The Psychedelic World of Os Estilhaços – Interview

Welcome to an exciting conversation with one of the most intriguing bands hailing from the vibrant East neighbourhoods of Sao Paulo, Os Estilhaços. Drenched in 60’s influences and brimming with a unique sonic identity, this band has a fascinating tale to tell. Grab a cup of coffee and join us as Cristina, one of the members, takes us on an incredible journey from their formation to their upcoming debut LP and their plans!

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today, Cristina. It’s an honor to have you here. To kick things off in our conversation, could you share with us the fascinating journey of how Os Estilhaços came into existence?

“Firstly, thank you so much, Get That Beat Webzine, for the opportunity and the invitation. The pleasure will be all ours! We can say that the formation of the band took place in three stages. Alexandre Xéu and Paulo Nobre already knew each other and had even played together in other bands previously (Os Panoramas). Meanwhile, Caio Sérgio (who played with Os Haxixins) was invited by Felipe Caponne to brainstorm some ideas. As all four of them were acquainted and already friends, they came together and established the initial lineup of the band. With the idea always being to incorporate an organ into the sound, sometime later, they extended an invitation to me (someone who had never played before), and I ended up accepting it.”

The band has an interesting fusion of influences from various Psychedelic groups of the 60’s. Can you talk about how each of these bands has shaped your unique sound?

“Our influences are primarily from 60s garage bands such as the 13th Floor Elevators, Music Machine, The Seeds, and Count Five, as well as some Brazilian ones like Os Baobás, Os Beatniks, and The Galaxies. However, these are just general influences, as each member has their own specific musical inspirations. Alexandre is a big fan of Fuzztones, Paulo enjoys mod jazz, while Rodrigo brings a slightly different background, having played in bands of various genres. As for myself, I’m particularly fond of 60s sounds from Greece and Turkey, for example. Perhaps it’s this “big mess” of influences that, unconsciously, shapes the music we create.”

You guys hail from the vibrant East neighbourhoods of Sao Paulo. In your perspective, could you shed some light on what gives this area its unique charm? Additionally, how has the distinctive atmosphere and cultural fabric of your locality shaped the sonic identity of your band?

There must be something in the water in the East Zone that makes so many garage and 60s-influenced bands appear there heheheh. It’s difficult to specify why, but since the 90s, that neighbourhood was where there was always a group of friends who liked (and still like today) this kind of music and were always searching for songs and bands that weren’t easy to find around here at that time (like the Pebbles and Back from the Grave, comps for example). When they got to do so, they made copies on cassette tapes and shared them among themselves. This “local effervescence” on the outskirts remains to this day, with great pride.

You recorded your first album with analogue equipment and the guidance of Luis Tissot. Can you shed some light on the recording process and how it helped you achieve that coveted sixties sound?

“Whenever we think about recording, we always aim to do it in analogue mode, using a reel-to-reel tape recorder, tube amplifier, etc., as this is the only way we can get as close as possible to the typical sound of the 60s, which serves as a reference for our music. Luis already has a solid track record in this regard; he possesses the appropriate equipment and has recorded several bands (including his own) in this genre and with these resources. Moreover, he’s a friend who has always supported us greatly. Therefore, we didn’t consider working with anyone else, as we knew that with him, it would be easier and smoother, given his understanding and affinity with this kind of sound. For us, collaborating closely works really well; we literally sit beside each other and work together. This way, we can closely monitor the process and ensure that everything aligns as closely as possible with our vision.”

The departure of Felipe and Caio led to the introduction of Rodrigo “Bob” and a shift to a quartet. How has this change influenced the band’s sound essence?

“In fact, Felipe was the first to leave the band, leaving us as a quartet with Caio. He had a very distinct style of playing— “rawer,” without much “inventiveness”—which, for the type of music we play, makes a lot of sense in order to maintain the primitive garage vibe. After Caio’s departure, we invited Rodrigo Bob to take over the guitar, and he accepted the challenge. Rodrigo was someone who knew and identified with the music we make and the references we like. He plays in a more fluid and versatile manner, which ended up bringing a “freshness” to the songs we had been playing for so long. Without a doubt, he played a significant role (in the best sense of the word) in the result we achieved when recording the album.”

if someone were to surrender their consciousness for a few moments, getting carried away by the acid trip of Os Estilhaços, what would you like them to feel or take away from the experience?

