Os Mutantes Os Mutantes… Tecnicolor

Interview: Os Mutantes

Published on April 17th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

“The Brazilian Beatles”: that really is the best way to describe Os Mutantes to the uninitiated. They emerged in the same decade during their homeland’s politically charged Tropicália movement and recorded a string of mind-bending albums that still sound astonishing to this day, reforming in 2006 for a performance at London’s Royal Festival Hall that Rocksucker feels privileged to have attended. Basically, they’re one of the most innovative, colourful and all-round amazing bands ever to have existed, so we weren’t half excited at being granted a private telephone audience with founding member Sérgio Dias Baptista.

His fellow originals, namely brother Arnaldo and Rita Lee, are no longer involved but this has not prevented Sérgio from forging onwards with a new cast of musicians under the famous old brand name. 2009 comeback album Haih Or Amortecedor could conceivably have been made during the group’s heyday – great songs, bucketloads of imagination, unyieldingly fresh sound – and this month shall see the release of its successor, the thrillingly eclectic and primarily English language Fool Metal Jack. We spoke to Sérgio about the new record and much more besides, so read on for the thoughts of a true legend of popular music history…

What made you decide to do the new album in English? Is it because you live in America now, or was it to convey a certain message?

No, I think songs have a life of their own. There’s one song in Portuguese [“Eu Descobri”] but the rest just appeared in English. Maybe it’s because I’m living here.

Was the music all written in the time since Haih Or Amortecedor, or does some of it date back further?

There’s only one that is older, which is “Into Limbo”; I wrote that for my brother when he jumped. [Rocksucker says: In 1982, Arnaldo attempted suicide by jumping from the fourth floor of a hospital in São Paulo, surviving with brain damage – it’s in Portuguese, but this beautiful documentary called Loki is a heartwarming document of his return to a normal life]

How is Arnaldo?

I really don’t know, you know. The last time I saw him was in Heathrow after the tour but since then his wife broke the connection between us. I don’t want to steer things so I’ll just sit and wait (laughs).

When you’re making a new Os Mutantes album, do you feel under any pressure to make it in any way in keeping with the older material?

No, I don’t think about it at all. You have to be honest with yourself and do what you’re doing now. I think it has nothing to do with the rest of the stuff we did; working with different people means it’s a whole different story. I don’t know if it sounds like anything that we did, but I don’t think so. I’m not a teenager anymore, I’m 62, so it is a big difference. I’ve been younger for more time!

Who else was involved in the songwriting this time? Jorge Ben, Tom Zé?

It was just myself and the band, although I wrote “Time and Space” with a guy from here in Los Angeles called Sam Spiegel. I wrote the title song with our bassist Vinicius [Junqueira] and there are two songs from Vitor [Trida: vocals, keyboards, guitars] which are “Look Out” and…(forgets title, starts humming it, laughs)…”Once Upon a Flight”!

What was the inspiration for the song “Bangladesh”? Is it a message of peace?

It is a more spiritual thing. I think George [Harrison] lives a lot in me. I never realised the connection but we were both taught by Ravi [Shankar], who has departed also. I didn’t mean it as an homage but I feel close to the thoughts that George had, the same points of view; you know, all those lives that we have lived, Earth and rebirth.

It’s one of those situations where you have to measure yourself against the entire universe and it’s a question of, okay, are you part of everything, or are you just a piece of carbon and water? “Bangladesh” is about the acceptance of everything; it’s like, “Hari Jesus, Hari Buddha, Hari Judas”, because there’s no Jesus without Judas, and there’s also “Hari Lucifer”, because there’s no God without Lucifer.

All of those dogmas, all of those status quos, they just lose perspective. Things are so much deeper, so much, how can I say…simpler. I think that’s what “Bangladesh” is about.

There’s a sitar riff in it that does remind a lot of George’s “The Inner Light”, now you mention it.

