Interview: Next Step

Sarah join’s drummer Diego Solana and guitarist Irene Génova for a chat to get to know more about this fine metal band. For more information on their album Legacy, check out our earlier review.

First of all, I want to congratulate you on an incredible debut album. I have to say I loved it from the moment I heard it and I love everything about it. But let’s go back and start at the beginning; tell me a bit about how you met and when you formed the band?

I: The band was formed almost nine years ago. We were in high school and were fourteen/fifteen years old. Guillermo and I met in high school with our former two bandmates. They left for various reasons and our current bassist, Jesús Hernando, joined in 2013 and Diego last year in 2016.

How do you feel your music has changed since your previous EPs and releases?

I: It’s changed a lot in every way. In terms of music we were big Metallica fans and when you start writing music it’s very easy to copy but then as you grow, you start listening to other music and other genres. Also with the lyrics, we’re not native English speakers but we always thought that it was important to write in English because the music we love is all in English. It was very hard from the start but we manage now to do it and do it correctly.

How did you decide on the name Next Step?

I: We were first called Wolf Inc. but that’s a stupid name [laughs]; we were only fourteen. But there is a lyric in the song “Holy Road” from our first EP which mentions ‘my next steps’ or something and so as we were thinking of changing the name, Guillermo suggested we call ourselves that, and we didn’t think about it very much. So that’s been our name for around eight years now.

I can definitely hear the Metallica and Green Day influences, which is no bad thing, but what other music has influenced you?

D: Alter Bridge! [both laugh] We are absolutely Alter Bridge fans: all of us. There’s an anecdote that I always tell people which is that the first time I ever saw Next Step live I was playing with another band and they played the sixth track from this album called “Follow” and I thought it was an Alter Bridge cover.

I: I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good thing!

D: Trivium is also a great influence, then maybe the sort of new wave of American rock and metal scene like Shinedown and Black Stone Cherry, basically the breed that came from Creed and Nickelback, those are our main influences in the album.

I: But the way we share music with each other is really the way it’s best explained. So it’s not like “Oh, this song is mostly Alter Bridge inspired”. It’s more like say, Jesús is listening to Parkway Drive one day and then gets an idea and then the ideas grow and develop in the band and then it becomes our music.

When it comes to song writing, do you write in Spanish and then translate it into English or do you start out in English?

I: It’s never worked trying to write in Spanish. We don’t even have ideas in Spanish. It’s hard to explain.

D: I think it’s that none of us are really listeners to many Spanish bands so what we listen to is always music written in English. I think it’s easier to write in English as that’s the music that we all listen to and it doesn’t make sense to write in a language that you’re not used to listening to. I think it’s easier to express yourself and sound good in English. There’s something about the phonetic that does that and just makes it sound better.

What has influenced the song-writing, lyrically, on the album?

I: Our lyrics in general are very metaphoric so there’s sometimes just an idea or just a sentence and it develops. The whole album has the concept of our legacy. So, what are we going to leave in the world when we are gone, as a community or individuals. Every song is a story or concept along those lines.

What was the recording process like for the album? Did you try new studios or engineers for production/mixing?

D: Irene works with Carlos Santos who did the mixing on the album. He has a great reputation here in Spain, he works with bands here like Hamlet and Tundra, big Spanish bands within the scene. Irene had it clear from the first moment she started working with him that she wanted the mixing done with him.

I: We booked the recording dates a year before so we had it clear from the start!

D: As for the process, it took us a little over a month to record. I had to learn the songs in barely 3-4 months because they were basically already composed. I think it went smooth; it was calm. There was a lot of work went into it, Irene worked her ass off and was involved in the mixing process with Carlos. It was smooth but very hard work.

I: But the best part of it is that we were at home, as in we are like a family, in the band and with Carlos my boss, so we could try various things and see what worked best.

What is your live show like?

D: It’s a very energetic show, it’s heavy, it’s good to sing along, it’s good to jump, to have a beer, stay back or be in the moshpit. It’s really open to every kind of concert-goer.

I: We’re very natural on stage, we like to have some things prepared in the set but not everything. It’s more like how do we feel at the time.

D: We have a show to launch the album in Madrid on 29th April and a show in Jaén on 4th August at the Barcia Metalfest. And then we are about to announce a UK tour for the beginning of the summer – I can’t say much more at the moment – and a few dates in France too and then probably back to Spain for more live dates. We’d love to find another festival to play in the UK this year but it’s possibly too late now.

It’s great that you’re going to the UK. Britain is going to love you. Have you played in the UK before?

D: No, we’ve not played outside of Madrid yet! The first show we play outside of Madrid will be in the UK so…!

If you could tour as the support act for any band – who would you most like to support?

I: Well it depends on if we’re just completely dreaming for being a bit realistic here! If we’re being realistic then we’d love to open for Tremonti. They came for a European tour last year and it was the kind of venue we could imagine playing as support band. But then of course we’d love to open for Alter Bridge, Metallica, Iron Maiden, even Nickelback!

And if you were headlining, who would you like to have as your support band?

D: Ooh, Metallica! [laughter]. A band I would really love to tour with is Gojira. Oh and there’s that British band we discovered recently SHVPES with Bruce Dickinson’s son as the singer. They’re great, they have loads of energy so they would be great as support or a co-headlining tour.

I: A band I’d love to go on tour with, obviously we’d be the support though, is Halestorm. I love their music but Lzzy is a big influence for me, like a role model, as a musician and as a woman in the rock world.

Legacy was released on March 17th and is available to buy here

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