1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Ricardo: We are a quartet from the city of Porto (northern Portugal), founded in 2014. We play contemporary fusion music that blends Jazz, Funk, Hip Hop, Progressive, Metal and so on… Not only we blend different styles of music, we also use acoustic and electronic instruments. And while our basis is sax, keys, guitar and drums, we also use analog and digital effects to extend our sonic possibilities. Our songs have different structures and atmospheres but the common factor is that we always improvise; we never play a tune the same way twice!
2.A few months back you had released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
Marcelo: It is a fusion of musical approaches and atmospheres – it’s one of those recordings you have to hear at least twice to really feel the nuances and layering that is happening, kinda like a musical journey. Picture a marriage made in hell between something like Chris Potter, Frank Zappa and Meshuggah!
3.What are some of the themes and images the band brings out with its musical style?
Nuno: The image of a beautiful green pasture that extends to the infinity and meets a deep blue cloudless sky! No, I’m kidding (and now I notice that I might be confusing Pãodemónio with a background image found in many computers). Music being an abstract art, I personally find it very hard to answer this. Ricardo did have external sources of inspiration when composing the music, and you can read about them on the liner notes. For once, I didn’t know about them when recording the album. If any themes or images are brought out by the music, maybe it’s more a subjective thing for each one of the listeners.
4.Currently the music is all instrumental, are there any plans on using vocals in the future?
Nuno: I’d say there are no such plans. At least I can’t imagine that anyone would actually want to hear me sing. Once I recorded an album of me singing jazz standards, and recently I was told that in some Arab countries they use it as a penalty for people caught stealing. By the way: how does a singer change a light bulb?
Marcelo: Don´t think so, specially with Nuno singing! (laughs) Now seriously – since the beginning we wanted an instrumental project, and I guess we will always keep it that way.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Pãodemónio'?
Ricardo: That is an invented word: is the combination of Pão (bread) and Demónio (demon). But actually, in Portuguese, it sounds like you’re saying Pandemonium with Porto’s accent. Furthermore, not only it is interesting to think about a demonic piece of bread, but it’s also relevant to think about a musical Pandemonium, made in northern Portugal. So that word sums up all those intentions while keeping our music as uncategorized as possible.
6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Nuno: I would describe our stage performance as sober. A significant part of our audience certainly enjoys toying with the impairment of some mental capacities and the freeing of others, and as to the band members themselves, I wouldn’t put my hands on the fire. However, this is demanding music; not only from a technically point of view, but more because it’s so open that it demands that our ears are tuned to what’s going on, and our senses in a state of readiness to interact musically at any given moment. For me it’s hard to do that and jump around at the same time. But I swear that I’m enjoying myself, even when the headbanging is minimal.
We do admit that the visual part of a stage performance is important. To that end, we’re trying to get rid of the music stands (and Fábio always dresses up).
Fábio: I think the best show will be the next one! Most of our music is improvised, so every show is different, not best or worst, just different, but I must confess I do get more excited in bigger stages. As a saxophone player I have a lot of experience playing in horn sections, but this project offers me a new kind of section that transcends my instrument, the “crazy digital madness” section; pandemonium really happens in our performances, but it´s always a controlled chaos in the tension resolution balance. The musical result is kind of cool and mysterious because sometimes people get confused about the origin of the sounds: is it a guitar or a saxophone delay? Only we know the answer to that, and we have a lot of fun mixing up our digital soup! Sound engineers and musicians are starting to make fun of how big my pedalboard is, asking me if I’m the guitar player! Having said that, we try to surprise each other all the time exchanging ideas, and we give it all in the stage, every gig is played as if it was the last one, we that a lot of risks musically, and I think the audience can feel that.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Ricardo: Yes, we’re planning on hiring our own sound engineer for the road and hit the big stages because we feel those are the things we need most now, to make our live performances sound the way they should!
Marcelo: In terms of touring, for the moment, I think it would be great to have a chance to play and express our music on some of the best venues here in Portugal. We noticed that our live sound needs a lot of power and dynamic, and you can just work that out with the best conditions possible (usually the music festivals are also a great option!). Later on we would love to take Pãodemónio beyond frontiers, but for that to happen everyone knows you first have to get a lot of support, from promoters to managers, and we’re currently working on a DIY way.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your album by fans of music in general?
Fábio: We are getting very good reviews from all over the world, I have been told that our music is very open and as so, it reaches Metal, Rock, Punk, Noise, Funk, Jazz, Fusion, Electronic, Avant-Gard fans, we are receiving some positive feedback from all kinds of fans and that´s rewarding.
Marcelo: It’s like Fábio said – until now we’ve getting some feedback from all kinds of music departments, thankfully positive. I think the main idea for the project is this whole mix of musical approaches, which can get the attention and feedback from all kinds of listeners.
9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Fábio: In Portugal we say, “the older the wine, the better”, and we do love Porto wine, so we surely will try to follow that saying, pushing the envelope forward with new fresh and demanding songs and sounds, with lots of groove, energy and head banging.
Ricardo: I agree with Fábio and I must say I already feel we’re now beyond what we achieved in “Pirraças Pueris”. Right now we’re already rehearsing new tunes from other band members and we’re introducing new sounds, new compositional styles, new interplay approaches and we’re very excited about how the new music is coming along! It’s very important for us to keep the spark alive, specially considering how much time and energy we devote to each of our compositions and to the development of our group-sound.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Ricardo: I will name only bands and composers which I think had a direct influence on my compositions on this record: Olivier Messiaen, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Meshuggah, Chris Potter, Marcus Miller, Rage Against the Machine, Miles Davis. Now I will let my bandmates talk about their reading of my scores!
Marcelo: I think the influences come from a lot of stuff – for the drumming department, I focus mostly on metal, jazz, drum’n’bass and funk, and it can be from Snarky Puppy, Esbjorn Svensson, London Elektricity, Tower of Power or Meshuggah – but then, in a “playlist” point of view, I usually listen to a lot of music so it’s kinda hard to specify something in particular.
11.Currently the band is unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
Ricardo: We are doing research on what will be the best option for us. We haven’t received any interest yet, although that doesn’t surprise us because in our country almost no one supports the really good music. Both the media and the governors have no interest in promoting the development of contemporary original Portuguese music and supporting the really talented Portuguese musicians. As usual, they care only about what’s easier to sell to the general public. So we’re actually trying to find out how to reach out to the audience through other means…
12.What are some of your non musical interests?
Fábio: Fine wine and visual arts in general.
Nuno: For years I’ve been interested in astronomy. I also enjoy playing chess, even though I’m terrible at it.
Ricardo: Cinema, Theater, Dance, Painting, Sculpture, Literature, Science and Technology.
Marcelo: I’m really fond of arts, science, sports and technology in general (for this last one, a particular nerdiness and total addiction in the videogames department!).
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Nuno: Thank you for your kind words on the review that you published. We really appreciate it, but I’d like to make two little corrections. One: we didn’t “avoid” bringing in any vocals, it simply never crossed our minds. Likewise, we didn’t avoid having someone play cor anglais (now, that would actually be cool). Two: there’s no record scratching… I think you may be referring to some electronic effect that we used on the guitar or saxophone.
Again, thank you!
Ricardo: Thank you for your interest in promoting contemporary music!
Marcelo: Thank you very much for the opportunity to share our thoughts - we hope to keep making the music we love, without boundaries. Cheers!