Yeah, there’s definitely inspiration there. It’s something that I hadn’t thought about, but you’re nailing it! You’re telling me about my music, that’s great (laughs).

Where did you find the new members Amy Crawford [keyboards, piano, organ] and Ani Cordero [drums, percussion]?

They were in two opening acts that toured with us in the US and we became friends. I knew they were good so it was the sensible thing to do. It’s really nice to be playing with them.

Are there any plans to come back to the UK any time soon?

I would love to, I’m dying to go back. It will depend on the release of the album in Europe, and we’re dealing with that now.

Os Mutantes is one of Rocksucker’s favourite bands, and you’ve also inspired quite a lot of our other favourite bands…

It’s been amazing to see the music outlast the band because we had no idea it was going on. When we came back to play at the Barbican and sold all those tickets, it was mind-blowing because I finally got a sense of being responsible for it. It was a life-changing thing for me.

It happened by accident, didn’t it?

Yeah. Somebody told the arranger that it wouldn’t make any sense to do that thing [the Barbican’s Tropicália shows] without Os Mutantes, and the guy said, “What are you going to do? Os Mutantes don’t exist any more.” Somehow it got through to the press that we were regrouping to play there, it was popping up all over the world. People were calling us, and in Brazil they were saying that we were already rehearsing.

Then we started to phone each other, and our drummer Dinho said, “If you guys want to play, I’ll play.” We hadn’t played in thirty-odd years, so when I heard him say that I thought, woah, this is serious. I said, “Okay, let’s get together.” We got together and played, it sucked, but the energy was there. We decided there on the spot to do the Barbican show, we had three months to rehearse and we did that thing that you saw.

Do you have any favourite covers of Os Mutantes songs?

(chuckles) I thought it was funny when Belle and Sebastian sampled my guitar to play the (imitates riff from “A Minha Menina” then bursts into laughter) Apart from that I haven’t really had the time to listen to everybody, so I don’t know who’s got the songs. It’s been like an immense rollercoaster; I haven’t stopped since 2006.

The Bees’ version is probably more well-known over here.

I don’t know that one. I would love to hear it. But do you know what’s funny, I would love to meet a lot of these people; I met Beck and Devendra, which was great, and it would be fun to meet more people and play music together.

What made you decide to turn down Kurt Cobain’s request for you to reform?

I didn’t know about it. Arnaldo received the letter. I never got the letter, just heard about it in nineteen ninety whatever.

What’s happening with the Os Mutantes movie Bread and Circuses?

I don’t know. I’ve heard of several people who are trying to do some stuff but I don’t know who is related to what. There’s a girl on Facebook who’s trying to do something, and a guy called Jeff McCarty who’s trying to do an animation film. There’s nothing complete yet, though. I think they’re all looking for funds or whatever.

Do you think you might do another album with Tahiti Boy and the Palmtree Family?

I’d love to! That thing was so fun, they’re great. We did all the writing and recording for that whole thing in sixteen days, it was fantastic.

Can you explain how you played guitar with a sewing machine? I’d love to know how that worked.

We used the motor of a sewing machine and we hooked it to the thing that turns on the volume on the guitar, and we took the lock out of it so that it would turn 360 degrees without stopping. We put the sound there, got it out and put it through the amp. On a sewing machine the pedal changes the speed of the motor, and that was what created the sound. It was totally impractical but a friend of mine managed to emulate it in digital form, which is much easier, so that’s what I’m using now.

I also read that you used insecticide pumps to recreate the kind of ‘backwards tape’ reverse hi-hat sound that The Beatles used…

Yes, we did. We had no idea that you could use reverse tapes and the closest sound we could find to that was the insecticide pump! We put water in it and it destroyed the microphone (laughs). It was crazy stuff but it was cool.

What’s the story behind the song “Meu Refrigerador Não Funciona”? Am I right in thinking that it means “My Refrigerator Doesn’t Work”?

