First of all, congratulations for your great job on Far Beyond, it was amazing. Captivating, inventive, dynamic and very intense. How did you come up with this idea of Orchestral Jazzy Prog. Rock?
Thank you very much. I’m not sure if I’ve ever thought in my music in those terms (laughs). It’s a great tag, though, “Orchestral Jazzy Prog. Rock”. It sounds very exquisite. Think I’m gone use it from now on (laughs). Well, that style (mixture of styles, perhaps is more accurate), I think, is due to my influences. I always listen to a vast range of music styles, you know: classical, rock, metal, electro, folklore…as long as it is good who cares. It’s music. Music tagging is labels’ job.
Who are your major influences?
Musically, I would say: Deep Purple, Opeth, Pink Floyd, Bernardo Sassetti, Rodrigo Leão, Philip Glass…Those are the major influences. Not exactly on that order. But yes…
Musically, you say.
Yes. Those are just my influences in terms of sonority and music production. But Fernando Pessoa, Mike Portnoy, Billy Cobham, Moriyama Daido, Musashi, Da Vinci (just to name a few) are all great influences in my thinking process, therefore my music approach is also deeply influenced by them.
Very eclectic, as expected…
Or, as one might say, a pretentious douche bag (laughs).
Let’s now talk about your new album. How did you choose The Lotos-Eaters as the basis for this album? Were there any selection criteria, did you know the poem already, how was that?
Well, I don’t exactly know how I came up with this idea of adapting this particular poem. But I always wanted to work based on literature. That’s an idea that dates back to the time when I had not even thought of composing a thing. Always thought that art mixture is the way to achieve an higher intellectual level, or some sort of ultimate or transcendent truth, if you will.
About five or so years ago, I began to be very interested in music production and this year I came up with the Far Beyond album, which for me was kind of an introduction. And because it was so experimental, I honestly was not sure if anyone would understand my ideas, my convictions…well, basically my work. Fortunately, people not only understood but also liked it. And that gave me the confidence and motivation to move on and raise the bar a little.
“Why this particular poem?” First of all, I love it. And because I work alone, I can do as I please. Second, the way the author thought it was just brilliant: use an episode from classic literature and modernize it to draw attention to a problem. I mean, that’s what I think art should be. More than give an opinion about something, the author must alert to an existent problem. “A poem is a thought’s skeleton”, said Fernando Pessoa. And I think he’s right. Art, more than contemplation, is thought. Or, to be more accurate, art must be thought through contemplation. And that thought belongs to the audience. Art should be almost journalistic, if that makes any sense at all.
Anyway, one might say that using classic literature to criticize a modern problem, or whatever, is not very original or innovative. It is true. And I knew that before I decide to make this album.
It is also true that I could very easily had chosen “Os Lusíadas” or “Mensagem” instead of this English poem and I would not even have translation problems. On the other hand, Luís de Camões and Fernando Pessoa are untouchables for me. Their work means so much to me that whatever I do is never enough to honor them and it will just contribute to denigrate their marvelous work. Moreover, their work is very well known worldwide. And there is no reason to exalt something that everyone knows already. It would be arrogant for me to do that. So, I decided to chose “The Lotos-Eaters” by Alfred Tennyson. Who didn’t represent to me more than his poem.
In a nutshell, I ended up choosing this poem because: one, I liked it since the first reading; two, I didn’t know the author.
I was not expecting such a detailed answer (laughs).
Yeah, well…Sorry about that (laughs).
Not at all. Moving on, I had the opportunity to listen to some (demo) excerpts of this new album before this interview and it seemed to me that there are more orchestral moments than in Far Beyond, is that correct?
Well, yes. There is, indeed, much more orchestra in this album. It seemed appropriate to have an orchestra and a jazz/rock band playing together. Old and new, you know. Classical and modern, side by side, playing as a whole. It is an old cliché, I know, bands playing with orchestras. But the truth is: for more amps, for more guitars and drums you have, an orchestra is always an orchestra. And it has an unbeatable force.
So, can we expect some kind of Deep Purple’s Concert For Group And Orchestra?
No, no, not at all. My goal was not mark the differences between the two forms of music. It is not a contest, or some kind of “Band vs. Orchestra” thing. When you hear it, you’ll certainly notice that band and orchestra are one from the very beginning.
And my album’s structure is very different from Deep Purple’s, as well.
While Deep Purple based their composition (actually was only Jon Lord who composed the whole concert) on a very “orthodox” structure (three movements: concerto grosso, sinfonia concertante, and concerto for orchestra), I based my album in those that I think be the key moments of the poem. Then I divided them in acts, like a theater play. The goal was to give listeners a musical interpretation of a poem: transmitting, in a progressive and dynamic way, feelings, physical characteristics of places and characters, while maintaining the consistency and the common thread that links the different songs, giving, this way, the feeling of a whole.
In a simpler way, my album was not meant to be a concert, but rather an invisible theater play. A play that only unfolds in the listeners’ imagination and whose plot was written by Alfred Tennyson.
Very interesting, indeed. What’s the status of the album?
Last night I finished the last piece of music for the record. I reviewed every single demo I recorded and changed what I felt should be modified. I’ve been writing for quite a long time, now it’s time to rest a bit.
How long do you think the recording process is going to take?
A week or so, I think. Last album I spent two months writing, recording and mixing at the same time, now I have all the material written down. I’m thinking on spending not more than two weeks for mixing and mastering. This time I’m more secure and confident and hopefully this will translate into a better album.
Do you have a release date yet?
I’m slow with the “promoting” thing and all. I’ll make it available to you when I have the assurance that all is the way I idealized it.