Named after the great French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sicilian quintet HC-B are masters of a similarly evocative art.
Earlier this year they brought out album number three, consisting of 5 very long experimental instrumentals going for a total of 40 minutes.
Tomatrax caught up with Giuseppe Musmeci from the band to ask a few questions.
What inspired you to name yourself after French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson?
It was Gianluca Napoli’s idea. Photography is his profession as well as his passion, and Cartier-Bresson is one of his favourite photographer. When he was listening to our music, this idea of naming our band after the photographer came up in his mind and I think that was great. The music and cinematic atmosphere created when we play are very often inspired by images and it has always been our main source of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we often show old films or videos during the live performances of Hc-b.
Where did the name Rough come from for your album?
We named it Rough because we decided not to have any post production, but to leave the music how it was like exactly when we recorded it in the studio. We have even eliminated several tracks of synths and decided not to record again with other instruments that we originally had planned, so as to keep the sound as “rough” as possible!!
What inspired you to name the 5 tracks after numbers in different languages?
This is the kind of questions that people usually answer with a philosophical mega bullshit! To be honest, we weren’t able to agree on the names at first. Moreover, we often name the song but then we do not use them anymore in the concerts. At the end, I came up with this idea when we were discussing online. We were writing in different languages to say the same thing and that was how we decided to name the songs 🙂
What made you pick ‘Deux’ as the single?
As always, the 5 members of our band each have a different idea regarding the single. Therefore, it was impossible to decide which song should be the single. At the end? Cam Merton, the boss of the label, picked ‘Deux’.
Have you ever considered adding vocals in your music?
We’ve never limited ourselves on this. In fact in the song “Slow Compensation”, one of the songs from the album “Soundcheck for a missing movie” had vocals. If we want to adding a voice we will just do it. The things is that after that song, we’ve never feel like doing so. That’s it.
You mix a range of instruments from guitars and keyboards to xylophones and violins, is it hard to get the different elements to work together?
Not really. No matter if we are playing alone or together, we always try to mix classic rock band instruments with orchestral instruments. It’s actually one of the very few things that we all agree on. The Motorpsycho, for us, was probably the first souce of inspiration! Moreover, when I play with the name Willem Gator (electronic music), Riccardo and Federico with Nursery Quartet (experimental free-jazz), Gianluca and Salvo with many other projects ranging from electronic and improvisation, we always love to combine instruments with different musical traditions.
What’s the music scene in Catania like?
It was as if a beautiful theatre with a huge sign outside that says “closed for holidays”.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
No, I prefer listening to something better. 🙂
What do you have planned for 2016?
Due to our personal engagements and the geographical distance (Gianluca Napoli, for example, lives in Barcelona), it is difficult to imagine that we will work on a new album in 2016. Unless Hiddenshoal want to release a “Greatest Hits” for Hc-b. 🙂 Anyway, I believe that, although not together, we will keep training through working on other projects. And one day we might knock on your mail box for some new reviews. 🙂
Check out HC-B’s webpage to find out more!