What is your name and role within :PAPERCUTZ?
Bruno Miguel, I write and produce the group’s songs. I’m also the guy, if something fails, the rest of the band and people we work with, complains to.
How did you start?
I started writing music in my teens with a band. Nothing too serious, the fact I knew how to play a couple of instruments helped and I also got interested in recording, mixing and production. After we self-released an album and played shows, I wrote songs that didn’t fit the band. I’m bit of a control freak anyway so I wanted to do things on my own. :PAPERCUTZ was initially a studio project that started when I recorded those songs with some vocal contributions. I wrote the debut album ‘Lylac’ and it came out on a boutique label, Montreal’s Apennine Recordings. The album had some positive reviews which lead to show requests. I have been playing shows and writing new music ever since.
Where are you currently based?
Porto, Portugal. Its an historic European city dating back to the Roman age that has always struggled economic wise but has been working throughout recent years to reclaim its new business developments and cultural value. Music wise its still trying to find its voice but some of its best music is made in accordance to the city’s gothic elements. I do believe Portuguese music as a whole gets singular when we actually open up to the rest of the world. I’ve been fortunate to have travelled and lived elsewhere and that has given me some insight of what might be missing in my hometown. Always felt part of a globalised world and think that comes across in the music I make.
We hear that you’ve decided to do things a little bit different this time around. Instead of just putting out your (third original) album the band will performing new songs live and trying out their new set. What gave you the idea to get feedback from the shows and to use that feedback as an input to finish the record? How are you finding this process? Is it coming along as expected?
On the the last record ‘The Blur Between Us’ we got straight out of the studio into playing shows for the album release and the songs seemed to evolve live but at that time it was too late to present them as such. It also helps you cut out those that you feel do not translate the message behind the record. You need that space to know for sure. Its not something new, a lot of other bands do this but for me its a first. I believe its something I’ll be doing from now on however there’s a potential negative side to it, you have to realize things will never be perfect and come up with a conclusion. Fortunately our label, who have been patient enough, have set a deadline for this or it might end up as an never ending process. Deadlines can be a good thing.
What inspired this mix? And how do you approaching mixing?
Well since Red Bull Radio wanted to connect to RBMA Alumni and asked to show what I was working on, I thought of highlighting artists and sounds that have triggered some new elements in my upcoming new album “King Ruiner”. Obviously its a small window since its fitted for a club set mixed with some ambient tracks but it showcases how there’s a pan global sound whereas you’ve got electronic or experimental tracks that mix different cultures, from modern to traditional, creating this new sense of something in the Les Baxter era we would call ‘Exotica’ (preceded by Debussy’s Arabesques). A more recent example of this has been Fourth World’s Jon Hassle depiction and we’ve reached a point right now where new music comes from a melting pot of producers playing out all the influences they get from their rich cultural local surroundings and music that reaches them thought the internet, from the rest of the world.
How would you describe your music genre?
Not trying to sound like its something completely out of the box but I’ve always struggled to answer that properly. I’ve been slowly trying out new ideas throughout our records but in the end I still think I write electronic driven songs, mostly under the pop format, some instrumental and a bit more experimental but with substance. If you spend some time with them you’ll be rewarded with deeper thinking behind it all, be it musically or concept/lyric wise. I do try to challenge myself to come up with a revised version of what :PAPERCUTZ is at the moment, strongly connected to a new album’s concept and lyrics. This new record is about trying to find out your way out through failure so there’s dark slow songs and others the complete opposite, up tempo and euphoric.
What are your plans for the future?
Besides the album getting out and everything that comes with it. Working on some visuals with the art direction of someone who has worked with me since the beginning, Susana Maia, and expanding our live show, I’m also writing my first movie score for a young Portuguese director’s new film. Hopefully everything will come out as good as I hope.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Still very much going through some of the music I explained before, from old South African recordings, to ‘Fourth World’ inspired tracks from various parts of the world, to more modern global club sounds since I’ve started doing some live DJ sets as well. I’m also really into rich vocal recordings and vocal harmony music, the choir aspect of a folklore song has been a fundamental element in my most recent record cause it perpetuates this idea of inner force and struggle. We’ve actually managed to setup our Spotify profile (https://open.spotify.com/artist/26oHNL6qZClnNqhIDgJUKe?si=0OqeMSlS) wasn’t easy with a name such as :PAPERCUTZ (many issues have come from that but that’s a hole different interview ahaha) but there you’ll find playlists that I try to keep updated.
Who are your top 3 influences and icons?
Since your question is not music related, which usually is and I tend to repeat myself, I can mention Fernando Pessoa, one of Portugal’s brightest minds, an introspective self-critical writer who wrote about existential themes based upon his life and dreams; Oliver Sacks, a neurologist most know as the writer of the wonderful ‘Musicophilia’ who has showed me how much we still have to find out about our most natural physical relationship with music and I’ve been binge-watching Tarantino movies whose mixture between Shakespeare like dialogues and pop culture, creating his own unique movie language and still entertaining, something I aspire to, just never ceases to amaze me.
When are you playing next?
We’ve got a few shows here in Portugal, we want to keep improving our new live set till the album comes out. If all goes well we should be back touring shows in rest of Europe by end of the year. A special event will be happening on the first day of September, in a festival called Lisb-On we’re debuting a live and unique performance with a couple of talented friends that share a similar vision, its something we’ve worked out in the studio and the festival production along with Red Bull Portugal as allowed us to showcase it live to a croud eager for new sounds. That should be a highlight!