Name: The Excitements
Interviewees: Adrià Gual, Kissia San
Occupations: Guitarist, songwriter (Adrià Gual), vocalist (Kissia San)
Nationality: French (Kissia San), Spanish (Adrià Gual)
Current Release: The Excitements' Keepin' On is out via Satélite K.
Kissia: "Tu es partout" Pauline Croze (a song about Mothers and the relationship daughter / mother); "Circé" Madeline Miler (a book about mythologie)
Adrià: “Die Stadt der Wunder” (La ciudad de los prodígios) an Eduardo Mendoza's novel that explains how Barcelona became a big modern city and how unscrupulous entrepreneurs made their fortunes and “Un franco, 14 pesetas”, a great movie about the Spanish immigration in Switzerland in the sixties. You can find it with German subtitles.

If you enjoyed this interview with The Excitements and would like to stay up to date on the band, visit their official website or their Facebook profile.

When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

Adrià: I was a huge Beatles fan when I was a kid. Fortunately they've been influenced by a lot of artists during their carreer and this opened the door to other great music for me. Then I followed the new links and it opened my mind and filled my record shelves.

I started writing songs really soon. It's a great way for a teenager to express his anger, sadness, frustration, happiness or any other feeling. Years after I could make a living off my teenage passion. It seemed unattainable at that time but here I am!

For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?

Kissia:There is a phase in your learning process when you have to listen to the legends and observe them, this will inspire you. But one day you'll start thinking on your own and find something that is the result of all this inspiration and you'll find you own identity. In this moment you need to let these people go, because more you keep them more you lose yourself.

You never have to forget that we "play" music, we don't "work" music. You just have to enjoy it, feel it, and you will find yourself.

How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?

Kissia: I really don't know. I love American black music but I am not American, I just love the sound, the way of expression, 1 word 1 emotion.

Adrià: We are what we are, and obviously influences our creativity. Our personal experiences and our background made us as individuals, that's what we have to offer, otherwise we wouldn't be honest. And that's hard to hide.

What were your main creative challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?

Kissia: When I was 5 years old I would like to play in the legendary Olympia theatre in Paris. Now I know that I don't need that to feel being an artist.

Adrià: My first challenge was having fun doing what I like. Now it's having fun doing what I like and keep being paid for it.

As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it instruments, software tools or recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first studio/first instrument? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?

Adrià: When I started playing with my school friends we got cheap instruments that we could afford. I played drums at that time and I bought a super cheap snare and a cymbal with money I got betting at the horse races, that was my first kit.

We rehearsed in my room and recorded with a reel tape that my dad bought when he did his military service in Ifni, Morocco in 1963 (It was a Spanish colony at that time). It had just one microphone and we had to place it in a position that allowed the voice and all the instruments being recorded at the desired level. After we bought a homemade amplifier with six speakers where we plugged all the instruments and the mics through a mixer I made with a cookie can, I had to wrap it with a self adhesive sheet of plastics to isolate it because sometimes we got interferences with the police radio. And we even played live with this equipment!

When the band was over I started playing guitar. I have almost 20 of them, some, including the one that I normally use with The Excitements, made by me, and five different amps, one new and four vintage. I built it or bought it for the different projects I was involved in, but also because I dig the object - it's simply beautiful.

Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?

Kissia: I discovered Logic Pro and, yeah you can do a lot of things with it or get trapped in a tangle because of the huge amount of possibilities. I love bass and I am learning it a bit and it changes my way of singing. (laughs)

Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?

Kissia: I love to understand the point of view of the other part in a collaboration. I love to listen to what they're listening to, I want to have the same angle but in a different way. Talking is the better way for me. I do a take and then we talk to take the whole thing higher.

Adrià: I usually try to collaborate with people who have my same approach to music, the same way of thinking, the same references and few words are enough to find the path to follow. Then we try it out and see if it works, no egos, no one cares who had the idea, everybody will know if it works or not.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?

Adrià: I have absolutely no routine.

I wake up late in the morning, check my mails, read the news and do things that I have to do not in a specific order or maybe I just lay in bed and think or read or watch a movie or listen music. I eat when I'm hungry and when the city is sleeping and there are no noises I'll start working 'til I'm tired and go to sleep. Depending of the day I work all night long or I don't work at all.

Sometimes I'm already half asleep and I'll have an idea. So I wake up again, go to the guitar and I try it out. Could seems chaotic but it works for me.

Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?

Kissia: One day I realized that we don't just deliver music, we can heal people or make them feel better. Improve their personal life or their jobs. I observe that I have the possibility to get the audience together in the same frequency wich is LOVE.

Adrià: All the records I did were a breakthrough work for me when I recorded them. After a month I thought they were a crap. One year after I can tolerate it again and even like it sometimes. Let's see if the new album is a real breakthrough or one more on the shelf. It will be the people who will decide it.

There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?

Adrià: Working is the way of being creative, transpiration takes you to inspiration. You can have some unexpected ideas while you're doing something else, but afterwards you'll have to put them together and shape them. The harder you work, the better the results you'll get.

Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?

Kissia: Sometimes you'll hear a song and cry because you feel touched by the music or the lyrics. It's painful but it's healing!!!! Sometimes I would scream because the pain I feel is to strong to bear it or handle it. Then I use a song to heal myself, singing I can release all my major emotions. It's magical!

There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?

Adrià: The limit is respect. You should play other communities' music if you respect them. You just shouldn't pretend to be them, it will become a ridiculous parody and you risk that someone waits for you with an iron bar at the artists exit door. And believe me, this is not a great deal.

Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?

Kissia: Hearing is so connected with other senses and can guide them. It's a deeper feeling than looking with your eyes, it's looking with your heart's eyes, then you feel the music, the musicians, the audience … everything! All my senses are guided by my hearing. It's an amazing feeling.

Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?

Adrià: My approach is mainly being honest, talking about what I know and what I feel. It doesn't matter if it's about politics, personal relationships or whatever. That's my way of thinking: Be honest, do what you can do and try to have fun.

What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?

Adrià: Music can take you to other moments of your life, just music and smell can do it. People with dementia maybe don't remember their own family but they'll remember the songs of their life. Babies don't understand you if you talk to them, but they react to the rhythm of the music.

Music arrives where no other expressions can. It's connected to your emotional side. Words could also do it but they have a logical side that make them less powerful.