlike influences.New folk?Not exactly.Early this year,their new album is already out,coming true  with a little help of their friends.Marta,tells their story so far.

Would you like to introduce yourselves?

 We are quiet people,we like music and we live in a rural area (we have 2 children).Mauri has been playing since he was 16, his first band had a style West Coast and then collaborated with different musicians, rock and roll bands.For my "sonlosgrillos" is my first band "professional" and I say in quotes because we do not live of music, but I sang the way i was singing since childhood.

How did you come together to form SonLosGrillos?

Through mutual friends I met Mauri.I knew he had a small studio at home and I wanted to record some songs.Of those songs and another songs of Mauri did our first album.

How would you describe your music?

Acoustic music, sweet music,sometimes a bit psychedelic ...folk?I guess our lifestyle influences our music.We make quiet music.Is difficult annoy your neighbours with our records.

Can you refer to some of your influences?

 I guess all the music we hear influences us and listen to many different styles of music.Traditional folk & blues,West Coast as Grateful Dead, Moby Grape ....
English folk like John Martyn, Pentangle, the first Donovan...American Folk as Judee Sill, Joni Mitchell ...Bebop and West Coast jazz and many current groups, since some more commercial as Wilco or Fleet Foxes to those who make a more traditional folk as Meg Baird or Fern Knight...and not forget the South American music.

Tell us the story of getting your name.

On summer evenings the crickets sing very strong in this place.Sometimes we wonder What's that sound?,The answer is "Son los Grillos"(are the Crickets).In Spanish the word "Son" has to do with the sound (like "Son Cubano") ... It's a pun.
Our name is written all together "Sonlosgrillos" (Arethecrickets).

What are you doing for living?

We work mainly in summer,we live in a tourist town,we have a stand of handmade crafts on the beach.From June to September we worked hard and the rest of the year we are very calm ...time to make music and enjoy family.

What is the feedback you get from people who listen to your music?
People of different tastes and ages like our music and  the feedback is always positive.

Which was your first live as SonLosGrillos? Can you recall some moments of it?

It was in the pub of a friend.It was exciting, most of the audience were friends.We did not have any recital prepared, but there was an opportunity of playing and we did.It was a very nice and helped us strengthen our project was coming.

Do you have live performances in a regular basis for promoting your work or you have gigs only in festivals so far?

We do not do many live concerts.Not easy to find places to play,we are a disaster to promote us.We need a manager ...but right now there is not one.

Which way do you work a new song?

Differents ways sometimes separately, sometimes together.Most of the ideas come on the sofa.

Can you make a short sum of all tracks from your new album?

The album has a circular concept.The title aside from being the name of a song says a lot of the album.The first and  last songs are longer and more complex and the central songs are shorter and acoustic...more luminous .It's like an emotional journey as the cycle of a daybetween darkness and light.

There is a Mellow Candle cover in your new album and a Bob Theil participation as well.Will you tell us a few things about?

The cover of Mellow Candle was commissioned by a friend who has a radio show ("Islas de Robinson").We really liked this song and decided to include it on the album.
Bob is a good friend,excellent musician and a great person.He came to visit us and we did not lose the opportunity that collaborate on the album.

The vinyl edition of your debut album is really impressive.Tell us a few things of making this great cover.


The owner of the record label "Monterey" wanted to do a special edition beginning an idea of our,a common friend (clothing designer) made silkscreen and paint them with watercolor one by one.They want to do something special and...they did!

Do you listen to new artists or bands?

Of course!There are many good musicians,making excellent music.
Today with internet can be found hidden treasures anywhere in the world.

Is there a new folk scene in Spain?

I assume you mean the bands making the anglo-saxon folk style of music to mid 60,like us.There is a very important movement of folk worldwide,also in Spain
But we must not forget that Spain has a long tradition of folklore and very different by region (as in many other parts of the world).The north of Spain is more celtic music, south is closer to flamenco and arab roots music.There are groups that are doing what might be called  folk including the characteristics of their region and their own dialect and this is a very interesting way.It may not look our case, but if you listen to our song "Rejoice" find elements of what is here (in Spain) called "Jota".

