Interview with Esplendor Geométrico – Geometria del esplendor

Published by Alessandro Violante on March 18, 2018

esplendor-geometrico-interviewGeometria del esplendor is the title of a music documentary centered around Esplendor Geométrico’ history, one of the most relevant projects in the field of industrial music, which music has influenced more than one generation of musicians. The movie was released in 2016 and was directed by José Ramon Da Cruz. Until now it’s been screened in several movie festivals  not only focused on music, as well as during an edition of Primal Uproar held in Hamburg. Only now, for the first time, it’s possible to watch it online for 72 hours paying 1.99 on a website. We’ve watched it and decided to interview once again Arturo Lanz and Saverio Evangelista in order  to talk with them about it.

Hi Arturo, Hi Saverio, it’s a pleasure to talk with you once again. During our first interview we focused on your music, this time we’ll talk mainly about the movie centered on your career (and not only on it). Would you like to introduce “Geometria del esplendor” to our readers?

Geometria del esplendor is a short that works as a documentary, as the title suggests it talks about Esplendor Geométrico, but not only about them. We think the documentary is an excuse to talk about about more, much more, not least what has been a very important period for the Spanish scene, and also, as it always happens, to talk about the director.

I’ve watched some music documentaries, but I think this is my favourite one. It’s not simply the result of a succession of interviews and live footage, the montage is engaging, and i like as well the effects here used. Videos, live footage, dialogues, a lot of never seen before material. It works  really fine. Is the director a friend of yours? How have you met him?

No, I didn’t know about Ramón, even if all the great time spent together is impossible not to become friends. He was the one contacting us. At first he just wanted to do a videoclip for us, just about a track.  The, when we got to know each other well, he was carried away and he decided to do a documentary.  Moreover, it has been filmed in 4k and it strongly influences the quality. I think it was a sort of identification by the director: it just as he found and identified himself in our underground, we could say “off”, path.

I like that Esplendor Geométrico here is analyzed not only by music critiques but also by art experts and so on. The result is a multidisciplinary analysis that tell us a lot about you. Also, your artistic background strongly emerges In the documentary. Do you know each people who were interviewed? Did you choose them or the director did it?

The decisions about who to call are exclusively from the director, even if the contacts where selected even by our manager Andrés Noarbe, and he himself is featured many times in the documentary. We think, personally, that all the choices were interesting, even if we always advocate our independence, now as the, from any artistic or intellectual movement. Maybe we wouldn’t have thought about calling any art critic to talk about us… We would like to seize the opportunity to remember a very dear friend of us, a music and art critic we are really indebted to, and that we mourn the untimely death which happened on the 13th of March, Thursday: José Manuel Costa. Thanks to him and his music column on the Sunday supplement of El País, for the first time someone talked about our first Lp.  José Manuel had the courage to bet on us, and he did it until the last day:  he was always there during our concerts every time we played in Madrid. Who else would have written about a group like us, when everything was about the Movida, when all that people thought about was to go out during the night and drink at big-time bars? We are talking about more than 35 years ago… We like to think his character still speak thanks to our documentary.

Let’s focus on music videos. It seems they’re unavailable on Youtube and other platforms, I’ve never seen them! Who has directed them? Have you ever published them on DVD? This thing is interesting, because your fans are motivated to watch the movie, as they know they’ll be able to watch a lot of unreleased contents.

Except for the movies you see behind our backs during our live shows, our own creations, the clips featured on the documentary are all creations by Ramón; another reason to watch the documentary.

In the documentary a certain attention is given to the song Necrosis en la poya, but unfortunately I don’t understand Spanish very well. Can you explain us why this song was so important in your career?

Ramón chose which song to match with a videoclip, so it would be better to ask him about it. It’s just one of  our many tracks, to us they have all the same importance. Maybe, it is important because it was on our first single.

What does  the song Negros Hambrientatos talk about? I ask you this because it seems very interesting to me how you’ve chosen to show with it sequences from Alan Crosland’ “The jazz singer”, considered as the first movie with sounds.

