Interview: Kiko Loureiro

Guglielmo Malusardi: So how was your short but intense trio tour experience? Let's talk first about the European leg, how did this come about?

Kiko Loureiro : Playing with Terrana and Felipe is always great. They are such excellent musicians and very cool people. I knew it would be really fun beforehand. I try to take advantage of all opportunities I have to play with great people. I heard about this opportunity to play in Italy, and when I was at the NAMM show in L.A., I asked Mike if he would be available (he's a busy guy). He was excited about it as well.

Guglielmo Malusardi: Can you introduce us to your "partners in crime"?

Kiko Loureiro : Well, Mike Terrana is the most energetic person I've ever met. Everybody knows his playing. He is very, very musical and a well-rounded drummer. Not just a metal guy. He can play whatever... and he has an incredible groove. He is a great comedian as well. Very funny guy.

Felipe Andreoli has been my partner in Angra for eight years. We call him "the prodigy" because he is so smart. He can also play any style and memorize any song easily. To play in a trio format is not an easy job.

Guglielmo Malusardi: How many rehearsal sessions did you have before the tour?

Kiko Loureiro : One. One day before the first gig in Milano - just three hours!

Guglielmo Malusardi: You told me before the gig you wouldn't perform music from "Universo Inverso", due to lack of time. In case you decide to tour in the future, presenting music from both of your solo albums, will you keep the band as a trio, would you incorporate a keyboard player, or what?

Kiko Loureiro : At other times, I've taken a different approach. To play the "Universo Inverso" tunes, I used all the same musicians that recorded the album. That way, I could create the same vibe and atmosphere of a Latin-Jazz fusion group. If we had a little bit more time to rehearse, it would have be possible to play some songs with Terrana and Felipe of course. But most likely they would sound different.

Guglielmo Malusardi: Which song is the most difficult to play and which one is the easiest, during the live set?

Kiko Loureiro : For me, as I've been playing these songs for a long time, they are all OK. If I feel good on stage, songs have about equal difficulty for me.

Guglielmo Malusardi: What's the main difference when you're on stage playing with Angra and when you play on your own?

Kiko Loureiro : It is all about the music, which can be similar to some people, but for me, it's really different. Also, the attention of the crowd is different. The trio format demands more from each musician as well.

Guglielmo Malusardi: Since you lack a second guitarist and a keyboard player, did you rearrange the music to be played by a trio, or did you use some sequencing?

Kiko Loureiro : No sequencing at all. I have to choose the main guitar lines. Felipe also plays chords or guitar harmonies to help. It sounds different from the album, but I believe it sounds interesting, and more realistic.

Guglielmo Malusardi: Do you change your playing in relation to the feedback you get from the audience, or do you find you're not influenced by audience reaction?

Kiko Loureiro : I think it can influence a lot, of course. If the response is good (in Italy, it is always excellent by the way), I feel more comfortable when playing and I'll probably improvise more. But monitoring is also something very important to feeling good on stage.

Guglielmo Malusardi: How much of your set is improvisation?

Kiko Loureiro : For "No Gravity", just a little bit, because the melodies and songs are a bit more defined. For "Universo Inverso" there is lots of improvisation, because the songs were made for that.

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Guglielmo Malusardi: I won't ask how you felt on stage playing with your bandmate Felipe Andreoli, since you've played hundreds of concerts around the world with Angra, but for both of you, how was it playing with Mike Terrana?

Kiko Loureiro : It is really fun playing with both of them. But with Felipe it's different as well in this format because he is providing support for harmonies.

Guglielmo Malusardi:
In the middle of the show, you gave the audience an unexpected and unusual (but greatly appreciated) version of Mike "I can sing this swing" Terrana. Was it planned or spontaneous?

Kiko Loureiro : It was planned, but I asked him to sing with no rehearsal. Terrana is a big fan of Frank Sinatra; he knows many songs, and I know some as well. While recording "No Gravity", he sang some Sinatra and I always had this idea in mind for a live show. I wanted to show people his talent for singing.

Guglielmo Malusardi: Tell us about your live gear.

Kiko Loureiro : I use a Brunetti Mercury head and cabinet, a Tagima Kiko Loureiro signature wah pedal, and a Zoom GLK for effects. That's it. My gear is pretty simple. A good amp and a guitar can do the job.

Guglielmo Malusardi: You just hit South America at the end of June, for another short, but surely still intense, live trio experience, with Fernando Schaefer replacing Mike Terrana on drums. Tell us a little bit about Fernando.

Kiko Loureiro : Fernando Scheaffer is a great drummer also - the best trash-hardcore from Brazil. He is also a very well-rounded musician, and he can play my songs very well. People can find him on myspace. He has a great energy as well.

But then again, to see and to hear your music on a CD at last is the best payback for all the sacrifices you've made.

Guglielmo Malusardi: What else did you change, compared to your spring trio tour experience?

Kiko Loureiro : Not much. We just play the songs. Sounds a bit different, of course. Drums have a big influence on the sound.

Guglielmo Malusardi: Turning to the final question, in your solo career; you expressed yourself in two different directions on your solo albums. Thinking about a third one, should we expect a kind of blend of the two approaches, or will you take your music in another direction altogether?

Kiko Loureiro : I'm working on that. People will see... I will go back to the "No Gravity" vibe. I'm also working with a Brazilian fusion trio in Sao Paulo. We will record soon. In addition, I'm doing the Tarja Turunen tour with Terrana and Doug Wimbish next month.

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Here we go again with Rio de Janeiro born and Sao Paulo based guitarist Kiko Loureiro, charismatic leader and main composer for the famous progmetal band Angra. He's got a new live trio, in which he's performing music from his solo career albums "No Gravity" and "Universo Inverso".

"No Gravity" was recorded in May 2005, and is comprised of thirteen instrumental tracks. Kiko played all the instruments except drums (provided by top-notch drummer Mike Terrana. His second solo project "Universo Inverso" is an energetic, mostly electric, jazz/fusion style album, recorded with world-class performers such as Cuban virtuoso pianist Yaniel Matos, bassist Carlinhos Noronha and drummer Cuca Teixeira. The compositions provide a different angle on his huge musical ability in composition and performance.

Guglielmo Malusardi conducted this latest chat with Loureiro about his new musical endeavors.