Are you going to release “Darkness Turns To Light’ on vinyl as well?

The vinyl is in manufacturing,maybe when you read this the record is ready.

Do you buy vinyl records or cds? Have you a favourite record store?

We prefer the vinyl...sounds better!Do not have a favorite record store,we buy online and in second hand stores.We love looking discs in a garage sale,sometimes find wonderful old records.

What’s your point of view about the future of music business and which will be internet affection?

It Is clear that the internet has affected to record sales.On the other side today we have access to all kinds of music and discover bands that would otherwise be impossible.The negative can be that there is a saturation of music and it is often hard to hear a whole album.When we were little and our parents bought a vinyl we listened to hundreds of times.But the music business has always been the same,few groups make much money and there are thousands that are unknown. We, as independent musicians Internet gives us the opportunity that people will listen.Another issue is the sound quality.Today listening the music worse that 40 years ago.Make a record requires substantial technical work and at the end of this listening to an mp3 in a mobile phone.I have nothing against this but certainly something we're missing.

Which are your future plans?

We will do some concerts to present the new albumand start preparing new songs.
continue making music and enjoying life.

Would you like to add anything else?

Many τhanks for the opportunity to participate in this wonderful blog.Blogs like this are doing an excellent job in the diffusion of independent music.Κeep in touch!

(As told to High Fidelity Stories)
 contact :sonlosgrillos.bandcamp.com


Jazz Noire For Vinyl Lovers

 In response to the great popularity of the cd editions of Jazz Noire and Drink Up – Light Up!, and to meet the demands of vinyl collectors, Fantastic Voyage now releases highlights of both compilations as 2LP vinyl editions, limited to 500 copies.

 Jazz Noire is your soundtrack to the mean streets of Los Angeles in the post-war 1940s. This 28-track 2LP  presents studio recordings by the era's most famous musicians, many of whom were based in, or were habitus of the bars and theatres of The City Of Angels. For music-lovers, Jazz Noire constitutes a fascinating survey of the evolving jazz scene in a period when big band swing was losing ground to smaller jazz combos and the bebop style was developing. It was also the time when what is now known as rhythm & blues was in its infancy. Many of the finest performers of the era are showcased here on studio recordings chosen both for their quality and their ability to evoke the dramatic mood of classic film noir. The cover and insert text of Jazz Noire have been carefully designed to pay homage to the hard-boiled, lurid detective fiction of the period, the perfect packaging for a compilation which will appeal both to L.A. Noire devotees and also to those looking for an atmospheric survey of the immediate post-war jazz and R&B scene.


"Jazz Noire Tales Of Dope, Booze & Sleaze" follows 2011's hugely-successful Jazz Noire collection by letting the same team return to those sleazy dives and bars, this time homing in on the dope, drink and dubious characters to provide a vivid picture of high-seeking low life between the 1930s and 1950s. The music on Drink Up - Light Up! evokes that time when orchestras swelled, brass sections exploded like fireworks and blues dripped off piano keys onto booze- and tear-stained barroom floors, staggering cast including names like the Reefer Man and Snuff Dippin' Mama. Along with his usual knowledgeable annotation, compiler Dave Penny repeats Jazz Noire's scene-setting movie themes and finales with Wild Weed, Reefer Madness, D.O.A. and The Man With The Golden Arm. All told, just the ticket after a summer of Lycra-clad Olympic water-wielders! 50 prime examples of atmospheric jazz and R&B 1932-1954, bookended by classic film noir themes. Big-name artists include Sarah Vaughan, Cab Calloway, Dinah Washington, The Ink Spots, Charles Brown, Jack McVea, Jimmy Witherspoon, Wynonie Harris and Joe Liggins. Compiled by early popular music authority Dave Penny. Packaged and annotated to celebrate lurid 1940s pulp fiction.


Searching for Sugar Man

 This story remains one of the music world’s most unusual tales of the 1970s: an obscure debut LP by a Detroit singer-songwriter becomes a source of hope and inspiration to the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa. Now, the story of Rodriguez and his cult album Cold Fact is the basis for Searching For Sugar Man, a riveting documentary by filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul. The soundtrack begins with the otherworldly “Sugar Man” and acts as a primer to this long-overlooked musician’s fusion of gritty funk, political poetry and blissful psych-folk.