“Composing, for us, is always quite subjective and generally stems from personal experiences, emotions felt, events witnessed, and so forth. Our songs are relatively simple and tend to reflect life’s dichotomies—good and bad moments, love and lack thereof, sanity and insanity—bringing forth something very human that people can ponder over or even relate to in some way. Thus, deep down, I believe our desire (and perhaps the desire of every artist, from any artistic perspective) is to share what we feel, what we think about the world and ourselves. If it somehow resonates with people and brings us closer to them through musical connection, we will be more than satisfied.”

I’d love to delve into the details of your debut LP. This highly anticipated record is set to be released by the Greek label, Sunnyboy 66 Records.Could you enlighten us on how this collaboration took shape? What were the key turning points that brought you and Sunnyboy 66 Records together on this musical journey?

Sunnyboy66 Records is a relatively new record label based in Greece. Up until now, they had released a single by the band The Spouts (from France), along with a digital release by The Joplins (from Indonesia). However, their work has been ongoing for a while, primarily on their YouTube channel, which has been active for years, featuring thousands of compilations spanning various music genres from around the globe. We were already following them on their channel and social media when we noticed they were seeking bands to join their record label roster. We sent them a demo, they liked the songs, and proposed releasing our first full-length album. We are extremely happy and grateful for this partnership, especially to Dimitris Papadimitriou.

And a personal question for you Cristina!I find it fascinating to delve into the minds of musicians. So let’s get right to it. Tell us, what kind of emotional journey do you go through when you’re jamming out with your bandmates on stage?

“Well, since it’s a personal question, I believe I can speak with a bit more authority about my own emotional journey. I’ve always harbored a desire, since my teenage years (which is when I began to form a stronger connection with music), to step onto a stage someday with a band and experience the energy firsthand. It was a dream, but I almost treated it like a goal, one that I eventually achieved with Os Estilhaços (as they remain my first and only band) many years later, as an adult. It’s quite challenging to put into words. For me, it’s still a blend of anxiety (as it’s always a bit nerve-wracking) and satisfaction in being able to connect with the audience while doing what I love so dearly. And when people reciprocate the energy and we, as musicians, feel it during the performance, it makes everything flow more smoothly and joyfully for us too.”

It is known that in your live performances, audiences often find themselves transported to the 60s, inside a primitive atmosphere, with a collective trip spurred by your music. Can you walk us through how you create this immersive experience through your music?

“If the audience watching us is open-minded enough to allow themselves to hear and experience something different from what they’re accustomed to (considering the Brazilian audience here), then we’re already halfway there. Often, while we’re playing, we notice that some people are “intrigued” to see a mixed-gender band playing vintage instruments, with vocals rotating among everyone and a sound that isn’t very common around here. Before a show, we never intentionally think, “Oh, today we’re going to create an experience for the audience.” We don’t plan the gig as a “performance.” It’s more a consequence of us simply trying to be honest with our music, which, being heavily influenced by psychedelia, encourages people to “get on board” for the trip.”

Finally, What’s brewing in the band’s future?

“Right away, our plans involve getting back to playing again (since we haven’t performed in a while) to promote the album as much as possible, maybe even venturing outside São Paulo to broaden our audience. If the album is well-received and gains traction in the European market, which tends to be quite discerning in the 60s garage and psychedelia scene, we might consider organizing a tour there. It would certainly be another dream come true for us.”

A message to the community out there?

We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has been supporting us—so many web radios, programs, blogs, etc.—and promoting our music, especially in Europe. We truly hope to have the opportunity to tour there soon (and have lots of fun with you all!), and we’ll be actively working towards making that happen. So, festivals and producers, INVITE US! Heheheh, because we’re extremely eager and excited to visit other countries and venues

As we bid farewell to Os Estilhaços, we’re left with a newfound appreciation for their authentic blend of garage and psychedelia. Keep an eye out for their upcoming releases and tour announcements—you won’t want to miss the chance to join them on their musical odyssey across continents.

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