PABLO MENDOZA: Density and Simplicity

Pablo Mendoza

Spanish composer, guitarist and producer Pablo Mendoza launched his latest full length album “The Return of the Migrant” back in September last year. Speaking in a new interview for Prog Sphere, following his participation on the Progotronics 38 compilation, Mendoza gives us insight into his work.

Describe the musical frameworks “The Return of the Migrant” explores.

Throughout my career as a composer I have always explored close and some not so close strands between each song. But there is always a common thread between the songs, so you can understand that I am the one who has composed the work. In this last album the style that develops is a mixture of Progressive Rock with fusion elements. So the development goes through a depth of harmony and chord progressions in each song.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and lessons learned during the creative process for “The Return of the Migrant“?

One of the biggest challenges is to achieve cohesion between each musician participating from different countries, a job I did in a very detailed way as a producer, beyond being the composing artist. But undoubtedly the most interesting thing is to take the album to a mix and mastering of the highest quality, so that it is my first album on vinyl, a format that I consider to be the best in terms of natural sound.


Being an instrumental release, how challenging is it for you to express emotion through your work?

My albums have always had a higher percentage of instrumental format, in fact this album is where you can get more vocals, 5 out of 11 songs. For me, it’s something very natural to make instrumental music, I’m not a singer, I’m a composer and guitarist who sings a little and dares to put lyrics to my creations, always with a very clear and understandable message. But both the lyrics and the instrumentals are loaded with depth and require you to analyse a little further than what you perceive.

To someone who hasn’t heard the release, what can he or she expect from “The Return of the Migrant“?

A very well produced album, with an impeccable sound and very well thought out and executed compositions. You’re going to hear quality work, there’s no doubt about that.

How has your perspective on the possibilities of song arrangement expanded over the years?

I’m always a composer who listens and studies constantly, I don’t settle for what I think has worked well for me. I always look for the expression and the story to speak beyond the ability to play more or less virtuosic. That is not what matters most to me, I seek first to move and involve the listener in the musical work, and that is where I place my ability and skill with the guitar. Not the other way around.

The Return of the Migrant

What types of change do you feel this music can initiate?

It’s a more mature stage musically, I’m leaving the “shred” part to one side a little bit, but not 100%. I’m looking to tell a story and depending on the story, the message, be it instrumental or with lyrics, will adapt to what the song needs to convey. It is an album with a high percentage of conceptual ideas, emigration, displaced by war conflicts, etc.

Do you tend to follow any predefined patterns when composing a piece?

No, I work in multiple ways. In this album I decided to work from rhythm and harmony to then work on lyrics and melodies, it never happened the other way around as I have done in other albums.

What non-musical entities and ideas have an impact on your music?

Life, the experiences of people close to me, my own. Everything I feel I put into my songs. But as I said, I never do it without coherence. Everything is always very reasoned, absolutely everything.

What advice or philosophy might you impart to other musicians, be it in forms of creativity, technical stuff, the business side of it, or anything else?

My best advice is that the music you make should be authentic, regardless of your own influences. Originality and coherence in each piece of work is what makes it more or less interesting, but above all it makes the listener respect it. Trying to be understood, with that mixture of density and simplicity. The rest is that once your work is ready, people and those who can help you to play on stage listen to you and understand you.

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