I will post an interview I did with a friend musician, Natasha Wood! This matter is part of the 181 edition of Brazilian magazine: Cover Guitarra - for which I am responsible for equipment test. This edition will be completely reformulated in terms of layout, design, content and editorial direction. Well, I'll reproduce in full the material to be published:
In this new column, I talk with several (as) guitarists from all over the planet. We take advantage of the boom of the internet and social networks to intercept and discover old and new talent, using only a simple criterion, the passion for music. We don´t discriminate style or nationality, may participate professionals, amateurs and string´s lovers - they have their work posted on the network.
In this column of "opening" I have the privilege of giving the "kickoff" I talked to a guitarist who discovered through MySpace and Facebook. She is Natasha Wood, who although American is very Brazilian at heart!
She is a guitarist, pianist, singer and songwriter. Born into a family of musicians and since the early times had a passion for brazilian artists.
Natasha formed the band Fala Bashu with bassist Matt Gordon and drummer David Gardner. The band released their first album, "Drifting Into Unconsciousness" in 2008. I talked with Natasha, she told me of his passion for brasilian music and also spoke of details about her musical career!
In your profile on the MySpace, you quote concerning your brazilian mother. How the brazilian music and the bossa nova became a major influence for you? What albuns or artists you used to listen to?
Growing up, I listened to a lot of samba and bossa nova because my mom and my grandparents always played albums by Antônio Carlos Jobim, Elis Regina, Gal Costa, Beth Carvalho, Martinho da Vila, and Maria Bethânia, to name a few. We even listened to some forró music every now and then. As I got older, I started listening to artists like Marisa Monte, Djavan, Caetano Veloso, Banda Black Rio, Olodum, and instrumentalists like Baden Powell, Romero Lubambo, and César Camargo Mariano. I also started attending live shows by local Brazilian artists, such as Kátia Moraes and Sambaguru. The list could go on and on.
How do you get inspiration for compose? Do you prefer to compose on the guitar or the piano?
I usually write songs about friendships and relationships, interesting people in my life, places I’ve traveled to, and my animals (after all, I’m a veterinarian!). For the past few years, I’ve composed most of my music on guitar, but since I’m a pianist originally, I’m trying to shift toward writing more on piano. It’s an instrument that offers a whole different realm of possibilities. I’m also starting to compose more songs in Portuguese, even though it’s a bit challenging for me. It’s always easier writing lyrics in one’s native language.
His musical work has many “colors” and influences from jazz. How do you do improvisation? Do you like to phrased linear or do you play with on a vertical way, valuing the chords?
I’m very melodically-driven, so when I improvise, I always have the melody of the song and the chord progressions in mind and sort of play around that. But I’m challenging myself to incorporate a more vertical approach and step outside of the chord changes from time to time. A little bit of dissonance can be a good thing.
Are you following the current scene of brazilian music? Any artist in particular has deserved your attention?
I’ll admit I love the artists of the past, but some of my favorite Brazilian artists are more contemporary ones like Marisa Monte, Maria Rita, Daniela Mercury, Chico César, Djavan, and of course the legends who are still performing, like Gal Costa and Caetano Veloso.
What are the musicians who often play with you?
I play mostly with L.A. based musicians from a variety of musical backgrounds ranging from Afro-Cuban jazz to American folk-rock to Indian Carnatic music. My most recent adventure took me to the Cook Islands, where I had the pleasure of collaborating with local singer/guitarist Tok Haurua. I’ve also been collaborating with my cousins, both marvelous jazz musicians. Their dad, John Wood (my uncle on my dad’s side) is a professional jazz piano player who has influenced us a lot. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work with such talented artists who bring many different styles and experiences to the table. Every jam session or rehearsal is an adventure. We’re always learning from each other.
Tell us about your gear (guitar, effects pedals, amplifiers and strings) for concerts, gigs and recordings?
DeArmond X-155 hollowbody electric guitar, Martin Shenandoah acoustic guitar (a very special instrument as it was given to me by my grandpa, music producer Randy Wood, who founded the Dot Records label in the ’50s-’60s), Yamaha CG-100SA classical guitar (my very first guitar); D’Addario strings; Yamaha S90ES synthesizer; Roland, Fender, and Danelectro amplifiers; Shure microphones.
Finally, what are your plans and when you will play in Brazil?
I’m hoping to get more involved in the Brazilian music scene in L.A. I’ve also started performing my original material with a new band and hope to play as many venues as possible. I want to start incorporating more of a world music sound into my arrangements, so I’d like to collaborate with more artists from diverse cultural backgrounds. I’m working on new compositions and look forward to recording a new album of original material sometime in the near future. Honestly, finding the right balance between music and veterinary medicine (my other career) has always been very challenging because succeeding in both takes a huge amount of commitment. I’ve never really thought about becoming a famous musician, particularly in today’s music business where everything is so ephemeral, at times it’s disheartening. But in my opinion, the good thing about music is that if you push yourself, you can keep growing for the rest of your life, and you never know what unexpected opportunities might come along. As for playing in Brazil, hopefully soon! It’s been several years since I last visited, so I think I’m due for another trip, and this time I’ll be taking my guitar with me.
Photography by Brandon Peters