The Gift have been around since the early 90's and with every album sounding vastly different to their previous one, they’re a band that clearly embrace change.
The band have just released their latest album Altar, filled with their brand of electro-pop it has been polished and refined to perfection, by legendary producer Brian Eno.
Altar is abstract and brings something new to the electronic music scene, between touring and all the travel The Gift found some time to talk to us, to let us know about their passions and the creative process for their LP.
How did the band first come together?
We all met in our tiny Portuguese village, famous for its local monastery - Alcobaça. This was the late 80s and we had no idea that some years after we would start a band and count on each other as a family. The first shows by The Gift were back in 1994 in a very artsy club in our home town, and from that moment on until today our career and our lives are together!
Describe your music in three words?
Elegant, spontaneous and honest.
You worked with Brian Eno on this album how was that creatively?
Brian affected our music and our way of seeing our music and the composition of our songs.
Brian is a brilliant producer but most important a brilliant human being and his influence on our life is not only musical but also related to the way we can create music in a 100% pleasant, creative and free way!
With Brian all the sessions in Spain, London and finally in our own studio in Alcobaca were relaxed and this is something we will not forget. The way we used the time to maximise the compositions and the aesthetic.
So when you recorded this album did you ever think about how it would sound live?
Never. Actually, this is something we never thought in any of our albums.
We want to do the best in the studio and the best on stage but one doesn't influence the other. Especially in Altar, although the album was recorded in a "live mode" with all the musicians playing in the same room and recording at the same time, but the idea was never to do it thinking about the live show. It just happened that way.
Then, when we have shows to promote, like we have now at the Bush Hall in London on May 25th - we rehearse the songs thinking about the stage and how we want those songs to sound live.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
The band has a lot of influences especially because we are 4 musicians and on this new album, we were 7 musicians playing it from the beginning which means each one has their favourite artists.
But I think there are some that everyone was influenced by somehow, like David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Beck, Talking Heads, Bjork, Arcade Fire, Nick Cave and so many others.
What city would you love to perform at but haven’t yet?
Fortunately, we have played all continents except Africa but I would love to play Japan, Shanghai or Macau, but we definitely need to organise something in Japan.
What are some of your most memorable moments as a band?
Nowadays what excites us more is to know that every day there are people discovering our music and having new audiences in the shows outside of Portugal is something that we love, in the same way, that it is a challenge to play the whole Altar album on the tour.
As a band, we always believe that the best is still to come and with the maturity of being in a group with more than 2 decades, we will definitely have the courage to risk and try new roads and have no idea where they will take us.
What other Portuguese acts should we be on the look out for?
In Portugal, there are established acts like Rodrigo Leão, David Fonseca, X-Wife, Rita Red Shoes, hand in hand with new exciting projects and upcoming artists such as Capitão Fausto, Savana, Noiserv, You Can't Win Charlie Brown, Bruno Pernadas or Best Youth.
Portugal is living in a very exciting time for the music industry, as there is a lot of diversity and different aesthetics which we should applaud especially coming from a very small country!
If you could say one thing to the entire world what would you say?
Follow your passions, no matter what!
What would you do to make the world a better place?
The world is a wonderful place but each person has their own preferences. In a certain period of my life, I was more urban, interested in seeing all the new exhibitions, new bands, new movies. After living 4 years in Rio de Janeiro I value much more the nature and the freedom to enjoy that nature.
The only thing I can do to make it a better place is to take care of this nature, enjoy it the best I can and try to influence the new generations to take care and respect it in all possible ways.
Future ambitions for the band?
We have this ambition very difficult to achieve by a band from Portugal without a big label or a big agency or a big publisher which is to make a world tour with at least 1000 people every night to see us.
Maybe this is too ambitious but in Portugal and Spain sometimes we achieve it, so we keep on dreaming to do it worldwide!
Altar is out now and the band will be playing at Bush Hall on the 25th of May and The Great Escape on the 19th of May at Sallis Benney