Cover Photo Credit: Javier Remacha
Eric Baulenas is the singer/lead guitarist for Barcelonan progressive rock band Eric Baule and progressive metal band Moonloop. His band Eric Baule released their latest album “Revelations Adrift” last year. I had the chance to sit down with him and discuss his bands, influences, and future plans.
How long have you played music? How long have you played with your current lineup for Eric Baule and Moonloop?
I began to play guitar when I was 13 years old, and now I’m 37, so I’ve been playing music for 24 years. Moonloop was born in 2001 with me, Juanjo (guitar) & Raúl (drums), and they’re still part of the lineup, so we’ve been together for 15 years. As a band, Eric Baule was born in 2010, but existed as a solo project since 2005, so it’s a 10 years old project.
Who were your greatest musical influences growing up?
Mainly guitarists like Satriani, Vai, Van Halen, Mark Knopfler, Gary Moore, Eric Johnson, David Gilmour, Alex Skolnick or Kirk Hammett, but I also grew up listening to a lot of rock, blues, pop and classical music. When I was a kid my favourite artists were Hendrix, The Who, The Kinks, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd and Van Halen, among others. Soon after, when I was a teenager, I discovered Grunge, Indie, and specially, Extreme Metal. At the same time I began to dig into Progressive music thanks to bands like Dream Theater or Marillion.
What are you currently listening to? Have you discovered any bands or albums lately?
I’m usually listening to new and old music. I love to discover actual music, but I also enjoy a lot travelling to the past (can be music from the sixties to the nineties). Now I’m listening to some krautrock bands, and at the same time I listen to my all-time favourites like Devin Townsend, Meshuggah, Arena, or Satriani, to name a few. Recently I bought some new albums by artists like Tame Impala, Casualties of cool, Ghost, Steven Wilson, Bowie, Franco Battiato, or Killing Joke. On the other hand I’m still buying old records by artists like Sixteen Horse Power, Simple Minds, or Nico. I’m always curious, so the more you know, the more you grow as a musician. Sadly I don’t have enough time to listen to all the music out there…
When you aren’t playing music, what do you do in your free time?
I love to ride my bike, be far away from the city, going to the beach, or hunting fossils. Apart from music, my biggest passion is geology and paleonthology, so I try to make this time machine-like journey whenever I have free time. It’s a meditation, a good connection between myself and nature, and also very exciting!
Is the songwriting process different between your two bands?
Not too much. I always write some music before I have the lyrics, so the process is basically to paint a musical landscape at first, and then let it speak for itself. I usually have notes and ideas about a story or an emotion, so I use them for my lyrics too.
Where do you get inspiration for your lyrics?
Sometimes the music tells you a story, or carries a concrete emotion, and you only have to follow your instinct to let the whole idea flow. It isn’t easy to work like that, but it’s a good experiment that I definitely recommend. With Eric Baule, if I’m not following the message that comes from the music, my inspiration then comes from nature, friends, relationships, and life in general. With Moonloop I have a more cutting-edge style, focusing on a negative or dark depth, and also natural disasters, but with some moments of light, of course.
What is your favorite song to play live? Why?
“Strombus” by Moonloop is one of my favourite songs since we rehearsed it for the first time. It has strong riffs, clean and growl vocals with a “climate change” topic behind the lyrics, and then you have all those progressive changes and rhythm patterns. Maybe it’s not our best song, but I enjoy playing it live a lot. With Eric Baule I enjoy playing “Redemption” and “Release From Duality”. They’re long tracks with emotional passages and melodic guitar solos, and I can feel like I’m being the song itself while I’m playing them on stage. It’s a beautiful and very positive experience.
What type of equipment do you use? What is your favorite piece?
I’m using my Ibanez JS guitar since I was 17 years old, and I’m totally in love with that one because I grew up playing that guitar. It’s like an extension of my arm, a part of me, and of couse a very comfortable instrument. In 2011 I bought my first seven string guitar, and since then, that guitar is one of my basic tools as a musician. I have also an electro-acoustic guitar, some guitar pedals like a wah and a whammy, and a percussion module that I use only to record demos. I’m not too much into buying lots of stuff because I feel comfortable with less equipment. My Switchblade Hugues & Kettner amp is one of the most important pieces of my equipment because it sounds amazing, and also has effects in it, so that allows me to avoid pedal stuff.
What are some hardships you’ve experienced throughout your career, and how did you overcome them?
Fortunately, I haven’t experienced so much hard times yet, but my experience tells me that there are two key points for me. The first is that you must be sincere with yourself and follow your own instinct about your music and how to play your instrument, and that means to keep your genuine idea instead of falling in doubt due to external judgements or reviews. To compare your music or musicianship with others is the first step to negativity and to a false sense of your work. I’m not talking about being a dictator or somebody that has no ears for external ideas, but it’s good to be careful with that point. The second point is that if you choose to be a musician, sometimes it’s very difficult to achieve some goals because the music industry is a very soulless world. Money, promotion, deadlines, and external factors like jobs, or the busy agendas by other band members can make you feel that it’s impossible to do what you really love to do. I’m still learning how to walk this road, and the most important thing is to be focused all the time and communicate with respect. If you’re in a band, all the members must share the same goal and have to be conscious of the meaning of what you are doing.
Is there any information you’d like to share about either of your bands, whether upcoming tour/album news, band updates, etc.?
We’re working on a small tour to promote Eric Baule’s “Revelations Adrift” through Spain, although it’s very difficult to organize due to our jobs. We’re very excited because we have three dates and surely there are more dates to come. I’m also working on some ideas for the second Eric Baule album, but there’s still a lot of work to do. On the other hand, I’m very excited about the yet-untitled second Moonloop album, wich is being mixed right now. We have one show scheduled in Madrid, and I hope to have the album finished to release it next spring, although we don’t know if Listenable Records will release it due to economic issues. Anyway, if there’s no record label who wants to release the album, we’re gonna make a self-release as I did with Eric Baule’s album.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians today?
Have fun above all, try to speak from your heart, and don’t feel discouraged if someone tells you anything that makes you feel like you’re not good, because the best thing is that there is nobody like you in the whole planet. The best version of yourself is you, so explore without mental barriers and try to know how the music industry works as soon as you can. The most important thing is that you must have fun instead of having a sense of being in a race or in a competition. Let it flow!
Thank you Eric for freeing up some time to chat with me!