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Bubblegum-metaphysics, lipstick-melancholy and burning-pizza. That’s how Rodrigo Soromenho Marques describes his solo project, Vaiapraia, on his Soundcloud page. These words shouldn’t work together, but they do, and that’s Marques’s style.

Vaiapraia translates from Portuguese as “Gotothebeach.”  Under this name Marques produces emotive, off-beat lo-fi pop. He has influences as wide as The Shangri-Las and Hole, and his musical approach reflects this; it’s pop on the surface but always with an undertone of punk.

His most recent release was the EP ‘Bébé Amateur.’ Marques was kind enough to offer his time for an interview about his EP, his inspiration, and the Spice Girls.

 

Noise Polluter: Where are you typing from?

Rodrigo Soromenho Marques: I’m typing from the local library of Paredes de Coura, a remote village in the north of Portugal which hosts a pretty awesome music festival that’s about to start! I’m camping by the river and I’m very excited to see acts like The Growlers, Kurt Vile, Mac DeMarco, Perfect Pussy, Yuck, Thee Oh Sees and Black Lips!

NP: Describe Vaiapraia in three words.

RSM: Confessional. Provocative. Pop.

NP: Your most recent release is a demo titled ‘Bebé Amateur,’ which you describe as ¨an anthem to all amateurs and all amateurism.¨ What is it about amateurism that interests you as a topic?

RSM: When you are doing something just because you enjoy doing it, there’s a whole lot of freedom and pleasure involved in the creative action. It allows you to create something organic and true to yourself. You are the one who decides how much you care or worry. I believed my whole life I just wanted to be part of a teenage punk rock band or turn into a super big pop star and neither of those happened, so I started writing songs on my own and I am discovering the advantages of being on my own: there’s no need to compromise and I can play whenever and whatever I want. Nevertheless, I like to do collaborative work and I imagine myself making music with other people in the near future.

NP: “Lágrimas No Cacifo” from ‘Bebé Amateur’ is one of my favorite tracks of yours. I don’t speak Portuguese myself, but a friend translated the title as “Tears in a Jar”- is that correct?

RSM: Thanks, glad you like it! You guys are close, it means “Tears in the locker”.

NP: It’s very dark musically. What’s the story behind it?

RSM: Well, I wanted to do a song with a fast tempo that would approach things like self-image and a bad high school experience. It’s really about being angry and self-conscious about your self-image, worrying about what some jerks think of you. I get really aggro and pissed off in the refrain, which if I were to rewrite in English, would be something like: “Break the locker/Kill your parents/You don’t have an invite/You’re not welcome.”

NP: Do you have any plans for an album?

RSM: I definitely have many new songs that aren’t online and I’m going back to the studio this fall to record some of them with my friend and mentor Filipe Sambado (who produced my EP and is in a neat band called Cochaise). I’m pretty sure the final result will be another EP, but there’s definitely an idea and sort of a concept for an album in my mind… Anyway, one thing I can tell you is that I have  a music video coming out directed by Boris Hoppek. He’s an awesome artist and a very peculiar person, google him.

NP: I saw that you have a Cherry Glazerr cover in your 2013 demos on Bandcamp – are you into the L.A. scene?

RSM: I absolutely love Cherry Glazerr (I write for Yon Plume and I had to interview them last summer, haha). Burger Records built a scene, which really inspires me because of the community/family-like scene they formed in Orange County (and SoCal in genera.l) They are so much more than a label, they really support their bands and they made me a big fan of cassettes.

NP: What was your experience with music growing up?

RSM: Well, before I couldn’t even read, my sister made me an eternal fan of Spice Girls. When I was a tween, I was a big Hole and Nirvana fan and simultaneously into R&B like Ciara. Throughout my high school years, I got into punk rock bands and later on listened to a lot of bad (and some ok) indie rock bands that NME recommended. In the end day, out of everything I have listened to, I would say who inspire me the most are Courtney Love, Poly Styrene, Lovefoxxx and Seth Bogart.

NP: Who’s your favorite musician or band to see live?

RSM: CSS are always an amazing band to see live. They’re one of my all-time favourites; they really saved my life when I was around 12! I saw Quintron and Miss Pussycat last week, they rocked and they even made a puppet show before the actual concert- it’s really cool to present your music in a different format. Out of the shows I’ve seen in the past year or so, the ones I would highlight would be Calvin Johnson, The Parkinsons, Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds, Destruction Unit, Pega Monstro and Putan Club. I wish Poly was still alive and I could see X-Ray Spex. I’m bummed out that the Vivian Girls broke up and I never got to see them… and I dream of the day I get to see Courtney on an stage and same goes to Hunx!! #sigh

NP: Last question- how do you feel about Cristiano Ronaldo?

RSM: I’m not a soccer fan, but there’s no doubt he’s a hardworking person and I admire hardworking people. On top of that, he seems to take very good care of his family and I am certain that a lot of people wouldn’t know about the existence of Portugal if it wasn’t for him, so… go, CR7!

 

Vaiapraia can be found on Bandcamp here and on Facebook here.

Photograph copyright Tomás Paula Marques

 

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