It was about time we met Still Life! Still Life were born from the fusion of violin and voice. It is a three-piece band consists of João Silva and Margherita Abita. Also, Claudio Marrero completes the group with saxophone and keyboards. João born in Portugal, Margherita in Italy and Claudio in Spain and they managed to combine their roots and their musical background.
A delicate moment in their lives was the main reason for their collaboration. Recently, they released their album “La Maquina de Sueños” (“Dream Machine”) and we took the chance to contact them. What do they say about their name and what is the story behind it? In what language is it easier to express their feelings while singing theirs songs? Still Life is a ‘flexible’ and very creative group that can record two albums in a year. Their influences and their ‘secret ingredient’ in creations make them stand out from other groups and give them the chance to gain reputation.
Who are the artists that they would love to collaborate with in the future and what has been their biggest challenge as a band? If you want to learn their answers, read the interview below!
Who are Still Life? How did you guys meet and how did you come together as a band?
Still Life is an intersection of paths. The project was born first as a violin solo project in Barcelona, where Joao lived. It becomes a duo only when Joao met Margherita for a coincidence of life. They met in a restaurant of Porto, in “Rua da Alegria” (“Happiness street”, how couldn’t this do not work?), where Joao was on tour playing with his band, and Margherita was visiting the town, just two days after finishing his spiritual journey to Santiago de Compostela. After few months later Margherita moved to Barcelona and they start working together, and the Joao’s music started to have a lyrics and a voice. Claudio came a bit later… he has a thunderbolt with the music of Still Life as a listener, probably because the delicate moment of life that he was going through. Claudio collaborated as a guest in the song “Tree” of the first album. Then they started work together, and Claudio brought his wave, until composing “Find you in the deep”, a song of the second album, that speaks about the connection between our childhood and our identity.
How did you choose your name “Still Life”? What is the story behind it?
“Still Life” was the original name of the solo project, and we choose to keep it. It comes from the “still life” we use in our music: pc, pedals, cables, effects, loops. Generally Joao record the background and the ambience of music using a loop station, which gradually enriches with effects and sounds, creating a magnetic and enveloping atmosphere… where simple melodies with pure meanings and emotions come to life. Still life is also an expression that literally contains a strong sense of hope that our music contains.
João is from Portugal, Margherita from Italy and Claudio from Spain. What different does each one of you bring to table when you sit down together to write your music?
Everyone brings what made part of their own experience. References of one’s origins, of the particular path of music and life.
You release songs in all three of the above languages. Which is the language that helps you express your emotions through your songs?
People would say italian, because it’s Margherita’s native language. But actually every song born in a different language for a reason, in fact in our process of creations, generally born the music first, and then the lyrics, as if every song suggested with its sound the meaning and the language. And this generates something very interesting, because music and sound can go beyond simple words. This is why a song in italian like “Nuvola”, of the first album, has such a strong meaning that could have make cry a spanish men even if he don’t know the story behind it or cant’t understand every single word.
Your songs are created and recorded in real time! Is this the element that makes your music so special or is there also another secret “ingredient”?
Probably if there is a secret ingredient, it’s just that we don’t create our music to work in today’s music market. We just make music because we need to do it, and we accept what come from our instincts. Basically we try not to think too much when we create. And this could be the reason why we record two albums in less than a year. We think that the fact that most of the music we made is based on loops that we create in real time, that create a kind of mantra that everyone who listen to it easily get involved with the music.
Your latest album is entitled “Dream Machine” and was released recently. Is there any song that stands out for you from its tracklist and if yes why?
There is a transparent thread that unites our work from the beginning to the present. The two albums are very coherent, even if “Dream Machine” shows growth, our identity is very clear in both. “Tempo” and “Find you in the deep” break our harmonic repetition scheme because they don’t use loops, but the essence and the sound of “Still Life” remains there.
Which names are among your musical influences?
We all have different human and musical paths, and that gives several musical influences to our project. We have been influenced by musicians like Jeff Buckley, Aurora, Adam Baldych, Noiserv, Josh Garrels… the classical music, jazz and world music is always present as well…
Is there any artist in the world that you would love to collaborate with in the future?
There’s a lot of musicians that we would love to collaborate with in the future, but if we had to chose we would like to collaborate with Adam Baldych, Noiserv and Aurora, cause their music inspired us a lot on the creative process.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
The biggest challenge for us as a band was and still is that everything is self produced (recording, mixing, artwork, photos, videos, etc…) As an independent project we have to be strong and persistent to be able to make everything possible and avoid that problems influence our music. We would like to be concentrate only in creating and playing our music, but the lack of economic resources forces us to make all this work. As we are an emergent project we know that this is the way to begin, and we will continue doing it with will, pleasure and power until it is necessary.
Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge for offering emotional or any other kind of support?
We have the lucky to have our family and friends that believe in us, and sustain us with pride and confidence. We have also the opportunity to travel and play in a lot of different places, and the experience is amazing. Most of the people who listen to us enjoy and share our music with their friends, and that is what gives us the motivation to continue
creating. Of course we want to say thank you to our family and friends, but also to all the people that follow us and make our dream come true.
What are your future plans?
Our plan and wish for the future is to take our music to new places and new people to expand our horizons, without limits.
Do you have any idea which will be the next single from “Dream Machine”?
From “Dream Machine” we probably won’t release new single, but we are already creating new music for the near future.
Where do you want to go from here, with your career?
As we told before, we want to take the music to new people and new places, and also get more people involved in our project. We start as a duo and now we have strings and saxophone collaborating with us and why not in the future adopt new sounds?
What is your motto in life?
Let everything flow and try to make always the best, with love, passion and joy… if one thing is made well and with those ingredients, it must work.
Interview: Theodore Kolliopoulos