Hi guys, so first things first, a little bit about yourselves?
Tom: OK, we are Lily Lunan and Tom Peeke, originally from London but now both based in Barcelona. Together we form a male/female duo, ESPAI.
How did you meet?
Lily: We met 18 months ago here in Barcelona at a dubstep night in Razzmatazz club after one of Tom’s friends ran outside to be sick and threw up beside me! We got chatting, Tom told me he was a producer with a passion for trip hop, I told Tom I sang, and we exchanged details.
Tom: We sent each other some stuff we were working on independently at the time and both really liked what we heard, so decided to meet up and have a crack at working on some tunes together.
How did the album come about?
Tom: For the past 14 years I’d been writing various forms of dance music but had always wanted to write a trip hop album. I’d yet to meet a suitable singer though and it was only when Lily first sent me a clip of her vocals that I knew we had to make music together.
Lily: When we actually had our first jam session in the studio we just clicked, it was amazing. After a few more sessions, and with some ideas starting to progress into concrete tracks, we decided that we wanted to make it official. We settled on the name ESPAI (‘space’ in Catalan) and set to work creating our debut album.
Talking about goals, what are the plans once the album is released?
Lily: Our next main goal once the album is finished is to build a fan base and play our music live. We want to play in as many places as possible.
Tom: Touring is something which we really want to get started. Having been deejayed for many years I have wanted to do live work for a long time and now that our album is taking shape we have started to work on our live performances and how we can transfer our sound onto the stage. It’s challenging and very exciting.
Do you have any set tour dates yet and where can people find you?
Lily: At the moment, we’re looking to perform for the first time within the next month or so at TERRA, a night in Poble Sec in Barcelona, soon to be confirmed. (Check it out HERE). Our first live performance outside Spain will be at a night called SubConcious at the Underground Ballroom in Leeds on April 7th, details of which will be up on their facebook page in the next few weeks (more information HERE ). We are also in talks with a few promoters and are penned to play this year at Sol, an electronic music festival in Extremadura, near Madrid. Tom ‘Our manager is currently in talks with some promoters in the UK so there will be some more gigs coming up there soon. If there are any promoters reading this who like what we’re making we’re more than happy to talk about playing at any events or nights they’re running. You can find us easily on facebook; HERE. or on Soundcloud, HERE. Both sites have contact details for our manager and booking agent. We’ve also just set up a Youtube account so expect to see some ESPAI videos coming soon.
OK next question; what were the influences for this release (if any in particular) and what message are you trying to convey musically, morally, lyrically etc?
Tom: Musically we are influenced by a huge variety of bands and artists, such an eclectic mix that it would probably take up 2 pages of this interview! Big artists that have influenced us in the past and remain a huge influence ESPAI’s sound are: Portishead, Lamb, Massive Attack, Magnetic Man, 16bit, The Prodigy, Bar9, Noisia and Burial to name a few.
Lily: For me some big current vocal influences are Fin Greenall (Fink), Skype Edwards (Morcheeba), Sia, Joe Dukie (Fat Freddy’s drop) and then older ones like Tracy Chapman and Eva Cassidy. In terms of the message we’re trying to convey, some of our tracks are born from personal experiences, others tell a story or simply imagine a different world or context. Some tracks are more upbeat and dancy, others are more chilled and contemplative, some have political undercurrents. What they all share is meaning and, especially, soul.
Tom: Exactly. When listened to as an album the tunes gel together, telling tales of life both in past experience and current prospective.
How has your creative experience been here in comparison to how it was back in the UK, how much do you think your immediate environment affects the way you work with music?
Tom: I reckon that in the UK the market was much more established and linear, I was known for my hard dance music, and when I wanted to get out of that, it wasn’t easy. Coming here was a breath of fresh air, I felt I had a clean slate. Just the scenery - the mountains outside Barcelona where I live - compared to the grey drabness of London, has been an inspiration in itself.
Lily: Meeting Tom has been my inspiration. He has made me believe in myself, I owe a lot to him. That said, I can’t deny that living in Barcelona has also made things easier. It’s a beautiful, vibrant, warm, artistic city that you can’t help but be inspired by. I’ve never felt the way I do here whilst living in the UK, creatively or otherwise.
Out of all the different aspects involved in the making of your album, which have you enjoy most?
Lily: Experimenting and improvising. Having jam sessions together in the studio. Going off on a random tangent and laughing our heads off only to realize we could be on to something…! Tom ‘I agree, we click, we have done since the beginning, there hasn’t been one idea so far where either of us has been like ‘no way’. It’s always been ‘This works!’ We also have the same puerile sense of humour, which helps ;)
So when can we expect to see ‘Precipice’ hitting the shelves?
Tom: At the moment we are looking at a summer 2012 release date; you’ll have to give us a ‘like’ on Facebook to receive our latest news and find out when things are
Any final words or special mentions?
Lily: We would just like to thank everyone so far for all their support, we’ve had some
wicked feedback so far. Also a couple of mentions have to go to our manager Alex, and our photographer John, both of whom have helped us immensely with their knowledge, experience and skills. Their contact details are on our facebook page.
Tom: I think the only other person to give a shout out to would be Dave from your very own RelevantBCN; nice one Dave, thanks for taking the time to talk to us!