Back in the late ‘60s, Rodriguez was discovered in a Detroit bar by renowned producers Dennis Coffey and Mike Theodore. They recorded a 1970 album that they believed was going to secure his reputation as one of the greatest recording artists of his generation. Instead, Cold Fact bombed, and despite the release of a second LP, entitled Coming From Reality and produced by Steve Rowland, Rodriguez drifted into obscurity, even being subject to some fantastic rumors of a dramatic onstage death.
 Cold Fact took on a life of its own when a bootleg recording found its way into apartheid-era South Africa. Banned by the government, the album became a country-wide phenomenon over the next two decades, and the soundtrack to a resistance movement of liberal African youth. Back in Detroit, working in construction and renovation (he also ran for mayor), Rodriguez was totally unaware that he was not just a folk hero but a household name thousands of miles away.
  Decades later, two South African fans, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman and Craig Bartholomew-Strydom set out to find out what really happened to their hero, and their investigation led them to a story more extraordinary than any of the many myths they’d heard. Their story forms the basis of Searching For Sugar Man.

 Both sides of the story, Rodriguez’s life in Detroit and the subsequent impact of his music in South Africa, proved fascinating to Stockholm-based documentary filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul. His short documentary films for Swedish Television’s international cultural weekly show Kobra became the basis for such films as Men Who Stare At Goats (George Clooney) and The Terminal (Tom Hanks). The evolution of the financing, production, and filming of Searching For Sugar Man is as fascinating and complex as the life of Rodriguez himself.
“I describe myself as ‘musico-politico’,” Rodriguez said recently. “I was born and bred in Detroit, four blocks from the city center. Back then, I was influenced by the urban sounds that were going on around me all the time. Music is art and art is a cultural force. As far as my work from Detroit comparing to the South African Apartheid, the similarities echo. The placards of the 1970s in the United States read things like: We Want Jobs and Stop the War – I was looking at the music from a working class perspective that was relevant, as it turns out, to the kids in South Africa.”
Rodriguez receives royalties from the sale of this release.


Vienna Calling:A Happy Hunter and Collector

 Reinhard Probst is a music fellow and record collector who lives and works in Vienna,Austria.We met a couple years ago during summer holidays and since then we are in touch in a regular basis  exchanging thoughts and information about our common passion:music.As i consider him a mastermind of the global psych scene of all eras, i asked him to be the first collector who would be presented here in a new circle for the blog and has to do with people that love and collect music and especially vinyl lovers.Rei, thanx a lot!

What do you collect and why?

 I´m collecting mostly psychedelic music from the 60`s till now.The reason for that kind of music are my first impressions whenI listened for the first time Jimi Hendrix when I was 10 years old, in autumn 1967 - I still do - but I think this was the basis for all coming afterwards. But I`ve listened  over the decades all styles of music (Jazz, Rock, Folk, Soul, Disco, Punk, Metall, etc.). But music with soundeffects, sitar or special instruments was from the beginning on my favorite style (for example: Beatles's Tomorrow Never Knows was much better for me than Eleanor Rigby or Yellow Submarine).My first records I bought from my pocket money were cheap soldout 7”es (Beatles Stones, Who, Doors) – I couldn`t  afford LPs in the 60´s.In the 60`s and early 70`s I got my wish LPs on birthday, easter, x-mas from my parents, uncles and aunts, grandpas and grandmas…
 And when my parents and me visited their parents in Germany I always came back with some vinyls – I remember when my grandpa went in a shopping center with me in early 1969 – I saw the new album Book of Taliesyn from Deep Purple – I was so happy when we went out – I got it!The  first LP I bought from my own money was Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Chile on Karussell-records in 1971. I still have it in my collection and on the innersleeve is written nr. 1……I had luck to have some years older friends.  They already had some of my  favorite records in their collection – so I recorded many vinyls on my tape-recorder…and bought  the vinyl  sometimes some years later.
Reinhard Probst

How big is your collection?

