CHUENGUE aims to reveal its artistic identity with the release of the single and lyric video entitled “O Nascimento do Universo”, offering a true business card to the public. In this new phase of his career, the artist delves into an unprecedented chapter, exploring the initial moments of every relationship.
With a musical background that includes his participation in the band Cafefrio and a decade dedicated to audiovisual publishing, CHUENGUE presents experimental and mature music. Inspired by MPB and psychedelic sounds, he delves into the crucial moment that marks the beginning of a relationship. The masterfully produced track features contributions from talented musicians, including Hugo Noguchi on bass, Felipe Duriez on guitar, Gabriel Barbosa on drums and Victor Cardoso on guitar.
“O Nascimento do Universo” is the first single from the long-awaited solo EP entitled “Névoa-Nada”, scheduled for release in 2024, available on all digital music platforms.
How was the transition from a decade dedicated to audiovisual publishing to the world of music? How did these previous experiences influence your creative process in producing this single?
Crazy! I confess that I had told myself that I would no longer invest in music. I’ve been working with video editing for almost 10 years, when my band (Cafefrio) ended, more or less in 2016, I was no longer interested in being in music. Music is something I love, but it never sustained itself, so I moved on to other areas that I like and that I could support myself financially, publishing was the main one. At the same time that I moved away from music, the world of publishing has a lot of it. The job requires you to understand timing, rhythm, fluidity of a story, among many other things.
In this area, many editors are musicians. So I “left the music”, but it continued to be there, hovering. Marcelo Vogelaar, known as Tchê, a great friend, is an editor and musician. I met Marcelo in SP, doing advertising work. He is part of Holger, a very important band in the independent scene, and this friendship and coexistence with Marcelo, seeing him dedicate himself to Holger and the amazing work they do, provoked me to take up this thing of releasing an album again. Tchê was one of those responsible for making me want to make music again.
Stepping away from music and returning to it now after several years has brought me maturity. Although I still have a lot of insecurity, I feel like I’m taking a much more professional stance and viewing this process as a real job, a stance that wasn’t much of mine previously. Now the process has a start and end time, deadlines, I always try to go as far as I can and look for what pleases me without thinking about what others will think. I’m making these songs, initially, for myself. This time working as an editor gave me a discipline and a vision that I didn’t have before, and applying this to music has been a great discovery, everything is moving forward and working out.
“The Birth of the Universe” explores the initial moments of a relationship. Could you share a little more about the inspiration behind the theme and how this theme develops in the song?
The name The Birth of the Universe came from a children’s book, it’s an educational book that explains the names of planets, the solar system, that very didactic thing with cute drawings. I saw this book and had that title in my head, so the idea developed.
The song narrates the process of meeting someone, starting a relationship, finding that someone would be something similar to “instant zero” and from there everything unfolds. Many ask what the song’s introduction means, they say it’s difficult to understand, but it was intentional. The introduction is an excerpt from TS Elliot’s famous poem, The Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock:
“Do I dare Disturb the universe? In a minute there is time. For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.”
This excerpt from the poem complements the lyrics, it is almost a butterfly effect concept. The lyrics make these parallels between insignificant and simple everyday things of a couple, with grandiose things about time/universe. Small decisions, an infinite number of paths, all of this is flowing together, bumping into each other, influencing each other, and if we stop to observe, we will be fascinated.
You mentioned that the track is experimental and mature, with MPB influences and psychedelic sounds. What was the creative process like to fuse these different musical styles in a cohesive way?
This first song and all the others I composed, harmony, melody and lyrics. When I got together with Hugo (bass/music production), we started to structure the song based on different influences and opinions from both of them. I love the sound of a rock band, and my intention from the beginning was to do solo work, but one that sounded like a good band playing. An example of this aesthetic are Caetano’s three albums with Banda Ce, mainly Zii and Zie; These are records that are references for me.
The psychedelia part catches my attention a lot, the guitar effects, vocal effects; from Mutantes and Beatles, to Boogarins and Tame Impala. We mapped out these interests, studying why several of these artists’ songs caught our attention.
