Chain D.L.K.: Hi, Nuno, can you talk about what convinced you and your mates to formDwelling and how this coincided with the birth of Equilibrium Music?
Dwelling: Well, it started out a few years ago, when I felt the need to do somethingoutside the metal scene, where I was deeply involved. I am very fond ofacoustic instruments and thus the idea came to do something exclusivelyacoustic, and also a bit experimental that would not restrain my creativityto a formated genre, which was the case with Metal at the time.So, when I moved to Lisbon, a much larger city than my home town where goodmusicians were hard to find, I approached some of the people that are now inthe band and explained my idea. They liked it and Dwelling became a band.The year after, when things with the band started taking shape, I gottogether with my good friend João Monteiro and over a couple of drinks. Wediscussed the total void regarding labels that would release both ourprojects in Portugal, and decided to start our own label — EquilibriumMusic.
Chain D.L.K.: On listening to your music, it is evident that you are trained musicians.Can you tell our readers about your musical backgrounds?
Dwelling: The violinists Silvia and Alexandra, and the guitarist Moritz, have hadextensive classical training. Jaime and I have had the training mostmetal/rock musicians have, going from strange to weird tutors over the yearsand mostly figuring things our for ourselves. Catarina had 10 years of pianolessons and only a few months of vocal training. Anyway, we are all verydevoted to our instruments and I guess in a way it is rewarding to seepeople notice.
Chain D.L.K.: In your music the thing that immediately captured my attention is theguitar score and its complexity. How do you create those compositions? To meit seems like they come from jam sessions (improvised, like for jazzmusic)….
Dwelling: The writing process is actually the fun part in making a record. Generallywe begin with the guitars and bass, of course. One of us prepares a mainphrase — a chord progression, arpeggio, melody, or whatever — and presentsit to the other musicians. Then we jam on it in turns until we findsomething that pleases us and record a demo for posterity. After we have thebasic parts for each of these instruments, we rehearse them for a while andeach of us refines his own part until we’re happy with it.
Chain D.L.K.: Reading the lyrics of your first MCD I had the feeling that you wanted tofocus them on personal feelings. It’s like you wanted to take leave of theday-to-day frenzy and get back to the essence of simply being human. Can youtalk about this issue?
Dwelling: Writing lyrics has always been an issue in the band. None of us is a realpoet, apart from the silly notion that every Portuguese is a poet (that iscommonly said here), and we go through great pains to get the lyrics rightfor the songs. We usually go for more personal aspects, and yes, generallydealing with the the ordeal of simply being alive and human. I guess it issuch an interesting and never ending topic, which you can always relate to,and that doesn’t end up being shallow or futile. I cannot imagine one of oursongs featuring a chorus like ‘You’re beautiful’ or something like that….
Chain D.L.K.: One year after your debut MCD you released your first full lengthHumana. What have been the main difficulties in the making of thatalbum?
Dwelling: I think the main issue was the responsibility of doing a full-length,compared to an MCD that, in our minds, was more of a demo than an officialrelease. Things turned out well in the end, although looking back, therewere a lot of things that we would have liked to do differently, but I guessthat is only normal.
Chain D.L.K.: You used a work by William Butler Yeats for the lyrics of “The Wheel.”What made you chose him?
Dwelling: His work speaks for itself. Yeats was a Nobel Prize winner and his poetry isremarkable. A friend of ours suggested we use this poem, as he noticed thatthe concept of the poem was perfect for what we were aiming for, for thealbum. We loved the idea and ended up writing the Yeats family publisher andasking permission which was kindly granted.
Chain D.L.K.: On this album, more than on the debut release, you used the Portugueselanguage on many songs and wrote this definition of your music: “EtherealNeo-Classical compositions, inspired by the essence of Portuguese Fado.” Canyou explain for us non-Portuguese people what this means for you?
Dwelling: I think it’s a good description of our music. Maybe the chamber music aspectis missing from that description, but other than that it fits perfectly intowhat we are doing.The use of the Portuguese language, as well as the reference to Fado, isjust normal, I guess. It is something that happened naturally, and washardly an objective for the band. Our music got closer to that specific kindof music so we use our language more often than in the past.
Chain D.L.K.: What could you tell us about your traditions and [which ones] youembrace?
Dwelling: Fado is a traditional type of music from Portugal, and it is a sort ofchamber folk music performed by an ensemble of classical guitar, Portugueseguitar (kind of like a mandolin but with 12 strings), and voice. This formatis quite common for us and so is something totally natural for a band likeDwelling — string-based and with no percussion. Some of the songs in thisnew album are really inspired by this kind of folk music, especially ‘NaMinha Ausência’ where we even use a Portuguese guitar, and draw out thatkind of atmosphere that Fado produces.This inspiration means a lot to us, of course, but we do not mean torepresent our culture. If people want to hear the real Portuguesetraditional music, they should try to find some of the good artists thathave surfaced the last few years: Mariza, Mísia, Ana Moura, etc.
Chain D.L.K.: For your newest release, “Ainda é Noite”, you slightly changed your soundand added a violin player. What are the main differences, from your point ofview, in comparison with the previous album?
Dwelling: The main difference is that the music is more mature than previously, but Iguess that is also a reflection of our personal growth has well. The themefor each song is more focused than it used to be, when we were younger andless patient. I’m hoping that this will also feature on future works, on anexponential basis.
Chain D.L.K.: You wrote that: “The album seeks to expose the lonely side of feminineintimacy, embodying various moods and states of mind that grow moredisturbing and unsettling as the quiet hours of the night roll by.” How doesthis feminine way of feeling express itself in the songs?
Dwelling: I think it has more to do with the lyrics, and the personal commitment bythe girls in this record. Most of the lyrics were selected and writtenkeeping this commitment in mind, and I think that they are perfect for whatwe were aiming for. As an example, the track ‘Sou Eu!’ was written by one ofthe most romantic Portuguese poets, Florbela Espanca, who ended upcommitting suicide over an [unrequited] love.Apart from that, we’ve all tried to tap deeper into our romantic side, andexpose it within these compositions.
Chain D.L.K.: Are you working on new songs? Do they sound different?
Dwelling: Yes, we are working on new songs and have most of the guidelines for thenext album written. Some of the sounds will be different, others will followwhat we’ve been doing these past years. I think there will be some[reactions of shock with regard to] a couple of tracks, but nothing tooserious!
Chain D.L.K.: Since your label [promotes] martial Industrial music as well asneo-Classical stuff, how has been the response of the audience to yourmusic?
Dwelling: We’ve always managed to get mixed [reactions] regarding our music. On thesame week, we had a very emotional response from a reviewer, who was reallyhappy with the record, and a 4 out of 10 from another mag. I don’t thinkwe’ve been making music that generates a consensual criticism concerningaesthetics. We’ve made sure that we don’t fit into one of those boxes thatseparate artists by genre, so it’s hard to get good feedback from people whoreally like to have their music un-challenging and pre-digested. On thetechnical [side of things], the quality of our music has been recognizedalmost everywhere.
Chain D.L.K.: Anything else you’d like to add?
Dwelling: We’d like to thank you again for your time, and hope that all goes well foryou and the Chain D.L.K. crew! Cheers!
Visit Dwelling on the web at:
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz] [proofreading by Benjamin Pike]