People First

09/09/2019 · By Fruela Zubizarreta
Eva Amaral, 46, and Juan Aguirre, 54, or how to mature beautifully between great songs. © Javier Soto Azpitarte

They were two restless teenagers when they met in Zaragoza in 1992. Twenty-seven years after joining the infectious euphoria that pervaded Spain that year, Eva and Juan, Amaral, are still the most stable couple in Spanish music. Their new album, 'Salto al color', is out today, and it comes with their usual gifts—coherence, quality and love for life.

Telephone interviews are a lesser evil, the number two on our raking when it comes to meeting an artist. A face to face interview is undoubtedly a priority. The horror comes when you are said: "you will be sent the answers by email,” something comparable with the last day of vacation. Juan Aguirre (San Sebastián, 1965) and Eva Amaral (Zaragoza, 1973) sound cheerful and lively on the other end of the line. To begin with, they say something that makes us happy: “This is the first time we give an interview to promote 'Salto a color' (Sony Music),” their eighth studio album that is an effervescent sea of ​​sounds and great lyrics.

Is there any kind of role sharing in Amaral?
Juan Aguirre: We’ve always been an atypical band, a man and a woman exchanging roles. We don't have assigned roles, we both do everything because we like to be an open project.
Eva Amaral: We’re always testing new instruments that we eventually play on an album. Juan isn’t strictly in charge of the musical part and I’m not just Amaral's voice.

What new paths have you followed in Salto al color?
Eva Amaral: There are more danceable, physical rhythms. The common denominator of all our songs is that they deserve to be recorded, they must be the best. We never finish an album until we are sure all are good.

The electronic sound of songs like “Juguetes rotos” is positively surprising.
Juan Aguirre: We’ve always liked to tinker with technology. It’s not the first time we make dance music, but it’s true that on this album it has greater prominence. In the end, all our songs can be played with piano or an acoustic guitar.

Another feature of your personality is that there is no Amaral song without a message. It seems now like you are concerned with the environment.
Eva Amaral: We almost always try to focus on relationships between people, on what affects us in our neighborhoods and towns. Our songs talk about the drives of human beings. Obviously, all this happens in a scenario that reflects the times we’re living. In that sense, 'Mares igual que tú', our debut single, which is a love song, is now being understood as a song with an environmental message. That’s kind of funny, but it’s also a great thing. There’s no denying the relationship between humans and the planet is increasingly worrying. Things are taking a disconcerting turn.

As a band that has been on the road for many years and that has suffered the crisis in the record industry, do you have to play live a lot to survive?
Eva Amaral: Yes, that's right, but there’s more to it. We’ve gone through a period of global transformation spurred by the digital revolution. This has affected music but also many other areas—personal relationships, cinema, literature. Everything. Rather than using the word crisis we prefer to talk about transformation. I don’t think we should judge our time as good or bad, it’s just the age we live in.

By the way, Eva, you sing better than ever. How do you do it?
Juan Aguirre: I’ll answer this! Everyone around Eva is aware that she has an impressive voice. Her tone is amazing, but even more so is the way she conveys what she’s feeling. She has a one-of-a-kind voice.
Eva Amaral: Thank you! (Laughs) I never thought I could sing like I do now. I started playing drums and then gradually realized I could do something with my voice. I’ve always tried to put myself at the service of the lyrics and the sounds.
Juan Aguirre: Sorry to say this, but I think we have some great lyrics that are absolutely overshadowed by her voice.

What will you always be loyal to?
Juan Aguirre: As far as music goes, I don’t think one has to be too loyal to anything because that can be limiting. It’s important to always try to learn new rhythms, discover new melodies, play other instruments...
Eva Amaral: As Juan and Eva, we’re loyal to our city, to our friends and to what music has meant for us since we were children—an incredible way of expression that can change your mood, and the world. But above all is always people.

What is the best thing about being in a band?
Juan Aguirre: Traveling all the time and meeting new people. It’s like living many lives in one. We will be eternally grateful to music for everything it has given us.