"Blues & Rock is not disposable music, people really put their hearts out to make a song, they search for the notes, for the right words, and for the right groove to put this feeling on a record and make the people listen, it will never die."
Felipe Cazaux: Fortaleza Blues Feeling
Brazilian musician Felipe Cazaux was born in 1983 and started his musical studies as a boy, when he joined a choir and got his first acoustic guitar. At 13 years old, with his first electric guitar, he learned how to play along with his favorite bands, stepping on the path of Metallica, Nirvana and Pearl Jam in his teenage. He started in Fortaleza Rock Scene at 16 years old, playing in Metal bands until 18 years old, when he felt enchanted by the Blues songs and got real deep in the roots of American music, learning with the Blues masters. He has, as a strong influence in improvisation skills, guitar players as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and specially Jimi Hendrix. At 18 years old his real achievements began to be held, he played in big festivals in the state of Ceará and its capital Fortaleza, alongside his first Blues band – Double Blues Band – music style that follows him ever since, but actually doesn’t define his music in its totality. With this band he released an album called “Looking for Trouble?!”.
In the end of 2005, Felipe has departed for a season in Chicago, where he learned directly from the Blues masters, his favorite kind of music at that time. During his experience in the windy city, played with many musicians, joining jam sessions at the best places to play in Chicago. He went back to Fortaleza in 2006 and started his new cycle, playing with a new band, recorded and released in 2007 their first album, “Help the Dog!”. The group became known at the Brazilian Blues Circuit and had many opportunities to play along with Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), Scott Henderson, John Primer, Magic Slim, Nuno Mindelis, among others. In 2010, he released his second album “Good Days Have Come”. With a new formation brought a new atmosphere for the band, and as they worked out, the best results alive in concerts. Sounding increasingly Rock, and getting away from the Blues as a music style, the group started to self-denominate Blues-Rock, but that still doesn’t define the music they play. And then the album “Never go Down” was recorded and released in 2013. The heaviest and rock n’ roll album from Felipe Cazaux and his band.
Photos by Carol San, Felipe Colares, Felipe Albuquerque & Andre Stoppelli
What do you learn about yourself from the blues & rock n’ roll and what does the blues mean to you?
I've learned that I'm all about something that moves me ahead, I mean if I listen to some songs I really want to wake up and start my day, put my stuff together and play, go out and see some people, that's the kind of power that music give me everyday, specially the Blues and Rock music. It makes me want to live, and nothing makes me feel like it, just music... and sex.
How do you describe Felipe Cazaux sound and songbook? What characterize your music philosophy?
My music is beyond some simple category, I'm always trying to make music on my own way. It's hard to classify as a Blues Music, it's not Chicago’s, not Texas, not jumpy or jazzy, it's just the Blues feeling playing with different chords, hard drive on guitars and a lot of problems on the lyrics.
Why did you think that the Blues & Rock music continues to generate such a devoted following?
Because it's not disposable music, people really put their hearts out to make a song, they search for the notes, for the right words, and for the right groove to put this feeling on a record and make the people listen, it will never die.
What's been their experience from “studies” in Chicago? Which memory makes you smile?
I remember Buddy Guy asking for a shot and the security guy, Mike that became a real friend of mine, telling me "he's going up" and then he took the shot and jumped on the stage and started sing the song the band was playing, it was awesome! He was really close, Buddy Guy singing on a Monday in his own legend's bar, no words to describe it, at that time, he already was one of my favorite artists of all time. And I've got some other memories that makes me glad, once I was playing at the jam and Jimmy Burns was hosting, everytime he went back to the stage he said to me "you stay here, please, we need some good musicians on the stage to support these guys", one of those days at the jams, his bass player talked to me about how much he enjoyed to see me playing, and some people that couldn't believe that I've learned how to play listen to the albums at home. All of it is very special memories.
Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What is the best advice ever given you?
Magic Slim was the most funny guy that I've met, I did the opening for him at the first time he came to Fortaleza. We talked a lot, and he told me to keep the groove, he said "keep the band on track" so that's what I do, keep grooving.
"That's the kind of power that music give me everyday, specially the Blues and Rock music. It makes me want to live, and nothing makes me feel like it, just music... and sex."
Are there any memories from Magic Slim, John Primer, and Eddie C. Campbell, which you’d like to share with us?
It's always special when you share a stage with any of them, some are real nice, others are mean, but we keep playing and trying to learn. I enjoyed play with John Primer, his concert is awesome, and Carlos Johnson and Billy Branch are fantastic too, I was really glad when they invited me to play with then, as they are such an excellent musicians.
What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?
I don't miss anything, I think there will be always some guys to play the 12 bar, and make everyone happy. I hope the Blues keep the evolution, I enjoy it, I think there's a lot of great musicians that love the Blues and play it on their own way.
If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
I would remove everyone that says "it can't be done" or "you can't do that" those are the most harmful in music industry and market.
Make an account of the case of the blues in Brazil. Which is the most interesting period in local blues scene?
It’s difficult to say, because the most important Festivals and shows take care to not happens at the same time. In my city, you can see the Blues the whole year, there's a lot of bands showing up and playing better each day. Fortaleza is the Capital of the Blues in Brazil, with no doubt.
"My music is beyond some simple category, I'm always trying to make music on my own way. It's hard to classify as a Blues Music, it's not Chicago’s, not Texas, not jumpy or jazzy, it's just the Blues feeling playing with different chords, hard drive on guitars and a lot of problems on the lyrics."
What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues from United States and UK to Brazil?
We learn from them, listening to Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Muddy Waters, Rolling Stones and that's the connection, we are always listening to these guys, they play the Blues since it started, in Brazil we started to play the Blues in the 70's and even more in the 80's, so we have a lot to learn.
What has made you laugh lately and what touched (emotionally) you from the local music circuits?
To see so many musicians starting to play, and developing an interest for the good musicians, they want to learn, study, feel the music and that's awesome, because someone has to keep on with the good music.
Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?
Woodstock, because they have everything I love.
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