Gray Souvenirs is a blackgaze brazillian project that can easily join the immortal hall of the genre. The project not only have an amazing sonority, with harsh guitar chords striking creative and beautiful synth lines – it has powerful vocals, intense melodic moments and interesting tempo changes. In less than a year GS counts three releases (besides a special loose track) wich shows a significative growing and the signals of a music that is here to stay.
Putrefactus, the very young man behind this wall of sound, was very receptive and kind along our contacts via FB. We talked about his various side projects, his creative process and about the future. More special: he give us, in first hand, a glance to the art and, with exclusivity, the first single of his next release, the album Serena.
Putrefactus: Gray Souvenirs appeared when I won my first electric guitar – so we can say that it was born at the same day of my birthday, in february 4 of 2015. In the early formation the band counts with Skymning, wich leaves after the relese of Ventos da transcendência. In the beggining, I was willing to make a sound more focused in blackgaze/DSBM, but with the times my compositions get more to blackgaze, shoegaze and post-black metal, with strong influence of Alcest, Amesoeurs, Les Discrets, Lantlôs, Shyy and … (DotDotDot).
GM: Do you had any musical project before that?
Putrefactus: Yes, it was called Putrefolah, a depressive rock inspired by Apati, Happy Days and others.
GM: This project had some physical interaction or was only virtual? He rolled from when to when?
Putrefactus: Was virtual, had only one release called Fade Way Forever and lasted from june 2014 until february 2015, when I was 16 yo.
GM: Please tell us about the development of your musical taste.
Putrefactus: Since I was a child I never contented myself with the songs that were presented to me, I was always looking for more. I was introduced to rock by high school friends, by 9 years I was listening to Gun’s N’ Roses, Deep Purple, Bee Gees and other artists. But when I got older I went down the steps, if you know what I mean. I started to listen new metal ‘round 10/13 years, bands like System of a Down, Korn, Slipknot. Internet later introduced me to new bands and I was leaning to the power metal and symphonic black metal, so I started to listen Rhapsody Of Fire, Angra, Shaman, Sonata Artica and through these I met the first black metal bands, which I still love today, Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth. Then a magical road took me to the post-black metal/shoegaze, the genres that I hear more today, where are situated my favorite bands: Alcest, Deafheaven, Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine.
So, I took a pause and listened to Putrefolah loose tracks at YT.
GM: From what I researched this album was not officially released, right?
Putrefactus: Exactly. I think we did not have enough quality, despite having done with all care.
GM: Putrefolah has strong DSBM accents, not necessarily in line with the sonority that you mentioned be listening. What happened to this depressing turn?
Putrefactus: I never had a positive outlook on life, so this added to my utter loneliness made the music and the lyrics sounded as nihilists. A curious fact: in one of the songs of Putrefolah I writed lyrics in Portuguese, English and French!
Remember that I was going through health problems involving my vision, what left me even more down.
GM: I can imagine.
Well, I noted that you used vocoders in the first
release, but not in the second one… what happened?
Putrefactus: The first release had a more focused atmosphere to depressive black metal, so the vocoder provided a good result. In the second (Lost in city colors) I started to use more reverb and delay to obtain an atmosphere… more “positive” , with lyrics focusing feelings like nostalgia and the greyness of city life.
GM: I would not rate it as ‘positive’, but I understand what you mean …
Putrefactus: Yeah, for this the quotes.
The interval between the releases was quite short.
Putrefactus: In deed, I do not consider my “musical talent” as a gift but as the result of hard work and by never get myself content with something median, I’m always seeking the excellence in all my works, wether with Gray or Lumnos, The Plague Doctor or others.
GM: We must consider that you spent a lot of time composing, so …
Putrefactus: So my life is all about the music and I not just stare at it as a diversion or something like sports or leisure, it’s a real instrument of transformation of life. The music transcends, the music transforms, the music increases.
GM: For all I know you also is a student, correct? How do you reconcile all this?
Putrefactus: The year 2015 was for me the last school year here in Brazil, known as middle school. Because I’m a guy who always preferred to be at home instead of going out or whatever, the time I had left home when I was not preparing for exams I used to compose – and analyzing now the last year, I see how I was very productive.
GM: Sure! In line with your sound, you seems to do not have a social life so busy…
Putrefactus: Exactly, I’m discreet. On the other hand, one of my hobbies is to photograph and I what I like more to photografh are random people, major centers, bus stops, roads, everything that expresses the dependency and the chaos present in the life of human beings in the postmodern world.
GM: Do you sees yourself as an observer of the urban melancholy???
Putrefactus: Observer and participant.
Between the first and the second releases we have some changes – you switched to English, fundamentally, rather than the Portuguese, and decreased the dose of DSBM. How did this change?
Putrefactus: Excellent observation.
I believe that it was more like a personal overcoming than something involving my musical proposal, I was going through a dark phase when I laid the Ventos da transcendência, but from half to the end of the album I was already changing my position. It happens that I was living the end of a relationship of two years and, somehow, it was transcribed in Ventos da transcendência; with Lost In City Colors I shut down the emotional bonds and began to write more about my perception of space, life, world – the more “positive” elements that I’ve said.
GM: This allows us to understand your mood, but not the choice of a new language…
Putrefactus: The choice of the new language was to becoming more open to my biggest audience, that was outside Brazil.
And I think it sounds better than the Portuguese for my new proposal.
GM: Do you believe that the Brazilian public is still not very open to blackgaze???
Putrefactus: In fact the Brazilian public is not open to Brazilian artists, I see bands like Alcest, Deafheaven, Lantlôs and Ghost Bath reaching a good audience in the underground scene, but great bands like Mepth, Worros and Bullet Course did not reach a good impression here until now.
