Introduce us to your project!
We are The Bateleurs, a Blues/Rock band from Lisbon, Portugal
How did you start out?
I met Sandrine (Vocals) on a studio session. We realized we had a lot of common influences and, after a while, we started playing in clubs with two fellow musicians, one of them being Rui Reis (Drummer), an old friend of mine, that I knew from playing in other bands. We played essentially songs from our favourite bands, like Zeppelin, Purple, Janis, Hendrix, Beatles and others from the 60s and 70s.
It was obvious that we had some chemistry, and we tried to write our own songs. Last year, we chose the best 3 and went to a studio to record, and The Bateleurs was born.
Describe your project’s sound
It’s not easy, but I think we could say we play a retro-sounding mix of Rock and Blues, with some Soul and Jazz elements mixed in.
What influences your craft?
We are deeply influenced by the early sound of the late 60s, early 70s Rock, bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple being our biggest inspirational pools. As artists, we also dive deep in the Blues, so we dig a lot on BB King, SRV, and many others. On the aesthetic side, we are all passionate about the way The Beatles composed and arranged song, and that is a big part of our influences. We also love the old school Motown sound, and throw in some Soul and Funk in the mix too. Sometimes, because we are from a southern European country, we like to go a bit more ethnic, and do some things with a Mediterranean, even Arabic feel.
What makes your project different?
Apart from the fact that we write about subjects that almost everyone can relate to, like living life in the modern world and all the pressure surrounding it, I really think that our strong point is the way we approach playing music in the first place. We believe that the evolution of technologies in music production sucked the life out of the art, and we are compromised in doing all our recordings without using digital editing tools to correct our performance. We have a grudge with Autotune and audio quantization, two techniques we are very familiar with because of our work as session studio players, and we absolutely forbid us to use them in our work. We just get down to the studio and play it and sing it until our fingers and throats bleed, like it was done in the old records we love. I hope that truth and commitment are evident to the listener when hearing our songs.
When introducing people to your music, what song should I show them first? What is your quintessential track?
Probably of the three tracks of our EP, Lost My Faith really showcases what we’re doing; powerful riffs, great groove, mind-blowing vocals, and really strong songwriting and arrangements.
What has been the biggest struggle in your career so far?
The biggest struggle has been trying to rise above the noise. There are more bands nowadays than ever before, everybody’s releasing and promoting, and the competition is fiercer than ever. You really have to commit a big amount of time to networking and marketing – time we rather spend composing songs and booking gigs, but this is the modern way of doing it, and we can’t escape it.
What has been the biggest highlight in your career so far?
We recently were invited to play at the Annual European Harley Davidson Rally. This year, it will be in our country, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to play our music to a massive audience, we think the best way to really reach new fans is playing live, not the internet, and hope this will be a big highlight in our growth as a band.
How bright is the future of your project – what are the plans?
This year, we will be recording and releasing our first album, and we’re already making contacts to tour it throughout Europe, so we hope 2020 will be a fruitful year.
When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
We’ve been doing this for a while now, and all of us had projects and bands that, one way or the other, eventually stumbled and fell. With The Bateleurs, we’re finally making our true voice be heard, without commercial concerns or compromising of any kind; if people remember us, hopefully, it will be for our honesty and commitment.
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