The Ballad of Espejo Reflejo: An Oral History of the Greatest Band of the 21st Century
Those of you who have been taught by Marc and Jack may already know who Espejo Reflejo are and why they are greatest band in the Macarena!
For those of you who don’t know: Espejo Reflejo is an English/Spanish rock band which includes both Jack and Marc along with their friends Tom and Javi.
The 26th of September was a very special day for the band as they played their very first gig at Sala Fanatic which was a roaring success!
To commemorate this huge milestone, we thought that we would create this blog post to tell the story of Espejo Reflejo.
Marc: It began as a bit of a laugh really, it was originally just me, Tom & Javi sometimes having a few beers and jamming together without any direction. Both me and Tom had been in bands when we were younger so we were both keen to get back into the habit of playing music regularly.
Tom: Originally it was just me and Marc both on guitars with Javi on drums but it wasn’t until I switched to bass that things started to take shape.
Marc: It was around this time that both Fistful of Nothing and Lobezno began taking shape, they didn’t have lyrics or any structure but the rough ideas were there.
Javi: Although we were having a lot of fun playing together we still weren’t taking it very seriously. The three of us were only meeting up about once a month (if we were lucky!) for about a year.
Marc: In early 2019 I got a message from Mickey (Teachify CEO), he had this young guy, Jack, who had just started working for Teachify and that he played guitar, he suggested we try him out in Espejo Reflejo.
Jack: Mickey had mentioned to me that he had passed my number along to Marc. He mentioned that the group «weren’t very good and pretty shambolic» but that I might enjoy it.
Marc: I messaged Jack and invited him along, it was pretty clear that he had overestimated how organised we were as he asked us to learn a cover of Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones.
Tom: Our first session with Jack went pretty well. He contributed some pretty cool parts to Lobezno and Fistfull of Nothing and he even came up with the basis of Fold Away during the session.
Marc: I thought he was a bit pretentious at first, he showed up with all these different pedals and didn’t really know how to use any of them. He kept trying to solo over everything as well. He also insisted on playing the cover of Sympathy for the Devil.
Javi: When I first met Jack, his Spanish wasn’t very good. He kept referring to the group as Espejos Reflejos!
Marc: Although Mickey may have oversold his abilities, the addition of Jack did fill out the sound nicely and made us sound better.
Jack: At this time all I really wanted to do was muck around and play covers with some friends. I think the others appeased me for a while and allowed me to do 1 cover a session. This didn’t last very long though as our own songs started getting better and better.
Javi: With the addition of Jack we started playing more often. We still weren’t very good but we were at least making progress.
Tom: Once Jack joined there seemed to be a lot more momentum. The good thing about Jack was that he was also up for writing songs and singing, though he was a terrible singer to begin with!
Marc: We had to work a lot with Jack about his singing. He was happy to do it which was good but he definitely needed some direction.
Jack: I’ve never had the strongest voice but I’ve always enjoyed singing. Unfortunately no matter how hard I try I have to accept that I will never be able to sing like Jeff Buckley. Still, I do a mean version of Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed though.
Javi: I hated Jack’s singing in the beginning.
Jack: After a few beers one night, Javi semi-jokingly mentioned that I should get a few singing classes. I ended up following the advice and it actually was a big help.
Javi Goes to Aracena
Javi: In summer 2019 I took a job in Aracena for the year. Although I wouldn’t be in Seville, I wanted to keep playing with Espejo Reflejo and continue the momentum we had going.
Tom: It was a bit of a worrying moment for all of us as it meant that we wouldn’t be able to play as regularly. We decided that instead of practicing every week, we would practice every other week to make it easier for Javi.
Marc: It was maybe at this point that we began thinking about maybe gigging or trying to record the songs in the studio or something. But there were still some things that needed discussing.
The Brief Story of Eugenio, a Footnote in the Chronicles of Espejo Reflejo
Jack: Although me, Tom and Marc had all come a long way as singers there was also a lot of discussion of bringing in a proper singer.
Javi: I thought that we should try things with a proper singer so I put an advert on Facebook and it received a load of responses.
Jack: In the end we decided to give this guy Eugenio an audition.
Tom: He was a nice enough guy but he was a bit weird and he never really gelled with us musically. He was also getting a bit big for his boots, he kept changing the English lyrics of our songs so that they were grammatically incorrect!
Marc: We ended up having 2 or 3 rehearsals with him but it just wasn’t working out. We ended up deciding it would be best if we sang our own songs.
Jack: So with Eugenio given the sack the final line up of Espejo Reflejo was finalized. In the time that we had been playing we had come up with 6 original songs and we were still writing more. It seemed like everything was going smoothly until the unthinkable happened…
Tom: It was March 2020 when Spain first went into lockdown. Obviously this meant that the band had to take a back seat at least for the next 3 months whilst we were still confined in our houses.
Marc: It was a difficult time for everyone. But it also gave us some time to think and reflect on how far we had come since we had first started playing together.
Jack: In a weird way the pandemic kind of made us. There wasn’t much else to do during 2020/21 due to restrictions constantly coming and going so we were really able to focus on rehearsing.
Javi: In September 2020 I took a job back in Seville which meant that we could go back to practicing every weekend again.
Tom: During the post lockdown period we got really tight. To the point that it was actually quite frustrating as we couldn’t play live due to covid restrictions.