GM: I noticed a certain ‘Ulver’ tone in ‘Lost in the city colors’ album.
Putrefactus: Ulver is a big influence for the more atmospheric side of Gray, as well as Líauste.
GM: Few months after Lost… you already released a new single, more sunny and now in french…
Putrefactus: Yeah, Éternelle was to be in my next full-length, but the opportunity arose to have a partnership with the american band In Search Of, hence I left it for the split. It has some post-punk air and shows that now – definitely – Gray is moving to one side more blackgaze/shoegaze like never. The french lyrics came from my admiration of bands from the same country as Alcest, Amesoeurs, Lantlôs, Les Discrets. I believe that the birthplace of blackgaze is the France.
GM: How is your creative process? Do you records everything at home or in some studio?
Putrefactus: I record everything at home, do the whole process of mastering, mixing, I get to make up some artworks, everything is very self-made here.
GM: Do you create all the artwork?
Putrefactus: I try to make room for photographer friends and I take care only from the finishing.
Some who worked with me were Campelo, Harald Beyer, Alfred and Annie Luper Kalia.
But the art of single Éternelle is mine.
GM: Do you tried to find labels to launch your music???
Putrefactus: Both Ventos… like Lost… were released by the label Depressive Illusions Records.
GM: Great new!
And how has your experience been with the Bandcamp?
Putrefactus: I should confess that the return has been more positive than imagined because I do not have profit as a goal of my work, I just put all my releases for “free/name your price”, but even so some have chosen to pay for some launches.
GM: Do you feel comfortable with your position on the underground music scene or would like to become bigger, better known? What are your expectations with Gray Souvenirs?
Putrefactus: I feel comfortable with the way things are going, the project allowed me to meet a lot of people who I admired. Honestly I have no ambition of becoming any reference to anyone but if this happens it will be due to a sincere work done by me. I wish to make a music so sublime that the people could feel above the ground, just like it elevates me beyond myself when I make it!
GM: I forgot to ask before: is there any story behind the project name, could you tell us a little about it?
Putrefactus: ‘Souvenirs’ is a direct reference to Souvenirs d’un autre monde, the Alcest album, and ‘Gray’ is a reference to the greyness of the city, the streets full of buildings, the numb people, the cloudy sky.
Throughout our conversation u mentioned some other projects. How did you get involved with them?
Putrefactus: Currently, besides the Gray, I’m into Lumnos and got The Plague Doctor as an active band. One day I sent a congratulating message to Beyond The Dawn and, to my surprise, I was invited to make some vocals – that’s the story. As previous bands I can point Abisma and Nostalgia, I’ve met Skymning and Slov via my group of DSBM/Atmospheric – Brazil at FB. I’ve made all instruments for the Nostalgia first EP, under the nick of Lobby Boy. The band is in a hiatus, now.
GM: Got it. I am listening to your side projects now…
The sound of Nostalgia is quite different, with a footprint … more punk, more aggressive?
Putrefactus: Exactly, Nostalgia was thought to have a more aggressive design, a post-punk hard-touch… But with strong influences of DSBM, specially of Ofdrykkja and Lifelover.
GM: What about Plague Doctor???
Putrefactus: B. has invited me last year to make something new. As far as I know, some TPD songs were to belong to Vinxeta, another project of B., but the project ended up going to The Plague Doctor, he needed a vocal and was enjoying my work, so he gently call me to participate.
GM: This was a project totally virtual, correct?
GM: Until now, you released a cover of Slowdive [at FB page] and another one of Alcest. What else should we expect in terms of homenages and tributes?
Putrefactus: Man, this was an excellent question, I’m always recording or playing songs by the artists that I love – and I hear a lot of things outside the black metal universe, to my next album I was thinking in a cover of Lana Del Rey, Woodkid or The Smiths!
Well, what about the future? You’re already working on something, what are your plans for 2016?
Putrefactus: I’m working for a split with Anti-Society, Loneliness and Broken Mirror, and also another split with a good friend of mine, Loser of Worros. For february and march, respectively.
And I plan a full length to may or june, probably june! Winter, in the southern hemisphere.
GM: It seens that we’ll have another full year!
Yet about music: already you showed me that u like a lot of things. What is the album that u more heard, in all your life, and what would you point like the best album of 2015?Putrefactus: No doubt the album that marked my life was Souvenirs d’un autre monde, by Alcest – all musics, all lyrics, everything transcribed me perfectly, I trully believe that Neige is not of this world, really! Best of 2015 album for me was the New bermuda’s Deafheaven, after hearing Sunbather I had no doubt that these guys were going to destroy with the next release, the tracks are very concrete with amazing melodies, it’s a sublime level of composition.
GM: Is there any band / underground project that u believes that should get more attention?
Putrefactus: Yes, Worros is a friendlier brazilian DSBM project with a very good quality, as well another brazillian band called Mepth. Beyond them Shadowland is a band that should have greater attention, as well as Sorrow Plagues which has an incredible quality. Other particulars are Blurry Lights, Bullet Course, Beyond The Dawn and Anti-Society.
GM: Very good! It was a great pleasure!
Putrefactus: Thank you for this opportunity!
Just today Gray Souvenirs reveal the artwork of Serena, the next release… and more: that now they are a band!
Putrefactus: All Instruments Loser: Vocals, Lyrics
Pulver: Artwork Bruno Tortorello: Mix Bonus Track
And here, as promissed, a gift for the fans: the first single of Serena for free download.
Enjoy Gray Souvenirs FB page.
Listen or download his albuns at Bancamp.