Northern Uproar’s Leon Meya spoke to us about the band, Spanish Guitar, and the secret of their continued success.
EP: You were straight from school when you first hit the Brit Pop scene. Everything happened very fast for you. How did it feel to have so much success, so fast, at such an young age?
LM: Well looking back to then I was sixteen , as we were getting so much attention from record companies media etc my confidence grew and I knew we had everything right with regards to our energy onstage and our song writing ability, it just felt very natural to me as I was always a cocky kid and we were singing songs about our lives and them times. With our quick success I knew personally that music would be with me for the rest of my life, being creative and performing.
EP: What compelled you to reform as a group after splitting up in 1999?
LM: Before that between our 5 year break, I had been playing in another band and playing a different style, I got back in touch with Jeff and said, “lets have a rehearsal for a laugh, and play some of the old tunes”. We did and got right back into it then pretty much straight away started to write new material, it just sounded ace and powerful. Sometimes you need a break to realise how much you miss what you had.
EP: You took another break in 2011, do you feel it’s important to step away sometimes?
LM: Yeah we felt we had to take a break at the time, as I was playing around with various musicians I had other ideas and wanted to develop our sound and keep it fresh, also to write good quality music takes time.
EP: You are now back with your fifth studio album, ‘Hey Samurai!’ Can you tell us something about that? It’s an interesting new sound for you, we particularly liked the Spanish guitar, where did you draw your influences from?
LM: Being half Spanish I was always listening to various Spanish and Latin music, which opened a whole new world for me and gave me whole new ideas. I also grew up with playing Catalan Rumba on the guitar, which is a style of gypsy based music that comes from north east Spain/Cataluña. I used to play (this style) with my uncles and cousins in gigs in Barcelona and other festivals around Spain since I was 20, all my Spanish based family were musicians and we all played together in our band. Obviously I knew that one day I would be back in Manchester writing again but this time with other powerful rhythms and harmony and I knew that I was gonna create something ace.
EP: Do you have a favourite track?
LM: It’s hard for me say as I love all of them individually, but ‘Outlaws Robbing Trains’ is a stonker ha ha!
EP: Do you feel the industry has changed since you first started recording in the 90s?
LM: Yeah things are very different now for better and worse but fundamentally for me nothing’s changed, I still do what I love and will always, but yeah technology changes the way we do things but you just move on.
EP: Is there one piece of advice you can offer to young artists who are just starting out in the business?
No not really as it’s all been said before and it’s obvious, the only thing I can say is that I knew all the time that this was my life I’ve had plenty of up and downs but in time you get there, though it took me years and friendships. The feeling I have now towards making music in my life is bigger than before, as I love being creative but with a massive sense of humour, as we all make mistakes.
EP: What is your jam at the moment? Which artists or songs are you currently listening to?
LM: Well I listen to a lot of South American music, all styles right through from jazz – it’s hard for me say, as I hear new songs and styles all day long.
EP: Do you plan for the future or are you just enjoying the moment?
LM: 100 percent I can say, as long as I live I will be making music and performing. It’s in my blood and soul, I am very grateful now more than ever, God bless you all!