By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After spending four years honing their sound and perfecting their live shows while building a strong following, Rio de Janeiro band Clashing Clouds recently released their debut album entitled, Pig.
Produced, mixed and mastered by Pedro Garcia, who has previously worked with bands including Far from Alaska, Forfun and Planet Hemp, Clashing Clouds’ debut release features nine tracks that play off each other in a such a way that they become a concept album.
“‘Pig’ is a metaphor for how we all have great potential and sometimes, in the modern world we neglect each other to a point where everything is lost,” lead singer and lyricist for Clashing Clouds, Fabio Figueira, told The Rio Times during a recent interview.
“On the album, we have the pig and the rose, showing two different sides of a human. The story behind the songs describes a troubled man unassisted. It gets to a point where he goes wrong and that’s when society decides to notice him, not to help, but to judge. We see it every day. I like all the songs, it is a puzzle actually! If you listen to the lyrics, you will be able to put the pieces together.”
The track styles range from post-punk sounds to alt rock refrains to Bowie- and Beatles-inspired melodies. Often verging toward a darker side lyrically, the songs explore themes including drug abuse, hedonism, madness, murder, and chaotic modern living. The lead single “Bad Bad Boy,” takes on the themes of beauty and sanity while referencing artists Caravaggio and Renoir.
Formed in 2011 by Figueira with bassist Gabriel Mendes, drummer Gregorio Carnevale, and guitarists Luis Felipe Leão and Bruno Menescal, the band cites diverse influences including The Beatles, The Doors, The Kinks, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Ramones, Joy Division, New Order, Depeche Mode, The Pixies, Faith No More and Nirvana, among others. “Can’t forget to mention, David Bowie and The Cure, two of my favorites,” Figueira added.
Figueria’s love and admiration for music became early in his life. “When I was a kid, I use to live in the Jacarezinho favela, and I didn’t see a lot of rock’n’roll stuff around, but I have always loved the way the musicians looked, as if they were above this reality… as if they were immune to the day by day problems,” Figueira told The Rio Times.
“Creating is an awesome activity. I have a chance to transmutate bad feelings into stories, anxiety into melodies and there you go. At the end of the process, you find yourself on stage performing. Could it be better?”
The lyrics of all nine tracks on the new album were written by Figueria and are in fluent English. When asked why in English, he said; “We get this question all the time! I have always wanted to learn English, but I had no money to pay for classes so I decided to take a chance and learn it by myself.”
“I used to go to the beach after school with my friends back in the day, and while they would be having a good swim, I was chatting with foreigners to practice. After that, I started working in an Irish pub,” Figueira, who has worked at both the Lapa Irish Pub and The Clover Irish Pub in Copacabana.
Adding, “It was there that I got in touch with the European culture and music was a very big part of it. Just an example, in my first night at the pub, I was fresh from the favela and I had two CDs in my hands, The Kinks and Buzzcocks… the rest is history.”
After forming Clashing Clouds, the quintet went on to perform live at numerous venues around the city including both the Lapa Irish Pub and The Clover Irish Pub. They have performed at Audio Rebel in Botafogo, Teatro Odisséia in Lapa, Bar do B in Laranjeiras, and Teatro Imperator/Centro Cultural João Nogueira in Meier. Additionally, Clashing Clouds opened for the Scottish band Biffy Clyro at Studio SP in Sáo Paulo, during the end of last year.
As the current rock scene continues to grow in Rio de Janeiro, Clashing Clouds fans can expect to see more of them. The band will next perform on the Penha stage of the Rio Banda Fest on May 2nd.
For other upcoming shows and for more information about Clashing Clouds see their Facebook page. Additionally to hear Pig, see their Soundcloud page. The album is also available for streaming on Spotify.