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Beautify Junkyards interview

November 16, 2013

Beautify Junkyards interview

Lisbon’s Beautify Junkyards specialize in playing
acid-tinged, autumnal folk. They released a fantastic single for the Fruits de
Mer label in 2012, and then followed up on that with their debut full-length
this year. Their self-titled album is a collection of nine cover versions. In
most cases, the original songs were done by pastoral folk artists from the late
’60 and early ‘70s, people like Heron, Vashti Bunyan, and Bridget St. John. But
they mixed things up nicely by including a mesmerizing reading of Kraftwerk’s
“Radioactivity” and a spot-on take of “Fuga No. 2” from the psychedelic
adventurists Os Mutantes. In some instances their versions are homages to the
originals and in others they take liberties, such as when they turn Donovan’s
“Song for the Naturalist’s Wife” into a playful sing-along number; but in all
cases their tracks on the album are both pretty and mind-stretching.
Following is a chat I had with the bandmember Joao Branco
Kyron:
Introduce
us to the members of Beautify Junkyards and describe how the band came
together.
Beautify Junkyards are: João Branco Kyron (voice,
keyboards), João Moreira (acoustic guitar, electric organ, keyboards), Sergue
(bass, ominchord, xylophone), Rita Vian (voice, keyboards), JP Daniel (acoustic
guitar, keyboards), Watts (percussions).
Most of us already played together in a band called
Hipnótica, an indie outfit mixing electronic, jazz and psychedelic folk. On
2012 we decided to invite some friends into a countryside retreat to recreate
some of our favorite songs and record those live on the fileds with a mobile
studio, we were far from knowing that would be the genesis of Beautify
Junkyards as a band.
How did
you guys wind up doing the 45 for Fruits de Mer?
After recording some of the songs, we produced a video for
the Nick Drake´s cover of “From the Morning”. We sent that video to some media
sites and labels that we love. Keith from Fruits de Mer promptly responded
saying he would love to release it on a single on FdM. That was really exciting
for us, and made us record more material, that would become our debut album. On
the B side of the single Keith chose Fuga nº 2 from Os Mutantes which explored
another latitudes we love besides pysch folk , which is the Tropicalia
movement.
Did you
know from the outset that you wanted your first album to be all covers?
No, it wasn´t a rational plan, as we started to record some
of the initial covers, the result was so amazing, that it became obvious to us
that we would have to explore that path more deeply. As a result we recorded 9
songs that we felt we had to release, as an homage to their authors, but mainly
because that could represent a great way to start a band, from its roots , and
then start to develop our own branches and foliage.
Do you
write original material? If so, will you record some of it in the future?
Yes we do, we were invited to create an original score for a
70s sci-fi animation movie “La Planete Sauvage”. We presented it live during
the movie projection in three film festivals in Portugal.
Right now we are working on new original songs and we have
plans to release a new record in 2014.
How did
the band go about choosing which songs to cover for the album?
It was a quick process. Some of us are also record
collectors, and some choices from 60s and 70s vinyl records were presented to
the group. Being the core of the album, songs from the autumnal folk period, we
also wanted to explore other genres of band and music like Kraftwerk and Os Mutantes
and giving them our own personal approach to it. I would say that the triangle
of Psych Folk, Kosmische Electronic and Tropicalia is right now our main
influences in the creation of our original songs.
Have you
heard any feedback on the recordings from any of the artists whose songs you
did?
No, not yet, but I hope they enjoy it, we tried to maintain
the essence of the songs and on the top of that we added our own intuition and
creativity.
In
general, what kind of response have you been hearing to the record?
The reaction has been amazing, from important magazines like
Shindig, to BBC radio 2 and BBC 6, from music sites from all over Europe to US
college radios, we are thrilled with what has been written about is and that is
being our fuel to work hard on a new originals album. Our record is being
distributed by the Dutch Clear Spot and right now we are negotiating with an UK
distributor for a re-release of the album on the UK on Feb 2014.
Live, is
your sound similar to what is heard on the album, or is there a difference?
Playing live is something we love to do, we´ve been playing
mostly in Portugal but we have plans to play in the UK beginning of next year
aligned with distribution in the territory and also play some summer festivals
across Europe.
The songs played live acquire a different ambience, some
parts more intense than in the album and also some parts we extend to explore
some level of improvisation, letting it flow. We also have a strong visual
component with the projection of video and collages created by us specific to
each song we play.
What’s
the contemporary music scene like in Lisbon?
It’s very active and all kinds of projects and bands are
flourishing. From psychedelic prog acts like Saturnia, to western-fadoesque duo
Dead Combo, from the jazz-rock dynamics of Memoria de Peixe to the electronic
Kuduro of Buraka Som Sistema, from the one-man-rock machine Legendary Tigerman
to the a generation of fado singers like Gisela João.
What do
you see for the band’s future?
Most of all we want to keep composing and create music
together, we want to find a proper record label that can be our partner in this
adventure and play live abroad, planning some tours and play in festivals,
which can make the band grow in terms of audience and fans.
Interview made by Brian Greene/2013
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2013
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