Philippe Lobo was a student of the guitar player and teacher Allen W. Marshal. In 2006, he majored in Music at the Federal University of Uberlândia (UFU, Brazil). His first album, “Philippe Lobo – De outros carnavais”, had his very own the musical production, arrangements and compositions (except the cover track “O ovo”, from the famous baião composer Hermeto Pascoal).
Besides its richness in form and expression, Lobo’s style consistsin complex arrangements, which mix several instruments and rhythms, contributing to the creation of a melody rich in joy and variations. Philippe brings together the Brazilian popular culture with the sounds of the everyday life in order to create unique musical arrangements.
by Philippe Lobo
01. Let’s talk about the process of musical creation. We would like to know more about your inspirations. Who are your idols and heroes? Is there any influence from other musical genres beyond those that you produce nowadays?
Without a doubt, the fascination for great masters of the popular and classical music is a strong source for inspiration and motivation. In this sense, I’m going to put everyone in the same cauldron: J. S. Bach and H. Villa-Lobos are right in the center, as well as Tom Jobin and Milton Nascimento. Surrounding these masters are also Hermeto Pascoal, Egberto Gismonti, Tom Zé, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and many others. Without a shadow of doubt, the rock, the classical music, the Brazilian Popular Music (MPB), the Bossa Nova and the Jazz play an influent role.
02. Tell us a little bit more about your creative process when writing your lyrics or composing your songs. What is the best thing of the world in order to spur your creativity?
In order to compose, urgency and uneasiness are fundamental. A new song needs to offer something new to the world. The search for a new perspective, a new way to represent life and the universe is the key for my musical creation. If I wanted to repeat what is already out there, then we’d better listen to the unbeatable masters of the past. Besides that, my music expresses a commitment to conciliate the North with the South, the East with the West, the old with the new. That means: to break the established expectations from the market or the regional tendencies.
03. The music industry nowadays is different from the one in the past. What is the best thing nowadays? And the worst? Which role does the market play nowadays in the production of your material?
The best thing about the music market nowadays is the variety and quantity of available products. The worst is the tendency to look for a type of music which is very easy to produce and assimilate – so easy that the music itself becomes poor and shallow.
The market is also very stimulating because I need to respond to it with the opposite of everything in it that I reject.
04. What is the connection between the music you produce and the city you live in? Is there any connection in between them?
It’s difficult for me to make music for a city, a country or any specific type of public, a niche. I don’t like to think about art as something local that depends on the particular references of only one city or culture. For me, it’s been quite a long time since the aesthetics became universal, promoting the intersection of lines of influences coming from everywhere and all the previous times. I believe that my music tries to tell the city: what is inside is out, what is outside is in.
05. Does any other city inspire your music? How does the city’s music scene contribute to your creative process?
The music scene is something else because it’s not only a reflection of the place but most of the people and the information flows.
Rio de Janeiro or New Orleans? São Paulo or New York? Lagoa Santa or London? It doesn’t matter, because we are all connected nowadays. What truly matters is: Who? When? How?
06. How would you change the music scene in your city? Could anything be different?
Here in Lagoa Santa and in the Greater Belo Horizonte, there are extraordinary artists from several musical rhythms, from instrumental to pop. However, due to part of the critics and institutions, music is often restricted to a certain area and a conservatism on the part of the public and artists, who try to find success in a fast and easy way. I would like there to be fewer walls and more bridges. And I would like people to be more open-minded to what is different and new.
07. In your opinion, what is the power of music?
Music is the greatest and most perfect human trait on Earth. It expresses the essence of our species in terms that are so perfect that the centuries and wars have not been able to erase or distort. That’s why I compose instrumental music: I feel that the world wants to diminish the power of music. In fact, everything is music! The cosmos and nature vibrate in such integrated harmony that the science still hasn’t come to represent because it needs to break it down into pieces. Not the music – it represents the harmony in everything with the same integrity. However, music is still not greater than love, but its origin is not the human kind.
08. Explain to us the reason why you selected each song of your Playlist (listed below).
This playlist seeks at the same time to offer my most important influences as a musician and to harmonize different styles and times of our popular music. I left out the classical composers, who, although very present in my formation, would require more space and a different listening.
The master Hermeto couldn’t be left out due to his magnetism and geniality. Not only is “Música das Nuvens e do Chão” beautiful, but it is also a good example on how to combine a clear and engaging melody with a deep one. This combination inspired me in many compositions. The maestro Tom Jobim has lots of masterpieces. For me, “Águas de Março” synthesizes perfectly his geniality in expressing the world and the life from a perspective that is at the same time simple and deep, where the repetition takes place in spiral cycles, where the same repeated verse never expresses the same thing.
Tom Zé should also be highlighted due to his position as a master of the form and the word. Sensitive to the current world, he offers great criticism in “Vaia de Bêbado Não vale”, a chronic about the popular taste and his difficulty to appreciate true art. Milton Nascimento always reminds me that the heart already knows everything. In “Canoa, Canoa”, he makes it possible for a song from the riverside communities to sound with the grandiosity of a Beethoven coral.
Lenine is for me the musician who best understands the current tendencies, without letting himself be carried away by them. He dialogues with pop by presenting all the past and all the present in each beat of his guitar. “Todas Elas Juntas Num Só Ser”, together with Carlos Rennó, is outstanding in its form and content. A perfect awe for all the muses and poets, uniting continents and times in only one song that, at the same time, worships every mentioned artist. He reaffirms the impersonal present of a nameless muse: only You! You, whom I see now and who listens to me. Raul Mariano is a partner, a musician of the new generation of my city that shows very well how to be reverent to the masters of our music and at once to present the voice of our so etherial contemporaneity. “Outro Norte” says a lot about what I feel about our time.
The Jazz plays an influential role in all the popular music with its freedom and expression power. Miles David was perhaps the most complete jazz musician, the one that stands out every decade with a renovated blow and in harmony with the present time. Even if we put aside the jazz label: “So What” and “Brush With the Blues” are masterpieces! As a guitar player, it touches me to see how this combination of a simple and intelligent theme with such a rich and flabbergasting interpretation. Jeff Beck raises the bar about how a guitar can be expressive during a blues solo. This track has changed my perception about my instrument.
Two of my tracks conclude this list. “Samba Pro Du” represents well the search for a symbiosis between the many influences from all parts of the world. An energetic and warm track, but at the same time, dense and questioning. “Amanheço” was the composition that made me feel that I was truly starting my journey as an artist. It is a profound song that casts light upon the darkness of the soul looking for any sense in life. In this composition, I use the guitar and a range of unexpected sounds to achieve a texture that wants to be an orchestra, while, at the same time, it expresses a certain solitude. This song is the last one of my first album and means a great deal to me.
Translated by Fernando Toledo
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