Violeta De Outono
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Topic: Violeta De Outono
Posted: April 29 2011 at 14:33
Violeta De Outono is a band from Brazil who has made a big name for themselves. They have so far released eight studio albums and some live albums.
I got in touch with their main man Fabio Golfetti for their story.
Your biography has been covered in your ProgArchives profile so let's bypass the biography details. But which bands were you influenced by ?
Violeta de Outono was a band formed in the early 80’s, but we grew up listening to the rock music of the 70’s. Despite we became professionals in the 80’s, we wanted to make music like our heroes, Syd Barrett, Gong, Soft Machine, Caravan. The result was that we translated those ideas filtered by the grey feelings of the eighties - some people say we did a ‘grey psychedelia’. The early Violeta de Outono sounded more like Pink Floyd ‘69 era without keyboards, and the present band has a Caravan/Camel Canterbury flavour.
This is an archive based interview also intended for the fans you get well after both you and I have passed away so let's go straight to your albums. Please give us your long or brief views on your albums, starting with.......
Memories from 1987
This album was not officially released but it was a collection of demos recorded in 1984. It was compiled in 1990, first as a cassette, because we started a parallel promotion of our music by running a kind of network called “Invisivel”. It was inspired by and followed the same model of GAS (Gong Appreciation Society), where we could make available live tapes, unreleased tracks, etc. that our major company (RCA at the time) didn´t want to release officially.
Violeta De Outono from 1987
This was our debut LP, recorded at the very famous RCA studios in Sao Paulo. All the great equipment of that time was there: Neve console, the best amps & microphones, and everything. We decided to run against the rule of the studios at that time, and recorded live in studio, to take advantage of that fantastic room’s acoustics. This album is very empty and has a lot of organic sounds, but we were only a trio, the original line-up with Angelo Pastorello on bass, Claudio Souza on drums and myself on guitar & vocals. The album had 3-4 songs that were very pop-oriented, which helped us to be “approved” by the main radio stations in Brazil, which in turn helped us to survive going ahead...
Early Years from 1988
Before our first LP, we recorded an EP with 3 songs through a small label in Sao Paulo, called Wop Bop. We chose one pop song, one intermediate and one more “complex” song, to show our concepts of Violeta de Outono. This EP was very successful, so that small label smartly made a new contract with us, between our renew with RCA, to make another EP with some of our repertoire of cover songs that were influential to our development. We took 4 psychedelic tunes: one of Stones (“Citadel”), one of George Harrison (“Within You Without You”), one of Pink Floyd, Barrett’s era (“Interstellar Overdrive”), and one from my inspiration, Gong (the Continental Circus album) - we chose “Blues for Findlay” as it was something that we liked to do on stage, as free improvising.
This recording was not released in 1988 - only 500 cassettes were pressed at that time -, but it was officially released in 2000 by Voiceprint Records, including a bonus track recorded at rehearsals (“Echoes”, blending with Led Zeppelin´s “No Quarter”).
Em Toda Parte from 1989
This LP was a kind of challenge for us. We had a good reputation with our first LP of 1987, which sold very well and received many good reviews, but we’d like to go ahead for more experimental fields, something like our masters did, when they started simple stuff in the 60’s and then became more sophisticated on every album. I met a guy that had just arrived from New York in 1988, bringing his Atari sequencer loaded of samples, and we thought that we could incorporate those new technologies in our psychedelic music, producing something like Gong-ish sounds but using sequencers, synthesized drones, instead of real vibes and percussion. This album was composed and produced in studio (at the same great RCA), but the record company didn’t feel any “commercial” track in it so they left us with our LP but with very few promotion... This ended up discouraging the band, but we felt that it was important to keep our concepts on the way.
Woman On The Mountain from 1999
In 1994 BMG decided to release our LPs (Violeta de Outono & Em Toda Parte) on a single CD. We agreed immediately and went to a good mastering studio in Sao Paulo, to try to master two albums with completely different characteristics into one compilation CD. We took that opportunity to compose some new fresh material, to be released together with this reissue. New demos were recorded, but, unfortunately, BMG had no interest in our new songs. We played those new songs live many times until 1999, when I met Rob Ayling of Voiceprint. In 1999 I became a distributor for Voiceprint Records in Brazil and, to celebrate the coming of Rob to Sao Paulo, I released these demos as the first release of my Voiceprint Brazil label. Although there’s some good compositions in this album, we tried to sound much as our first album so it was not a real refreshing work for the band.
