- Saying the name Manel is speaking about Barcelona’s most important music phenomenon of the last decade. After becoming the first pop act ever to reach the #1 of the Official Spanish Charts singing in Catalan with 10 milles per veure una bona armadura (2011), the band did it again just a month ago, with the release of their third album, Atletes, baixin de l’escenari (2013), certified Gold with almost 30.000 units sold. It’s just another broken boundary for a band that keep impressing the audience with their live show: on their last tour, they have offered more than a hundred concerts in nine months -sold out as a regular basis- throughout the Iberian Peninsula and appeared in well-known known festivals such as S.O.S (Murcia), Grec (Barcelona) or Dcode (Madrid). Their new one (tour) is about to start at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound 2013 and, with more than 40 gigs already booked, will be as exciting as ever.
With an unusual maturity being so young, Guillem Gisbert (guitar and lead singer), Roger Padilla (guitar and vocals), Martí Maymó (bass guitar, clarinet and backing vocals) and Arnau Vallvé (drums, percussion and backing vocals) put together in 2008 a debut, Els Milllors Professors Europeus (2008) -Platinum with more than 40.000 units sold- which was said to be the perfect crossing of Catalan folk (Sisa, Serrat, Pau Riba) and indie-folk’s avant-garde (Beirut, Herman Düne). Talent and freshness: the two most common concepts associated to this band, which by word of mouth started a tour that launched at the Primavera Club (Barcelona), had its first points of inflection at The Great Escape (Brighton-UK), Womad (Canarias- Spain) and Bafim (Buenos Aires- Argentina) and ended with two unforgettable concerts at the Palau de la Música Catalana and a mini-tour around the United Kingdom (Manchester, Glasgow and London).
Happy but exhausted in March 2010 Manel withdrew themselves from the stage to write, compose, record, produce and edit what a year later would be the album which answered all questions: 10 milles per veure una bona armadura (2011)*. El País de las Tentaciones, El Periódico de Catalunya and I Tunes Rewind Spain’s best album of 2011, their second coming sold more than 50.000 units, won a carousel of awards -which include the Critics Eye Award to Modern Music given by Spanish National Radio Station (Premio Ojo Crítico-RNE),Time Out’s award to Best Band of the Year- and introduced them to new audiences all around Spain and Latin America (DF’s Vive Latino).
One year after their last fully packed show at Berlin’s Lido, the fantastic four proved to be much more than the favourite band of FC Barcelona’s former football team coach, Pep Guardiola. And with a new electric sound less folkie and more pop, “Atletes, baixin de l’escenari” evidences that Manel, in case anyone doubted, aren’t tired of making history.
New Album. “Jo Competeixo”
A year and a half after finishing the tour for Atletes, baixin de l’escenari (2013) in front 60,000 people at Barcelona’s La Merce festival in 2014, last April Manel released Jo competeixo in CD, double vinyl and digital format, becoming the one and only artist in history entering at the Top of Spanish Charts with three consecutive albums singed in Catalan language. Unlike their three previous, which were recorded in the strictest privacy, the fourth LP of the Barcelona quartet was their first experience of sharing their talents with a producer, Jake Aron, a New Yorker best known for his work with Grizzly Bear, Tune-Yards and Chairlift, among others.
With his help, Guillem Gisbert, Roger Padilla, Martí Maymó and Arnau Vallvé recorded the album in two sessions at different studios between November and December: the first was at Dreamland, a studio in an old church near Woodstock; and the second at Doctor Wu’s, Jake’s studio in Brooklyn (New York). The result is 11 songs, mastered at Sterling Sound by Chris Gehringer (Rihanna, Drake, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan), that redefine their sound with electronic touches, a quiet but notable revolution in sound, premiered live at last Primavera Sound (Barcelona) and celebrated by media and an enthusiastic audience at festivals like MadCool (Madrid), Festival de les Arts (Valencia), Vida or CapRoig.