[INTERVIEW] SEASE on vowing to experimental and self-discovery

Exciting Portuguese duo tells us all about composing without barriers.

All Photos by Pedro Ivan.

SEASE have been making us wonder. Not only inside our heads but also inside our cars. Driving away, or driving into the garage. We’ve found ourselves listening to SEASE indietronic flow in an almost obsessive way. And almost everywhere. We mean… It has happen before, we have the opportunity to do an interview, we like the band (how it sounds obviously) and we go for it. But has never quite happened liked this. After the interview we’ve listened to SEASE more and more. Something really special stayed with us, so we gave it more and more attention. Like a proper relationship. Now we can say their indie-pop experimentalism and electronic elements have found a lot of love inside us. SEASE are like that. A voyage that starts without a clear purpose, but that feels gorgeous every-time we do it. And different too. And that is a magical thing.

But let’s do it right. For you all. SEASE are a duo from Oeiras (Lisbon) that was born from the will of creating music without boundaries. Their sound is a mix of indie-pop with electronic elements and even atmospheric nuances. They make songs that sound like the nature and that feel genuine and unexpected. And starting by the end, they have just released the gorgeous Vow.

The Then and Now

[WtMM]Who are SEASE?
[Rita] – We are a duo. I’m Rita. He’s Miguel. We started doing music together at the age of 15. And I remember telling Miguel we didn’t want to think about what SEASE were going to be or what we were going to sound like. I guess what comes out as our style results from the fact that we do not define any barriers to our sound.
[Miguel] – I think our style is not devoid of genre, but it was not intentional or very thoughtful, but rather the result of everything we heard and we end up transmitting to what we do. But I do not know how to classify (laughs).
[Rita]- In 20 years, someone will come and put the labels on us (laughs).

But isn’t there a more common reference or inspiration?
[Miguel] – Hmmm … common to both of us? Hmm… Probably only Brazilian music like Bossa Nova… and The XX.

You started in 2016 with the release of an EP (check below). To that, followed an album in 2017, and a second EP in 2018. Now a single in 2019 (Vow). In this sense, for this year what can we expect?
[Rita] – We want to keep it this way, releasing only singles with some months between them. I think we have a strong set of songs to play live that we like and we pride ourselves and we want to do things more calmly and in a more thoughtful way…

Meanings and Process

In terms of thematic, can we say that SEASE songs are mainly songs about love?
[Rita] – I think my lyrics to SEASE are always about me… But I am only a model of all humanity, and we are all alike in many things. I think … So yes … It’s a world of spirituality and experiences. A world about learning to live and how to manage our expectations, our traumas, as well as the most wonderful things that happen to us. It is a quest for balance.
[Miguel]- I think it’s rarely romantic in the way they are not related to the typical relationship between boyfriend and girlfriend. That is, I think it is often about love, but love for a friend, or a relative…
[Rita]- There are few songs about relationships actually … Vow, for example, is a conversation between me and me. Between a part of me that is more given to impulses, more animal… A part of me that wants things and suffers and falls in love, and another part that is more rational, and that takes care of and that is more like a mother. But I realize there are a lot of people who identify with them as love songs. And I think it’s great.

Is there a typical creative process for you both as SEASE?
[Miguel]-We can say that, yes. But there are exceptions. But for the most part, I have an idea that is already minimally composed and instrumental, and then we go from there. That idea in terms of structure is never really defined. That’s typically where Rita comes in, and from there we compose the two. But there have been songs in which Rita started the process …
[Rita]- Hm hm … Yes but mine are more keyboard, guitar, and voice… While Miguel’s are more structured, and the production part goes more hand-in-hand…
[Miguel]- I think this is one of those things where we differ from the typical songwriting process. In our case, there is never a fixed melody that then fits into a voice and is produced at the end. For us, production is going on at the same time. The process is continuous and until the last details are in the song and the production is never finished.

The Electronic Overflow

You mentioned The XX, and in fact we noticed an electronic trend since you started …
[Miguel] – Yes! It always existed. The electronic part was with us from the beginning but was not very focused on that reference… Where I can hear more influence of The XX is maybe on the guitars. The electronic part I can say is more inspired by Nicolas Jaar or Jamie XX (laughs). But typically I focus on things more… Hm…. More…. More related with experimental electronics …
[Rita]- You’ve never heard any music in your life all of a sudden, huh? (laughs)
[Miguel] – Yes (laughs) I’m missing references, but I mean I base it more on machine-oriented projects. The idea was from the beginning to base our sound on very electronic things. And that was one of the things I feel we evolved more from the start. I mean, even live… It has always been complicated to turn live performances into something more human, but now we’ve got it. And I feel we can now sound more…

Organic?
[Miguel] – Exactly!!! That is the word. Organic!!

