It’s fitting that Glasgow-based quartet Genaro took their name from a character penned by Carlos Castaneda, the writer who wanted to discover a “separate reality” through shamanism and was labelled “the Godfather of the New Age” by Time magazine.
It’s fitting because Genaro make music so richly atmospheric and mysterious that it seems to take the listener on some kind of journey – if not exactly into a separate reality.
The four from Carluke initially came together in 2000 and performed in the heats of the following year’s T Break competition. After a break spent in various solo projects Genaro were persuaded to reform by the leftfield, normally electronica-based label Benbecula, who eventually put out their self-titled debut album this summer.
Bass player Derek Bates is grateful for Benbecula’s encouragement. “They’ve been great to us,” he says. “We wouldn’t even be together as Genaro if they hadn’t given us a little push in the right direction.”
The album showcases Genaro’s ambitious compositions, forged through sweeping guitar and synth motifs that undulate in perfect harmony with Craig Snape’s transcendental vocals. The band themselves downplay any notions of grand, preconceived intentions.
“The mood of the music just comes naturally,” lead guitarist Dom Dixon says. “We’ve never gotten together and said ‘OK let’s do this’ or whatever. We just start jamming something and develop it from there. We do all share a love for lots of reverb and delay though, so that probably helps.”
As an unknown entity, Genaro had to do without the months of studio time enjoyed by major label bands. Derek recalls the pressure of delivering the album: “We did something like fifteen songs in a week. It was such a different way of recording for us – we were used to recording at home, adding shitloads of overdubs and effects and taking as long as we wanted to mix.”
“In retrospect, if we had two weeks to record we’d probably be much happier with the end result,” Derek admits, “but the reviews have been really good so far so we can’t complain.”
Indeed they have. Four and five star ratings across the board and such glowing epithets as “glacial, epic and majestic”, “absolutely brilliant” and “achingly beautiful”. But Genaro are certainly not the only exciting band on the Glasgow scene at the moment. Have they found it difficult to gain exposure in such a fertile breeding ground?
“There’s a bit more attention on the city,” Derek says, “and there are certainly venues that really know how to put bands together to complement each other. The public know what they like though, so we don’t try to force them to listen to us. Luckily some listen to us by choice, which is nice.”
As any penniless artist will confirm, creating something that’s truly progressive rarely guarantees commercial success. But Genaro don’t fret over how many “units” they shift or whether they fit the right “scene” to attract the media’s attention.
As Derek puts it: “We create music for enjoyment and I don’t think we’d ever give that up. It’s great that people like what we do, but we’d still be creating music regardless.”