Making the Old NEW Again

June 21, 2017
4 mins read

To the untrained eye and ear, Boogarins might just be another paisley-patterned psychedelic rock band. But with a little digging and a little context, these Brazilian brothers-in-arms reveal multiple points of interest. First, they mix the old flower-power rock of the ’60s with authentic samba and Tropicália dug out from the rural Goiânia province where Boogarins principals Dinho Almeida and Benke Ferraz grew up. Second, they sing entirely in Portuguese, adding another layer of surreal abrasion to their otherworldly pop (until 2017 single “A Pattern Repeated On,” which featured English vocals by John Schmersal). Finally, seeing these four in a live setting will forever change your conception of the limits of psychedelia, as eminently danceable rhythms rub shoulders with explosive experimentation, intense instrumental power and propulsive songwriting that always keeps one eye focused forward.

Folio Weekly exchanged emails with the band in advance of their first headlining visit to Florida.

Folio Weekly: Do you have a lot of experience touring in Florida?
Boogarins: We only played there once back on our first U.S. tour opening for Of Montreal. Playing for their audience felt like a great party every night, and when we got to Orlando and Miami and heard that much Portuguese in the streets, it felt good!

Press for the new single “A Pattern Repeated On” and surprise EP release Lá Vem a Morte hints that you’re moving in a new direction. How so?
It’s more produced and modern [while] flirting a lot with the fantastic and lo-fi. If we do a parallel with our previous releases, this new material is more about [the studio spirit] of our first album [2013’s As Plantas Que Curam] than the live vibe of the second [2015’s Manual ou Guia Livre de Dissolução dos Sonhos].

How much of that comes from the hip-hop influence that new drummer Ynaiã Benthroldo adds to the band?
Ynaiã’s influence is not just about the hip-hop drumbeat style–he’s one of the best drummers in our alternative music world in Brazil. We got to improvise way more since we started playing with him, and we developed a way of playing together that didn’t exist before. Improvisation and pop songwriting happening in the same place, but with his tight and “never missing a beat” drum work!

Did it take a while to develop that energy with Ynaiã live before you were ready to translate it to the studio?
It sure did, since he started playing live shows with us two years ago. But the connection between us is real–we went to the studio [this year] pretty fresh, with no arrangements done for the recording, so everything could go really anywhere. We had the most freedom.

On your debut album, you all approximated the early sounds of ’60s psych rock by using older analog equipment. Have you done that again?
That’s the kind of thing that we don’t have any interest in, to recreate the live sound in a studio album–neither do we want to recreate the studio tricks in a live show. Both tasks are way more unpleasant than just getting the best of what you can do for that specific job. We’ve been consciously moving away from ’60s psych rock since the first album. Maybe because we had so few resources and knowledge, As Plantas ended up sounding like old stuff instead of more modern music. And maybe for Manual that was something brought by [recording to] tape and all the analog vibes. We don’t regret or push away any kind of influences people find in our sound, but in our opinion, if we were about “straight-up ’60s psych rock,” people would just not care about them at all.

Psychedelic music still has something to offer today, though, doesn’t it?
Sure does. But maybe it isn’t that attractive anymore for big headlines, even though peace and self-awareness is needed and well-received in times like ours, when cynicism and ego are stronger than ever.

Boogarins released its first English-language song this year. Though guest vocalist John Schmersal sang it, is that a conscious push to reach a bigger audience?
On our very first tour in the U.S., we met John opening shows for his band Vertical Scratchers. He caught this early moment of our then-brief story and got engaged by it. Writing songs in English has always been something that came to our mind since we got international attention, but writing it ourselves always felt like “lying.” John was the first person we could think about where we could trust his vision and [know he would] care about our songs.

Where do fans care more about your songs? At home in Brazil? Here in America? Elsewhere?
Each part of the world has its own highlights. Of course playing at home for our people is always great. Europe, especially Portugal and Spain, are always life-changing experiences. The U.S. has the best routes, venues and audiences for long touring. People who are interested in supporting bands living on the road–venue crews or fans who buy tons of merch–are the most professional and helpful in the U.S. But if you really want to know particular types of venues for a Boogarins show, keep in mind that we like to play through real big sound systems that are powerful, or really small and tight venues so we can be twice as powerful.

So playing music has become a full-time career for Boogarins?
It has been working for us the past three years, and we are really thankful for that!

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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