It is much bigger than what we put on the album, all of it was improvisation. We didn’t rehearse anything, not even the lyrics, so when Arnaldo starting singing “my refrigerator doesn’t work”, then that he was trying to call a Japanese guy to fix it…it was a miserable state, and that is what the blues is all about, right? You have to be miserable somehow, so the problem that he had was that the refrigerator didn’t work (laughs). Then Rita was like “Try my honey! Try my honey!” I was playing bass. That was cut live, all improvisation.

You’ve said that your father helped you with most of the “onomatopoeic work”. What do you mean by that?

Not most of it, but my father gave us some help there because he was a fantastic poet. The ideas were ours, though.

What is your brother Claudio up to at the moment? [Rocksucker says: Claudio’s electronics were a key part of Os Mutantes’ early sound]

He’s writing a lot. He’s a genius. He did this fantastic science fiction thing called Géa. The easiest thing would have been for him to write something about Mutantes, right; but no, he created this whole new thing. There’s mystical stuff on it and it does reflect all of us. We’re all in the story but with different names. It would be fantastic material for a film.

He wrote sixteen or seventeen books and he’s trying to publish it now. The language in it is amazing; I need a dictionary to understand what he’s talking about. He is really out to lunch, breakfast and dinner!

Sérgio Dias, thank you.

Click here to read Rocksucker’s review of Fool Metal Jack!

Os Mutantes - Fool Metal Jack

Fool Metal Jack will be released on 30th April through Krian Music. Os Mutantes will be touring the US at the end of April and first half of May: click here for dates. For more information, please click here to visit the official Os Mutantes website or here to visit Os Mutantes on Facebook.

Artists:

About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.


102 Responses to Interview: Os Mutantes

  1. Pingback: Sérgio Dias Baptista (Os Mutantes) on "Ganjaman" and Barack Obama - Rocksucker

  2. Pingback: Review: Os Mutantes - Fool Metal Jack - Rocksucker

  3. Pingback: Os Mutantes: A chronological playlist - Rocksucker

  4. see pron says:

    4Ffb3h The overall look of your site is great, as well as

  5. This is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate info Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!

  6. Vong bi skf says:

    We stumbled over here by a different page and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to finding out about your web page yet again.

  7. scammer says:

    wow, awesome blog article.Really thank you! Great.

  8. I’а†ve recently started a blog, the info you offer on this site has helped me greatly. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  9. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and the rest of the website is really good.

  10. pretty practical material, overall I think this is well worth a bookmark, thanks

  11. web explorer, may test this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a big component

  12. Very informative blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

  13. Very good info. Lucky me I found your website by chance (stumbleupon). I ave saved as a favorite for later!

  14. Im no expert, but I think you just crafted an excellent point. You naturally comprehend what youre talking about, and I can actually get behind that. Thanks for being so upfront and so honest.

  15. I wanted to thank you for this fantastic write-up, I certainly loved each and every small bit of it. I ave bookmarked your web site to look at the latest stuff you post.

  16. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?

  17. You have made some decent points there. I checked on the web to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

  18. Thanks again for the article post.Thanks Again. Much obliged.

  19. What as up, just wanted to mention, I loved this article. It was funny. Keep on posting!

  20. There as certainly a lot to learn about this topic. I love all the points you have made.

  21. You have brought up a very great points , thankyou for the post.

  22. Gurgaon says:

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the subject matter and found most people will approve with your blog.

  23. Precisely what I was searching for, appreciate it for posting.

  24. buy mp3 says:

    It as not that I want to copy your web-site, but I really like the style. Could you let me know which design are you using? Or was it especially designed?

  25. The thing that All people Ought To Know Involving E commerce, Modify that E commerce in to a full-blown Goldmine

  26. purchase mp3 says:

    You have made some decent points there. I checked on the internet for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

  27. purchase mp3 says:

    It as not that I want to duplicate your web-site, but I really like the style. Could you let me know which design are you using? Or was it especially designed?

