David Santos is a Portuguese composer, singer-songwriter, part of Portuguese indie-rock band You Can’t Win Charlie Brown, and a true performer. For the last nine years he has been building his solo career as Noiserv. While widely known in Portugal, he is only now giving his first steps outside the country. In an almost ironic way, while the first three albums – One Hundred Miles from Thoughtlessness, Almost Visible Orchestra (A.V.O), and Everything Should be Perfect Even If No One’s There – were sung in English, only now he has focused on full Portuguese-spoken album. Building a strong relationship with words and thoughts trough his songs, as well as building the entire songs by himself, he is, in our opinion, one of the best Portuguese acts to follow. Even if you don’t talk or understand any Portuguese.
In order to know a little bit more him and his music-making process, the following interview intercalates with some of his past and present songs. So, this is Noiserv:
Don’t Say Hi If You Don’t Have Time for a Nice Goodbye
[WtMM]: Hi David, how are you?
[David Santos a.k.a. Noiserv] I’m good!
For the people that do not know you, how would you describe yourself as a musician?
It’s a bit weird to answer this question. It’s like if you asked me to describe myself as a person, in that case I would say: “Let’s have a talk” and so in this case I should say: “Please listen to my music and you will have the answer”.
You are also part of You Can’t Win Charlie Brown. Writing and playing in a band is something you need to complement your solo career? Is one career a result of the other or did both just happened naturally?
You are completely right. As a musician it’s really good to have both experiences :).
The Noiserv Parade
If music is in part a result of all the things we heard, what do you consider to be your main musical influences, and how did they change over the years?
The word “influences” it’s a bit strange, I like to believe that I’m trying to do something only mine and not trying to be like someone else. But ok, I can say that between the artist that I listen the most you have: Radiohead, Explosions in the sky, Sigur Rós, and a few more.
You have an almost solitary way of making music, being surrounded by a lot of different instruments (from traditional ones to even toy instruments). Does your creative process require being alone?
I think so, it’s something that I really need. Doing a song and all the arrangements for Noiserv it’s something too personal to be surround by other people. Besides that I also play in other projects and it’s always a good moment to compose with others.
So, almost every song you’ve written are about stories, both the ones that happen and the ones inside your head. Do the second ones usually win over the first ones?
It’s a mix between those. For me, the best way to live is to make the stories inside our head a bit more real than just imagination.
After three albums and a long EP, your latest album 00:00:00:00 is much different from all the previous plays. Can you explain what is it all about and what made you change the direction?
I don’t think that it’s a change of direction, it’s just a conceptual group of songs :). I always loved how a piano sounds and so it was easy to predict a piano record :). By the way the concept behind this record is a soundtrack of a movie that doesn’t exists yet :)!
Although “00:00:00:00” is the first album you made entirely in Portuguese, it is also very piano-based (almost like a classic composition). Would you say it is still an album for every listener?
I think so. What is a “every listener”? Songs are made of emotions for the ones who want to listen them. There aren’t special people for this, or for any record :P.
People who have seen you play live know that a big part of the show is about the stories behind the songs. Is it different with these new songs?
Completely not. Every song has a story behind!
From all songs in your last album, which one has the most inspiring story behind it? Can you tell us more about that story?
Maybe the last one, DEZOITO. It’s a song where I’m trying to understand if my songs will live more than me.
Being a Marathoner
Is playing live the ultimate goal of making new music? Or is it more about “getting it all” out?
You can do everything alone, or with a band, but the music will only make sense if it reachs people, making part of their lifes. A concert is the main point of that conection.
You have a solid career in your home country (Portugal) and are now playing more and more shows across Europe. How long did it take until your music reached other countries? Was this something you dreamed or eager about for long?
Being from Portugal, it’s really hard to spread the music outside. We are in a far away position from the center of Europe and rest of the world. For me it took several years to start it and it’s always really hard, it still is.
Do you have any plans regarding playing more shows around Europe soon?
At the moment, only France is with confirmed gigs, you can check my updated tour on my facebook page.
Well, thank you! We will definitely try to get you live again this year!
We recommend you all do. Until then, you should listen to Noiserv repertoire here: