"Nó" is the title and single that presents the first EP of this national band, that although it existed for 10 years, only in 2106 decided to bet on its acoustic sonority with Portuguese roots, but that also harbors musical influences of the world.
The album "Nó" has many themes with the classic guitar, some of the songs are quite long, with almost seven minutes of duration. When you composed the themes for these albums, do you start by building the melodies?
Tiago Correia: Yes, we have a kind of premise that is everything is acoustic. The essence and origin of the band consisted of two people with the classic guitar, with the voices and a harmonica and when we started to involve more elements, we did not want to "fall" in the electronics, nor to use electric guitars, because we have always believed at least in our music. At the time there was no such boom of bands singing in Portuguese, our songs should work in this simplicity, that is, they should close in on themselves by the melody and the classic accompaniment. So, instead of being thinking about a subject, at a certain time putting a battery, or there is a part of double bass, no, the focus is always on the melody, the lyrics and what we wanted to convey.
You create the melodies with Antonio Parra.
TC: Yes, initially the melodies were created by the two of us and so there was a joint creation. However, we ended up following our lives, the band has been there for ten years and a lot has been changed, many of the songs are made on guitar, then we create the melody and the arrangements are made by everyone together, it is questioned by everyone, is a kind of layered composition.
Are the melody and the lyrics done in parallel? As you create the sound, do the words come up?
TC: Yes, it has happened with some songs that started with the guitar, but they have been transformed into one another. The lyrics change according to what the music requests and also the melody can be adapted according to the words. We do not create the melody separately, and then we added the lyrics by force. It is a work in tune, there is the need to emphasize certain words, to give more value to one than others, it is all done in the sense of promoting the song as a whole.
So, because of this layered musical process, certainly, over the years and had a lot of time to practice until arriving at this first EP, what governed the choice of themes in "Nó”?
TC: In fact we have more than 30 songs and our concerts are one hour and a half, with 15 songs and five years ago it was like that at the concerts. Over time there were elements that left the band, we stopped for some time, then we came back, but we were only three, it was at this stage that we were working very closely the voices, the choirs and this line of guitars. At the time we were without double bass and drums and we arrived at 2012, 2013 with more than 20 concerts, but never during that time we did not launch anything officially and at some point was bad in terms of opportunities. When we appeared as a band there was no boom in Portuguese music, sung in Portuguese, "Orquestrada", "B Facade", Samuel Úria, "Devil on the Cross", these musicians had not released anything and naturally we written in Portuguese although we had no connection with them, it become fashionable. At the end of nine years we realized that we are 30 years old, practically everyone and our lives have changed, three elements are of the theater, so we always have complicated daily schedule, music was always a parallel activity and then we decided that it could not be so, we realize we did not had songs recorded and we had to release them and make them available to the public. Our themes have already been played by many musicians and we feel at least this responsibility towards the people who have accompanied us during these ten years in giving them the possibility to keep these songs. When we went to "Nó" it was because we did not have the capacity to record an album, so we decided to start with the EP and try in a serious and active way to prepare a record with more than 10 or 11 tracks that is also our story and who you know what else we have to tell. The "Nó" came not so much from being that album, but deciding what songs we were going to work with the new elements that came along, Alex Rodrigues on drums and Aníbal Beirão on bass. We decided to choose 6 songs that made more sense to us, were the most recent songs, sacrificing the songs of the first phase of the band and leaving them for the next opportunity. The idea is to show what our language is now, our potential in composition, this journey in the longest songs, songs that touch us and we think about it a lot, to be a kind of journey from beginning to end, passing through several atmospheres in that there is a journey for that sound.
Why the title "Nó"?
TC: Precisely for this, besides being the single, has to do with the compromise it is metaphor, I do not know if you know the expression to give the knot?
TC: And so, it was a metaphor for that, now, we came to stay and to take this project seriously as any other in our lives. It is a kind of commitment with us, with the public and the people who follow us and this time we did not stop to start over again, we came to stay. At the same time is the opposite, the difficulty that was to launch the EP, so many years trying without success, we took this essential step that is to record and enter the musical circuit.
