Hypnosis: Peculiar Image of Cuban Rock

La máquina del Siglo XXI (The 21st Century Machine) is the title selected for the show that Cuban groups Hipnosis, Chlover, Escape and Rice and Beans will present next Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 6 pm in the capital’s Maxim Rock hall (62 Bruzón Street between Ayestarán and Almendares Streets).

The bands will play themes from their repertoires of the last ten years. The concert will be filmed in order to make a DVD. The first 100 persons who arrive at the theater will receive a CD with 12 unpublished songs.

On the occasion of the concert and in order to learn more about the story of one of the groups we talked to Fanny Tachín, founder and director of Hipnosis, and to some of its members. The young double bass player has an impressive curriculum both in music stages with the band and in the sports scene. The reason is that before devoting herself to rock music she was karate champion at the 1991 Pan American Games and at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Maracaibo 1998.

“I’ve always had many projects”, tells Fanny when recalling the reasons why she organized the group when she decided to quit sports. “I started thinking of what I could do. My boyfriend in those days was Giovanni Milhet, singer of the Cuban rock group Skape. He dreamed of founding his own band. I told him I would help him. He didn’t trust me. I insisted on doing it. And I showed him I could.”

One day, after theoretically achieving what Milhet thought was utopia, Fanny bought a double bass. She began to study the instrument with a private teacher. In less than four months she convinced a guitar player, a keyboard player and a drummer, all females, to create a music format where the feminine presence would prevail, accompanied by only one man, the leading vocalist, her boyfriend.

They rehearsed for the first time in July 2001. In the beginning they had no name. According to Fanny, “it was the no-name band until one day when one of the members commented that he had read a book on hypnosis, and it occurred to us that it might be a good name, since the term is familiar to both by Spanish and English-speaking people. Besides, it is only one word, and short names always work out better”.

“This seemed like a good idea, because the band composes all the themes of its repertoire in English. It seems to us that the English language is better for rock, more musical. Which does not mean that Spanish or other languages lessen the quality of a rock group”, explains Giovanni Milhet, who in addition to being the vocalist and guitar player is the author of most lyrics.

“I compose, but we all make the music together”, adds Milhet. After listening to the melodies I get the inspiration. The truth is that sound is very important in rock, because it is the essence of that genre.”

The band mixes different metal styles, such as heavy metal, trash metal, doom, Gothic and others. It also plays versions of classic rock themes, in addition to its own repertoire.

About the combination of feminine and masculine sounds (the latter being more frequent nowadays), Fanny commented that it is no problem whatsoever. “It’s just the opposite. We combine perfectly well melodious and guttural voices.”

But not only music is the most important thing for Hipnosis. The visual image given by the remaining groups in the country partially differs from the one of this group, included in the Cuban Rock Agency excellence catalogue. “We have always taken it very much into consideration”, underlines Fanny. “Rock players must not always look untidy or use black as their favorite color. We dress both in black or combining it with white.”

“We pay as much attention to the wardrobe and the image as to the writing of our themes”, adds guitar leader Raymond Rodríguez. “Prior to the performances and during rehearsals we agree on what we will wear.”

The day of the interview with some of the group members we also recalled their experiences and achievements throughout these years. Among others, they mentioned the nomination of their first album, The Chosen One, to Cubadisco 2004 in the category of Best Rock and Best Novel Album, as well as their version for the awarding of the 2006 Lucas Prizes of Mozart’s piece Confutatis, accompanied by the chord instruments of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, vocal group Sine Nomine and contemporary dance performers from the Compañía Rosario Cárdenas.

However, the majority of those present shared the opinion that the greatest pleasure they have experienced on stage has been to share with a public that often becomes the main critic of what they regard as an art group.

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