We introduced different times Spanish, Brussels based musician and producer Miguel Gil Tertre. He has released several records under the moniker of Strand in labels such as Foehn Records, City Center Offices, Project Mooncircle, Galleta Records, etc. He has performed in leading festivals like Sonar, and produced multimedia shows using max / msp / Jitter for La Noche en Blanco (Madrid) and La Nuit Blanche (Brussels).

He has announced the release of a new EP called Maran Atha which is out on April 22nd via his own label Fuego en Casa. Four pieces composed with real instruments (guitar, drums and piano) and mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri at Blackknoll mastering.

According to the press release, This EP is like a small book and tells a story. It has an introduction (arpeggio 3). In the meantime, it is a trip about hope (‘prayer’) and the confusion in the soul (‘Maran Atha’).

At the end of the trip, it has hope (‘arpeggio 4’). The images to illustrate the cover and the videos from the EP are taken from a trip in Siria in 2007. Palmyra and Aleppo. The landscape of the desert inspired the music. Maran Atha is an expression in Aramaic tabout hope meaning ‘come, our lord’. 

Check the full streaming below and read our interview with artist who details the new EP, the beautiful artwork, the feelings about the current situation and much more.

“Maran Atha” is your new EP. What are the first vivid memories of this EP and what was the main focus? It is a record about Hope. Right?

Yes, I have been working in these tracks for a long time. They all started with exploring what I could do while playing and recording traditional instruments. Then during COVID and lockdown, it felt like the right moment to finish them. The message and the feeling of hope from this music seemed right. Music can heal and somehow it has the possibility of bringing people together. It can also provide some form of meditation and bring us closer with ourselves when we are lost.

Today we also share the official video of the track “Prayer”. Tell us more about the video and how much important is the visual part for your work.

The visual part is key in all my projects. “Carpintero” my previous release was a full audiovisual project with visuals reacting live to music. I always think about what is the best visual accompaniment for making the experience more complete. It comes natural and not part of a particular effort. It evolves hand in hand. The music and the visual part make a single message of what I intend to express.

In this case, I programmed a little piece of software where the music morphs and transforms the images that inspired the music. The pictures were taken in Syria in 2008 by my wife. We were looking at the pictures of this trip that could not be done today and that seems from another time. In these lock-down times it seemed quite right to revisit this world.

The Artwork is very powerful. How did you choose it?

The picture was taken by my wife in Palmyra during that trip. We talk a lot about having visited the country just before the war. This particular picture always stuck with us. The solitary figures wandering in the desert are like any human soul wandering in the world.

Yet, there is hope. When we traveled the country (auto-stopping), we were very much interested by all the religions born in this area and the sense of hope and comfort they bring. And this music is about the feeling of hope, not necessarily religious but the belief that no matter how bad things are, they will get better. As said before music can bring us closer and provide us with hope and this is the meaning of the cover, eventually things always get better but in the meantime we have ourselves, our loved ones and the things we like.

You are releasing your works with your own label Fuego en Casa. How much important is the self-production for your work?

Very important. I have been making music and releasing records for some time now and I want to have total control/ freedom of what I express now. Having released projects in a variety of labels throughout my career, I am very grateful for them having trusted me and invested in my music. Now I also wanted to give something back. In the future I will support other artists with the label. My idea is to try to make the label I would love to be in as an artist. Doing things with the necessary care and seriousness. Also the label provides a good excuse for working with artists I like (on the covers, on the mastering, etc…). It is a lot of work but very fulfilling.

Let’s talk about the current situation. How are you living these strange times and what are the main concerns as an artist? 

I would talk more about my concerns as a human being and as a member of my family. I am concerned about the ability of our society to stand the present and future shocks. I try to care for the people around me more and more. This is the best investment.

During and after the lockdown time, Bandcamp was the only online platform which tried to help musicians, waiving their fees on the site on the very first Friday of the month. What do you think of this kind of initiative and how what is your idea about the rights of artist connected to streaming platforms?

Well, I like the positive vibe about the Bandcamp community. I connect with other labels and artists very naturally and it feels great to buy from them directly. Many leave little notes in their packages, we do it as well. I also think that the Friday of the month initiative has put the finger into the lack of revenues for artists from streaming and I hope this debate will continue.

But I have been raised in record shops. I love this culture and love to go to shops like Crevette Records or Balades Sonores in Brussels.

Ritual question. Have you seen or heard anything good recently?

Today I bought the Mark Hollis LP on vinyl. And I am listening to it while answering the questions. In my rotation playlist these days, I am listening to Olafur Arnals, Spiritualized, Rival Consoles, Dean Blunt,… But in the last year I have discovered an incredible amount of music: the Spanish electro label ‘Noise to meet you’ is a big recommendation, also the guitar instrumental work by Isasa,  the Spanish label Galleta records, and many artists from Brussels: the drone records by Cyrille de Haes, the synth work of Marc Melià, the works of Sylvain Chaveau, Monolithe Noir,  …