Classical and folkloristic soundscapes from Portugal

As Dwelling is a relatively new Portuguese project, please tell us some facts on the band history so far?

Dwelling got together in 2000. At the time, the musicians were: Nuno Roberto and Helder Dias on classical guitars, Silvia Freitas on Violin, Jaime Ferreira on bass guitar and Catarina Raposo on vocals. This line-up recorded “Moments” only 3 months after the band got together, and would have its work released via Equilibrium Music in September 2001. In 2002 Helder left the band and was replaced by Nicholas Ratcliffe, thus completing the new line-up for the recording sessions during the winter of 2002/2003. “Humana”, the outcome of these sessions, was released on the 6th October via Equilibrium Music as well.

Dwelling uses Portuguese texts and offers many world music influences as well as Gothic relations... What is your background like?

I would say that it is a very ecclectic background. All of us have worked in different projects with quite different sonorities, ranging from Metal to Celtic Folk, and have had musical training of some form. It has been quite an experience to join such different backgrounds into one single entity, and maybe that is why you can find all these influences and relations that you mention.

Could you tell us something about the concept of the new CD...

“Humana” describes the cycle of life of an individual, pointing out several key moments in this circle - the idealism of youth, the corruption that follows, and the repentance of old age. Metaphorically, it is also a description of the evolution of any given society, the way it strives for an idealistic utopia and it ends as a corrupted dystopia.

Do you also use traditional or folklore elements and texts?

Occasionally we use some elements of Fado, a form of traditional Portuguese music. We have used this influence to convey the most dramatic parts of our music since this form of traditional art can be quite emotional and expressive.
The contents of the lyrics have some Folklore references, but they hardly noticeable. There is an exception in the lyric Chasing the Rainbow’s End, where the Irish folk tale of leprechauns and gold at the end of rainbows is used as a metaphor for the obsession of Mankind regarding all that is mythological and divine.

Is there a certain idea not to use any samples or electronic devices?

At first there was quite a dogma regarding this. Our idea was to use only acoustic instruments with no exception whatsoever. Since dogmas can be quite restrictive, as history has shown already, we have decided to make an exception for the bass and since then we’ve been using an electric bass. Acoustic bass has been used on fully acoustic performances only – mainly street performances, one of the best experiences ever.

Could you please tell us about your musical etc. influences?

It’s a bit difficult to point out our influences since there are so many. I guess that our major influence is classical music and we usually start working there. Then we add elements of Jazz, Fado, Bossa Nova, sometimes even an acoustic version of Metal compositions, whatever comes to mind at the time. It really depends a lot on the mood we’re in when we start working on something and the ambience that we are aiming at.

Some words on your local music / underground scene?

The underground scene in Portugal is a bit smaller than it appears at first. There are a lot of concerts and activities but hardly as many followers as you would expect. Things are slowly changing and there is a bit more interest in what some good bands are doing here, so probably the underground scene will hopefully grow and get a better impact on the music scene in general.

Do you also work with other media (video, film, photography, literature etc.)?

Occasionally we happen to have performances during exhibitions, photography or paintings, but nothing of our design. We do wish to work with other media in the future, and hopefully have an opportunity to work on theatre or cinema scores, but unfortunately there is nothing solid at the present time.

What are your future projects?

During the nearby future we should be promoting this record in a series of live events, hopefully abroad as well.
The work on the next album has begun already, so we hope that early 2005 should meet us releasing a new record along with some video support as well – the production design is already working so let’s see what the future holds in store for us, you never know what might happen.

Thank you very much and good luck for the future!

This interview was conducted my Marcus Stiglegger.