Monday on Sounds European! is already becoming a synonym for interview. This time, we are traveling to Portugal, where we talked to a duo whose work has always pleased us a lot. And now, after this very fun and honest talk they had with us, we like them even more! These are our 10 questions for Fingertips:
Sounds European!: Tell us a bit about your music background. What artists did you grow up listening to? Who are the ones that inspire your work nowadays?
Fingertips: That's a pretty cool exercise: remembering what artists made us want to be musicians when kids!!! There are a lot, like Pink Floyd, Queen, Elvis, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Blondie, Joy Division, Michael Jackson, amongst others. Nowadays, we still listen to a lot of these artists, and some new, of course, but we feel we get very inspired by Depeche Mode, Joy Division, as said before, and Muse. We also keep an eye on Lorde and a few weeks ago, we started listening to this new guy, Troye Sivan. He sounds really nice!
SE!: How did you guys get to know each other, and how did you decide to form a band? In your biography, you say that you've found your "secret in music", and this is why you could be together as a band. What is this secret?
F: We have a very funny and magical story!! The Fingertips were born in 2003. Initially, they were a group of friends that really loved music and wanted to create their own sound, which they did, and, by that time, I (Joana) was only a fan! Not a groupie!! But, honestly, I used to follow every band's step. In 2010, they started looking for a new lead vocalist and my mind said "Why not, Joana?". So I joined the contest they ran all over the country to find the new vocalist. And I was the big winner! You know, a thing like this, becoming your favourite band's lead vocalist, doesn't happen very often! So, it was one of the most magical moments in my life!
Through the years, we've found out that music is the ignition to everything we do in our lives. That's why we say that music is the secret. Music is the key to make our life look valuable from every perspective. Like a Rubik's cube. God, I love this analogy. Because, in a Rubik's cube there are a lot of wrong twists and turns, but when you find out the key to complete one side of the cube, you realise that you finally complete the task, in every side of that magic cube. Music is our passion. It completes every day's tasks. It's the reason why we get out of bed every morning. It's what makes us feel fulfilled.
SE!: You've performed in huge events, like Lisbon's Rock in Rio. You've shared stage with names such as Queen, Nelly Furtado, George Michael, The Corrs and The Cure. What can you tell us about those experiences? What was the hardest thing when facing such events? Which one do you keep the best memories of?
F: Every single stage is very important to us. But getting to know in person the artists we love and share those stages with them is... thrilling!! Even if you live for ten more lives in this world, in ten more different bodies, you won't forget the chills of having Brian May entering your dressing room and chit-chatting with you as if you're friends for years! That's when you learn that the bigger you are, the humbler you can get. It was an unforgettable experience! But yeah, you may sweat a little more than in the other concerts and get some extra nausea before getting on stage... but that's OK!!! It will be worth it!
SE!: How would you describe the music you produce, in style and genre? How would you like the fans to perceive your songs?
F: We don't really like to label things before people get to know them, but we can put our songs into the alternative rock genre. We really like when fans come to us telling that our songs are very energetic and cool, because we believe that it can bring joy and a sense of will to their lives – which can change the world. And if it wasn't for changing the world, we wouldn't be here composing songs!
SE!: Your work sounds, in our opinion, much more international than the average Portuguese music. Was it your aim to produce songs which would appeal to worldwide audiences? Do you have any plans of promoting your work abroad?
F: Yeah, for sure! It was always on our mind, the idea of going abroad. It's a big and old dream of the band: going overseas, sharing our songs with different people, in different countries. And we are already doing it. In the past year, we visited a lot of places, such as New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Amsterdam, Japan, Shanghai, Sydney, Singapore, Brighton, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. They gave us a very positive feedback of our songs and our concert, which is very important and motivating for us. Now, we are just keeping the work in progress internationally!
"We use lyrics as if they are letters addressed to each person who listens to our songs"
SE!: When you are composing music, what are your favorite topics to write about? Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you have any particular moment or place to compose?
F: As Pablo Neruda once said, "Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working"! Once your brain never stops having musical ideas, the composing moment can be everywhere – from the studio to an airport, or even on your own bed, when you are just about to get a good sleep. I know it sounds a bit exhausting, but in fact it is pretty good. It means that your soul uses every instant and every place of your life to get inspired.
We really love to write motivational and empowering lyrics. We use lyrics as if they are letters addressed to each person who listens to our songs. As musicians, we get the power to sow important messages in every place we go. That's why we also usually write about peace, truth, respect, and the world itself. Oh, and we also write about love! The universe never gets tired of a really good love song, right?
SE!: All of your singles so far have been in English. And this is not the most common language within the Portuguese music scene. Why did you choose writing them in English? How do you see the use of language in music as a whole?
F: Wanting to go overseas was always an ambition for us. So, from the very beginning, we thought about writing in English. And we also grew up listening to all those artists such as David Bowie, The Doors and The Beatles, who sing in English. That just got stuck under our skin. It's hard to imagine ourselves composing in any other language. Besides, we don't believe that it is a problem or less patriotic to sing in a language that is not our mother one, once the music speaks for itself. If you can convey your message to much more people by singing in English, then you are doing a great job!
SE!: If you could choose anyone, who would be some Portuguese and international artists you'd like to collaborate with?
F: Oh, we would like to collaborate with so many other artists! In fact, it is one of the most amazing things in music: singing along or sharing your work with other musicians. There's this band, named Best Youth, in Portugal. They've been doing a really good job!! We like them! Internationally speaking, it would depend on the mood of the song. It could be a rapper like Eminem. Or it could be Justin Bieber if we were looking for a "bad boy, but not that bad" type of lyrics!! Coldplay and Muse, of course, they are huge. But, honestly, I can't die before singing with Bryan Ferry! So many years of music in that soul!! I can even imagine the chills!
SE!: What are your professional projects for the near future? What can your fans expect for 2016?
F: This year, we will be playing in Los Angeles at Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood, MUSEXPO and Worldwide Radio Summit. We are working on a European tour, too. We are thinking about it in two occasions: one in the summer and another one in the winter. And we are also projecting a huge concert here in Portugal, to our fans who have always supported us!! It would be in the summer, probably in Porto. But follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get the updates of our work!
SE!: We would like to post a song of yours to close this interview. What is your favorite song of yourselves, and why?
F: "Out of control"!! Probably because it was the last one to be released. Probably beacause it was produced by Mark Needham, who dressed it with the intensity we were looking for. Probably because it reminds us of our stay in Los Angeles or the filming process of its video in Shanghai! We don't know the reason, but it means so much to us! It's our brand new single. And it's a song about breaking the rules of society. A song that shouts out that it's OK to be who you are, even if you feel different from the rest. Embrace your differences and be confident about it. You're beautiful! Believe in yourself and never stop chasing your dreams!