Interview with Robson Gomes
Having our ears and eyes on the international pulse, we had the pleasure of connecting with one of the most captivating indie artists from Brazil, Robson Gomes of Robsongs. Here’s you’ll find our exclusive interview with him, captured this past weekend. Whether or not Robsongs views himself as such, we admit his output is hot [and include his EP ‘Chuva de Tijolos’ among our best of 2013].
Brazilian psychedelic alternative gaze-rock is how you might sum up his music, despite the odd appearance of synthesizers or sitars. Robsongs’ music shows distinct similarities to the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre, Black Market Karma, The Doors, Happy Mondays, Dead Horse One, Spacemen 3, The Koolaid Electric Company, Kingdom of the Holy Sun and some of The Beatles’ more experimental works.
Robson Gomes has been the lead singer-guitarist in Brazil’s renowned indie rock group The Concept for several decades, and is also the guitarist in reggae band Banda Damata. As a solo artist, Robsongs is signed to The Blog That Celebrates Itself Records and has already released 3 EPs and numerous singles through this label over the past two years, as well as participating in various compilations. The latest one of these is the groundbreaking compilation ‘REVOLUTION – The Shoegaze Revival’, which we wrote about earlier and touched on here with Wozniak.
Who are you? Tell us about your band and how you originally came together.
I’m the deputy trinket of a sub-thing (lol). I can say that, originally, Robsongs came into being as the byproduct of two other musical projects that I was involved in before going solo. Finally next Friday, we will have our first run playing live with a full backing band.
How would you describe your sound?
Psychogaze, a look inside – my music is my soul inside out and a fight against the folly and conformism, as well as the denial of meritocracy.
Who would you say are your biggest influences?
I would have to say that they include Baudelaire, Velvet Underground, Spiritualized, Ride, Chapterhouse. I could even expand this, as actually, I’m inspired by the new shoegaze and psych scene on the whole.
What inspired you to start making music?
My grandfather was a musician and music has always been part of my existence. My uncle inspired me, introduced me to the world of guitar, JAMC and Cocteau Twins. The need to compose started early and in partnership, it was still too shy to write something on my own. I wrote my first song at the age of 13 and was called ‘Fool dream’. As a child, I studied singing with an uncle, and I already knew how to play simple melodies on the guitar and Ukulele (typical Brazilian instrument). But I think it was really at the age of 11 that I identified myself as being connected to music, because that is when the electric guitar came on the scene in my life and changed everything.
What turns you on about shoegaze music?
To look at my shoes and pedals on the floor, the endless layers of distortions, reverbs and ambiences, with the melody fighting fiercely against walls of noise… This somewhat mimics life … This is the beauty of trying, through space, to reach an immediate world and it is absolutely empirical. This reminds me of plants that grow through the cracks in our sidewalks … this is simple without being simplistic.
Are we experiencing a Shoegaze revival or a rebirth? What do you think about the recent film ‘Beautiful Noise’ and reunions of such bands like Ride, Swervedriver, Medicine and Slowdive?
I think it’s a shoegaze survival (lol). The return of these bands was something natural, and all that is good, which is natural always in the same spot but not in the same way of course. This is done while there is opportunity and after more than 20 years, there are many documents and historical archives of bands, producers, labels and the public … at the time, people are very crazy and of, course, this was not all documented as it should be.. but perhaps that is as it should be?
Can you name some bands from your country or elsewhere as recommended listening?
From my country, there is Pin Ups, Brincando de Deus, The Concept, Second Come, The Sorry Shop, The Us, Bela Infanta, llOVNI, Duelectrum, Elevadores, Travelling Waves, The Soundscapes, Mutantes and a lot of other great Brazilian bands. From outside this country, I really think you should listen to veteran underground shoegaze postrock bands Ummagma and Sounds of Sputnik. Also a new band from New York called Malka. Their first EP is really mind-blowing and it just came out.
Can you tell us about some of your past musical highlights?
It all began with Renato Malizia and The Blog That Celebrates Itself, where I release my music. Also one other person has really helped to opened the doors to the international scene. Essa Grande Falta de Você is a song that became known in the scene, also in part because it charted on The Scottish New Music Chart, reaching third place in the first month and then held in the list for a few months. Nearly simultaneously, we also began working with video producer Dimitry Uziel and his photographer wife Ka Uziel. They helped me to get a lot of attention to my music through their visual and video work (Dimitry even won an Independent Music Video Award in Australia for the video he made for Ummagma ‘Human Factor’). Then this compilation has been another huge highlight. It’s awesome to be part of such a huge loving scene that celebrates itself.
Musically, what is your bands planning over the next year?
To release my new album, to play with my band and be able to continue dreaming, producing and promoting my music and the music that I believe in. And I will keep looking at the sky and my feet without having to worry about styles.
If you had to pick 1 or 2 or 3 words to describe your music, what would they be?
Love and Psych