Elyte - 2000 Interview with Pablo Leon and David Ruiz Forjanes

Interview with Pablo Leon and David Ruiz Forjanes - from Spanish rockers Elyte
Written By: Luigi Cisaria
Date: Aug 2000

The spotlight zeroes in on a five piece AOR band coming at you from Madrid Spain. They are called Elyte, and they've been around since 1994. Like many other bands, and not necessarily from Spain, they've worked hard to get where they are now, struggling to get their sound heard in a day and age where melodic rock is swamped by all the other musical genres out there.

Signed to Vinny Records (courtesy of Vincente Corral Collantes), Elyte have joined stable mates Seven Ltd, in releasing a very good album titled 'Unno' this year. To get an idea what it's like being in a Spanish band playing a style which is very untraditionally Spanish, Glory Daze's Luigi Cisaria gets to cross the cultural divide with guitarist Pablo Leon and drummer David Ruiz Forjanes.

Welcome to Heart of the Rock and thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Before we get into the music - the band is from Madrid. So who do you support - Real Madrid or Athletico? I'm a Manchester United fan, by the way.
Pablo: We have some problems with it because David and Julio support Athletico, and I'm quite a fan of Real Madrid while Juanma is Barcelona's big fan.

David: We try not to speak out loud about it.

Although you have been together six years, outside of Spain not many people have heard of Elyte. How did the band get together and has the current line-up been together for the whole six years?
Pablo: The current and first line-up is: Pablo Leon (guitars and backing vocals), Julio Rubio (vocals), David R. Forjanes (drums and backing vocals) and Juanma Gomez (bass and backing vocals). Vlady (keyboards) joined the band two years ago but left the group after we recorded the album to pursue a career outside music. We've now got a new keyboard player and he is currently establishing himself in the band.

David: We are friends and we think the same way in most things, that's why we have been together so long.

The production on the album is excellent and it is obvious you took great care to get the right sound. How long did it take to record 'Unno'?
Pablo: Thanks very much. It took four months of intensive work to record and mix the album. We had a clear idea of the sound we wanted to get so we spent hours on the studio and mixing desk to get it.All of us were involved in the production and mixing job. Finally we got 90% of the sound that we were searching for. Obviously, there is always something to change because it's impossible to do it perfect.

Over the six years you must have a large amount of material. Was it difficult to choose the songs that finally made it onto the album?
Pablo: We still argue about that! Yes, it is very difficult to get the best songs because people always miss any old song. We have spent years playing live many times and of course there were songs that were impossible to include on the CD. We listen to what people say but we try to keep an equilibrium in our songs. Although we took our time to compose songs, half the songs are taken from the two demos we made before, although a lot of extra work has gone in to improving them. The rest are new songs.


Elyte seems to be a young band, growing up in a time when AOR/melodic rock music had been forced underground. With such a pure melodic rock sound what bands influenced you, apart from the obvious - Danger Danger?
David: About that I can tell you we like Danger Danger. We are lucky and proud to be compared with this band. We also play a version of 'Bang Bang', but there are too many other bands that we like.

Pablo: We like AOR and melodic hard rock from the late 80s and early 90s as well as many classic groups like Boston, Toto, Journey and also current groups like Fair Warning, Hugo, Metropolis and so on. We also like other types of music such as Symphonic Rock, Jazz-Fusion, Funky Jazz or New Age stuff. There are songs on the album that have a very 80's sound or Danger Danger sound, although we didn't consciously set out to achieve this. Rather that's the music that comes out when we pick up the guitar although I think we have introduced touches of present-day hard rock.

How do the members of Elyte feel about the music that is popular today? What do you listen to now?
Pablo: I listen to many songs played on radio, I like to keep my feet on the ground, and I like producers like Max Martin, his sound is brilliant and exciting. Also Mutt Lange and his work with The Corrs and Shania Twain.

David: We don't prejudge music, we like to listen to every single kind of music, I think nowadays it's been a good vibe about melodic music. We were bored about grunge and that kind of stuff. But we can't stand industrial metal or rap.

With the recent success of Latin cross-over artists such as Ricky Martin, Enrique Inglesias and Santana, do you think that this may help Elyte break into the mainstream even though melodic rock is currently underground?
Pablo: I don't think so. We play melodic rock and no latino thing. We would like to think melodic rock is the music that we love, but if we want to get fans our CD probably wouldn't have been AOR or hard rock styled. But I think we do and play the music we like, the only difference is the language.

Most of the Latin rock bands I have found play heavy rock or metal. Are Elyte one of the few Latin melodic rock bands and is there a following for AOR/melodic rock in Spain?
Pablo: Yes, there are a number of interesting bands at the moment such as Seven Ltd, Rafa Martin, Ice Blue, 91 Suite, Fools Kin, Far From Eden etc. Our label Vinny Records, are doing a great job signing melodic rock bands and unleashing them to the Spanish public. There have been, however, since the 80s, groups like Sangre Azul, La Fase or Rafa Martin who have done a great deal for Spanish hard rock but unfortunately these bands are no longer together except Rafa Martin. They gave up music because they were disillusioned that they weren't valued. But times have changed and nowadays melodic rock is better received.

'Unno' was released by Spanish label Vinny Records. How did that relationship happen and did you approach any labels outside of Spain?
Pablo: Our label and we were glad to release it with more promotion and stuff, so we are open to speak to labels if it good for our music and it give us the possibility to get to the people. One of our biggest problems is the promotion and the limited resources. People don't know our music. At the moment our manager and Vinny Records are working in that way, to release the album in English (probably including new material).

Did winning band competitions help you get signed, or did labels shy away from you because of the melodic rock sound?
David: Winning competitions helped us with the money! But, believe me it didn't help us in other ways. It was fun because the money was reinvested in our band to pay the rent and keep playing and some went towards our CD and the studio. Except for Vinny Records, we think other music companies are afraid to release melodic rock material.

Finally, what can we expect from Elyte in the future? Are there any touring plans?
Pablo: Yes, we will be on tour with Ten and Millenium all over Spain in November. We hope this will help us to let the people know our music, and we are excited about the shows. If 'Unno' works well out of Spain we hope someone will call us to play live somewhere. We will be glad to do it. We also would like to thank you very much for your support and interest in us.

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