Q & A: Dikers on Music, Their new album, The music industry, And having fun.

L to R: Sergio Izquierdo, Ubaldo Puente and Iker Piedrafita

Interview – April 2012

Dikers’ roots lie in Iker Piedrafita’s years of writing songs and playing the guitar at a very young age. Born into a musical family – his father is a guitarist and a member of the rock band Barricada – it was apparent that he had musical talent and ability. He sang, wrote songs, played guitar and later studied piano. By the time Piedrafita formed Dikers, he was already writing music. Iker has recorded, mixed and produced Dikers’records since the band’s third album Dale Gas (Speed-up, released in 2002) in his own studio known as El Sotano (The Basement). He also mastered Dikers’ latest record Casi nunca llueve (Almost never rains), released March 6. Nowadays besides being the band’s frontman, he is on his way to establishing himself also a well-respected music producer and singer-songwriter and composer. Dikers have vowed audiences with their dedicated work ethic including six albums, four singles, live shows in their homeland, a concert in London, the band 2010 German tour, performances at festivals, and intense music tours throughout Spain — add to all this a collection of solid, feel good tunes that defy categorization. Dikers played and introduced the new lineup at the 2011 live Getafe Festival, making their first appearance after the band’s hiatus.

What inspired your passion for music and who has been there supporting you from the beginning?
Well, among our influences are Green Day, Foo Fighters, Daughtry, Nickelback and many others… but we listen to all kinds of music. Iker likes very much the soundtracks, Ubaldo is very open to genres from flamenco to thrash metal, and Sergio likes many Indie groups such as Supersubmarina or Iván Ferreiro.

People who have supported the group from the beginning? Juncal and Alfredo (Iker’s parents) and Kutxi Romero (Marea band).

How would you describe Dikers’ music?
Although we maintain a punk-rock line from the beginning, we are quite open to playing different genres – in the last album you have a rap, a waltz, two festive songs, two ballads… We like to have fun playing, and enjoy the variety but keeping Dikers’ own punk-rock touch.

How close do your songs ever get to your own true feelings and experiences?
You talk about what happens to you, but also about what you see, about what a friend, a neighbor or the baker tells you. When it’s time to write the song, what you feel always pulls you more but many times you feel inspired by what you have seen or have been told, and you give your own version of the story.

Your new album was released recently. Tell us about the record and the creative process.
Well, as we have said before, this is Dikers’ most varied album, and certainly a new twist to the sound, of which we are extremely proud, as we believe to be closer to the sound of international groups, and the recording was done in Iker’s studio and with a much smaller budget. The creative process is almost entirely the work of Iker. He writes all the music and 70 percent of the lyrics. He also recorded, mixed and mastered the album in his studio, and he also produced it – Iker cooks it and eats it. The songs that Iker has no time to write, he shares them with other well known artists that have collaborated with Dikers before, like Kutxi Romero (he’s been collaborating since Dikers’ second album) and he also wrote lyrics for this record; and other artists like KB, Fredi (Iker’s cousin) and Sergio (Dikers’ drummer) have collaborated in this record. This is a very pampered album, one that was obviously very well-cared for in every phase of its creation – compositions, recording and production. And we are very proud of the results.

What do you think of the music industry today, and how do you see their future?
Uff, it is very complicated because of the piracy crisis which caused a decline in sales of recorded music. Also, the economic crisis is being noticed in less concert attendance and recruitment of bands. This is possibly the toughest time that the music industry have experienced, like all other industries or companies they are holding on the best they can, and if and when the current situation changes, they will have to reinvent themselves, because the formats of music reproduction and acquisition have changed substantially. As we always like to bring it up, the piracy war should also be directed to the phone companies which are the ones that benefit more from this situation, and that not all the anger should be directed to the music industry or the artists.

Where do you see Dikers in five years?
No idea. We know that for now we have live shows in August, after that, if we are still alive, we’ll see. In any case we hope to continue playing and recording more albums, of course.

