Rodrigo Leão talks about the new album
I started looking for ideas for this new work in mid-2017, in the middle of a European tour with Scott Matthew, after the release of the CD Life is Long.
As usual in my creative process, the first steps are always very intuitive and without any method! Some ideas came up in hotel rooms. In November 2017 we recorded the first ideas in our home studio, but we were left with doubts.
The truth is that after three very different works – “A Vida Secreta das Máquinas“, “O Retiro” and “Life Is Long” – my need to search for new paths increased, along with the influences of composers like Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds or Max Richter.
It was in this context that we invited the Italian musician and producer Federico Albanese to join us. Pedro Oliveira and João Eleutério and I both realized that it made sense in this work to have an outside ear, and my friend and manager António Cunha had already suggested that we try to work with a new element.
This moment coincided with another not less important: the invitation to compose music for an exhibition at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, “Cérebro – Mais Vasto Que o Céu“. In this work, co-produced by João Eleutério and Luís Fernandes, we learned a lot about electronic environmental sounds, which would come in very handy on this new record.
The first working sessions were not easy, but we quickly came up with a working method that allowed us to get closer to the ideas we were looking for. Federico was very important in this process, proposing different arrangements and instruments. With your help, my ideas started to make sense and the whole more minimalist, ethereal environment I wanted was now more visible.
The “Metodo” turned out to be the record where I played the most acoustic piano, which changed the overall sound a lot, in addition to less use of the strings. And we also used a youth choir with about 20 voices, which was one of my ideas from an early age.
It is a more contained, simpler, more debugged disc. A little more spiritual too … The music itself, more environmental, takes us away from our reality. I also took on a naive side that I already felt in some of the previous works.
In the sung themes, my intention was to invent words, so as not to have to use any specific language and make the songs more abstract. There is a theme in English, “The Boy Inside”, sung by Caster Clausen from Efterklang; a singer suggested by Federico, but that I already knew and liked a lot.
Another theme, “O Cigarro”, is sung in Russian by violinist Viviena Tupikova, who also wrote the lyrics and has played with me for a long time. The singer Ângela Silva, with whom I have worked for a long time, was also very important, either for the suggestion of vocal arrangements or for the unusual way of singing with words that do not exist.
The title has changed over time, but The Method turned out to be obvious. Because it was the album where we most looked for a method to reach a final result. But for me, it is much more interesting to feel the method in a more abstract, philosophical way.
Do we all have an inner method to try to do something, to communicate, to dream?
I see in these songs many questions that have no answers. I see a child pointing to the sky: why do we exist? Where do we go after we die? What is the meaning of life?
I like my music to ask questions, even if they have no answer. It means that it communicates with those who hear it, that it helps us to think and dream.