5Q: Club America
It’s always interesting when members of a large band transition to different projects and take on new challenges. Much is the case for Club America, which includes main members of the Brazilian rock group The Name, which had great success domestically and even some touring highlights in the U.S. Bruno and Andy of Club America took the time to talk about rebranding, synth-pop and vinyl in Brazil. Enjoy.
What happened with The Name and explain how Club America became the new project?
Andy: We think that The Name completed a cycle. We did part of an emerging independent music scene in Brazil. We did extensive touring (which was something that almost nobody was doing at the time), played in the biggest independent music festivals in the country, recorded with national and international guests and played music with other artists as well. We built a festival and released remixes of our songs for guys like Airplane and Babel Orchestra. We were pleased to launch our singles and EPs in digital formats, CD and vinyl. We played at SXSW, Canadian Music Week and toured the United States. We also had the honor to be nominated at the VMB (MTV VMAs Brazil) and play at Planeta Terra Festival (the biggest indie festival in Brazil) with Toro y Moi, Bombay Bicycle Club, Beady Eye, Interpol and The Strokes. We believe that the only thing we didn’t do was launch the full album. But at this point in The Name’s career, all we were already somewhat jaded.
Bruno: The format of The Name no longer was reflecting the way we think and act. So before the relations between us went bad, it was better to stop and end up in a good moment for the band. So The Name could be remembered in a positive way.
[How James Murphy of you!]
Does the switch to synth-pop have anything to do with the cultural shift in club music? How fast is Brazil becoming a synth-pop country?
Bruno: In fact, we have a very strong influence of synth-pop, even when we were part of The Name. Like almost all the songs with The Name (and also the Club America) were written by the two of us, some of this influence was just becoming apparent. So it was a natural process for us. Brazil is a country that had few synth-pop bands, even in the 80s.
Andy: We hope so!
Is vinyl catching on Latin America like it is in the U.S.?
Andy: Yes, absolutely. We released a single on vinyl and sold almost anything. Prices are still very expensive compared to U.S. or European prices. For example, our seven inches vinyl with two tracks was about $ 13 (or $ 25). A bit expensive for Brazilian standards. But even with these values, the sale of vinyl pumped up. We have a strong desire to launch a single on flexi disc.
Is streaming picking up as fast as digital downloads? How does a Latin artist view the difference in terms of marketing down there?
Andy: Here in Brazil there is still much more illegal downloads, streaming than buying digital music. For too long, all smaller artists (less mainstream, of course) gave their music for free, always.
Bruno: Today we have many artists who sell their music. We think this is a very slow process, but day by day it gets better.
Do you like making EPs or LPs more?
Andy: We made several EPs and singles. It’s easier and cheaper. We still have a big cost for full releases here. But our plan is to release a full album in the beginning of 2013. Until that, we want to release another EP and a few videos.
Bruno: Music, music and more music!