Do you think singer/songwriters are the best interpreters of their own work or do you believe some cover versions can be better than the original?
I think that the one who can best defend a song is the one who wrote it, as long as (s)he has a minimum of technical and interpretive qualities. Anyway, there are no dogmas, sometimes I like a cover more than the original, but it’s not usually the case.

Who would you like to collaborate with and why?
Well, we’ve been very lucky to be able to collaborate with great artists like Kutxi, Gorka (Berri Txarrak) Brigi (Koma), Afredo (Barricada), Pirate (the gas) in six albums and for many years. If asked, we would like to collaborate with Dave Ghrol (Foo fighters) or BillyJoe (Green Day). Why? because apart from their musical talent, we like the honesty and integrity of their careers, at least from the outside we see it that way.

As you pursue your career in the music industry, what steps do you plan on taking to reach your goal?
Look, we do not live thinking about reaching goals or a given number on the sales list, we do what we know, and what we do is done with honesty and love, from gig to gig, album to album, whatever have to come, will come. Living the present moment and enjoying the band and the tours. Steps? We will continue practicing and performing with the same desire and hope – and above all, to keep having fun doing it.

Have you found that as you go on with your career in music there’re aspects that have taken you completely by surprise? If so, what are they?
We’ve not been caught by surprise, the three of us have been playing in other groups and we are aware. Eventually, the industry is that, an industry, and they sell records like others sell fridges, and they are neither better nor worse than any other company or industry, and they’re all managed the same. We have had the luck to be with Warner [Music] but with a specific person: Miguel, and ultimately, it does not matter if you are with this or any other label, but who works with you in that label.

What is the greatest thing about working in the music industry? And what would you change if you had the opportunity?
The best thing is playing live, all you do (recording, testing, promotion etc …) is aimed at those two hours you’ll be on stage, and that gives meaning to all the work. What would we change? Uff, too many brokers and little transparency. Sometimes dealing with the sponsors is unkind, having to fight for the agreed conditions and all that, but I do not think it can be changed.

Iker, your father is a well-known musician in Spain. Did you ask your father for advice when you were starting out? If so, what did you ask? And what would be your answer now?
Alfredo has always advised the band when we asked him. It is a joy to have the opinion of someone who has 30 years of experience making music, and for more complex matters he’s the first to be contacted. As advice from father to son, always wear clean underwear, he says.

[laughs] Excellent advice! But if worse come to worst there’s an alternative: turn the inside out and go!

How many years have taken you to get to where you are today, and what was that time in your life like?
The three of us have been playing in local bands since our adolescence, so we have been playing for about 20 years. Iker studied piano but has played the guitar since he was 14. You look back and you smile, I don’t know… you have hopes, and above all, it’s a lot of fun – you have a group, you travel a bit, meet people, it’s real fun.

From your experience so far, what have you found to be most challenging, and how are you dealing with it?
The hardest thing is all that is foreign to music like contracts, accounts, banking, merchandising, office, everything that has to do with money, that part is always a pain. We manage that the best we can, dividing the work and responsibilities, each has a piece of it, but what a drag!!!

Which has been your proudest moment in your music career so far?
We wouldn’t know one – six-albums, lots of concerts, festivals, toured Germany, played in London, there have been lots of especial moments and we work to live many others.

You have loyal fans. What should your fans expect from you?
At a concert they will see a total dedication from our part, three guys defending their songs, sweating shirts and having fun. I do not think anyone can say who should go, if you dig what we do, come see us live and share with us that musical link, we will do all we can to give the best. If you don’t like what we do, nothing happens, sure there are other groups we and you like and we can talk about them. We hate music sectarianism, being that because you like a band you can’t like another, or you have to even get along poorly with someone. It’s absurd.

Before we end this interview, I’d like you to say something you haven’t said through my questions.

Thank you, Ainhoa, ​and we hope to see you at one of our upcoming concerts. You’re invited. A kiss.

Thanks for your time, and best of luck to you all.

Photo – L to R: Fernando Coronado (former drummer) and members of the Barricada band: Boni, Alfredo Piedrafita (Iker’s father) and El Drogas, with Iker Piedrafita holding a guitar. 1985