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Principe Valiente - Interview

Interview with: Fernando Honorato
Conducted by: Miguel, T.V.

The Swedish post-punk/shoegaze band Principe Valiente really struck the scene with their first two full-lenght albums, the self-titled debut, released in 2011, and Choirs Of Blessed Youth, released in 2014 by German label AF-music. Both albums were irresistibly beautiful and intense, full of atmosphere and captivating energy. The band enthused their fans also with some well noticed shows, especially the one on Wave Gothic Treffen festival in 2013 and when they were supporting the legend Peter Murphy that same year. Now, Principe Valiente, who consists of Fernando Honorato (vocals, bass), Jimmy Ottosson (guitars), Rebecka Johansson (keyboards) and Joakim Janthe (drums), have just finished with works on their next album which is expected to be released in the first half of this year. Bands vocalist/bassist Fernando revealed to us some things regarding the band in general, we talked about some details considering the new album, about live shows and some other interesting things that can be discovered if you'll read this very interesting interview.

Miguel: Hi Fernando! For starting this interview please tell me why you choose the name Principe Valiente, what is the meaning?
: Principe Valiente means short and simple "Brave Prince" in Spanish. We think the words have a nice ring to it and at the same time a bit deeper meaning. Simply the romantic illusion that we as individuals hope somewhere that someone will come and save us. The Great Love, a guide, or some other form of security that maybe never comes. Or a knight. This sums up the little dark in our sound too, but at the same time without losing hope. And as we all know, we can just save ourselves and become our own guides through experience, love and understanding. It's very true that it is also a comic strip by Harold Foster. The series, however, I have no relation to but there are of course people linking the name of the series now and then. It has anyway nothing to do with it. Rather, one can draw parallels to the French book 'Le Petit Prince' (The Little Prince) which I used to read a lot during childhood.
T.V.: It seems that quite some things have connections with Spain, even though the band is from Sweden. How so?
Fernando: Well yeah, that's an ok guessing. I'm actually born in Chile, South America and that explain the band's name in spanish. But the truth is that the name was one of the suggestions from our former drummer at the beginning (who's swedish but also speaks spanish, as I do) back in 2003 or 2004 when it all started. Quite fun but we really liked what the meaning of the name stands for so we chose it.
Miguel: Were there many line-up changes inside the band? How easy is to have a band like yours in Sweden?
Fernando: The music scene here is mighty wide and of course also some great acts in the scene we are in. The darker kind of indie-pop music, post-punk etc. I don't know if it's easy but we're still somewhere in the undergroud this far, but it doesn't need to be a bad thing. More interesting, we hope anyway. And yeah, the line-up has changed through the years but we've been a solid quartet since the beginning of the making of the last album Choirs Of Blessed Youth in 2013. Officially it was released in 2014.
Miguel: What mainly influences your music and lyrics? Who is responsible for compositions?
Fernando: We're inspired by a lot of good pop music of course, but also from films lately. The atmosphere and mood of classic and epic movies. Personally I've always been a fan of English pop music such as Morrissey and David Bowie and by many shoegaze bands. Also of course 80s music and the post-punk era but there's so much interesting stuff as well outside that genre like Kate Bush, Johnny Cash and Tindersticks for example. During the first album I was responsible for almost all the composing of the music, say 70/30. But these days it's much more of a cooperation since the making of the last album and the new one. Me or Jimmy presents a few ideas to the band and togheter the four of us work on it until it feels good. I'm responsible for all the lyrics as well.
Miguel: Why did you choose to play shoegaze/indie/post-punk kind of style?
Fernando: It's a coincidence actually, just a fruit of the music we love and are all into. The atmospheric and moodie kind of stuff with love for reverb pedals, chorus/delay effects mostly. A darker mix of dreamy pop with post punk-vibes.
T.V.: Still, even though your style doesn't really fit into goth rock scene, it seems that you are mostly followed by fans of this specific genre. What do you think is the reason for that?
Fernando: I think it's mostly because of the dominant bass sound with chorus effects and my dark voice (mostly). The references to Joy Division and a bit of The Sisters Of Mercy. But that was nothing we actually aimed to. Also the specific sound of the snare drum on the first album and in some way some tracks on Choirs Of Blessed Youth with the long reverb, kind of The Cure - Disintegration. I also used to have more make-up on stage before than these days and the big hair, so I can understand the references to Robert Smith and The Cure. But these are just our/my own theories, so something like that I guess. Also the record label releases quite goth/synth stuff mostly, besides a few more indie/post-punk acts like us. Then we've played a couple of times at the WGT Festival, one of the biggest gothic festivals in the world and supported Peter Murphy from Bauhaus here in Stockholm in 2013. But anyway yeah, we don't consider ourselves as a gothic band so much at all really.
Miguel: Your last album was Choirs of Blessed Youth from 2014. So when can we expect a new album?
Fernando: We have finished the mixing of the next album and we'll be playing a couple of new tracks on the upcoming shows. No release date is decided because we don't know which label is going to release it yet. But hopefully in the first half of 2017.
T.V.: Ok, but still, can you give us some more details about the upcoming album? In which stage it's right now? Maybe you can already reveal the title and at least provisional release date?
Fernando: Ok, the album is finished since more than a month now but we had to confirm some things with the record labels. Last week it all came clear actually and confirmed from all parts so you can expect a first single in beginning of March and the album will come out at the beginning of May. The album title is Oceans.

