“We always hear it after we play a show,” says Capsula frontman Martin Guevara. “People come up and say we’re capturing the true spirit, the essence of rock’n’roll.”
That spirit is alive and well in Capsula, a ferocious power trio hailing from Bilbao, Spain (by way of Buenos Aires). With a name derived from a line in David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” Capsula does indeed take its cues from rock’s legends: Bowie, the Velvet Underground, the Stooges. Or, as Rolling Stone once pegged the band, “a high-velocity union of the Cramps and the Who.”
But their sound — a swirling mass of psychedelica, garage rock, trade-off boy-girl vocals from Guevara and bassist Coni Duchess, along with the pounding fury of drummer Ignacio Solimo — is “classic” only in the best sense. It’s both dynamic and fearless, built on rock’s foundation but always exploring bold new territories.
It’s the spirit that caught the ears of Tony Visconti, best known for his work with David Bowie and T. Rex. The legendary producer came on board for the band’s latest album, Solar Secrets, their second record for Krian Music Group after 2011’s In the Land of the Silver Souls.
“We thought it would be impossible to work with one of our musical heroes,” says Guevara (who, along with his Capsula bandmates, had actually recorded an original recreation of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album). “His work with Bowie and T. Rex...that set the pattern for our lives. But we heard he was really selective on who he worked with. So we just considered it a wild dream if it were to happen.”
Nonetheless, the band sent Visconti some demos. And, recognizing a kindred spirit, Visconti acquiesced. A new, cross-generational musical bond was formed.
“He was fantastic. He opened us to experimenting with sounds and trying some bigger ideas,” says Duchess, Capsula’s bassist and co-vocalist. “I feel like with this album we’re really moving forward as a band.”
Recorded in Saint Clare Recording Studios in Kentucky, Solar Secrets finds the band expanding their musical palette, while never diluting their primal energy. “Dark Age” is propelled by a seriously dirty guitar riff, while “Constellation Freedom” finds Duchess front and center as Guevara tosses off wild psychedelic solos from behind. “Blind,” meanwhile, is a catchy duet built on a seriously solid groove and Guevara’s insistence that the song’s “hot rock rhythms” will “make you feel all right.” And “Seven Crimes” is a stunner, a slow build that ends in wild effects and a guitar freak out (definitely search YouTube for a live performance of this one).
Even given their storied history — the band originally formed in 1998 in Buenos Aires and has since released over a half-dozen albums in Spain — Solar is the album that best captures what Capsula is all about.
“After all these years, we know our sound,” says Guevara. “Each of these songs were built naturally. Those first moments when we form the songs, we’re not using our brain. Then the riffs start appearing. Then, structure and melody. Then, the lyrics.” He laughs. “Our lyrics, we call those our ‘psychedelic poetry club.’”
With a hot new album in hand, Capsula plans to bring their energetic live show on the road later this year, with a special focus on America.
“We are so influenced by American music. That’s why we love playing here,” says Duchess. “We’ll tour and equate the cities we play with bands we love...say, if we play Sacramento, we’re always thinking of the Cramps.”
Capsula’s live show is a can’t-miss spectacle, full of flailing guitars and wild psychedelic jams. It’s also completely unpredictable. “We take a lot of risk on stage,” admits Guevara. “I think everyone appreciates bands that take risks. We approach it like anything can happen at our live show.”
“We’re trying to make it a new experience each time — for both the crowds and us.”
RESPONSIBLE AGENT: ANDREW DEMAREST