Not only “O Nascimento”, but all the other compositions that will be on the EP have this core of bossa, samba, in short, Brazilian popular song. In some songs I play the transverse flute too. The songs were originally created with guitar and vocals, my way of singing is very introspective, something that reminds me a lot of bossa nova. The mission was to bring these concepts together, have weight, have sensitivity, the band could not swallow the vocals, that was the challenge and Hugo, with Gabriel Barbosa (drums) and Felipe Duriez (Guitar). Complementing the instrumental, we were also accompanied by Victor Cardoso (guitar) and Riva (drums). They all gave themselves to the process, I couldn’t imagine anything better.
Could you tell us more about the dynamics of the collaboration with the musicians who participated in the production of the song? What was it like working with them and how did each one contribute to the final sound?
Hugo and I meet a lot, in person; the rest were remote almost all of the time. Using the recorded bass lines, we sent the music to Duriez and Barbosa. After the bass was recorded, we added the drums, and then the guitar. The last thing was the voice and the flute. That was the process for all the songs. About “O Nascimento”, Noguchi, Barboza and Duriez were incredible in their lines, dedication and suggestions for the songs. Without them this work would not exist.
“O Nascimento do Universo” is the first single from his solo EP “Névoa-Nada”. What can listeners expect from this EP in terms of musical style and themes covered?
It’s a very eclectic album in terms of sound, but it’s within the alternative rock spectrum. The themes are sentimental, about relationships, but with an almost fantastic approach, telling stories that mix everyday themes with a fantasy universe.
You have a career that included participation in the band Cafefrio. How did this previous experience influence your musical choices and the artistic direction you are now presenting in your solo career?
Cafefrio was an incredible project. Some friends and I got together to fulfill our dream of having a band, and making a sound that we really believed in. We played a lot around Rio, festivals, bars, concert halls, on the streets… It was all very spontaneous, very fast. In the band, decisions were always collective and in my current project, even though there are other essential people, the final word is mine, that weighs a lot. The band experience was wonderful, authentic. I have a lot of respect for this phase and thanks to this previous phase, today I am clear on many of the paths that I should not or should not follow.
In lyrical and poetic terms, how did you approach the complexity of the first moments of a relationship in music? Is there a specific message you want to convey to listeners through these lyrics?
Brazilian music is full of iconic lyrics, it is made up of rich poetry, which deserves a separate chapter from harmonies and musical theory. Cartola, Chico, Milton, Joao Bosco, Tom Ze, and many others, the list is endless. When I write a lyric, I think a lot about doing something that surprises, that the listener hears and thinks: what a great idea. I don’t know if I’ve managed to get to this place, but that’s usually my goal. My lyrics in general talk about relationships, departures, setbacks common to lovers. At first the theme seems common, but the approach is seeking another point of view, a new way. That’s how I see these songs.
The song is now available on all digital music platforms. How has the reception been from listeners so far? Is there any reaction or feedback that has surprised you?
On Spotify the song has almost 20K plays. I am an independent artist, part of a small label and distributor, Nikita e o Fogo no Paiol. I have no contacts in musical circles or any other art media. I consider this an achievement. The numbers speak for themselves, the reception has been great, we have had some articles in smaller vehicles, we have appeared on playlists and pages. A feat.
In addition to the song, you also released a lyric video for “O Nascimento do Universo”. What was the inspiration behind the visual aesthetic of this video and how does it complement the message of the song?
The arts and aesthetics are made by the genius and friend, Pedro Ryan. Pedro is surreal! He managed to translate the song into a perfect illustration! The aesthetics of the lyric video could not be different, Pedro’s illustration, which will do all the graphics for the next singles and the album. We will turn these arts into stickers, shirts and posters soon.
Considering your journey in music so far, how do you see your artistic growth and what are your expectations and plans for the future, especially in relation to the release of the EP “Névoa-Nada”?
Expectations are to put the block on the street. We are focused on finishing recording so we can release the EP, who knows, play around Brazil. We will release clips, live sessions and if the public asks, we will have shows, for sure. The road is long and we are taking it one step at a time, making sure it is already worth it.
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