Miguel: Do you guys have a good relation with AF-music?
Fernando: Yeah sure, they've done what they can and a good work with the two previous albums.
T.V.: And what can you tell me about all those problems with AF-music that many bands faced a couple of years ago? It seemed that the label just vanished from the face of the planet? Are now the things back to normal?
Fernando: Well, hard to say, I dont't know that much about it besides that there were some delays with the royalty payments etc back then. So that question is better to ask them. Maybe they went for vacation for a couple of months and the bands went nuts haha. Don't know really but we hope things are normal now.
Miguel: How it is the music scene in Stockholm, Sweden? Any interesting new bands that we should know about?
Fernando: Personally, I don't follow the scene that much but of course there are great bands around like Kite, Nicole Sabouné and I Break Horses.
Miguel: What was the best moment in your career, and what are your plans for the future?
Fernando: I suppose it was when we played at the WGT Festival in Germany 2013 after the release of the single "Take Me With You", before the latest album was released. Great audience and one hell of a show, but also a great experience supporting Peter Murphy the same year here in Stockholm. Depending of how the new album will be received, we have of course plans of playing a lot around Europe again but hopefully also in the UK and America.
T.V.: How would you describe a live show of Principe Valiente? What can the audience expect from you while playing live?
Fernando: Pretty much energy and some aggresivity I think. Huge wall of sound and smoke machines. It's going to be awesome to present the new tracks live as well soon.
T.V.: If you would have unlimited options to choose a band or an artist to play with, which one would you choose and why?
Fernando: Hard to say but personally I think playing with The Cure would realize a teenage dream. Or if Nirvana were around these days. Or maybe Björk. Such an amazing artist.
T.V.: Last year, in 2016, we faced deaths of many great artists, it was really harsh. Which ones death strickened you the most as an artist?
Fernando: Yeah, it was such a year for that reason. David Bowie was quite hard to take but also Leonard Cohen, though his death maybe were more expected considering his age. Both has been a huge inspiration through my artistic career and even in my younger years before I even began writing music.
T.V.: Ok, thank you for your time. I hope to see you on one of your shows in my vicinity someday. Now, the last words are all yours.
Fernando: We hope you'll enjoy the upcoming single soon and later on, the album. We're very excited! Thank you.

Principe Valiente links: Official website, Facebook, Bandcamp

Live photos taken by Paula Martins on 28th January 2017 in Hard Club, Porto (Portugal)