One of the themes has no title, the only time I had seen something like that was in the art exhibitions.
TC: We all almost come from the theater, some are jazz musicians, but it was the last people to get to the project. We see the artistic creation in what ever and we see it in the same way and perhaps for this reason a song for us is a painting, a movie or play. Music has this power in 3 to 4 minutes to reach people, to touch them deeply, as a play in an hour and a half. Music has this power with words, or even few words, to reach people. This untitled it is also a theme that we usually call root, because it is a song that speaks of a woman in the present who is queen of the passion, who is above all things and maybe for that reason we prefer not to put a title.
Because Queen would be to pretentious?
TC: Yes and pompous, because it is something that cannot be named, it would be reductive to call all that feminine power, too diminishing to call it queen. That's why it's called "untitled" is a kind of irony.
At this moment you are touring the country to present the "Nó", so you play the six songs on the album, plus the 30 songs you mentioned?
TC: No, we already have an alignment of 15 songs, we are figuring out what will be a lot of the next album. We're running a lot to make the band more cohesive and the next record has that same energy.
The next will always have this acoustic melody, do you still have that line?
TC: Yes, we wanted to get out the new songs out here, but we sang a song from 2008 and we can see what the future of the band is, but I did not want to talk out much about the next one because we are presenting the "Nó". We want to show the potentialities of the song, in what way it can be deconstructed without losing its roots, its most essential side is sung poetry. We are also exploring how the song can open and new and also on how to do things. We are always very anxious to look for a new way, to surprise us in some way, to make a song with a stanza, a refrain and a third part is very reductive, we want to go to the roots of Portuguese music, the world but also leave this repetitive mold. We do not try to be commercial in this sense, but we liked that our music is heard by all types of audiences and this is important for us. This is not to say that we are broad in musical terms for everyone to enjoy, we do not think much of it, we want to do something that we like and that is intertwined with our roots and even reflects the influence of the music we have heard since the Radiohead to Maia Andrade, Tom Jobim, is a very big spectrum.
The fact that you were touring and creating songs at the same time for the next album, did it help? Did playing together helped build the melodies?
TC: Yes, completely, because when we recorded the EP and we started the tour there are "Nó" themes that we did not play in the same way. The songs have already evolved, as we are an independent band, we did not have time to stop for a month rehersing and that was one of the limitations. Then the new elements only came in recently, that is, after 20 concerts and have played for so many people, there is a band, we already know what the other will do, we shared a language in a more cohesive way. The oldest elements that are António Parra, me and André Teixeira been already together since 2009 and Alex Rodrigues and Aníbal Beirão only entered in 20015 and now it is impossible to imagine this band in another way. The fact that we have been playing EP themes, new songs and working together has meant that we were always introducing new songs to the concerts, we experimented and there is a difference. The next album will be more cohesive, will have another energy and will be stronger. I think it's impossible not to be like that, so much so that there are themes that I would have liked to have done differently.
That's exactly what I was going to ask you next, you are saying that you picked up some songs and improved them, have you considered releasing them again, making a remix?
TC: I liked that because the themes are always in the process. As we are independent and we do not have a music record label behind pushing to do everything in the same way we have found room to evolve, we will not fail to do it to play in a certain way. So, the songs continue to grow and in that sense we wanted to be recording the themes all to show the evolution, who listen to the concert in 2010, that has songs from "Nó", will like these songs even more or not. On the other hand, these songs are recorded and we have a lot more to record, as a principle we should not repeat it, we want to show others, we will continue to perfect them, but in the future we may find an opportunity to play them again. If there is such a possibility why not? We would like to have the alternative of stopping two or three months, if we were able to do that we would make a super album, or a double. The truth is that we are limited by the time we are in music, so I think our album would be a best off.
After the tour when you are planning to release this second album?
TC: I would like this new album to come out in early 2018. This year we would be presenting "Nó" and we have several concerts scheduled until the end of the year. Autumn is a less productive period in terms of concerts than in summer it would be an ideal time to record and we are trying to arrange the conditions.
But, you do not have a record label yet?
TC: We do not.