Artist Spotlight: Guitarist Rafael Picoli
LOS ANGELES – Known for his eclectic guitar stylings, Brazilian rocker Rafael Picoli is preparing to release three new EPs from his band Urban Escape, sharing with music fans what many of his fans already know about his musical skills and sensibilities.
Having arrived from Brazil a few years ago, the talented guitarist became known for his ability to mesh alternative and classic rock with metal and rhythm and blues. He soon became a man in demand as he became a fixture in the L.A. club scene and others around the country. He soon formed his band Urban Escape and helped build up its fan base with its unique alternative rock sound.
In the meantime, Picoli has continued to work with a number of artists, including Sonder City, Joe Abujamra, Kasia Lins, Julian Martel, Inessa, as well as acclaimed artist Larissa Basilio, among others.
SoReckless caught up with the artist for our Artist Spotlight section.
Question: Why are you doing three EPs instead of one album? Is this part of a marketing strategy or are you still working on music and want to get it to your clamoring fans as soon as possible?
Answer: The reason we decided to launch EPs first is that lately, specially with music streaming getting so popular, people don't usually listen to music by albums anymore. So, especially for a band that's just starting, we feel that if we just went ahead and released all those songs at once, they wouldn't get the desired attention, so we decided to release in EPs instead, and we're going to release the album after we release all of those songs, with maybe a couple extra songs added.
Q: What's the name of the your first single and how did you come up with it? Is it really heavy or is it more commercial than your usual sound?
A: First single is called "Alone." It's heavy, but I would say that it's still the most commercial song out of the first EP. When we came up with this song, Eric, the main vocalist and second guitarist of the band, had a guitar riff and a vocal melody that was really calm and sounded a bit like The Beatles actually, so we decided to start with that, but still make a heavy song out of it and we're pleased with the result.
Q: Your band is very eclectic mixing lots of different influences are these EPs the same way or is one EP more metal, let's say than another or is each one a blend of different genres?
A: Yes, we all listen to a lot of different music genres, but most of our music can be categorized as alternative rock. Still, we do have a certain style and different influences for each of those EPs. The first one is the heaviest and darkest one, and we feel it has influences from bands like Nirvana and Queens of the Stone Age. The second album is not as heavy, with stronger influences from bands like Arctic Monkeys and Cage The Elephant. The third EP is the less heavy one, with more influence from pop music, and other alternative rock bands like Kings of Leon and Two Door Cinema Club.
Q: You do a lot of writing. How does the band collaborate and make its sound so unique? Do you guys argue a lot or do you understand each other so well that it's an easy process?
A: Most of the writing is done by me and the singer Eric. We get together every single day to write new songs or work and develop the ones we have, so we're pretty used to writing together and understand each other well. The way we write is we just start with a riff, vocal melody, or whatever we have, record it and try to develop it. Then, we move it back and forth from recording to just jamming in our rehearsal space, which is were the rest of the band comes in to help with defining the details of the songs.
Q: What advantage do you have by being from Brazil that perhaps other rock bands may not have? Does the music scene there push envelope more than perhaps other places?
A: All of us worked as musicians in Brazil before moving here and forming the band, so just the experience of also knowing how the music scene is there already teaches us a lot, since there's a lot of really talented musicians there and a big range of music styles, but we think that there's more room for new bands in our style here in the US than in Brazil. That's also why we decided to write the music in English instead of Portuguese, since we want to focus in this music scene. Everybody from the band is Brazilian except for Eric. He is actually American, but he did grow up in Brazil as well.
Q: When will the band tour and what are your plans for performing this year? Also how can fans keep up with you and the band online and on social media?
A: Right now, we are completely focused on finishing up the songs for the EPs, and we're gonna be in the studio starting the 11th of June, and the goal is to record the 13 songs until the 21st of June. After that, we will immediately start playing gigs in the L.A. area, and we are planning on maybe start touring around November, but we're not sure about how things will go after the release of the songs. The only thing I know for sure is that we are really excited to start playing live and seeing the response of the public to these songs, and we're going to start playing live as soon as we can. To keep up with the band online, follow us on our Instagram @urbanescapemusic, and soon we'll be releasing our website at the address urbanescapemusic.com.