"The Electric Shamans"- Interview with Luis Simoes

Nucleus- Luis, I would like to begin the interview with the end. Could you speak to us of Hydrophonic Gardering", the third disk of Saturnia recently published by Mellow Records?
Simões- Hydrophonic gardening was recorded in 2002, it is our third cd and it reflects a period of meditative spirituality in Saturnia.I think it is our most ethereal and multi-layered record wich in retrospect reflects the time it was made in.

Nucleus- By what were you inspired to compose the songs?  
Simões- I never look for inspiration, i am a butterfly hunter that just waits for the butterfly to pass on by and do the best i can to catch it.Momentum is everything, and i have always tried to maintain that vibe of "lets see what hapens" in Saturnia.Of course there are those things that triger the creative process and those can be anything: a word, a place, a smell a colour and so on.For instance Planetarium came up after a session at the Lisbon planetarium.

Nucleus- Why did you choose that title exactly for the album?  
Simões- Actually the working title for the album was Lavalamp but somehow(i dont really know why) it never made total sense, it didnt seem adequate beyhond doubt.
Later i realized that the piece Hydrophonic Gardening was perfect as a metaphor for what Saturnia does wich is to plant sound flowers of a non physical nature.That was it.

Nucleus- How was this time the recording process? Did you experience with some new technique?  
Simões- We jamed for sometime and built our way up from those 16 or 17 pieces.As you may know we are a self produced band and basically we record everything we do; from that raw basis we shape and structure the music by re-recording, editing, experimenting with sounds, effects and anything we remember and feel it might work.

Nucleus- What does "Hydrophonic Gardering" of the two previous disks differ? Which do you believe that it has been the musical evolution of Saturnia?  
Simões- Saturnia started with very defined artistical direction, we worked from that basis onwards, i feel that our cds segue into the next one.It is dificult for me to answer objectively to your question as the mutations that hapened to our music were never premeditated, they just hapened.I work with the objective of bettering myself as a person and improving our art.I think that type of analisys is better made by people watching the band from the outside.

Nucleus- Could you have your own words the history of Saturnia?
Simões- I started the project in 1996 and the original idea was to do mixed media with music and image, we did a demo during that period.Later things setled in a much more traditional way of making music with Eduardo Vasconcelos on keyboards, we did the first Saturnia cd then.He left as he felt we should be a studio only band and i didnt.We are very good friends.Then Vasco Pereira came into Saturnia and stayed for about a year, unfortunately he wasn`t really the type of musician the band needed and Francisco offered to come in and stayed ever since summer 2000.Them in 2001 we licensed "The Glitter Odd" to Cranium Music and more Recently "Hydrophonic Gardening to Mellow Records.That`s it essencialy.

Nucleus- The name of the band something represents in particular? What was what you/they wanted to mean with the one?  
Simões- The bands name is a mix of several concepts and things:The planet saturn and its rings, saturnalia and the saturnia emperor moth, we threw all that in, mixed it down and got to the word Saturnia.So its a naturalistic, spacey and hedonistic name concept.

Nucleus- Which is the idea behind Saturnia? Which is their essence?  
Simões- Saturnia is about leting yourself go, i feel that the music we do is evasive and to me it works as a raft for wondering free in the clouds.

Nucleus- How are you defined musically?
Simões- Naturally we are influenced by lots of types of music, some more evident than others, i feel it would be fair enough to say we are a psych-space-prog-headmusak band but the way i see it we just do music with all the soul we can and that`s all.

Nucleus- In these moments are carrying out some tour presenting the new material?  
Simões- We will be playing some shows over here earlier next year, as to Saturnia playing out of portugal it may happen next year but that depends on a lot of external factors, mainly of a finacial nature, so it is still premature to say anything about that, it may hapen or not.

Nucleus- Is it difficult for a band of Portugal to be made know internationally?  
Simões- Music is a very hard and dificult area, i think it is very dificult for any band from anywhere to be sucessful anywhere.

Nucleus- Which is your opinion about the musical scene of your country? Does a progressive scene exist?  
Simões- The music scene in Portugal is, to say the least, uninteresting and there is basicaly no kind of scene at all.
I like both two other projects Francisco plays in, Space Boys, a dance music outfit and Cool Hipnoise, a more traditional groove band, i also like Blasted Mechanism wich is a performance band that mixes an enourmous variety of musical styles and also The Gift a sort of trip hop eletronic band.I have been privileged to work in some way or another with these bands.
Nucleus- What current, Portuguese bands or not, do you find interesting?  
Simões- I listen to all types of music regardeless from the time they exist in, i like the psychedelic and prog bands from the sixties and seventies, classical indian music and some comtemporary composers but also more current things like all the english electronic scnene from the nineties.I also enjoy more modern head bands like Mr Quimbys Beard.

Nucleus- Luis, a final question. What can we expect from the next album of Saturnia?
Simões- The next album will defenitely be more direct in its intentions than the last one, it will be more in your face, more imediate as a reaction to Hydrophonic Gardening`s metaphysicalness, i supose.We are working hard at it and hope to have it finished summer 2004.We love lo-fi and our previous cds have flirted with that productionwise, i think that the next record will have a much more open, clear sound, however it is still too early to tell what is going to happen.

Nucleus- Thank you, do you have some message or idea that you want to leave our readers?
Simões- Yeah, keep on enjoying the type of music you enjoy, whatever it is, regardeless of what is cool or politicaly correct, search the web for new music and just feel alright.

Nucleus 12/2003 Sergio Villar