Past, Present & Future: Delving Into The Passion & Inventiveness Of Rui Luís

Images courtesy of Rui Luís

Directly from Almada, Setúbal (Portugal), to the world, Rui Luís, whose music has been out there for a long time, tells us about his project and his motivations.

Since his childhood, Rui has felt music pulling him as if he had a magnet on him. Rui even shared a story with us when he was in the car with his parents, and he could feel the chord progression, and foretell where it was going.

From a young age, Rui always liked to sing and to whistle, until a teacher — which he didn’t care for very much — of his, in elementary school, complimented his singing, “Such a beautiful voice,” he recalls her saying.

During elementary school, when teachers asked the students what did they liked to do once they got
home, Rui lied, conjuring up some vanilla activities, when in reality, what Rui really wanted to say was, “I like to relax while listening to Classical music.”

Eventually, a classmate of his had introduced him to the guitar, teaching him how to play “Borrow,” by Silence 4, which was the only song he could play at the time. It was then that, at ten years old, Rui got his first electric guitar. He had been a musician even before that, though, for he used to play cavaquinho — a small four-stringed guitar — with Prof. Rui Sequeira.

Time elapsed and Rui kept his passion for music, and a relative of his, João Videira Santos, a poet, told him he ought to play the piano — although he did not want to play the piano at the time, as his interest solely lied with the guitar, still, André Sebastião showed him how important the piano was. Soon, Rui learned J. S. Bach’s “Minuet In G” as his first piece, playing a four-octave keyboard. A cousin of his, then taught him real guitar playing, while listening and singing to various songs by The Beatles.

A very special thanks must be paid to Isabel Figueiredo, whose constant support and trust have led Rui
to keep onwards in his pursuit for music; and her teachings on the traditions of writing. It was not long after that that when Rui and André Sebastião started a band — Ângulos Mortos. But it did not last that long. One cannot tell if fortunately or unfortunately but André Sebastião started a stint as Jorge Palma’s manager, which stole his time, and he could no longer continue with Rui as a member of Ângulos Mortos.

Rui’s years as a student geologist quickly showed him that this was a path he wanted for himself. It was then that he began to listen to B Fachada, influenced by his friend, Zé Bolachas; and he enrolled at Hot Clube Portugal, where he had met his band’s first formation: João Aguiar (trumpet/vocals); Érico Aboo (guitar); Pedro Antunes (drums); Fábio Moniz (bass guitar). Érico Aboo had joined the band when, at faculty, he had heard Rui Luís, influenced by his heroes of Vocal Jazz music, scat singing to the sound of a
guy’s playing the guitar. Thus was born, Rui Luís & The Musicians.

Going a bit through his creative process, Rui shared with us his method-less methodology, in which he feels that his creations are only congested existing compositions, which need only a channel to be transposed and externalized, and which he feels he is that channel through which these already existing compositions are reborn.

Past, Present, and Future manifest themselves through him, Rui shares with us. Usually, Rui writes his songs whilst playing the guitar, simpler and catchy. Rarely does he compose at the piano but when he does, he will play the chords and sing.

Images courtesy of Rui Luís

Another compositional process of his, suggested by Tomás Pimentel, a trumpeter and teacher at Hot Clube Portugal, is one in which he plays the song’s melody on the piano. Rui then adds another layer to the song: the lyrics. This one is a more complex methodology, that takes mental fortitude and focus, which musicians appreciate the most, but to Rui, it sounds limited.

As someone has once said, “I do write every day, inspired; the latter comes to me every day at 10 am.” He believes that inspiration is that path through which comes that energy from the divine. Inspiration per se, Rui believes, does exist; it is not just a word that points out to a thought, but something that points towards a deity; and Rui has a lot of that, he says.

To write and compose, Rui prefers to be left alone, quiet, and stay inside. He writes everything without pauses. On average, it takes him three hours to complete a song — harmony, melody, and lyrics — and he usually writes about life experiences. Rui adds an alchemic component to his writing, in which he talks about the natural elements, astronomy — objects such as the moon and the sun — and alchemic processes in general.

Rui also writes on the subject of love, the original form of love, in its essence, as the source of all existence. He’s not that good at storytelling; only those which he had lived, as he tells us about “O Vento e a Brisa,” which is a song in which the elements are a personification of his parents — o Vento (the wind) his father, a Brisa (the breeze) his mother.

Rui states that he would like to have a solo career but continue to play with the same musicians. If he could make a living off of music, and if he had someone financing him for making music, he sure would
accept it. At the moment, Rui would only leave everything he knows behind to live off of music only if he had a guarantee that it would work out in his favor. With a child to raise, Rui must stay grounded.

Interestingly, one of the biggest obstacles Rui faces is himself. He feels it difficult to maintain himself on his track, to guarantee that he plays his role. His perceived lack of professionalism is something that Rui feels has kept him from moving further. Yet, Rui is looking forward to developing himself and is committed to becoming better.

As a singer-songwriter, Rui quips, “My music can go from Folk to Rock, but overall, I categorize my music as universal.” By universal, Rui further states, “Each song is, in itself, a universe. Its wholeness creates its own universe.”

While Rui does care about image, seeing it as an important feature, he tells us, “There are differences between people; some are more into listening, and others are more into watching.” Yet, in his opinion, “Music is a lot more important than image. But nowadays, it does not work that much having a song with no video clip. Marketing is important, and that is something I am not that good at.”

From a typical standpoint, for his lyrics, Rui’s favorite subjects are romantic love, loss, and acquisition, metaphysics, prophetical, and describing phenomenological themes, and poetry — a poetical part of
his music is the description of abstract images.

Images courtesy of Rui Luís

Connect with Rui Luís via Instagram here.

Interested in learning more about Rui Luís? Check out the link below:

Dig this article? Check out the full archives of New Clew, by Fábio Moniz, here: https://vwmusicrocks.com/new-clew-archives/

About Post Author

Fábio Moniz

Born and raised in Portugal, with an ever-growing love for knowledge, and an ever-increasing interest in teaching, Fábio teaches Creative Writing at the Senior Academy (Sintra), and music as a freelancer, and is presently working as a tutor.
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