Do you feel there is some kind of sonority that you’d like to explore but you have not had the opportunity yet?
[Rita]- Oh yes… There are some I would love to and think it would be amazing, but I feel my technical abilities are not yet there… Sonority like the one from Moonchild. I also love Hiatus Kaioyote. I would love exploring these sounds and getting lost in those paths. With Miguel because I think the electronic part of these bands suits us quite well.

Those who listen to your repertoire from beginning to end can probably realize that there is a lot of experimentation or the lack of fear of experimenting … Do you think that this makes your music reach more or lesser people?
[Rita]- I like to say that I think it makes it reach more… But I don’t think we have a large enough audience base right now to be able to respond to that. But personally, I also make music for myself. And I like to listen to an album and feel like I’m traveling. I think the experience of the concerts or the album that people hear in the car from start to finish and say that they let themselves go… it’s a very positive one!
[Miguel]- I think it has a lot to do with how we present everything to the public. What we’re going to do now is probably riskier because the next single is very different from Vow. But also for the album we took a long time to decide the order of the set-list. Exactly because of this: we want the songs to interlace and make sense.

Advises and Possibilities

In your opinion so far, what do you feel that has helped you reach more people? Do you feel there is something that has helped you the most?
[Rita]- That’s a difficult question… No doubt that some things do help … Well, we released the first EP without any planning, without any organization …
[Miguel]- Yes, we didn’t even have a name … But even on our own we were already focused on doing a serious project …
[Rita]- But having someone who believes in our work. Someone who can work with us, …
[Miguel]- I think it’s mostly meeting people. The exchange of experiences with other bands, with other people in the business. Mostly the exchange of knowledge between bands… But it’s important to have someone to help us promote yes. And essentially to build a well-though strategy…

So in that sense do you feel that there is someone with whom you could work and that you’ve not yet been given the opportunity to?
[Rita]- Thinking about things that could be possible… Or thinking about bands in Portugal… We both like Portuguese Hip Hop very much (laughs). And there are some artists with whom we would not mind collaborating at all. But maybe that is even more a matter of personal fulfillment…
[Miguel] – In the international context and taking advantage of her coming to Portugal… Rosalia does some things that would fit very well with what we do…
[Rita]- Pfff… Yes… That would be awesome…

[Miguel]- In a perspective of learning from the process, I’d love to spend a day in the studio with… I can say many. But Jamie XX and Nicolas Jaar must have some incredible creative processes…
[Rita]- BanksSevdaliza… Artists we love…
[Miguel]- Mostly people that I like very much and that when I listen, I’d love to understand better what is going on in their creative process. Those are the ones I’d love to work with.

Talking about festivals. What are the ones you think would be possible to play in a shorter time frame?
[Miguel] – Possible? Bons Sons … We would love it.
[Rita] – If we could play the Jazz na Relva (Jazz in the Grass) of Paredes de Coura would be beautiful. But what does not look beautiful on that stage?
[Miguel] – And Tremor

P(l)ay It Forward

What are your favorite bands?
[Rita] – That we both listen to? Japanese House. We’ve both been listening to them a lot.
[Miguel] – It’s very difficult for me to have an artist who I follow from start to end… or from January to January. The only one is maybe Tom Jobim.
[Rita]- Mayra Andrade for me…
[Miguel]-  Sade, The XX.
[Rita]- I think it’s all about cycles. But those are the ones that repeat themselves a lot.

Probably the most difficult question of all. What new bands you know and would like to recommend to the world? The ones you feel a lot of people should know about?
[Rita] – Oh… Left!!! About who you have already written…
[Miguel] – But he is more known than us already. Definitely Matheus Paraízo!
[Rita] – He’s an outstanding singer. It’s very good !! YES!!
[Miguel] – If we are talking about very new… Matheus Paraízo is mandatory!

[Rita] – And Lour… I really enjoyed the song Remember Me. I think he has is very own thing and a very round and very organized sound. Shouldn’t take long to be massive…

Where do you guys see yourselves 5 to 10 years from now in musical terms?
[Miguel] – We wish we were playing out-there (outside Portugal). Above everything that’s what I desire. We still have to find out if we have to leave Portugal in order to have more impact. Similar to what happens with some other Portuguese bands… Moonspell are the main example. They open to festivals abroad and in Portugal they still lack the recognition they deserve. But the greatest achievement would be to live from the music we do.
[Rita] – I would love to write for other people. It’s a dream! To make my life that way… With my own music too of course.

If like us you want to feel obsessed by a band. Or want to feel transported to an alternative reality where music is the hero, do follow SEASE on the below links. You won’t regret it:

Facebook Twitter Soundcloud Spotify Bandcamp – InstagramYoutube

For the ones in Lisbon (Portugal), SEASE will play on Musicbox on the next Friday 26th. You can grab tickets here. Or check all the concert info here.

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