An Interview with Wallace Costa

Wallace Costa loves Bert Jansch, Velvet Underground, Chico Buarque, Nick Drake and the like. He is from Cruzeiro, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. He is a former member of the band Saturno Ataca. In 2008, he asked for a loan from his grandmother to invest in a harmonica and a guitar. From that point on he started on his experimentations with music, right there in his bedroom. His sound is a mix of folk, lo-fi and psych rock, very minimal and pastoral. Amazingly minimal. We had a chat with him to learn more about his creative process and the isolation of living away from the bustling cosmopolitan life in São Paulo.

PUNCHLAND: Talk a little bit about yourself for our Punchland readers here in New York .

WALLACE COSTA: I’m from Cruzeiro, São Paulo (Brazil). Cruzeiro is a small town and life is tranquil. I grew up here and I travel when I can. I have a few concerts a year and record songs obsessively.

PUNCHLAND: What is the impact of living in Cruzeiro in your creative process? Does it hinders the ability to have collaborations or it doesn’t really matter given that you have access to all these social networks?

WALLACE COSTA: It has an impact . It’s slightly negative, because I wanted to be closer to people who share the same ideas as me.

PUNCHLAND: “Erosion” is a chimera of folk, psych rock and some experimentation which is somewhat different from your previous record. Talk about the transition and the themes of the new album.

WALLACE COSTA: I like instruments . Always have. I’m inquisitive when it comes to the music world.

I believe Erosion is a record that moves between these sonic experiments.

I was very pleased with the result. The idea came gradually. First, I found a tape recording of a cassette tape when I was 4 years old. I decided to keep it and use it on “Erosion,” which is my fourth record.

It was perfect for my numeric OCD.

In this record, I say I want to be the number 4. I thought it was an interesting finding. And the rest of the album is a combination of intimate experimentations, stuff I’ve been through since I got started in my music career. The theme is the erosion of aging people.

PUNCHLAND: You are part of this new generation of talented Brazilian artists who are, like it or not, taking advantage of social networking and the internet to keep in touch with other artists and know what’s in the music world internationally. Tells us how that influenced your creative process.

WALLACE COSTA: Well, I see a lot of good out there. That’s the main thing: a bundle of talented people. Each one of thEM has its rhythm. Some are all caught up, some are not. (laughing)

I try to follow what’s going on and take it all in.

I drop a lot of songs on the internet. Most of the time with no strategy, you know. It’s so complicated to do everything on my own that when it gets time to show it to the world I simply put them out there.

PUNCHLAND: In the “They Should Be Soft” album you recorded all the instruments yourself. Did you have any collaborations in Erosion?

WALLACE COSTA: I recorded all the instruments. It’s pretty much like that in all my projects.

PUNCHLAND: I heard that you directed and shot all your music video clips earlier; they are really concomitant with your lo-fi sound. Do you wish you had a bigger budget for them or do you think that would send a different message?

WALLACE COSTA :  I directed almost all of them. The exception is the video for “Rei” that was shot by Dellani Lima, a very talented director. But, I have a lot of fun editing them. I don’t miss a bigger budget right now.

PUNCHLAND: You said in somewhere that you feel like you are from another planet in your hometown (Cruzeiro, in the state of São Paulo), and yet you mentioned that you learn how to appreciate it. I empathize with that feeling. I grew up in Porto Alegre and I felt like that all the time. Although it’s a bigger city, culturally I felt isolated. Did those feelings change? Do you have plans to go live somewhere else?

WALLACE COSTA: It’s not like my feelings have changed, you know? It gets to a point where we seek something different and I’m planning on moving pretty soon.



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