Eva Plaza:  How did you start your musical career?
Sergio:  I’ve always really enjoyed music. I don’t remember this, but my mother says that when I was two or three years old, I spent over an hour in front of the television watching a Three Tenors concert. When I was eight, I started to play the piano and I went to music conservatory, but I left after a few years because I didn’t have the discipline for it. When I was 14, I had my first band, which did covers, and then when I was 16 I was in my first band that wrote its own songs. I’ve been through a lot since then and now I’d like to concentrate on something a bit more “solitary”, but I’m almost always working alongside other people.  This means that I have to sing my own songs and although I don’t have a great voice, I really enjoy doing it. I often think that there are singers out there who don’t necessarily have a great voice, but I really enjoy their work, singers like Bob Dylan or Joaquín Sabina.
Eva Plaza:  With regards to your music, does it belong to a specific genre or do you prefer to experiment with different options?
Sergio: I’m not restricted to a single genre. Of course, I would like my songs to have their own personal style, but I think that my songs belong to a wide range of genres.
Eva Plaza: Is this your first album? Have you previously released any other songs?
Sergio:  I’ve recorded other things before this album. For instance, I collaborated on an album with other bands from Navarra and I’ve recorded a friend of mine singing some of my material. But I guess this is my first “proper” album. I didn’t rent out a super-professional studio for this album; I just recorded the songs with a friend round the back of my house.  In spite of that, I reckon the sound quality is decent.
Eva Plaza:  Do you often perform live? Where do you usually play, and what upcoming gigs do you have this year?
Sergio:  Sure, I often get to perform live every now and then. With the previous bands I was in, we mostly played bars. I’ve also spent around 10 years playing in open-air orchestras, where local councils hire us out for town events.  I mostly do this kind of thing during the summer, and I’d just like to say that it really annoys me when you get orchestras that only have five or six players and they play over recorded music. This year I’d like to really make some progress with my songs. I tell my friends that they have to give me a hand and that my brother has to play the guitar. He’s the one who played the intricate parts on the album.
Eva Plaza:  Tell us a little about your musical tastes: your favourite artists, music genres, etc…
Sergio:  This is a difficult question to answer because I like many styles of music. I like researching and discovering new things, such as electronic groups like Apollo 440. As for well-known Spanish artists, for me Joaquín Sabina is the maestro. Another style of music I’ve always loved is “black music”. You know, soul, blues, gospel and things like that. Music from the black community has always fascinated me. I remember when I was eight or ten years old, I went crazy for the way Little Richard played the piano. My tastes have also been developing. I like it when artists or groups evolve musically and don’t get stuck doing the same thing for the rest of their lives.
Eva Plaza:  Do you think that new technologies such as streaming (Spotify, Bandcamp etc) are useful tools for bringing undiscovered musicians to a wider audience?
Sergio:  Totally. This is the age we live and I think that if a new artist comes out nowadays and they don’t use the internet as a tool to gets themselves noticed, then they’re going to have a hard time. Whether you like it not, that’s how things stand. The only thing you can do is adapt. I love vinyl and I have a record player in my room, but it’d be crazy if I didn’t recognise that this medium has since become obsolete.
Eva Plaza:  You have your own YouTube channel. Do you think this platform is a good way for people to hear your music?
Sergio:  Sure. I’m no expert with technology but having a place to upload your videos and get people to hear your music seems like a great idea.

Eva Plaza:  Your stage name is “Wiston”. Is there a story behind why you chose this name?
Sergio:  Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved The Beatles. My favourite Beatle has always been John Lennon. His real name was John Winston Lennon and that’s the story behind the name. I’ve got friends who have called me this for years because I made a fake social network account where I pretended to be John Lennon, using his real name and uploading actual photos of him. That’s where the nickname “Wiston” comes from, though not everyone calls me this.
Eva Plaza:  How do you usually write your songs? Do you follow a specific process?
Sergio:  I do it various different ways, but generally I record the demos on my mobile phone. In order to write a song, the first thing I need to do is have a theme in mind, something to talk about. This is very open-ended, since I believe that you can write a song about anything. It could be about something that actually happened or just something you feel. Coming up with the lyrics is harder for me than the music, so that’s why I always write lyrics over music I’ve already composed. Speaking of lyrics, I had best mention that I write songs in both English and Spanish. It’s not that I like one language more than the other, it’s just that I find it easier to write lyrics in English. I’m no language expert, but I think that you can make words rhyme more easily with English than with Spanish.

Vídeo: Wiston - 'I'm Just Dreaming'
 

The legacy of Marie Schlau: literature to help cure Friedreich's Ataxia

If you feel like reading an unputdownable novel while collaborating with a just and solidary cause, "The Legacy of Marie Schlau" is your book! 100% of all funds raised will be dedicated to medical research to find a cure for Friedreich's Ataxia, a neurodegenerative disease that affects mostly young people, shortening their life expectancy and confining them to a wheelchair.

The life of Marie Schlau, a German Jewish girl born in 1833 hides great unsolved mysteries: accidents, disappearances, enigmas, unknown diagnoses, disturbing murders, love, tenderness, greed, lies, death ... alternatively a different story unfolds every time and takes us closer to the present. Thus, there are two parallel stories unravelling, each in a different age and place, which surprisingly converge in a revelatory chapter.

Paperback and Kindle versions for "The legacy of Marie Schlau" available for sale at Amazon now!

https://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Marie-Schlau-collective-Friedreichs-ebook/dp/B01N28AFWZ

 

Research projects currently being financed by BabelFAmily

Currently, BabelFAmily is financing two promising research projects aimed at finding a cure for Friedreich's Ataxia. Whenever you make a donation to us or purchase a copy of "The legacy of Marie Schlau", this is where all funds raised will be devoted to:

1) Gene Therapy for Friedreich's Ataxia research project:

https://www.irbbarcelona.org/en/news/international-patient-advocates-partner-to-fund-spanish-gene-therapy-project-to-treat

The project is the result of an initiative of Spanish people affected by this rare disease who are grouped in GENEFA in collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Ataxias and the BabelFAmily. The Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), one of the main patients’ associations in the United States now joins the endeavour.

2) Frataxin delivery research project:

https://www.irbbarcelona.org/en/news/new-research-front-to-tackle-friedreichs-ataxia
The associations of patients and families Babel Family and the Asociación Granadina de la Ataxia de Friedreich (ASOGAF) channel 80,000 euros of their donations (50% from each organisation) into a new 18-month project at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). The project specifically aims to complete a step necessary in order to move towards a future frataxin replacement therapy for the brain, where the reduction of this protein causes the most damage in patients with Friedreich’s Ataxia.

The study is headed by Ernest Giralt, head of the Peptides and Proteins Lab, who has many years of experience and is a recognised expert in peptide chemistry and new systems of through which to delivery drugs to the brain, such as peptide shuttles—molecules that have the capacity to carry the drug across the barrier that surrounds and protects the brain. Since the lab started its relation with these patients’ associations in 2013*, it has been developing another two projects into Friedrich’s Ataxia.

 

 

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