Jack: We needed something to aim for to keep all this momentum going.
Marc: We had a discussion and decided that as playing live wasn’t going to be an option for a while it would be best to focus on having the songs professionally recorded in a studio. This is where the idea of the EP came about.
Recording the EP
Tom: For the EP we decided to record 4 songs, Left Behind, Fistfull of Nothing, Fold Away and Lobezno.
Javi: For the producer of the EP we decided to use my friend Marcos Gamero (of Triana fame!) As he was a friend he would record us in his studio for a discounted rate.
Marc: We spent the next month or so really nailing the song. The idea was to record the whole thing live with no overdubs so we needed to be really tight.
Jack: Actually recording in a proper studio was a totally new experience for me. But I definitely enjoyed it!
Javi: We booked 2 days, on the first day we recorded the instrumentals and on the second we recorded the vocals. Because I don’t sing I went out and got drunkwith my mates on the second day.
Tom: On the second day when we were recording our vocals Javi came in hammered. He’d been out with his mates all day and had decided to come and offer his ‘moral support’ on his way home.
Marc: The very first thing he did after walking in the room was shout into a very sensitive microphone while we were all wearing headphones. It was so loud it almost deafened all of us!
Jack: I just remember recording my vocals for Fold Away with Javi constantly rubbing my back for moral support. It was very sweet but also a bit weird
Tom: At the end of the two days we were pretty happy with what we had done so we left Marcos to get to work mixing and mastering the four songs.
Javi: The mixing and mastering process took months, but Marcos was very good. It was very collaborative with Marcos periodically sending us what he had done and us offering feedback.
Marc: It took a long time but in the end we were all very happy with the work that Marcos had done.
Jack: By this time live music had started making a very gradual return in Seville so we decided to send out the EP to different concert venues to see if we could get a gig.
Javi: I sent a bunch of emails out to different venues here in Seville and eventually heard back from Sala Fanatic. They offered us a 30 minute slot along with 3 other new bands. Not only was this an opportunity to play a great venue but we would also be getting paid!
Tom: The gig was great news, it seemed like there was a ton of momentum behind us. We were unstoppable, well almost…
Javi: Although things were going really well with the band, in the summer I decided to take a job back in my home city of Cordoba.
Jack: Javi goingto Cordoba was a blow, but it was manageable. Cordoba isnt so far away and we had managed to continue practicing when Javi was in Aracena.
Marc: Unfortunately I also had to break the news to the others that I would also be leaving Sevilla. My girlfriend had accepted a job in Galicia so we would be moving there for September.
Tom: With both Marc and Javi going everything was thrown into doubt. How could we continue without Marc and Javi?
Jack: We discussed it and decided to do the gig anyway, we had all worked hard for this so it would be a shame to have to cancel.. also we were contractually obligated and would have had to fork out 300e if we pulled out. We would see how things went with the gig and decide what to do afterwards.
Marc: What was worrying was that we didn’t have many opportunities to practice in the 3 months before the gig. Both Tom and Jack went back to the UK for August and I moved to Galicia in early September. This meant that we would only be able to practice twice before the gig. The gig was on a Sunday so I flew back to Seville from Galicia on the Friday so we could squeeze in one final practice session on the Saturday before.
Tom: Luckily as we had been playing these songs for so long we were able to sound as good as ever even after 3 months of not playing together.
Javi: The practice went really well, we knew we were ready now we just had to play the gig.
Marc: The day of the gig was very stressful. I think we were all feeling the pressure. We had been working towards this for more than 2 years and if it didn’t go well it would be an awful feeling, especially as it may well have been the last gig we ever played together.
Jack: I remember being tense all the way through soundcheck, however once that was done I started to relax a little bit. I had a few beers to calm my nerves a bit more beforehand.
Marc: We knew that we had prepared as much as we could. We just had to go up there and do the show and try our best to actually enjoy the moment.
Javi: We were the third band of the night. The first two bands put on a great show. Although playing with these more experienced bands was quite intimidating we knew we were well prepared and ready.
Tom: The time came for us to go on stage, it was the moment of truth.
Jack: We had spoken before the gig and agreed that I would introduce the band and the first song. I was worried that I would mess this up somehow but it all went smoothly. From that point on everything seemed to fall into place. The gig couldn’t have gone better.
Tom: In the moment I had no idea how it was actually going as I couldn’t hear anything on the stage. But it seemed like the audience were enjoying themselves so we must have been doing something right.
Javi: All the work we had done was finally paying off. We played incredibly well for our first gig.
Marc: The reception we received the crowd was so overwhelming.
Lewis (Teachify Head of Studies/Fan): They were so good, it was like lightening was repeatedly striking me in the face.
Shannon (Teachify Teacher/Fan): My life has never been the same since that concert. Food doesn’t taste as good any more, colours arent as bright as they used to be…
Marc: The gig was a resounding success. The amount of pride I feel for what we have achieved is incredible. At the time of the gig we thought that that would be it and we would break up but now more than ever I feel motivated to keep things going with Espejo Reflejo.
Javi: Although its not ideal with me living in Cordoba and Marc living in Galicia we have already proved that we can make it work we just have to be a bit more patient.
Tom: There is still life in Espejo Reflejo! We have more songs to record and I think everybody would love to play some more gigs.
Jack: The future is uncertain but there will always be Espejo Reflejo.
*Pictures provided by Sevilla Indie