Q&A: Raphael Vaz of Boogarins Shares The Band’s Origin Story And The Antagonist Of Their Politically Charged Songs

by Flaunt Staff

Thanks to extracurricular subcultural studies, this Brazilian psych pop 4-piece went from high school right into international touring.

While most Brazilian music covered in North America emerges from São Paulo scene, the Boogarins are sonically resurrecting Os Mutantes, and vinyl-aficionado-approved western psychedelia from Goiânia. Here, deep in the Goiás-countryside, singer and lyricist Dinho Almeida and multi-instrumentalist Benke Ferraz put out their first record while still  in high school. Their extracurricular studies, obsessing over and admiring the technique and instrumentation of rock subculture, led to rich, inventive songwriting, and a lengthy world tour. With the release of their sophomore album, sources write favorably of songs that change directions with "delicate shimmering" guitars and even "post-bossa rhythms." Sung in Portuguese, Boogarins brings in sounds reminiscent of their Tropicália heroes, too. Good times will be had, but these are also pop songs with notes of protest. We caught up with the Boogarins over the phone.

Dinho and Benke have been playing together for quite some time, tell us a little about the entire band coming together?

Well, in the middle of the recording process of As Plantas Que Curam, me and Benke decided to have a real drummer to play "Lucifernandis." From this came Hans who already played with us in other previous band. After this, we three tried to rehearse the songs we had already recorded, like in the album, without a bass, just two loud guitars, it was a delightful disaster. I met Rapahel from the Goiânia indie scene. Before the band, we already had some drinks together, and we tried to invite him to play some bass with us and magically everything fit perfectly. We did some new songs the first time we played all four together. Hans had to leave the band to be the awesome dad of twins that he's now, so we invited Ynaiã, a distant friend who had played a lot of times in Goiânia with his previous band, Macaco Bong, to substitute Hans. Sounds like a bad idea at first but we are very happy about the band now. We have never felt so tight and we have never done so many crazy jams during concerts.

Take us through your songwriting process. I imagine you four get together and start playing and these amazing songs come out effortlessly. What comes first lyrics, melody, rhythm, or all pieces organically find their place?

For the most part, it kinda starts with my guitar, but that does not mean that this guitar is who will lead the process. To me, we melt our heads and sounds all together, melodies and rhythm and whatever else we want, and I always try to put the lyrics in the most fluid way possible. I mean, try to respect the others and run with them. To me, this collective creation process is like running and sweating at the same time.

Some of your songs are politically charged, are you concerned about the messages not coming across in the translation of Portuguese to other languages?

Not really, I mean, because to me, the political charges of our songs appears in a very indirect way. It's more about the wrong ideas of the men. When we are touring, we talk with people about their political situation, and in a certain way, all the problems are always because of the same bad ideas or the same bad feelings and to me, you don't need language to understand this kind of thing. To me, our song attacks more the general bad ideas of Men than a specific problem.

Is your music received differently in different parts of Brazil?

For sure. Brazil is huge and very different from north to south. It's hard to talk about all the different receptions we have in each state. Doing a poor and simple summary, people dance more in the north and people sing more of our songs in the south.

Tell us about Goiânia. What about the city influences Boogarins music?

Goiânia is a very weird city for real. The city is kinda big, the capital of our state, but you can have that nearness feeling that you just find in a small town. The weather is very hot and dry, and it seems you always want to run from it but this is the thing you miss first when you are far from home. Besides the country music which rules the city, we have a very strong and traditional indie band scene, pretty cool festivals and a lot of people with good ideas. When they decide to stay in Goiânia (the majority of the people run out to study or for work), they put things to move on, and this is the real shit. It's hard to put the "fault" in just one thing. Maybe our music is influenced by this mix of feelings, like the heat, the nearness feeling and the amalgam of runaway desire with the dream of fortifying roots.

Tell us a secret.

We never aimed or tried to be a psychedelic band or tropicália vibes band. For us, it's more like trying to experience as much as we can with our ideas and feelings and hope that other people identify with it so that we can continue with our inventive musical pranks, no matter what style it fits around.

Photography: Anne Mie Dreves

Interview: Jon-Barrett Ingels