They have a high level of demand, things have to have a very high quality minimum. And you have to take into account that you work with people that you don’t always have by your side. Do you know who to ask for a certain letter?
HG – More or less, we have an idea. But we usually don't like to give just one song. We always give more, whenever possible, even so that whoever is writing does not feel leaning against a wall. And then there is a puzzle because sometimes we have surprises. We deliver things to the people we think are right, but sometimes they change until they reach the right hands. With Capicua, for example, we were sure that she should write the song “Armário”, which was one of the first to be ready. And then we liked what she wrote so much, and we know that she is not a closed person to write, that we gave her another song, almost the opposite. And she loved it. Go to Sérgio Godinho and he write “Tudo no Amor”, a song with a kind of hypnotic wave, and he writes the lyrics like that too…
He bites the tail of the letter, constantly …
HG – Always. And it leaves us thinking "hasn't he already said this?". But no, it is always different. And it never repeats itself. And even when playing, we discover the connections. And this requirement has to do with this: it is only worthwhile to continue if we feel that we are bringing new things, especially for us, things that stimulate us.
When we sing what we don't write, do we have to make the lyrics ours, do we have to do a specific job?
MA – It is not so much this attempt to make a text more mine. One of the privileges of working with music, songs and words is being able to try to transform myself into something else. Enter another skin. More than looking for confessional territory, it is not imposing myself on what I receive, it is rather freeing myself in other realities. That is what I like about interpretation. And there is a more technical side, of finding the sound and the color of the voice. And the way I deal with it is very intuitive and nothing technical, I never learned it, I studied piano, but I didn't study singing. And the way the right sound for the song appears is in trial-and-error, experimenting, luck, the right microphone. And of course, try to find out who the character in that story is and embody it. It is an exercise that sometimes scares a little, some characters are more demanding than others.
HG – But it is subtle. It's like actors, you can't overact. It is something that has to come out of Manuela's intuition.
MA – The good thing about taking time to do things is that it allows the right place to mature, in this case, for the voice. Because it is not an automatic thing. And as we practice a lot, there are always things to learn and improve.
HG – It helps a lot that Manuela never saw herself in any way as a singer, she never had the posture of “how am I going to sing this?”. He never thought of life like that. Thinking "how am I going to pass this on to people" is a different approach. And I think it helps a lot not to lose the focus of the interpretations. Because it is often in virtuosity, in accessory. And that happens with many so-called professional singers, who end up losing the most important thing, which is emotion. If we go astray with accessories, we lose the way, we are putting filters. The best singers, from João Gilberto to Frank Sinatra, are like they don't make any effort. There is a perfect technical domain, of course. But it's all natural.
[“Everything in Love” :]
But you have a wealth that may not be academic, but that comes from experience.
MA – Well, there is an advantage to already having some command of the language you work with, which is not going on the easy or predictable side. Because we cannot always do everything according to what we already know. It is good to stumble on error and strange things. It is an important food for maintaining creative health.
HG – There is a song on the album, “Jogos Florais”, a simple pop song, but with a slower tempo and the key that is at the limit of Manuela's voice, she is completely exposed there. But when we tried to tone it down, we lost what made it special. It was a strange thing that is kind of uncomfortable but more creepy. And when we feel it, it is a good sign.
Live, will it be possible to reach that note?
MA – I don't know. It's going to be beautiful. It will be necessary to go there to see.
This is not new for you to do differently and not to go for the obvious or more comfortable. Rosa Carne, in 2004, after the Luster…
HG – We did not try to escape mainstream success. At Lustro I wanted to make perfect pop songs, while at Kazoo I had that in mind. And we came to the conclusion that we had tried it as we wanted and could. With Rosa Carne he went to do something new. It was very elaborate, many experiences, many trials. I asked lyricists for texts that they had never used and could not be used anywhere. With words that were not usual in songs. We needed to break. And it was terrible.
MA – Because we arrived at the label with the record and the label said that it didn't want to release it. "Make at least one song that could be a single," they said. But we never thought in these terms.
HG – And if we look back, we are always having a problem. When we did Kazoo, the second album, at the label said “it’s cool, but there’s no song like‘ Novas Babilónias ’from the first”. In the second, the “Expression Problem” broke out. When we launched Lustro we were told that there was none like that. And when we suggested that the single was “O Sopro do Coração”, at the label they thought it was weird, that it had a weird lyrics. We are very used to dealing with this.
But now they make the decisions themselves.
HG – The ones we know how to take, yes. About others, we have doubts and sometimes they go well and sometimes they go wrong, we take them in groups, in a large group of employees. In the past few years we have been learning to deal with this thing of having to do everything.