[gallery type="slideshow" size="full" ids="154671,154672"] [gallery ids="154672,154671"]
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Quite frankly, I don’t remember not being into music. Perhaps it was my mother singing to me right after birth, instead of talking to her child like I suppose most do. Some of my first memories involve playing with one of those mono cassette recorders that were so common in the early eighties. From then on, it just kept on going: piano lessons at 6, my first guitar at 11, first band and album at 15… As for the second part of your question, regarding what I’d be doing today if I had not gotten into music, I’d probably be dead. If it weren’t for music – more specifically, metal – I think there is a considerable chance I might not have survived adolescence. That said, I do have many other interests and activities, professional and otherwise.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Well, listening to music is a given, but I also spend quite a lot of my free time reading and watching interesting stuff. In terms of inspiration, I guess anything I experience affects me one way or another.
How long has your band been around?
Cactek is a solo project I started back in 2019.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I was born in Rio and I’ve lived here all my life, and that has affected my music in so many different ways it’s hard to point out one. Despite the very poor quality of the stuff being pushed by big media, and the monotonic, mind-numbing values and art promoted both by the so-called conservative and progressive crowds, Brazil remains an incredibly rich country in terms of culture. Social and economic injustice also runs rampant across this place, and that is something that, if you pay attention, is bound to piss you off constantly. Injustice and voluntary stupidity are particularly hard pills to swallow, so, instead, I put all that into my music.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
First of all, I wanted to come up with a name that was unique. My first band, way back in 97, was called Masterplan – and we all know how that turned out. That issue with namesakes occurred a few times in my trajectory, and I got fed up with that. Apart from that, I wanted something personal, a name that conveys both self-preservation and Brazilianness, so the idea of a cactus came up.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Never really had an awful show, but, each and every time, something slightly unfortunate happened. The table guy playing the wrong intro as the band walked towards the stage, someone stealing my beer pack right from the stage, microphones with electrical problems, the mic cable connector falling right on the forehead of the dude who seemed to be enjoying the show more than everyone, a member leaving with all the little money the band had made a certain night, and so on… The same can be said for positive outliers – no phenomenal experience comes to mind, but each show certainly had its cool moments.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
The nicer venue I’ve ever played at was on top of a traditional bar we have here in Rio, but the venue itself, called Hipódromo Up, has been closed for a while now. As for the future, when the time comes to perform the Cactek material live, all I ask is air conditioning, proper electrical installations, and a nice crowd wanting to have a good time.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
I certainly wouldn’t mind opening for At the Gates and Carcass. Heck, if I’m dreaming here, why not thrown in Testament as well?
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Do it for the art, and for your own wellbeing. Do not rely on music to pay the bills, at least at first, as that kind of pressure is bound to get in the way of both creativity and personal relationships. Be aware that we are in a time and age in which most people see music as something they do not have to pay for. Treasure those who show you support. And remember, even Bach’s work was used as fish-wrapping paper by people who had no idea of what they had in their hands.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
In bands, democracy requires maturity and an incredibly unlikely set of dedicated, talented, and reliable people. So, if you have an artistic vision and you want to get things done, hierarchy is a necessity when working with others. In my case, I’ve realized I am much more willing and productive to cooperate when my personal artistic needs are taken care of elsewhere.
Of your songs, which one means the most to you and why?
‘Spam with a Plan’ is quite self-descriptive and special to me, as it was the first track I wrote for Cactek, and, to a certain extent, serves as a statement of purpose. However, out of the bunch I’m working on right now, there is one called ‘Die for Nothing’ which probably has the best chorus I’ve ever made, and I’m looking forward to see how people will feel about it once the EP is out.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I love playing all of them. I mean, Cactek has only five tracks so far, and I do my best to make sure each riff is as captivating as I possibly can make it – so, yeah, I think it’s accurate to say I don’t have favorites yet.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
In my experience, musical inspiration usually comes in when I feel overwhelmed by certain emotions or by the way I see the world – but I’m not one to write a track, start to finish, in a single sitting. Usually, at the height of such emotional turmoil, I come up with the central idea for a song, then I add to it, little by little, in a very guitar-centric fashion, until the narrative is complete.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Above all, I want people to think for themselves about the structures of power, and their role as active co-creators of this shared reality of ours. In a more intimate sense, I want to bring some relief to the anguished, and anguish to the tranquil.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Nope. I get along reasonably well with myself.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
Well, I’ve been completely focused on writing and recording Cactek’s first EP for a while now. It should be ready for release in the second quarter of 2022. After that, I’ll probably start working on new material for Cactek. I have no immediate plans for live presentations, but I do intend to work towards that kind of stuff at some point.