  28. Cory says:

    This awesome blog is definitely interesting and also factual. I have found many handy stuff out of this source. I ad love to come back over and over again. Cheers!

  29. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all

  30. Christen says:

    one other and this design of partnership is a complete great deal extra genuine wanting and passionate. You might effortlessly come about across a right match for your self by way of video

  31. Isidra says:

    you ?аА аБТ–event it, аА аЂаny plugin or

  32. This is my first time go to see at here and i am really impressed to read all at single place.

  33. Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great, let alone the content!

  34. The most effective and clear News and why it means quite a bit.

  35. This unique blog is no doubt cool as well as informative. I have picked up helluva helpful stuff out of this amazing blog. I ad love to return over and over again. Thanks a lot!

  36. click here says:

    I wanted to thank you for this great write-up, I definitely loved every little bit of it. I ave bookmarked your web site to look at the latest stuff you post.

  37. Looking forward to reading more. Great post.Really thank you! Want more.

  38. I simply want to say I am newbie to blogs and definitely enjoyed your website. Very likely I’m likely to bookmark your website . You certainly come with very good stories. Appreciate it for sharing with us your website page.

  39. Wow, great blog article.Really thank you! Cool.

  40. I truly appreciate this article.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on

  41. Thanks a lot for the blog post.Much thanks again. Cool.

  42. Yu says:

    Thanks so much for the article post.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

  43. Your mode of explaining the whole thing in this post is in fact good, every one be able to simply be aware of it, Thanks a lot.

  44. WW88 says:

    Great blog! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am taking your feeds also

  45. The info mentioned within the article are several of the very best readily available

  46. Hello. Great job. I did not expect this. This is a remarkable story. Thanks!

  47. It¡¦s really a great and helpful piece of info. I¡¦m glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  48. afrofuturism says:

    Hi my loved one! I want to say that this article is awesome, nice written and include almost all significant infos. I would like to see more posts like this.

  49. I will immediately grab your rss feed as I can not find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  50. Really enjoyed this post, is there any way I can get an email sent to me whenever you make a new update?

  51. Say, you got a nice article.Really thank you! Great.

  52. It’s truly a great and helpful piece of info. I’m happy that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  53. I’а†ve recently started a web site, the info you offer on this site has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work.

  54. I truly appreciate this post. I have been looking all over for this! Thank God I found it on Google. You ave made my day! Thx again..

  55. nsfw says:

    Thank you for sharing all these wonderful posts. In addition, an excellent travel as well as medical insurance approach can often eliminate those considerations that come with traveling abroad. Some sort of medical crisis can shortly become very expensive and that’s likely to quickly slam a financial problem on the family finances. Putting in place the best travel insurance package deal prior to setting off is well worth the time and effort. Thanks

  56. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and the rest of the site is also very good.

  57. I’m not sure the place you’re getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend a while studying much more or working out more. Thanks for magnificent information I was on the lookout for this info for my mission.

  58. push pay says:

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch since I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

  59. Really enjoyed this blog.Really thank you! Much obliged.

  60. coc noi dat says:

    I was more than happy to uncover this website. I want to to thank you for your time due to this wonderful

  61. Nice blog right here! Additionally your website lots up fast! What web host are you the usage of? Can I get your associate hyperlink in your host? I want my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  62. Thank you for your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  63. beast TV says:

    Fantastic website. A lot of useful information here. I am sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your effort!

  64. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to claim that I acquire actually loved account your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing on your augment or even I fulfillment you get entry to persistently rapidly.

  65. seo tool says:

    Major thanks for the blog article. Fantastic.

  66. putlocker says:

    What as Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I ave found It absolutely helpful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to contribute & assist other users like its aided me. Great job.

  67. I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  68. 다잡아 says:

    Well I definitely enjoyed reading it. This article provided by you is very helpful for proper planning.

  69. Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually recognise what you’re talking about! Bookmarked. Please also seek advice from my website =). We can have a hyperlink trade agreement among us!

