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Interview: Duskycat


Hailing from faraway Brazil, Duskycat is a very interesting jazz-rock instrumental band that has just released its first piece of work, that is the 7-track "Short Stories" extended play. From Brussels of Belgium where he lives, guitarist Rodrigo Puhlmann d’Avila answered our questions and we deeply thank him for this one...

 


Short Stories EP (out Apr.24)


 


The Basement: Who are you - your story...
We created Duskycat in 2017 with a single purpose: create music without any commercial compromise, aiming to reach something we as a band with different influences would like to hear and play. We released our first album “Short Stories” on April 24th, 2020.

Guitar: Rodrigo Puhlmann d’Avila, Bass: Renato Di Grazia, Keyboard: Fernando Puhlmann d’Avila, Drums: Lucas Pizcioneri
Country: Brazil, São Paulo.
 

The Basement: Influences?
Before Duskycat we were playing covers for decades together, each one of us had very different influences; and that really makes Duskycat what it is, a fusion of different music styles.

We have all had the opportunity to be introduced to great foreign bands while growing up and to sounds and playing styles that were not common in our culture. At the same time, Brazil offered us its own set of virtuosity and creativity, which can also be identified in our work.

I’m a jazz and fusion lover, I grew up listening to Jeff Beck, John Scofield and the rock guitar heroes like Richie Blackmore, Steve Vai and Satriani, just to name a few.

My brother Fernando, our keyboard player had lots of phases, when he was very young he had a project together with his piano teacher that was focused on playing Yanni’s work, so Yanni was definitely a big part of our childhood. Then we had a classic-rock band together, playing lots of Deep Purple songs, so John Lord had a big influence on him as well as Rick Wakeman.

Renato and Lucas, our bass player and drummer respectively, are younger than me and my brother, so Renato has other kind of influences, like Black Keys and Oasis for instance. And Lucas played for years in a Rammstein cover band, so definitely into more heavy stuff.


The Basement: Hearings from your particular homeland?
The more I went further with my musical development the more I came back to “Bossa Nova”.

To be honest, I’m not an expert in Brazilian styles, and there are lots of them which are very particular and beautiful like “Forró”, “Baião”, “Frevo”, “Choro”. Each one originated in different parts of Brazil.

I was always attracted to Rock, Jazz and fusion of styles, that’s why I also love Bossa Nova, which is a kind of mix between Jazz and Samba. And as a guitar player, the rock and jazz guitarists were always my heroes.

 

The Basement: Favorite albums from Brazilian and world stage (top 5 for each category)?

World Stage:

Jeff Beck – Blow by Blow

Steve Vai – Passion and Warfare

John Scofield – Überjam Deux

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage
 

Brazilian:

Caetano Veloso – A Bossa De Caetano

João Gilberto – Getz / Gilberto

Elis Regina – Elis & Tom

Yamandú Costa – Yamandú

Djavan – Djavan “Ao Vivo”


The Basement: How did the E.P. emerge - future recording plans?
We never sought to embrace a specific genre, and it took us a while to identify our own style and find out what our music would be.

For 2 years, we met every week in the studio, jamming countless hours through the nights. We recorded all sessions and listened to every single one of them prior to the next jam, picking those parts that sounded most interesting and preparing harmonies and themes to work with.

Of nine songs created, we’ve selected seven that best translated the concept that we were looking for. Mixing Instrumental Rock with Jazz harmonies, each song has its own identity and mood, they are independent of each other representing each a “short story”. However, when played following the album track order, they build a more comprehensive narrative, as if they were different chapters of a bigger adventure. The narrative starts early in the morning at Wild West and travels throughout the day, getting darker with each story.

It was big journey to create and release “Short Stories”, as soon as we recover our energies we will definitely start to work on our next album. 



The Basement: After COVID 19 days: how do you see the future of concerts from now on?
I’m currently in Brussels, and as far as I see here, things are little by little coming back to normal, so I’m optimist that concerts will start to take place again as they used to be. Regarding the economy, I guess nobody can say what’s in front of us.



The Basement: On the occasion of the assassination of George Floyd:

a) A general comment:
The assassination of George Floyd makes it evident that we desperately need to rethink the very pillars that sustain our societies and why we’re letting inequality and injustice be a big part of it. Although they are the ones now in the spotlight and serious changes need to be implemented, this is not a problem taking place in the US only. The focus may be on the skin color, origin, gender, economic status, the fact is that every country in the world has its own set “left-behinds”. Too often we stay silent, and too often history repeats itself.

b) Does music have the power to change consciences?
Music can unite people, that is clear; for instance, think about Bob Marley and how his music was able to increase social awareness in Jamaica and support strengthening a sense of collectivism. Music - and art in general – is a tool for self-expression and questioning the society where we live in is often a big part of it. Additionally, as music can be a fairly democratic and relatively easily accessible form of art, its potential to reach a large number of people is a power in itself that should not be underestimated. Music can inspire change and be a great way to bring to light issues that are not openly discussed in society.

That being said, I honestly don’t think that music by itself would ever be able to fix such a horrible and deep sickness, called racism. Additionally, one of the biggest virtues of music, is to make us travel to a different reality: you can hear a sad song and start immediately to cry even if you are not living a sad reality at all, or smile hearing a happy song when your reality is as sad as it can be. In my opinion, what we need now is to face our reality instead of running away from it as we keep doing for decades.

- Rodrigo Puhlmann d’Avila 


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