A touch of Magik promised every month

in Features

‘MAGIK’ was born out of the efforts of two experienced musicians: guitarist/producer Manolo Arias (Ñu, Niagara, Atlas, Arias – Barón Rojo, Iguana Tango, etc.) and British Gibraltarian vocalist Giles Keith Ramirez (H.O.T., Ghost, Reach). After a friendship of nearly 30 years, the opportunity to work together had not yet presented itself until now. From this collaboration came the idea to publish on a monthly basis, a string of cover tracks under the title of “Covers in Isolation”.  Ideally this project aims to offer their particular vision of Rock classics from the 60’s and 70’s. They give the classics their own personal touch, hence adapting these hits to their own musical criteria.

The idea flourished during lockdown, when Giles had been performing and sharing some classic covers through social media. For that same reason, the global pandemic, Guitarist /producer Manolo Arias found himself having to postpone his main work on “No estoy para nadie” and he came up with the idea that it was then the right moment to unite forces with Giles Ramirez and record twelve classics which they will be offering as single releases on a monthly basis. These singles are a pre-cursor to an album of original songs which will follow.

Manolo Arias analyses his choice of the third track for ‘Covers in Isolation,’ Peter Frampton’s iconic ‘Show Me the Way’: “There are certain songs which in one way or another become a part of one’s own history. ‘Show Me the Way’ is one of them. You could say that in my case it was love at first hearing. I also discovered (in Frampton) one of the best guitarists I had heard in my life.”

 For this their third single, ‘MAGIK’ have the collaboration of prestigious vocalist Danny Vaughn who has been a part of such bands such as Waysted, Tyketto, Vaughn, Ultimate Eagles and Danny Vaughn’s Myths, Legends & Lies. Danny and Giles first met during a concert at the London O2 Arena when their respective bands, Tyketto and Ghost recorded the ‘Gods of AOR’ in 1994 for MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. 

Years later they met again in Gibraltar, where their great friendship saw them teaming up on a project they called ‘Harmony Street’, which took them on a small tour of Spain as a duet, performing classic covers on acoustic. When Giles and Arias decide to embark on MAGIK, the opportunity of having Danny Vaughn collaborate with them came up on ‘Show Me the Way.’ MAGIK now offer us their own vision of this emblematic song, 45 years after the worldwide hit achieved by Peter Frampton with ‘Show Me the Way’ in 1976 as the main single from his live album ‘Frampton Comes Alive.’

Their treatment gives the song a new urgency and brings with it an edgy and infectious performance which makes compelling listening. I had just come off my headphones and I caught up with Giles to glean some more information on his exciting project.

I have to say that I was impressed with what I had just heard.

“We now have three singles released and on the latest one ‘Show me the Way’ we decided to guest vocalist Danny Vaughn from American band ‘Tyketto’, as we both share a great friendship and I have worked with him in the past. Danny was really keen to collaborate for ‘Magik’. We thought it would be a great idea to also guest a few other well known vocalists for this project and so far I have had a great response. They will be singing in future singles this year”. 

What is the Magik project exactly…

“This is a twelve song, one single per month project covering classic 60’s and 70’s songs and once this is achieved, we shall be releasing an original album under the ‘Magik’ banner too. Recordings for the album are well underway with great names too. The bassist we have featured in one of our originals is Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Mr Big, Sons of Apollo, Winery Dogs, Talas) so that is exciting.”  

I complemented Giles on the dazzling guitar work on their latest single Show Me the Way’ as it turns out that he is Spanish Rock royalty…

 “Indeed Manolo Arias is an exceptional guitarist with miles of experience under his belt playing for the top Rock bands in Spain and producing such bands as Baron Rojo, Niagara, Atlas and ÑU. He arranged and recorded all the tracks in Madrid and sent them to me digitally so I could record the vocals at home in my studio. I then recorded the vocal arrangements, including harmonies, ad-lib and melodies which I slightly changed to give them that extra Rock edge.” 

I wanted to know whether Magik as a band would be coming over to play here… 

“Oh yes for sure! We’re now putting the band together as we speak and there’s lots of interest from musicians. As soon as possible we will bring ‘Magic’ to perform here.” 

Even under current restrictions ‘Magik’ have been busy hence their generic album title ‘Covers in Isolation… 

“Since November last year we have now released three tracks which are, the ‘Doobie Brothers’ classic ‘Listen to the music’, America’s ‘Sister Golden Hair’ and the latest one ‘ Show me the Way’ the Peter Frampton classic. We have other great classics coming up. All our covers can be found on YouTube under MAGIK and all three singles are on sale on digital formats such as Itunes and Spotify etc. 

So to recap on the Magik project… 

“We still have nine more singles to be released (one per month) and we are already talking and planning collaborations with major Rock vocalists and a few top musicians too. The response has been overwhelming and mind blowing for us.  We can’t mention names just in case some are unable to commit at the last minute.”

The ‘MagiK’ original songs album will be released once the twelve classic cover tracks are completed and as Giles mentioned earlier, as soon as they can play live, they hope to be coming to play here “without a doubt.”  If their latest single is only a glimpse into what this band can do then we are really in for a treat when we get to see them live.

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