  70. #custom says:

    Aw, this was a very nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and precise effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and under no circumstances seem to get something done.

  71. Of course, what a fantastic site and illuminating posts, I will bookmark your blog.Best Regards!

  72. poker online says:

    My partner and I stumbled over here by a different website and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to checking out your web page repeatedly.

  73. Hi! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. Many thanks!

  74. Hey! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  75. Seo agency says:

    I get pleasure from, cause I discovered exactly what I used to be having a look for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  76. Thanks for another informative site. Where else may I am getting that type of info written in such an ideal method? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I’ve been at the look out for such information.

  77. online poker says:

    You made some good points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most people will go along with with your site.

  78. Very efficiently written information. It will be helpful to anyone who usess it, as well as myself. Keep doing what you are doing – can’r wait to read more posts.

  79. Hello there, I discovered your web site via Google while looking for a comparable subject, your web site came up, it appears good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  80. Its such as you read my thoughts! You seem to grasp a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the e-book in it or something. I think that you just can do with some percent to drive the message home a little bit, however instead of that, that is wonderful blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

  81. Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  82. you’re really a good webmaster. The site loading speed is incredible. It seems that you are doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you’ve done a magnificent job on this topic!

  83. Hello, you used to write excellent, but the last few posts have been kinda boring… I miss your tremendous writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

  84. Great blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any suggestions? Many thanks!

  85. CBD vs THC says:

    My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was once totally right. This put up actually made my day. You can not consider simply how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thank you!

  86. slabire says:

    Hello, you used to write excellent, but the last few posts have been kinda boring… I miss your super writings. Past few posts are just a little out of track! come on!

  87. m w88 says:

    But a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw great design and style. “Treat the other man’s faith gently it is all he has to believe with.” by Athenus.

  88. låna pengar says:

    Wonderful website. Lots of useful info here. I am sending it to several buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks to your sweat!

  89. I see something genuinely special in this web site.

  90. Only wanna comment that you have a very decent web site , I the design and style it actually stands out.

  91. I got what you mean , thanks for putting up.Woh I am delighted to find this website through google. “Money is the most egalitarian force in society. It confers power on whoever holds it.” by Roger Starr.

  92. I just could not go away your website before suggesting that I actually loved the usual info a person supply on your guests? Is gonna be again steadily to investigate cross-check new posts

  93. gym says:

    You can definitely see your expertise within the work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. All the time follow your heart. “Experience is a good school, but the fees are high.” by Heinrich Heine.

  94. Mp3 Juice says:

    You really make it appear really easy with your presentation but I in finding this topic to be really something which I feel I might never understand. It sort of feels too complicated and very huge for me. I’m having a look forward in your subsequent publish, I will try to get the grasp of it!

  95. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem with your site in internet explorer, would check this… IE still is the market leader and a big portion of people will miss your great writing due to this problem.

  96. Wow, great article.Thanks Again. Really Great.

  97. I¡¦m no longer certain where you are getting your info, however good topic. I needs to spend a while studying much more or working out more. Thank you for fantastic info I used to be looking for this information for my mission.

  98. If you are interested to learn Web optimization techniques then you must read this article, I am sure you will obtain much more from this article regarding SEO.

  99. Nice place of duty. I study impressive added challenging taking place changed blogs everyday. Thankfulness for sharing.

  100. I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog. I’m hoping the same high-grade site post from you in the upcoming also. Actually your creative writing skills has encouraged me to get my own blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a great example of it.

  101. Very nice write-up. I definitely appreciate this website. Continue the good work!

  102. I together with my pals happened to be studying the best secrets and techniques from your web page while instantly I had a horrible feeling I had not thanked the web site owner for those secrets. Most of the ladies are already certainly passionate to study all of them and have now honestly been taking advantage of those things. Appreciate your indeed being very thoughtful and also for deciding upon such useful ideas most people are really desperate to be informed on. My very own honest regret for not expressing gratitude to you earlier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *