Saturday, July 5, 2014

Miguel Barella, 13 questions

Photo Walter de Silva Voluntários da Pátria at SESC Pompéia

Guitarist Miguel Barella, born in 11/06/1957, São Paulo, Brazil, producer, sound engineer, luthier, amp & effects builder


Founder of new wave groups in S. Paulo Agentss and Voluntários da Pátria; extensive list of gigs with both; recorded 3 vinyl albums; signed with WEA
Played with several local groups such as Gang 90 & Absurdettes, Akira`S e as Garotas que Erraram, IRA!
Workshop with Holger Czuckay (CAN)
Performed at the 18 º Bienal de São Paulo (1985) with a group that played for John Cage
Founder & owner of OBJ studios (analog 16 channel) dedicated to jingles and indie bands recording
Produced several demos for local rock bands
Participated in several Guitar Craft Seminars conducted by Robert Fripp


Recorded and released 2 instrumental guitar oriented albums with long term partner guitarist Giuseppe Lenti
Recorded and played with local rock band IRA!
Performed with several Brazilian musicians such as DJ Dolores, Fred 04 (both from Recife´s Mangue Bit movement)
Recorded and produced ethno-music group Mawaca 
Several gigs with Mawaca as FOH sound engineer

Foto de Jr Duran

2000 up to now

Created soundtracks for theater and performances with Mawaca´s Director Magda Pucci
FOH sound engineer for the legendary CBGB rock band Television in several tours in Latin america and Europe
Started to experiment with free improvisation & noise
Joined local improvisation group LCD and played in Barcelona at Can Festis and LEM Festival and performed with trash horror movies legend Coffin Joe
Created the improvisation duo Rohrer/Barella with Swiss sax & rabeca player Thomas Rohrer. The duo performed and recorded with Patricia Ossess (plastic artist), Rob Mazurek (cornet player from Chicago), Josh Abrahams (bass player from Chicago), Phil Minton (British vocalist), Hans Koch (Swiss claronist), Mauricio Takara (Brazilian percussionist), Audrey Chen (American-Chinese cellist & vocalist)

Worked with sound designer anvilFX that includes soundtracks, sessions with Damo Suzuki (CAN), recordings with percussion legend João Parahyba (Trio Mocotó, Jorge Benjor) and Finnish bass player Pekka Lehti (Vaarttina, Lepisto/Lehti duo)
Studied guitar with Richard Lloyd (from Television)
Tour Manager for Mawaca at the Expo Shanghai 2010, China
Performed at the Noise/Improvisation Festival RESO; Shanghai, China

Plus instruments Truus Sclavunos AnvilFX Miguel Barella

Which was the first and the last records you bought with your own money?  

​First: Brain Salad Surgery - Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Last: Dream Logic - Eivind Aarset​

What do you recall about your guitar learning process?

​The first time I was able to play (and count) a 5/4

Why do you pick up play the guitar?

Beatlemania was going on at that time and the guitar became the obvious choice for kids. It was also a very popular instrument in Brazil due to bossanova.

MIGUEL BARELLA and THOMAS ROHRER visual piano @ live cinema sao paolo

Which work of your own are you most surprised by, and why?

​When I listen to old material I always  get surprised... makes me wonder what I was thinking or feeling when I did that.​

What's the importance of technique in music, in your opinion?

​If you want to play music written by others  you need to be technically prepared. Otherwise, technique has to be a mean to achieve your own voice and vocabulary.

performance: PB+LAZLO-ii+Miguel BARELLA. projeçã

What quality do you empathize with most in a musician?

​The ability to listen, react, interact​ and respect the need for silence.

What’s the difference between a good guitar and a bad guitar?

​This is a tricky question... a good guitar is one you have and like to play. A bad guitar is one that does not allow you to express yourself.​

Brian Mackern - living stereo, Kurt Laurenz Theinert - visual piano, Miguel Barella e Thomas Rohrer

What are the challenges and benefits of today's music scene?  

​Everything is too fast... not time to mature ideas​... as soon as you present something it is on the web even if it is not ready yet.

What gear do you use?

​A regular 6 string guitar tunned one tone lower, but I have several... from cheap to home made to custom...I prefer the Fender scale; p-ups ​can be single or humbucker. I also use a travel guitar as table top; I tune it randomly and use a lot of objects to move the strings (picks, archs, screws... anything).

On the effects side... distortion, pitch shifter, tremolo, envelope follower, volume, delay, flanger, delay (in this order). Everthing goes to a small mixer hooked to an Oberheim Echoplex, Digitech RDS delay, ring modulator and filter.

I prefer old Electro Harmonix stuff but I am not tied to any special brand or vintage thing. If it sounds good I will use it.

Amps: I like the Roland Jazz Chorus and small single end tube amps with 12" speakers.

Sound track: 'A Surrealist Object' by Alvos Moveis, Miguel Barella and Giuseppi Lenti.

Do you remember specially any of your teachers?

​Yes, a guitar teacher that used the piano for ear training.​

Sound: Cassandra's Error by Alvos Moveis. Miguel Barella: guitar, trumpet, Giuseppe Lenti: guitar

What do you need from music?

​Music is what I use to give unsual and changing experiences to people.

Paulo Beto (Anvil FX, Sintetizador, Sampler, Kaoss Pad e Computador; Elói Chiqueto (Dr.Silvestre), Instrumentos Eletro-Eletrônicos Inventados e Computadores Obsoletos; Miguel Barella, Guitarra com Processadores Eletrônicos e Gralha Catalã; Kiko Araujo, Video-projeções, Cameras de Segurança, Lanternas e Objetos Diversos, Computador.

Tell me one musical work which has provoked a change in your music?

​In a Silent Way by Miles Davis. I was very young when I hear it, at that time I was listening to progressive rock and this album put me in a sort of trance state... so different from what I was used to.​

 LCD: Paulo Beto, Dr.Silvestre, Miguel Barella & Kiko Araujo. Festival Motomix, São Paulo

What projects are you working on now and what does the future hold?

​I am working in small improvised duos that will be used in a documentary about wine... the future is open... I would like to go back to compositions and arrangements.​

Selected Discography

Agentss: Angra/Agentss (1982 - Scorpios Discos)


Voluntários da Pátria: Voluntários da Pátria (1984 - Baratos Afins Discos)


Miguel Barella & Giuseppe Lenti: Alvos Móveis (1996 - Suck My Discs)


LCD: 20' of free improvisation in São Paulo (2001 - Testing Ground)


Miguel Barella & Giuseppe Lenti: Alvos Móveis - Slow Link (2002 - Voiceprint)


LCD: 070|702 (2002 - SaciMusic)


Rohrer/Barella: Gongs (2003 - SaciMusic)


Rohrer/Barella + Erkizia: Assault (2004 - Peligro Discos)


Compilation Não Wave (2005 - Man Recordings)


Rohrer/Mazurek/Takara/Barella (2006 - Peligro Discos)


Compilation Satanic Samba (2008 - Super/Lowlands)


Rohrer & Barella + Osses (2010 - SaciMusic)


Miguel Barella, Arrebato, Mai Mai: Live in Shanghai - R.E.S.O. 17 (2010 - SaciMusic)