“Playing in bars was my school and my university”
With a long career in music that goes back more than 15 years, the Terrassa-born musician, Carles Ruiz Bosch, artistically known as Litus, has come into the public spotlight as a member of the Late Motiv band, Andreu Buenafuente’s late night show on Movistar Plus. Resident in Madrid for a decade now, Litus returns to Catalonia for a series of concerts this spring.
What’s your first memory of the Nova Jazz Cava in Terrassa?
A concert by Jorge Pardo, Tino Di Geraldo and Carles Benavent. I tried not to miss them whenever they came. I’d say they fall into the category of “mythical”. Listening to them improvise was a fascinating mix of madness and freedom. The New Jazz Cava, for me, has always been like a kind of sanctuary.
Now it’s you who’s just been on stage of this “sanctuary” to present the album “Hablo tu idioma pero no entiendo”. Is it about the lack of communication?
Yes, also about language. I’m a philologist and when I began composing the songs for the album, I remembered when I was studying philology, which I never actually practised, and I guess it influenced me and the album ended up being quite conceptual.
You said you feel freer and more confident than ever. Has playing on Buenafuente’s show contributed to this?
Yes, it’s very possible. Playing every day with musicians you admire surely has an impact on making you feel more confident. However, I think I’ve overcome that need to prove anything. Now I’m looking for the essence of things.
All the song titles on the album are proper names: the actress Ava Gardner; Erno Rubik, the creator of the famous cube; Adam Worth, who during the 19th century was known as the ‘Napoleon of Crime’; the French mathematician Gaston Julia... Why is that?
It’s just a game that came to mind. It all started with my first role in a musical, where I played the character of Gabriel Paseante, who is one of the song titles on the album. I decided to call a song after him in order to explain my experience as an actor. I liked the idea and ended up by titling all of the songs with names, which I found fun and exciting.
Which artists have influenced you the most?
Without a doubt Elvis Costello is one of the main ones. I’ve always put his album, Armed Forces, on a pedestal. Juliet Letters, however, opened my mind. I discovered a much more risky and open Costello, and in some ways he’s very much present in my latest album. I also really like Neil Finn. Crowded House, to me, is a key band. They are the Beatles of the nineties.
You actually played with British musician, Paul Carrack, “the man with the golden voice”.
Yes, which is amazing, since one of the first songs I ever played on my guitar is Over my Shoulder. I was 25 and it was incredible as I was a fan of his and all of a sudden I found myself playing with him. I was there for five years and that changed my life. He’s one of the musicians I most learnt from.
You spent many years playing in bars and pubs. What did you learn from it?
Playing in bars was my school and my university. It’s beautiful, but also hard. It certainly helped me develop as an entertainer, as often all you have is a chair and a guitar on stage and you need to make the concert work. You need something of a theatrical attitude, with lots of improvisation. It helped me to do theatre or television later. In fact, many of the things I do on Late Motiv come from those years playing in pubs.
Lately you’ve mostly played on TV.
Yes, soon it will be 10 years in Madrid. The Late Motiv band was created by Ricky Falkner and I didn’t know anyone. But we soon created a band feeling, and there’s real chemistry. In fact, we’re among the bands in country that rehearse most.
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