 I invite you to count them...It changes always - but in the moment I think about 4200-4500 CDs,2500 LPs, 400 singles, 500 tapes and maybe about 150 music DVDs and 200 music videos – my maximum on vinyl were about  4000 LPs  in the 2nd half of the 80`s – but I sold a lot of records to have more money for CDs – don`t  laugh about that – this is a very tragic episode in my life…

                                                                 What do you think itʼs worth? 

 Haha - no idea - besides the worth changes from year to year! And the value is not so important for me as the music itself.

How and where do you store it?

 All is in my small 60 squaremeters apartment which is full up to the ceiling...it`s a problem in the future for me...I often think about that – I would like to sell 300-400 CDs and about 150 useless vinyls  from the 80`s to get more space again - curiously most of these 80`s records are for the birds,  so I keep them at home and hope to get the money I´ve payed for eventually in the future. Only the industrial music from the 80`s reaches higher prices – but I already sold most of them too early.
Maybe I will sell a part of my huge comic collection,which is in the bedroom – so I would get more space for vinyl…

Whatʼs the rarest or most unusual item in your collection?

 There are many rare original records...
for example:
JIMI HENDRIX: Electric Jimi Hendrix on Track records,
THE DEEP: Psychedelic Moods on Parkway Records ,
TAROT by Walter Wegmüller on Kosmische Kouriere...
and and…
The most unusual vinyl is maybe ZACHHILL & MICKBARR Vol.2
(limited edition of 27 copies) which comes in 2 metal plates with
4 screws to open und it has a weight of 4,3 Kilogramm!

What elusive gem are you still looking for?

 CAN: (the original) Monster Movie on Scheisshouse records (which I sold in 1983  for 35(!) euro – what a pain to think about that) – in the meantime I think it`s about  2500 euro…I´m not sure If I can or will afford..

How do you track stuff down?

 In the 60`s & early 70`s I got all music magazines (Bravo, Pop, Popfoto, Musikexpress and Rennbahnexpress)  for free, because my mother was working as an accountant in a shop for magazines and she got all magazines which weren`t  sold during the week, but without the title page. But I got a lot of music informations….
From 1975 on I got selling lists (first from Austrian sellers, later from Germany, England, USA). Till the 90`s I studied nearly every evening the lists and ordered records, I couldn`t find in the shops in my hometown.In the early 80`s the record fairs started in Vienna – the best chances to get the stuff I was looking for. I also visited some record fairs in Germany and in London . I went one or two times a year to London for some days, where I found records I didn`t know of the existence. Since 1999 (my computertime started) I get a lot of newsletters from different shops from all over the world, I read magazines like Record Collector or Good Times, I talk with friends and collectors  and I follow every important information. Today with internet collecting is much more easier  than it was in the 70`s or 80`s. In these times it was often a test buying - now I very often can listen to an interesting record online and decide if I buy it or not.

Have you got a favourite record store?

 My favorite store in Vienna doesn`t  exist any longer….It was called “Why Not Records” – which was specialized for rare and unusual records – specially for 60`s & 70`s – I even worked there from 1979 to 1987 beside my job as socialworker – was a great time…My other favourite shop was called “Ton um Ton” – the last rarities shop in town. The owner Reinhardt Bugl and very good friend of mine died in 2004 on a heartattack….Since that I´m an online buyer.

How often do you listen to the stuff in your collection?

 Every day! Between minimum of 2 hours to maximum of 14 hours –I would need much more time to listen…but I need also time for my wife.Fortunately she likes more than 90% of my music… what a happy man I am!

Is there a visual side to collecting for you?


 Of course I bought records in the last decades which had a psychedelic cover – most of them were good – but sometimes I was wondering, because cover art and music didn`t  fit together – on the other side there exist expressionless covers with brilliant music inside…

How do you think youʼll eventually dispose of your collection?

NEVER!  I take my collection into the grave…hehe!

Whatʼs your all time favourite record,regardless of value or rarity?

JIMI HENDRIX: Are You Experienced? (Mono - Track records)

(As told to High Fidelity Stories)