Who would have thought that a burgeoning indie rock scene seems to be thriving in São Paolo, Brazil. Next week, a trio of ambassadors from that part of the world will make their U.S. debut in New York City.
The Single Parents’ singer/guitarist, Fernando Dotta, sings impeccable English in the trio he founded with bassist Anderson Lima back in 2008. Rafael Farah took the seat behind the drums for the due in March 2009, and so began the Brazilian trio’s exploration in the world of English-sung indie rock. Their sound actually recalls the breezy alt-rock of bands like Nada Surf or Superdrag.
Dotta responded to some questions via email about how a band like his fits into the music realm of a country known for Samba and a distinctive jazz sound defined by artists like Gilberto Gil and Antonio Carlos Jobim. “We believe loads of bands from Brazil have similar influences to ours,” he said. “Great bands are coming up everyday all around the country. Especially in São Paolo, there is a really great independent scene being built up … We are just playing the sound we’ve always listened to: alternative rock music.”
Dotta said there is a simple reason for their sound, which shows a great and literate affection for 90s-era alternative rock. “That was the decade we started to listen to rock music and to learn how to play instruments,” he said. “The bands formed in that time influenced us a lot. The attitude, the melodies and the guitar tones are the main things that comes up when we think about the 90s, bands like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Pavement, Blur… they’re in our top list, and I think it will sound fresh for a long time.”
This is not to say the band members’ taste is stuck in the 90s. “We are used to listening to bands from the 80s and 90s, but we try to stay updated with some good stuff from nowadays. To name a few: No Age, MGMT, Arctic Monkeys and the XX.”
Now might be a good time to stop over to the band’s MySpace page to check out their new EP, “Could You Explain?” which they have streaming in its entirety. My personal favorite track is “Contradictions,” which has an extra layer of synthesizers that embellish the song with a sort of dream pop flavor. I offer that for free mp3 download here.
But one of the more intriguing aspects of the Single Parents’ music is how well their native-born Brazilian frontman sings in English. Dotta said he left for Brighton in the U.K. to study English and came back six months later with a pack of new songs.
He said English now comes quite easy to him. “I think it is kind of natural nowadays … When I first showed it to the other guys from the band, it felt like it could be worth doing in English. That was after I came back to Brazil, because I lived for six months in Europe, mainly in England, so it made sense to sing in English. Besides that, the three of us are highly influenced by foreign bands.”
As far as the limitations Dotta might have encountered singing in his newly acquired language, he said, “At first, there was a doubt about it, but I didn’t feel insecure.” He even shared that singing in English allowed him to say things in his lyrics that he would otherwise prefer to keep private if he were writing in Portuguese. “Singing in another language helped me to say out loud feelings and thoughts that I couldn’t easily express in Portuguese. The important thing is that our lyrics sound really true to ourselves.”
Since he discovered writing lyrics in English, Dotta said, the band has not looked back, so don’t expect to hear any Portuguese-sung tunes on their New York City dates. “Our songs are all in English, and at these NYC shows we’re gonna play songs from our debut EP released this year titled ‘Could You Explain?’ and also some brand new songs we’ve been playing in our shows in Brazil.”
Beyond the brand new experience of playing to mostly English-speaking audiences, these NYC dates will allow the Single Parents to play alongside other international bands they admire. “[We’re looking forward to] the great experience of playing with bands from other countries, some of which we are fans of, in awesome venues and to share our sound to a new crowd,” Dotta said. “We are definitely anxious about this tour and have high expectations.”
But, besides performing, the band members hope to immerse themselves in a new culture. “We hope to go to nice clubs, visit famous sites, eat loads of junkie food, get drunk 24 hours, taste American beers, visit some friends and buy some instruments to bring back to Brazil,” Dotta said.
The Single Parents’ NYC itinerary is as follows:
Apr. 20, 2010 @ 8 PM: Arlene’s Grocery
Apr. 22, 2010 @ 9 PM: Lit Lounge w/ Wolf Ram Heart
Apr. 24, 2010 @ 8 PM: Pianos w/ Tahiti Boy and The Palmtree Family (France)
Apr. 26, 2010 @ 8 PM: Trash Bar