Just like the other song, even this one comes from the repertoire we could call our “beginning of time”.  From the earliest days of the band, when maybe to provoke still had a sense. Then Esplendor took a specific route, the one which accompanied us until today.

Let’s talk more in-depth about your videos. In some of them you can see actors dancing, which is very interesting. What do you think about dance?

Our music doesn’t travel through the head, but the guts. Dancing is very important to us, we are really glad our music is called dance music. In this regard, we think we are very distant from the industrial scene, which maybe is too tight for us. When the audience move in front of us during a show, then that is the best feedback one could get. Maybe, one of the most important concerts to us was the one at Berlin Berghain:  the ultimate dance club. Finally someone recognized our dance-side.

Arturo, someone (I don’t remember who) has defined you as a Viennese actionist. Do you find this suits well for you?

(Arturo) I don’t follow the Art scene, even if I understand the reason for this comparison. Maybe the greatest difference is that artists plane their performance on a drawing board, while we have a spontaneous approach, a naif one.

Esplendor Geométrico and Francisco Lopez. Can you tell us something more about this fellowship?

(Arturo) Francisco is an old friend. When we where young, we lived in the same block in Madrid:  Prosperidad. Even if we still have common roots, each one of us took a different path and Francisco  became an institution in the world of Sound Art.  It did not prevent our paths meeting again. We made a project together called Biomecánica. That name perfectly describes with one word all the characteristic of the project and our music: organic and mechanical.

I’ve seen you live twice and you have a punk approach, you make stage diving, you move a lot, you interact with the public. Would you like further elaborate about it? How do you live this experience?

The comparison with punk music could be poignant, even if we don’t use safety pins and jackets with studs… The music takes us to another dimension, ad I think the audience feels that.  Maybe someone, while watching a concert of Esplendor, could think about a shamanic experience…

During the documentary, some snippets from some of your side projects can be listened. Can you tell us something more about them?

(Saverio) M.S.B. (Most Significant Beat) is a s project I created in 1990 with Maurizio Martinucci. Is something I’m very fond of, it fuses industrial music with techno. Whereas Esplendor knows how to punch in the gut, M.S.B. knows how to arrive at the brain. As of now Mario is part of Clock DVA and sometime it happened we played together at some festival: he with Clock DVA and I with Esplendor.

Your music has a social and political connotation too, it’s something quite every early industrial music band has. What can you tell us about the social and political scenario in which you’ve started doing your music?

This is a question they often ask to us,  if not always… It’s not our intention to convey a political or social  message, we always used a certain kind of imaginary for a purely aesthetic fascination suggested by it. Because of this, we got some criticism from someone who got the wrong way our aesthetic. It is inevitable. About the social and political scenario, it was for sure a big unrest. Nevertheless, we were, and we still be, seen as aliens. We had very few things in common with the others. The term Movida is used even today in a sly way for the tourism marketing. Just think that it is used for trendy districts in all the world, for places to go out at night. In the Italian magazines you could often read “The movida of Rome” or “The movida of Milan”! At the time it was to us a term devoid of any sense. I’ll let you imagine what we thin about it today…

In the documentary, great attention is given to Throbbing Gristle’ frontman Genesis P-Orridge, the first industrial music project. What do you think about his music and what does he thinks about yours? Have you ever talked about it together?

To us TG were a fundamental influence at the beginning of our career. Together with Cabaret Voltaire and Sex Pistols they represented a topic moment. Things like these didn’t get in Madrid, at all. But I have to say that some bands in industrial scene took a different path, and we went our separate ways. We never talked explicitly about it, only briefly during a Spanish tv program called la edad del oro where Genesis was invited, something that created some controversy. In that occasion, we where invited to presence in the audience.

Thanks for the time you’ve dedicated to us. If you want, greet our readers and invite them to watch the movie!

Thanks to you! I hope this chat tickled the curiosity of some reader, and that he will see  a short which talk not only about us, and maybe this makes it even more interesting!