Photo by: Teresa McCullough, Interview by: Devin O’Toole
Ellis Ludwig-Leone, mastermind of the baroque outfit San Fermin, breaks down dream writing, Portlandian thieves and the delicate art of bull fighting.
Ellis: The record label approached us and wanted to promote some more materials that wouldn’t be on the album. Personally, one of the biggest thrills as a musician is collaborating and remixes are a specific type of that, but it was definitely an exercise in trust and we got to pick some really good people (Magic Man, Phaseone, Violetness etc.) so we knew it would be good with interesting takes on the song.
D: Can you talk about the idea of writing from the dream state?
E: You allow yourself to write from the dream state you open up more connections that are easily made in your mind. I often do my best writing as soon as I wake up- I wrote most of this album at 8 am. My first night in Canada, film producer Scott Rudin (There Will Be Blood, Moneyball), who I’ve only met once, came to me in a dream and told me how to write the record so I raced to my laptop to type it out. I woke up the next day and my screen just said, “Should be kind of creeeeeeeepy.”
D: What did writing in Canada do for you spiritually?
E: It is really important to write alone. We get stuck in our daily rhythms otherwise. To be alone we allow our emotions to swell up and fill the empty spaces. Everything feels bigger than it actually is, also Bannf provided a heightened beautiful landscape.
D: We read on your Facebook that your gear may have been stolen– any truth to that?
E: Well, we were in Portland and were only staying at the hotel for a few hours. We found our trailer door blowtorched off and we lost over 20 thousand dollars worth of gear. We ended up playing a show in Seattle with all of our friends gear but had to cancel the rest of the tour. We raised money through our fans, but we’re putting money away where we can. We still need a new saxophone and other pedals.
D: Can you describe the feeling you get when playing on stage? You looked fierce up there today.
E: We all have been pretty tired so we just wanted to get through today in one piece. But typically, you allow yourself to become a well oiled machine when you get into that flow state. We’re wired to want to do our jobs and positive feedback from the crowd becomes an added bonus.
D: What are your thoughts on bullfighting?
E: I don’t have any real sophisticated thoughts other than that it seems bad. It was a jumping off point for San Fermin; people putting themselves in scary situations for almost no reason. I’ve seen enough posts on our Twitter from angry Spanish people that in no way is this some sort of political statement. I’ve never been to the festival or have seen any bullfights but there’s a romanticism about it.
D: I heard that funk break in the new songs played today, where is the band going with their sound?
E: More drums, darker, heavier. I noticed from song to song on the last record, there were differences. I wanted the new songs to have differing sections within the songs themselves. We want to keep people on thier toes while giving them a catchy hook.
Expect new music from San Fermin to be released this fall, with an album out next spring.