Early Years Complete from 2000
This is another unofficial release compiled with live tracks, rehearsals, unfinished tracks covering our early inspirations, music of Syd Barrett, Daevid Allen, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Byrds... most of the tracks are for fans of the band only, as they have very poor sound / performance quality.
Ilhas from 2005
Ilhas is the transition to what I can say that is the most happy period of the band. In 1995 we met Fabio Ribeiro, a great keyboard player, and decided to add new colours to the band: the tones of organ and piano. So Fabio Ribeiro went on to play some great gigs with us (including Rio Art Rock Festival 1997, where we recorded a live album). This was a definite change to the sound of Violeta de Outono, and brought us closer to progressive music. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to go to a studio together as a band, but we composed some material and Fabio did great arrangements in many songs, such as “Jupiter”, where he played a nice Nord Lead piano, and the remarkable synthesizers on Mahavishnu. This was another album that was composed in studio, but after that we had a very precise vision of where to go to...
Volume 7 from 2007
This is for me the best and happiest album that we did with Violeta de Outono. From the choice of going back to Mosh Studios, the best studio in Sao Paulo (with the help of the owner of the studio, who gave us support), through the way we did the album, to the musical results. We started as we did on our first album: composing, rehearsing, arranging for a long time in our studio, then going to the big one. The result was that we recorded all of the stuff live with very few, almost no overdubs, except vocals and some pianos. This produced a very warm and organic sound that I can’t explain exactly, but was embedded on that recording - the energy among us was flowing with great harmony. One of my favourite tracks is “Fronteira”, where I could look back to the Caravan influence and finally bring it to our music. The sound of the Hammond organ was a highlight, creating a good balance between the rough sound of a guitar trio and a classic 70’s sound quartet.
Volume 7 is the definite direction for our future works with Violeta de Outono.
and your live albums Eclipse Ao Vivo from 1995 and Live At The Rio ArtRock Festival '97 from 2001
Eclipse was not intended to be a live album, but it was the best recording that we had from that period (1986) and the label Record Runner pushed us to put it out on a CD, as they said it would be worthy. It features our main repertoire at that time, unreleased until the 1st LP in 1987. It captures the way the band was live as a power trio. Live At Rio Art Rock Festival ‘97 was very well recorded and mixed by Vinicius Brazil of Aether. This release is important as it predicts how the band will sound later... the set list is from old stuff and the Mulher Na Montanha CD.
How would you describe your musical development from Ritual to Origins and how would you describe your music ?
Since I decided to be a musician, I must say that I did the things I’d like to do even if they didn’t go to the successful side. I started to play guitar at age 15, but the music that changed my mind, vision and behaviour was Soft Machine’s Third album, and there’s no guitar on it. Later in 1977 I discovered Gong’s Angels Egg, and I found a new universe before me. This, associated with my interest on oriental cultures & mysteries, became the basis of my feelings about what and how to play music. The teachings of Daevid Allen on the mythic Gong trilogy was very attractive, and matched what I was trying to look for at 17... My first band was Lux, in 1978, and it had many of the Gong influences that I still have until now. I think that I underwent a development during all these long years, but I can say that my main goal is still the same: to produce music that can be a vehicle for good vibes and feeling - there were lots of change but I think that I play the same music since the beginning. Technically speaking, I play guitar very influenced by Syd Barrett’s atmospheric sounds, Daevid Allen’s glissando and Steve Hillage echo patterns, using lots of devices such as metal rods, slides, echo units, loopers, compressor and my old and good one Fuzz Face.
You have released a lot of albums and have done some gigs. What is your experiences with the music industry and the gigs promotors ?
We had a great time during the years at RCA/BMG. We were allowed to produce the music we wanted, if we didn’t receive a better recognition it was due to the kind of music we did, and due to our posture, to be non-commercial. On the other side, that gave us a nice ‘cult’ status that allowed the band to exist until now. If we went to television, such as any commercial product, I’m sure that we would have splitted after the next summer... The long way was harder, but we could continue to produce albums that we liked, composing and playing without concessions.
Concerning gigs and promoters we were not so lucky, Brazil is very huge, and we had many difficulties to take our concerts to distant places. Nowadays it seems a bit better, as the conditions are much more comfortable than those of 30 years ago; there’s a bit more money to support the alternative music business.
Your band is big in South America, but perhaps not that big outside this continent. Is there any plans to really conquer the rest of the world too ?
