Interview: Daniel Catarino, the rocker and other stuff
Daniel Catarino is someone I’ve seen performing several times with different projects and he has earned my respect for the love of music and due to his efforts to make it in this business.
So here it is. A little interview crossing all his projects. My favourite is UANINAUEI but you’ll find your own preferences.
1. Who is Daniel Catarino?
He’s a guy from Cabeção, somewhere between Mora e Pavia there’s this road leading only to this village.
2. Tell us about your projects? What are you up to?
I have Uaninauei, a band I’ve been working on since 2008.
We have a new record by the way called Dona Vitória. It was released March 17 and we are presenting it March 29 in Lisbon.
“Dona Vitória” is the second album from UNANINAUEI, released one year after EP “Menina Vitória” and 4 years after “Lume de Chão”.
You can listen to it here: http://www.uaninauei.bandcamp.com
Then, I’m also with Bicho do Mato which is a folk, rock, psychedelic, songwriting and other stuff.
Lyrics are mine following 70’s folk and inspired by Dylan.
I also have Rijo. The campaniça player (typical portuguese acoustic guitar) in Bicho do Mato plays keyboards in Rijo, the bass player for Uaninauei also plays in this project. The drummer is Xinês, he was part of Switchtense and Awaiting the Vultures.
Three more projects: Daniel Catarino, Portuguese folk, mostly songs with guitar and voice.
Oceansea, in English, has one single album released in November 1st and already got 25.000 plays.
It was chosen as “Record of the month” on the page so it got a good boost improving its visibility.
Now if you surf Youtube you’ll find over 50 videos with songs from that album, most of them radical sports’ videos.
Long Desert Cowboy, more like a soundtrack wave, more experimental, already got picked for short films in New Zealand, Colombia, Italy, USA, Switzerland. Never in Portugal unfortunately.
3. The difference between each project is structured and well defined or it just happens?
In the beginning I did it all by myself, so I was a little afraid to assume my own name.
4. Over humbleness or shyness?
Shyness 😀 If it was for humbleness I wouldn’t create all these projects. But the segmentation is easy, when you compose all together as a band it happens naturally.
The music style in my solo projects is what determines the difference from each other.
In my head is all too easy but putting this into words is far more complex.
My solo projects have all been released through net labels (web labels). Meaning, all the work has been released in a digital form throughout the world. And it was fruitful because it was a low-cost strategy to let it be known.
And these processes get a snowball-effect because people listen to it, share it with friends and they end up by searching for more music. That’s the easiest way to get some visibility and some results.
Then we got to a point where it would be useful to get an author’s edition, so we decided to create Capote Música.
Our experience makes it easier for us to know people and make friends in the music business, other bands struggling for an opportunity, so we concluded we could have our own label instead of taking several “no’s”.
Record companies don’t invest in new material, especially now. And we even understand it.
They invest in safe projects where they can be sure to get their investment back. And unfortunately the number of sold records aren’t enough to justify risky investments.
5. Do you feel that singing in Portuguese creates any kind of resistance?
Right now I have the opposite feeling. It’s trendy to sing in Portuguese. We have spent the nineties listening to everything in English putting Portuguese aside.
But all we had were lousy and out fashioned copies of Pearl Jam and Nirvana. When Strokes and Arcade Fire show up that’s when we start to get an indie sound exploding in the market. Few months later we have Portuguese bands sounding exactly like them because it is trendy. But once again, these are weaker projects because they are just imitations.
But hey we have to do whatever we feel like. Being original does not have to mean anything in particular.
6. What exactly is Capote Musica working on?
We are releasing 2 records: Prana (de S. João da Madeira) on April 7 and Uaninauei’s Dona Vitoria.
We’ll have also Bicho do Mato and some other things we are keeping in secret for now! 🙂
7. Anymore projects or ideas?
I’m trying to focus now. Though I have lost of ideas! You see I have a problem. I am too lazy. So I compensate by keeping myself working all the time.
If I could I’d be laying down on the couch all day eating my cereals from the box.
But I fight that with work. Sometimes I even feel guilty when I’m not doing something useful, like mixing, writing, editing, etc.
8. Through this musical path, what have you missed the most?
There’s an industry and it forces the market to work in a certain way. Once this monopoly is settled it is not permitted for other companies to enter the scheme assuring a certain level of profitability. Often exaggerated.
We’ve had several examples of bands, projects and even governmental entities getting investments not applied. And there’s no regulation for that.
In this circuit of making the bands paying for their own albums and playing for free or very little money, you can get yourself in a certain stage. But there are no opportunities after that. If you try to get yourself in a radio playlist or opening for local events you see all doors being closed. And it gets impossible to live from your musical activity.
Festivals, for instance, pay agencies to get bands playing in their own events. And these agencies offer several packs with some bands included making it cheaper for announcers to hire the whole package. They could get local bands to enter the alignment but there’s no revenue on that. This is a game that goes beyond the mendacious.
9. These local or national bands, do they have the required quality to be in those playlists?
Of course they have! But once again you can’t find our way there.
Besides there’s no one making sure the bands have enough quality. I believe it’s a lack of competence also.
There are incompetent people deciding about cultural subjects so these processes don’t work.
It takes someone to know these bands, someone who knows about music but 90% of the human resources in charge of musical programs are just incompetent. And they are not even aware they can delegate that task in someone who knows about this business.
You see little venues not communicating their own gigs. Does it make any sense? Facebook can’t do it all. You have to have flyers and people talking about it.
10. What have you missed the most in the beginning and even now when you try to get to people?
It’s all about money. If you have money you can pay to be in a playlist through those closed contracts. If you have money you can have access to people and some publicity. But also some communication&marketing support.
But if you don’t have money to invest, you have to be more creative and honestly that’s when it gets funny! You have to find the people that really love music, people who care enough to write in blogs and spread the word. You have to get to the underground. But you have to work really hard.
With all these projects you may imagine is impossible to have a fulltime job, so I needed to quit a few.
My parents suffered for a while but now they got used to the idea that I am a musician. They thought it was silly to dedicate my efforts to music. In the end that’s what society thinks, that it is silly to dedicate yourself to music, but in my head it has always been a serious matter.
11. One word to close this interview:
Individual competence. So we can do better as a whole. So we can get upset with others’ incompetence and do something about it.
Daniel Catarino with Bicho do Mato, March 2014
(My favourite portuguese music critic was there: Nuno Calado)
Sometimes we get funny coffee tables to chat! 🙂