Conquer the universe would be better ...lol.... I believe that the last album, Volume 7, finally has what I think is an international feeling. In Brazil we are known mainly because of the grey psychedelic material from the 80’s, and even if we produce completely new music, we always will be associated here with the old trio of the 80’s. But this is another band, it is the same if you compare the Soft Machine Volume One album to, say, their Bundles album.
I believe that, if we could produce the new album following what we started on Volume 7, maybe we will have a chance outside South America - despite the fact that some of our previous albums are known in Europe and the US, we consider Volume 7 to be our real “debut” outside Brazil.
Please also tell us more about your other project Invisible Opera Company Of Tibet (Brazil).
This is a chapter apart. Since I inspired my music by Gong, I wanted to meet these guys... During the 80’s I was in constant contact with GAS, and in 1987-1988 I received an invitation for a workshop that would be ministered by Daevid in Dover. (Rob Ayling organized that to help Daevid to come back from Australia for a long time). Unfortunately I could not go, because I had just returned from my first trip to UK in November 1987... anyway, soon after that my friend May East, who lives in Findhorn, Scotland, told me that she was releasing a CD on the same label as Daevid, the AMP Records, and she did a connection between us. So I sent him my new music, that I would share as Invisible Opera Company Of Tibet, according to his concepts of an international band. This flourished and ended up in a gig in Brazil in 1992, when Daevid came to play with us. After that I recorded the Glissando Spirit album, and then Voiceprint Records asked me to release it in the UK, also thanks to a good review on the Facelift Magazine. This was really great for me, I’m very grateful to all these great friends and gurus, they included me on the Gong Family... Beside the production of The Invisible Opera Company Of Tibet (Brazilian version), which also has many recordings, I’m very proud of two releases I´ve participated in: The first is the DVD Glissando Guitar Orchestrae, that played in Amsterdam during the Gong Unconvention 2006, where we did the Seven Drones with 10 guitarists, including Steve Hillage, Kawabata Makoto, Harry Williamson, Daevid Allen, Josh Pollock, Steffe Sharpstrings, Brian Zero, Steve Higgins, Jerry Bewley and myself. It was absolutely fantastic to share the stage with such great musicians! The second release is the DVD of the Gong Global Family Live in Brazil. We invited Daevid to play here with Josh Pollock and Michael Clare of University of Errors, and together with Invisible Opera Company Of Tibet we formed a new band and did some concerts playing and celebrating Gong and Soft Machine music.
What is your current status and what is your plans for this year and beyond ?
I have just released Invisible Opera Company Of Tibet - UFO Planante, and I’m very happy as it is an album produced very spontaneously with my mates Gabriel Costa and Fred Barley (the same line up of Gong Global Family). It’s exciting free music that opens new doors. The plan is to play live and try some festivals, who knows, outside Brazil?
I’m also finishing the mix of the new Violeta de Outono CD - it is called Espectro and is due to be released soon.
Is music your main occupation in life or do the Violeta De Outono members have “normal” daytime jobs too ?
Yes, music is our main occupation, although Violeta de Outono cannot provide us our daily life. I work also distributing music, Voiceprint Records, Moonjune Records, labels of friends, and have some other parallel jobs; Gabriel Costa, the bass player, is a musician most of the time but he also has some other jobs in the book publishing area; Fernando Cardoso, keyboard player, besides playing with Violeta de Outono, is also a harpsichord soloist and a music teacher. Fred Barley, the current drummer, is a professional musician playing with many names here in Brazil, from Brazilian jazz to pop groups.
To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?
I’d like to say thanks a lot for this opportunity to show my words in this great portal, ProgArchives. I’m really very happy to do it and I’d like to wish you a long life and thanks for keeping alive this fantastic music that we, prog fans, love so much.
Thank you to Fabio for this interview
Fabio's homepage is here
Edited by toroddfuglesteg - May 05 2011 at 14:15
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|Post Options Quote Reply Posted: April 29 2011 at 15:38|
Amazing stuff Torodd ! I almost had tears in my eyes reading what Fabio said about their "Volume 7" album.A recording that is difficult to explain because it has to be felt.One of my all time favourites and one that moves me everytime i hear it.
Edited by Mellotron Storm - April 29 2011 at 22:12
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|Post Options Quote Reply Posted: April 29 2011 at 18:17|
Nice job, Torodd!
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|Post Options Quote Reply Posted: April 29 2011 at 20:41|
One of the best brazilian bands!
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|Post Options Quote Reply Posted: April 30 2011 at 00:37|
Yeah, excellent interview.
The cover art of Early Years looks very "Red" haha
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